Sealing a Char Griller Smoking pro

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by fpmich, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you for your reply Jeramy.

    I appreciate it!

    I've received some replies and help, for which I'm grateful for them taking the time to help a newbie.  Only questions I still have pending right now is pretty much from post #13 and down.

    Yes, I did get "some info" from other sites, but the info on this site seems to be the best in my book.  In fact, some of the info I got from other sites, were links to this forum.  LOL  So ya, I'm here to stay.  This site just doesn't seem to be one for quick answers.  But eventually I guess, it WILL get answered.

    I do have another question on how to best transport my CGSP to another location for a party 20 miles away, but I'm going to try to make a new thread for that and see if I can get tips before this weekend.  My options are a small POS 4X6 trailer, or dismantling smoker grill partially and stinking up my van forever.  LOL
  2. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It sounds like you are getting it figured out.

    I would say you really need a charcoal basket. It will help you have a more constant burn temp and less fuel consumption. Your not doing bad on it, it will just help keep it cleaner.

    Using the ash pan as a tunner works better then most think. I would hang the lip of the ash pan on the bolt heads for the fire box. I would also use foil to help seal that seam. Tunning plates will help, but not really a must have. I would do the basket first.

    When you did your test burns you had no food in the cook chamber. So you had a clean flow of heat and air. When you add food you change how it all flows. So not surprising of your results. If you add different type of food like butts, you will get another result. By using tuning plates you can make adjustments to help compensate for the changes and you can also create a heat sync that will help keep temps level across the cook chamber.

    Keep your notes and just cook and make adjustments as needed. Keep the top vent wide open and adjust your temp by the air intake for the fire box. More open = hotter. Remember every time you open either the cook chamber or fire box you are letting oxygen get to the fire, so it will spike. Give the cooker about 20 min to settle down before making adjustments.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if I can help any other way.

  3. Looks like over did the application of the RTV on the inside  both the firechamber which is where I'm sure the majority of the smell is coming from and inside the cooking chamber putting it around all bolts, the chimney, the logo. Funny thing. I put two thermoters and tightened them down. No leaks.:)  I guess I have some work to remove the excess and try to figure out how to smoke or burn off the chemicals that might be sort of cooked on to the inside of the smoker. I do have to say, I have no leaks which the rtv works. Thanks guys. I'll have to get on fixing this as I dont want to trash this smoker as I just bought it.
  4. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Jeramy.   Good to know not to sweat the weird (to me anyway) temps side to side & middle when food on vs. when empty.

    Yes, flipping the ash pan over did work out quite well for me.  I foiled the bottom of barrel to catch drips and help with cleanup, but didn't think to foil the top of the pan.  DUH!  What a mess, and lesson learned.

    Dave... Don't even think about throwing unit out.  Just clean off any and ALL RTV inside the cooking chamber and sfb.  What don't peel off, wire brush off.  Then clean out inside of everything with something like Mean Green and rinse very well.  Wipe dry, and start over by re-seasoning again.  Should take care of the problem.
  5. Thanks. I will buy some mean green. My only question is then for where I have the rtv sealing the one hole that came pre-cut, I put a big glob of rtv to cover that hole on the inside and then some to keep the cheesy charbroil emblem from leaking. What do you recommend I use to seal those?
  6. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Big Globs is not how you want to use it.  Are you related to my late father?  If a little bit is good, then a LOT is better, was his motto.  LOL

    Just use barely enough to seal crack.  Not sure which big hole you are talking about.  If it is the football cut out between sfb and chamber, than that may be where most of your smell is coming from.  You may have to take that off, clean and re-seal.

    I just laid a small 1/8" bead around the opening and around the bolt holes.  I placed the bead about 1/2" to 3/4"  from inside edge.  It's sealed up tight, and no RTV showing on inside or outside, and no smell.  I did use the higher temp rated  bronze colered rtv between the sfb and barrel tho'.

    I wouldn't worry about the CG Emblem.  I get no smoke at all from mine, and even if I did, I wouldn't worry about it.  It will minimal as it's just riveted on with small rivets.

    Hope this helps you.
  7. FP,
    There was a hole there as a space to put a thermoter which I found a package of two on Amazon but the stems are way smaller than that hole so I just sealed that up and drilled two new ones on either side of the cooking box. I will have to do like you said and get a wire brush and scrap off all the excess from inside the firebox in hopes that the excess I have is gone and won't contribute the chemical smell. In the firebox, I had even put the RTC in holes I can see that had no screw so I sealed that up too. I'll scrap all of that off and seal from the bottom/outside since you can't see it directly. Lots of work but it will be worth it once I can get to cook in it safely. Thanks for all the advice. I'll update as I'm doing it.
  8. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    One thing I've noticed with my CGSP is that there are A LOT of variables in how the temps run. The amount of food and location on the grill can wildly alter temps from one side of the grate to the other. I've modded mine pretty heavily, so YMMV. The most consistent I've had it run is using a water pan. That seems to do a lot in terms of keeping temps level. But it also held my temps in check, so I went through a lot more fuel and made the smokes run longer. I've used sand as a temp regulator as well, but I don't think it's as good as water. Sand will heat above 212*, where water won't.

    Honestly, I think the reason for variance in food v. no food on the grates is how the air moves through the chamber. I seem to do best when I leave about 2" gaps between what I'm smoking. When I'm placing it, I think of the pork butt as a tuning plate of sorts.

    Anyway, others have reported keeping theirs dead nuts on across the grate, but I haven't been able to do it consistently. It happens from time to time, but there is nothing out of the ordinary for me to see 20* variance from one side of the grate to the other. So I've learned to rely on my IT readings. That's the most important thing, after all. But then again, I usually do pork. I would be a little more cautious about it if I were going to do a brisket.

    Another thing to consider is how long you're leaving the hood down before checking. On the rare occasion that I do lift the lid for one reason or another during a smoke, it can take quite a while before the temps even out inside the chamber. I think this is due, at least in part, to how thin the metal is. The metal basically holds in the air, where on a heavier smoker the metal will do a lot more to radiate heat, leveling out your temps faster.

    Anywho, just my $0.02.
  9. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Ahhh... the ole really big hole for the CG therm!

    What I did was just put it in anyways.  I put a very small amt. of rtv just under the lip of it on the outside, stuck it in and placed the snap ring in it to secure it.  Iit sealed up very well.  If you still have that thermomenter around, I would remove the big gob of sealant, and install  that therm, even though you aren't going to use it.  Or you could always rivet a piece of steel under it, and seal it that way.
  10. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    ThsMormonSmokes... YMMV (?)  That's a new one for me.  I'm new to forums, so give me a hint friend. [​IMG]

    I agree with you and Jarjarchef on variance of temps causes across the grill now.  Just wasn't expecting it after my test burns.  But I know now that I just have to use it, learn it, and try temporary solutions out before I hard wire them, if you know what I mean.

    You're right on opening lid for whatever reason.  I don't even bother looking at temps for at least 20 minutes after opening, or I'll do some stupid like added more fuel or changing intake damper.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013
  11. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Well, I finally got some photo's, showing what I have done.  But I can't seem to upload them into post.

    I keep getting this message:

    Some images failed to upload:
    • Stack.JPG - An error occurred while uploading the file
    You can try re-selecting them and uploading again.

    What am I doing wrong?
  12. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Photo's of mods so far on CGSP.   I'm real happy with it so far!

    I was actually smoking some food when I took this photos.  Fire going in sfb with just enough smoke.

    But in photo's it looks like I don't even have a fire going, because smoke was so thin that when I opened lid for photo, it disappeared.

    Chimney extended down to just above grate level.

    I need to put a hook or screw to hold it from touching my therm. That touching may have affected my reading on that side.

    High temp stove rope in channel held in place with bead of Red RTV around lid works real well!

    Used sealant between sfb and chamber, but just a small unbroken bead about 1/8" thick around the bolt holes and the cutout.

    I kept the bead about 3/4" from any edges so it wouldn't squish out.  If you look closely, you'll see two tiny spots of sealant near edge.

    No smoke leaking at all from here.

    Using Red RTV I mounted rope to back of lower barrel for top lid to seal onto when closed.

    Was able to hold these temps steady for about 3 hours

    with this small fire.   I did add lump and dry maple branch for smoke from time to time, but it pretty much stayed this size throughout.

    This was actually near the end of cooking.  Notice the damper wide open.  Just trying to milk that last bit of heat out.  Most of the cook I had it opened about 1/3.  I can't wait until I get my basket made for it and see how long my burns and temps last then.

    to cook these Beans and Scalloped Potatoes fully.  You can't see it but the potatoes were actually bubbling hot!

    I smoked some sausage too, but didn't get a pic of them before I put them in fridge to cool. sorry

    TBS (Thin Blue Smoke)  just like it should be, with no leaks! 

    Over all it has performed better than I expected even with mods.  I'm very pleased so far.

    I can't wait to see how long, and what temps I can hold for length of time, after I get my expanded steel basket made.

    Hopefully this next week sometime.

    DaveInFlorida.... I hope this helps you out a bit.   Notice how little "RED" you see.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
    captainwoody likes this.
  13. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks great! I really like the rope channel.

    Unless you are keeping it under a cover or inside a shed/garage. I would invest in a cover for your smoker. My first one lasted over 5 years with a cover. My second one only lasted about 2 years without one.

    I have seen some who smoke in the colder weather up north use a welding blanket to cover the cook chamber to help keep it at temp during cooks. Not sure if you plan to smoke during the winter, but it's a thought. They find them cheap on Harbor Freight.
  14. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks jarjarchef.  Your opinion means a lot to me.

    I didn't use a channel on back.  Just rtv on lower unit then clamped rope to it.  I was afraid a channel would interfere with the lid closing properly.

    I don't have the CG Cover, but I do keep a tarp on it when not in use.  I just empty hot leftover coals out and open both lids and let it cool for an hour or so, then go back out and cover with tarp.  If it rains, then I don't cover, or open it, until it is done raining.  Build a very small fire to warm it up and get all water evaporated, then cool and cover.  I have a soup can to cover the chimney if I have to leave it in rain for a day or two.

    Keeping my eyes open to used cheap or free welding blanket too.  Elderly lady next door does upholstery work.  I bet she could cut it to size and seal the edged for me.  She a sweetheart.  Looks like the grandma from the Tweety Bird cartoons.  lol
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  15. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I've been using Royal Oak Lump from Walmart so far.  It's pricey buying it in 8.8 lb bags from them.   I think it was 7 or bucks per 8 lb bag.

    Then I read in the forums that GFS brand lump is actually made by Royal Oak.  I bought a 20 lb bag for 13.99 plus tax.  Will be using that for my next cook as I've used all the leftover Kingsford I had, as well as almost all of the 2 bags of RO I bought.  I used some at a party this weekend.

    I'll let you know if the GFS works OK for me.
  16. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Basket for sfb on it's way!  It's cheaper to have them do it!

    I was going to try to make my own basket with expanded steel from Home Depot.  But I also knew that I wouldn't be able to do right without welder or tools and vice.

    On a tip from my brother, I went to a steel fabricating company near me.  I was worried that having it done by them would be more than I could afford, but decided to check and see anyway this afternoon.

    They said they could make it to my dimensions of 12"X10"X5" with welded corners, as well as weld a thick wire rim on top (my request) to prevent cuts to my hands when handling. The wire thing on top cost me a whopping $2 bucks extra! LOL $20.00 for the whole thing! I was VERY happy with that! I can pick it up tomorrow. They are quick!

    Home Depot sells 24X24 expanded steel pieces for 19.97 plus tax. 21.17 total for just the piece.  So I'm WAY ahead of the game with no effort on my part.

    So my advice is to try to find a steel  company first.  If not, then DIY.  But having them do it for 20 buck is a deal in my book!

    I also saved difficulty on how to hang it, so I could pull ash drawer out to empty without disturbing coals.  I have a couple of porcelain

     grates that I salvaged from a discarded gas grill and have been using in my grill to lay right on hot coals for initial hot sear of steaks.  Then I move steaks up to normal grill to finish.  Anyway, one of those fits perfectly inside firebox.  It rests on two bolts where sfb is attached and the guide for the ash drawer.  So all I have to do is set my new basket on top of it.  I will have plenty of air flow under and around, plus can empty ash when needed with no fuss!  How cool is that?!!

    Can't wait to try it out this week.

    Will try to post pic when I get it, if I am able.
  17. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    20 bucks for a baskets sounds like a great deal.....
  18. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    They didn't have it ready until a day later and then when I went in to pick it up, I discovered that they had forgot to add the 1//4" wire around the top.  I told them I would take it like it was.  I said so without the wire it is $18.00?  "Nope, just give me $15.00 and we'll be square" he replied.

    Good deal!  Guess I didn't want that wire as bad as I thought I wanted it.  Sometimes mistakes work in your favor.

    Cooked 3 slabs of baby backs and some potatoes with it for some visiting friends.  Basket did make a big difference.  Will have to post pic of basket size and the grate I set it on later.  Wife had the camera phone and was off touring with our friends.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  19. Well that's where I messed up.  I put a major glob and filled in that hole and all other holes I saw on the "inside" of the grill with the red RTV. I believe that's why I have such a major chemical smell because I thought it would all cure and not smell and/or burn down to where you wouldnt smell it all.  So I have to scrap it all off, appy it on the outside/underside of the grill to seal the small holes and then clean the inside with mean green cleaner and re-start my seasoning to see if the smell burns off.  Its still hot here in Florida so I have some time to do it a bit each day and still get in the pool. :)
  20. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah, don't afraid to start over Dave.  That is one of the best learning tools we have.  LOL

    I've discovered that my smoker isn't as tight as I thought.

    Looks just fine in my photos when there is a breeze, but on a still air day? Another story!

    I've got smoke and heat pouring out in a lot of places I didn't know about.  So I will be re-fitting channel with 3/4" stock and 3/4", or even 1" rope in channel.  I think 3/4" will work best on the back.  I may even try to put some flat rope on the sfb lid.  Not sure on that though, because the air vent is quite small on this box.  I may need the leaks around the sfb to supplement the intake.

    Live and learn I guess.   Sigh....

    It so much fun tinkering tho, that I don't mind it too much.

    It still does a commendable job of hold temps right now tho.

    Going to cook 4 slabs of KC cut ribs today.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013

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