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Old 06-13-2007, 11:28 AM   #1
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Chargriller modifications.

One only has to use one of these offset smokers a couple of times to realize they're very inefficient. The fire in the SFB has to be hot enough to melt metal in order to maintain 250* in the smoke box.

One solution would be to insulate the smoke chamber. A web search revealed that the most popular method is to cover the smoke box with a welders blanket and/or line the bottom of the barrel with lava rocks.

This is what I came up with:
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Line the outside with 3/4" slats of wood, perhaps Cedar. Bond the wood to the barrel with heat resistant adhesive. Anyone know a good cement for such an application?
One drawback to this solution is that the smoke box could no longer be used as a grill.

------------

Another solution would be to help the heat move from the fire box to the smoke box.
I noticed that stirring the coal bed to shake off ash, helped the air move through the coals better and thus raising the temperature in the smoke box.
On longer smoking sessions however, I noticed that by doing so, the ash drawer filled up quickly and air couldn't pass through the bottom of the coals choking the fire.
Since the grate that holds the coals sits on/in the ash drawer, removing the ashes is impossible. To keep the fire going, I had to constantly insert something through the flue opening to make a tunnel for the air to pass.

This is what I propose to solve the problem:
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The diagram on the left represents the Chargriller SFB as it is. The one on the right shows the modification. By having the grate sit on four bolts fixed to the SFB wall, allows one to remove and empty the ash drawer leaving the charcoal grate and coals in the box.

I haven't made either modifications yet (did I mention I'm lazy). Please let me know what you think.

If you have done any mods or have ideas for any, please share them with us.

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Old 06-13-2007, 11:43 AM   #2
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It was just a matter of time for something like this to come up.

1 - Great illustrations!
2 - The wood looks great, but I'd be affraid of ignition though. If you ever become "more active", use metal fasteners NOT adhesive.
3 - Double check your temps with a digital probe. My guage read 225 last weekend and it wound up being 245-250. (see my Chargriller post) those tems were accomplished with the small fires shown in the pics.
4 - The ash tray is a good idea. Maybe a simple modification to the SFB upper grate? ......I do have a welder.

Even in the dead of winter I can keep a 200-225 temp.
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Old 06-13-2007, 11:47 AM   #3
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Crash, I'd think about lining the inside of the smoke chamber with fire bricks before doing the wood. It would be more durable and you could take them out if necessary to use it as a grill.

The ash drawer solution looks good from my limited knowledge. Are there adjustable vents in the firebox and the smoke chamber that can be adjusted to encourage flow? Could you install a small fan in a vent?
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Old 06-13-2007, 11:48 AM   #4
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I just came across this: BBQ FAQ Section 7.4
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Old 06-13-2007, 11:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Are there adjustable vents in the firebox and the smoke chamber that can be adjusted to encourage flow? Could you install a small fan in a vent?
There are two dmapers, one on the right side of the fire box and the other on top of the stack.

This may be a dumb question: Is the panel removed on the side of the smoke chamber?
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeekinz
There are two dmapers, one on the right side of the fire box and the other on top of the stack.

This may be a dumb question: Is the panel removed on the side of the smoke chamber?
Good question! I didn't even think of that!

I've noticed, on my Char-Griller, that I have NO problem getting the hot air and smoke from the SFB to the cooking chamber. Yes, I do have that side panel removed.

I've been thinking about some kind of add-on fan for the intake, powered by the velocity of the exhaust gases. This would actually become some kind of low-tech turbine engine.

One thing to remember, if anyone ever does invent some kind of powered ventilation system, that yes, you improve air-flow, and efficiency, you'll also go through charcoal / wood faster. Lump hardwood charcoal burns fast as it is. I don't think I'd really want some kind of fan injecting air into my grill, making that charcoal burn even faster.
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Crash, I'd think about lining the inside of the smoke chamber with fire bricks before doing the wood. It would be more durable and you could take them out if necessary to use it as a grill.

The ash drawer solution looks good from my limited knowledge. Are there adjustable vents in the firebox and the smoke chamber that can be adjusted to encourage flow? Could you install a small fan in a vent?
Andy, there is a flue on the side of the fire box. I have no problem getting air to flow over the coals. My problem is getting air to flow through the bed of coals when the green area (in the diagram below), fills up with ashes.
Click image for larger version

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Allen and Jeekinz, I said I was lazy not dumb.
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:41 PM   #8
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Here some pretty serious mods to a gas grill.
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:56 PM   #9
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What the....THAT THING IS AWESOME!
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Old 06-13-2007, 05:09 PM   #10
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What kind of fuel are you using, Crash? Briquettes do build up quite a bit of ash, due to the fillers used. Lump hardwood charcoal, as well as wood, produces ash, but that ash doesn't have the mass that the gunk from briquettes do.

I only use charcoal to start my fire; after that, I strictly burn logs. I get some ash build-up, but not enough that it seriously affects airflow.

I'll also admit that I usually only smoke for 4 - 5 hours max. I don't really smoke long enough to build up a serious amount of ash. I can see, if I was using briquettes, and was smoking for 8 hours or so, that the ash build-up would be a problem.
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