Trouble with temps in CGSP

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by marty catka, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Smoked a few racks of ribs the other day, about 73 degrees ambient temp, about a 10-12 mph wind. Had a lot of trouble getting up to temp, once there, could not maintain without help from a blower.
    Using Gordon Foods lump (RO in a black bag) in my CharGriller Super Pro w/sfb. Unassisted, the highest I could get was up to 200 deg. That is starting with one chimney of coals started and added to the shaker basket. Was able to get to 250 temporarily when I added another 1/2 chimney of lit coals about an hour into the smoke.
    This is really frustrating me. Starting to look into purchasing a Stoker Controller from Rock's BBQ. If I have to use a fan, I may as well get technical too.
     
  2. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did you try turning the smoker so as the firebox was facing the wind?
     
  3. timtimmay

    timtimmay Action Team

    Are you relying on the lid thermometer, it is not reliable.
     
  4. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    Doesn't make sense. My CGSP holds higher temps in colder ambient with higher winds.

    Be willing to experiment. Put up a windscreen (a couple lawn chairs will work), face the firebox into the wind, close down the intake and exhaust vents a bit.

    Oh, and make sure you've done the smokestack mod. Bringing the stack down to grate level makes a BIG difference; the heat that otherwise blips right out the top is forced to circulate.
     
  5. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Tried all of that! Did all of the mods suggested, new therms mounted at grate level (tested and dead on), smokestack mod, charbroil shaker basket for fuel, tuning plate, baffle etc.

    Turned that puppy around 360 degrees looking for the best angle, got out two sheets of 1/2" plywood and screwed 'em together for a wind break. Never got temps up until I layed my "space blankets" over the top and added some forced air to fire box. Did not want to close chimney vent.

    Does GFS get rejects from Royal Oak for their charcoal?
     
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One thing I did notice somtimes when I had my CGSP was that sometimes I got higher temps when I used a smaller fire. The shaker basket almost seems like it provides to much unlit vs. lit fuel, and the lit stuff would choke out. Try reducing the amount of charcoal unlit in the basket, then add 2 lit chimneys to start. After that add lit chimneys as needed.
     
  7. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Thanks JIR! This had occurred to me, but I had no way to verify my hunch. Is it also possible that there were a lot of smaller chunks in my lump, inhibiting airflow? I would really like to get to the bottom of this one. I will be smoking a couple of butts this weekend and I'll try this method out. I was looking forward to a little less full on fire maintenance, but I'll try as you suggest.
     
  8. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've found GFS charcoal to be quite good and imo better than the Wallyworld stuff.
     
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah little lumps don't help with air flow either. I ended up using a 50/50 or 60/40 mix of briquets and lump. The briquets burned longer and more steady (while allowing air flow), and the lump helped to keep the temps up.

    As much as I learned from my CGSP and liked it, I have been really happy now that I got my 22.5" WSM. It is really almost maintenance free during a smoke. About the only thing I do is check the water pan every 3 hrs. or so.
     
  10. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If ya use sand then that's not even necessary[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I was concerned with bacteria from all the meat drippings in the sand. I know it should kill anything, but a lot of stuff drips down there... lol.
     
  12. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I keep it covered with clean foil for ever smoke.
     
  13. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ahhh.... *light bulb goes on*..... now I get it! I had a mental image of some really nasty looking sand swiming in a mud of drippings... lol.
     
  14. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    You say you did "all the mods".... Another thing I've found is that the baffle inhibits the flow of heat into the smoke chamber. So you're burning all that coal, but much of the heat gets blocked by the baffle and you lose it out the top of the firebox and into the atmosphere.

    I've essentially abandoned the baffle, except on warm sunny days where I've maxed out the cooker's meat capacity. Otherwise I just use a large bakery sheet as a drip pan, and make sure I don't have it or meat directly against the firebox edge. That way I get as much heat into the smoke chamber as possible.
     
  15. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    What coyote said. It is easy to go overboard with mods. You really need to start with basics & learn how your smoker operates. Then do mods one at a time to see if the results is positive or negative. What works for me may or may not work for you.

    With a CGSP, there are a couple of basics that you need to start with. First the hood therm in not accurate & does not give you temps where you need them (ie: at cooking grate level). So an accurate way to measure temps is a must.

    Second, the grate that comes with the CG for wood/charcoal is poorly designed. Some type of basket set at a level that draws air thru the fire & allows ash to fall away is a must. The shaker basket works great if it is mounted high enough.

    Third, lowering the stack really helps not only balance temps, but with fuel use as well. The heat is forced down & stays in the cooking zone before escaping.

    Do a couple of cooks with just these & see what results you get. You can always flip the MC charcoal tray as a baffle is you get too much of a hot spot on the SFB side.
     
  16. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Link to pics of my mods.

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...t=86105&page=2

    With a CGSP, there are a couple of basics that you need to start with. First the hood therm in not accurate & does not give you temps where you need them (ie: at cooking grate level). So an accurate way to measure temps is a must.

    Check

    Second, the grate that comes with the CG for wood/charcoal is poorly designed. Some type of basket set at a level that draws air thru the fire & allows ash to fall away is a must. The shaker basket works great if it is mounted high enough.

    Check

    Third, lowering the stack really helps not only balance temps, but with fuel use as well. The heat is forced down & stays in the cooking zone before escaping

    Check

    Then again, maybe it is the fuel... sort it by size and we'll see what goes!
     

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