BOBBY"Q" ER wrote:
Still a lil' confused, looking at the picture above, two things make me go hmmmm. 1 : It only lowers the charcoal two inches, that makes a big difference in heat ?
Not so much a difference in heat getting to your cooking chamber, but heat on the top of the SFB causing the paint to peel. When your coals are 1-2 inches from the metal, the paint WILL bubble and peel; 3-4 inches, not quite as hot up there.
2: If your just getting ash under the coal tray, then what is the grill there for ?
The charcoal grate as is, sits IN the coal tray. When you need to remove ash, you pretty much have to remove the coals too--which takes the heat out of your cooker. Using a basket keeps the coals together, concentrating the heat, AND allows the coal tray to be removed for ash disposal while leaving the coals in the SFB keeping the heat going to the main chamber. The straps that are pictured (some use angle iron, some use threaded rod, etc.) are there to allow the charcoal basket a place to sit while the ashes are being dumped. You could cook with two smaller baskets (like I've been doing, but got a new basket I'm going to try this weekend) that sit on the cooking (upper) grate of the SFB, and it works just fine. The reason you'd put them on the upper grate is the same--to allow ash removal without disturbing the hot coals.
I've tried burning the coals on the lower rack, and resting the upper rack on top of the coals while putting chunks of wood on the top rack. Which actually worked pretty good for short burns, ie: 3 to 4 hours.
This will definitely work, as it was designed for this purpose, but again, if you need to dump the ash, your coals will be difficult to keep in the SFB, or if you manage to keep the charcoal grate in there after removing the tray, you'll have a heck of time putting the tray back in place with the crazy hot charcoal grate in the way. It's much easier to get a basket and elevate it above the sliding coal tray.
Hope this helps a bit...