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CG duo SFB temp. regulation tips

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Post Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:57 am
bbq_weiner rare

Posts: 14
Location: Charlotte, NC
hey guys. i'm doing my first smoke/bbq with my sfb today (pork ribs). was wondering if you all have found an ideal way to maintain a constant temperature inside the chamber. I need it at a consistant 225 i think. I am using lump charcoal and mesquite/or hickory wood chunks. (i'm afraid of over/under smoking too) I have NOT modded my SFB either (read from other postings). Also, curious as to the best way/time to start adding more lump and chunks to keep this temp steady for 4-5 hours. thnx! :)

edit: just read about the 3-2-1 method. would it be best advised for me to just wrap each rack (only doing 2) with foil or try the foil pan method?
..What on Earth am I doing?

Post Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:38 am
geoff7877 medium

Posts: 157
Location: Petaluma, CA.
I have the same set up that you have without any mods to the CG and SFB, yet...

I'll start with maintaining the temps if the SFB. This is something that you will have to monitor through out the cook. I start off with a load of briquets in the chinmey and once they're ready, I dump them over a fresh bed of lump AKA, the minion method. Without a raised charcoal basket, the fire tends to burn out a little quicker from the lack of air flow, so I check my temps about every 45 minutes or so. Keep the side vent and the stack vent wide open also to help air flow. I also find sometimes after I have added more lump that things can sometimes stagnate a bit, so I crack the SFB lid open for a minute or so. This usually happens when there is a lot of ash. It will hurt your temps for a bit, but you are giving the fire more oxygen to revamp things a bit and the temps will recover quickly. Another reason to make the appropriate SFB mods for total air flow...

I flip my ash pan too. Use the ash pan handles and position the flipped ash pan so it meets the SFB opening, this will distribute the heat throughout the MC more efficiently. Some people line the flipped pan with heavy duty foil, enough to extend over the two openings at the ends of the ash pan, leaving the sides open so the heat can circulate through.

I've tried the water pan and honestly haven't noticed a huge difference either way. It's a good way to keep your temps in check if they get too hot and to keep some moistier in the MC, but most likely, you will be fighting to keep your temps up to 225 instead of trying to cool things off. I've kind of moved away from using the water pan for ribs.

As for the smoke, I would try to go lite on the smoke first time around, especially with mesquite and hickory. I've been using apple wood chunks lately which are not as strong as mesquite and hickory and I only use 3 to 4 chunks for a 3-2-1 cook. Too much smoke of any kind will make everything bitter and nasty, especially with mesquite. I personally wouldn't use more than 4 chunks. If it's not enough, then use more next time. I would rather spend all day cooking something that doesn't have quit enough smoke then spending all day cooking something that has way too much smoke and tastes horrible.

And the most important thing of all, remember that BBQing is thirsty work! So have plenty of ice cold beer on hand. And one more thing, have fun! I love spending the day BBQing. Have a great day... :D
Char-Griller Super Pro with SFB

Post Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:49 am
QJuju well done
well done

Posts: 1976
Location: La Grange, Kentucky

Keeping the temps level is the big challenge here. A probe therm placed and grate level will give you the best chance of keeping your temps close. Since it is your first burn with the SFB, there will be some learning curve as all of them seem to behave differently. I would do the following things on my Char-Griller....

1. Use a probe at grate level to show the accurate temp I am cooking at.
2. Open the top vent of the main chamber all the way.
3. Use the vent on the SFB to raise or lower the temp to 225.
4. Add more fuel as necessary to maintain the temp.

Yeah... I know... not much help there. Since you aren't trying to go over night or for longer than 5 or 6 hours thats all that you can do. While ribs can be trickier than say a butt... it is a good place to start since you will be able to watch the smoker to see how it responds to the adjustments you make. Once you are comfortable with what it does or how it behaves, you can start looking at stacking charcoal for minion method burns of longer times. Some cant get those 5 to 6 hour burns with a Char-Griller and some can.

For now... just watch what it does. Add more fuel as needed and adjust the damper on the side fire box.

Hope that helps in some small way and enjoy the Q!! Pigsicles are one of my favorite things!

Post Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:39 am
Grillin50 raw

Posts: 8
Location: Arkansas
I soak my chunks overnight and they still catch fire after a little while and the main chamber is around 210; how do you stop the chunks from catching fire?I've got the damper on the side firebox closed and the temp is right but the chunks catch on fire too soon, I think. Does anyone know what to do?. Thanks for any help.
Char-griller Grillin Pro 4000 gas grill w/ SFB

Post Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:28 pm
DTexBBQ raw

Posts: 8
Location: Little Elm, Tx
I've heard wrapping the chunks in foil will cause them to heat up and smoke but not catch flame. Never tried it myself but am planning to this weekend for a brisket smoke. Anyone ever tried this?

Post Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:08 pm
tex_toby well done
well done

Posts: 1824
Location: Van Alstyne, Texas

No need to soak chunks. Let'em burn. You should really only need to soak chips so they don't burn up in a matter of minutes. Mesquite is a strong wood and can oversmoke easily with it. Hickory isn't as strong, but still in the "stronger" category. See if you can get some oak or pecan for a medium smoke strength. Any fruit wood is going to be light and very unlikely to oversmoke.

tex 8)
20" x 40" Party Gator Pit
Char-Griller Wrangler w/Side-burner - My camping grill

Post Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:24 pm
Grillin50 raw

Posts: 8
Location: Arkansas
When the chunks catch fire the temp in the firebox increases as does the temp in the main chamber. The chunks quit smoking and just burn.
Char-griller Grillin Pro 4000 gas grill w/ SFB

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