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!
Member Purple Pork Masters Team
KCBS 54236, Certified KCBS judge
Certified MOINK Baller
Super-Fast, Super-Non Stealthy ORANGE Themapen