not without drama
So I started yesteray's cook. The goal was to cook 2 8# briskets that my neighbor brought back from a trip to Texas. This was my first attempt at a full brisket. I thought that they were full briskets. I believe that they were just large flats. The plan was to use the hot and fast method from a certain tv bbq personality.
The recipe calls for the meat to be smoked in a aluminum pan, and to cook/smoke at 350 degrees.
I started the fire in the sode firebox of my chargriller. Because the controller has a manual setting that runs the fan at full, I started the fire and used the manual setting to get up to temp. I just had to watch the temps as the fire was getting constant oxygen. I was using oak, cherry, and apple woods
I got up to temp with no problems. I put on both pans of meat and started the cook. The pans were probably too large and covered 90% of the cooking surface, limiting airflow. More on this later.
There was a post regarding temp verification. I verified the temp probes when I bought the unit using the outlet of my peller stove. I forgot to mention I also tested them in boiling water, switched the probes, and retested them. Mr chargriller as 4 thermometers stuck in it from previous use, as the factory thermometer on the main unit is about as usefull as a screen door on a submarine.
I was, and still am confident that the probes are accurate and work properly.
Back to my cook. As soon as I added the pans my temp dropped to 250 and I could not get it to rise. The controller was set to 350, and the fan was running. I had a huge fire and would have melted iron with it.
I was using a difusser, so I moved that to allow heat to get past a slot and into the main chamber faster, still no temp rise. Was maintaining 250, but I needed 350, wtf...
More double checking and then I figured it out. I had put in a mod to the exhaust stack using 2 3" flex elbows to get the grill to vent better. The end of the modded exhaust was stuck down in one of the pans when I closed the lid, cutting of the airflow. I pulled that off and smushed the pans to give me more airflow. Temps jumped to 350 and stayed there.
The briskets were done in 4 1/2 hours. Threw them in a cooler for another 4 hours. They turned out tender enough, but I was dissapointed with my first hot and fast attempt. It was not worthy of pics.
Now that I pulled off the meat, I ran the controller the rest of the day. I ran steady at 350, and fluctuation was always between 350-355. I flipped it to manual and ran it up to 400 degrees, and put it back on auto. I cooled back down, recovered, and ran at 350. I dropped it again to 250 and it cooled the grill and then ran at 250 without problems. My other temp guages were spot on. The factory unit read 150-160 degrees all day. That one will be ripped out this spring....
I'm a stickler for maintaining temps and this unit has proven itself, even if though I fell I screwed up on the cook.
The manual setting is a nice feature not really advertised. If you happen to take a nap during the cook and forget to throw on a log, you can do so, and then put the unit on manual and get back up to temp fast. Once back up to temp throw it back on auto and you're back on track.
I researched some other threads regarding pid builds and their pid settings are consistent with the ones posted here, but I'm not going to mess with the factory settings until I full day during the spring or summer to just play with it. It's too cold to mess with it now. As it is it runs great and I don't see the need to tweak it.
So the question is, would I buy one again. Hell yes, and I will be getting the wireless version. Probably stick this one on my uds.
Smokemaster offset,chargriller offset, $66 UDS, Glock G21 and G42, cuz I need them.