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NorCalTDS 04-25-2010 10:06 PM

First smoke!!!
Tomorrow I'm gonna do my first smoke in my Chargriller with SFB....

I ran a fire in in last week just to see what it would do and how it would respond to tinkering.

I'll be using Lump Charcoal and Hickory Chunks...

I'm planning to cook chicken thighs and some sausages.

Reading up on chicken brines right now...

What words of wisdom can you all give a guy getting ready to break his cherry?? haha...

landarc 04-25-2010 10:10 PM

Say, I dropped my soap, it is over in that cor...never mind...

I would say, number one, be relaxed and patient, do not get over-wrought if things do not go just as planned. Also, allow for a little time when making heat adjustments, they can take up to 30 minutes depending on your cooker to happen. Also, allow you fire time to stabilize before loading the smoker, it it burns in for 30 minutes and you are getting light blue, then load er up. Do you have a grate thermo that you can read from outside the smoker? That will be a huge help if you have one.

tjus77 04-25-2010 10:11 PM

keep a written record of what you did and what you liked and didn't like. practice practice practice

Alan in Ga 04-25-2010 10:13 PM

I agree practice and a few beers might be a good help and have fun.

NorCalTDS 04-25-2010 10:19 PM

Thanks all...

Landarc, I don't have a thermo I can read from outside. I bought an oven thermo at BBQ's Galore that sits on the grate. I've found that the temp on the cheap thermometer that is on my lid consistently reads 55 degrees cooler than the actual grill.

I saw a grate thermometer that you can read from the outside, with two prongs at Target the other night on sale for $10... Is it just a waste of money to buy such a cheap one?

landarc 04-25-2010 10:23 PM

I would not go cheap. I like using the cable-type thermometer for reading the temps at grate level. If you can get one of those and figure out a way to put it on the grate that works best. The lid thermo is notoriously inaccurate. Although, I would not sweat it, go ahead and work with the 55 degree diff this time around. The only problem with the thermo being on the inside is that you cannot read it from the outside, and if you open the lid to read temp, you lose heat.

Ron_L 04-26-2010 07:05 AM

If you have a kitchen store or big box type store nearby grab a thermometer with a remote probe. You want to monitor the smoker temp without having to open the lid. Every time you open the lid you let out heat and extend the cooking time.

earthling30 04-26-2010 07:29 AM

My experience with my Chargriller w/sfb and depending on the type of lump your using, sometimes that's enough without adding chunks, but I guess it all depends on how smokey you want your food. Just make sure you have plenty of extra fuel available. As time goes on you may even see some other mods you can to to help improve your chargriller. I for one built a charcoal basket in my firebox which allows me to empty the ashes during the cook and I create a "U" shape out of lava rocks and my coal, I light one end of the "U" and it snakes around giving a longer cook. Good luck with your first cook, looking forward to see to pics.
One last thing, If you do try the lava rock trick make sure you rinse them off and season them before using them on your smoke.

rockyibt 04-26-2010 07:37 AM

I had my first smoke yesterday and l will say to just be patient, and remember to check your charcoal pan, I think the chargriller comes with a removable one so should make it easier. I ordered the Maverick ET-73 and highly recommend it, keeps track of grill temp and meat temp.

Skidder 04-26-2010 08:06 AM

When you make air adjustments give it a bit of time to settle in then adjust a bit more. Go slow.

earthling30 04-27-2010 06:20 AM


Originally Posted by rockyibt (Post 1262913)
I had my first smoke yesterday and l will say to just be patient, and remember to check your charcoal pan, I think the chargriller comes with a removable one so should make it easier. I ordered the Maverick ET-73 and highly recommend it, keeps track of grill temp and meat temp.

It does but when you remove it to take out the ashes during a long cook the coals comes out with it unless build a basket to hold your coals while still cooking. I think if you get too much ashes in the firebox, it will restrict the air flow.

speedrcer1 04-27-2010 06:36 AM

First of all, welcome!
I also am a Char-Griller. Like you said, the stock thermometer is useless. When you can, install a left and right grill level thermometer.
With chicken, you cook to temp. Brisket, pork shoulder and ribs are another story. So you need to watch your temp today of your food. Many stores sell the wired remote thermometers for under 20 bucks. I also picked up at Lowes a set of 4 small leave in style dial thermometers that are handy and under 10 bucks.
Look around the site here. There are some great mods to be done on the Char-griller.

Have fun and the best of luck!
Post pron!


KeythL 04-27-2010 07:40 AM

Go easy on the Hickory...
Go easy on the amount of wood you add for smoke (a little goes a very long way). Hickory is fine for smoking chicken, but I really like using Apple/fruit tree woods.

Let us know how it goes.


Keyth <--:crazy: 4 BBQ

NorCalTDS 04-27-2010 03:33 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Thanks for everybody's input and help! I was real happy with my outcome. It ate as good as it looked too.

Here's the pron...

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