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Did I buy the wrong grill?

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Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:24 am

Posts: 3
I bought a Char-broil grill (a big box) with a rectangular grill space of about 2 feet (across) by 1 1/2 feet deep. The coals are about 6-8 inches below the grill in this box. with about 4 inches of air below them. I use lump hardwood charcoal, and two chimney starters. I can't get the temperature above low-medium for anything. I thought two chimney starters-worth would do the trick, but grilling burgers (1/2" thick from Costco) takes about 15 minutes on one side and 10 or so on the other. I tried some pork loin and gave up after 35 or so minutes (on one side, no less)!

What am I doing wrong? I grill only on the right side, left lower vent is 1/2-way open, upper left vent (in the lid) is closed. Upper right vent is 1/2 way open, and lower right vent is closed.

Thinking I was heating too much space, I bought fire/chimney brick, placed it on the coalbed in the middle, put the coals on the right side, and that's when I had the burgers on the grill for 25 minutes.

Whaddya think? Should I just chuck this fine grill and buy something smaller, like the weber?

Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:58 am
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
Can you show us exactly what grill you have with a link or something?

Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:23 am
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5469
Location: Damascus, Maryland
According to Charbroils site, they offer 4 models several of which have adjustable coal grates.

They adjust with handles on the side that have a series of hooks.

Not to say they don't make other ones for specific retailers that may not be adjustable.

Hope we can help. If guys can cook mass quantities of food in half an open face 55 gallon drum, you should be able to make your grill work.


Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:46 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
Welcome Shysterfish to the board,

Like YB said it sounds like the charcoal grates in your grill should be adjustable. Let us know what model you have so we can be of more assistance.

Post Sun Apr 04, 2004 3:24 pm
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Don't give up on your grill just yet.

See if the crew here can help you first.

Post Sun Apr 04, 2004 11:17 pm
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC


I had the same grill a few years ago, and I was able to get it nice and hot. Try raising the charcoal grate to it highest position. I just kept the grate on mine in that position.

Post Mon Apr 05, 2004 1:11 am

Posts: 11
Location: Toronto
For high temp grilling try keeping all vents wide open. Also, you can try grilling with the lid up. Have fun!

Post Mon Apr 05, 2004 8:02 am

Posts: 3
I'm using what looks like the predecessor to the CB940. See

The coal grate/bed is adjustable, and I have it on the highest (closest to the food) setting. The vent comment is interesting. I have two vents below the coal bed and two in the lid. As I noted above, I don't keep the grates fully open. Should I keep the lower two fully open, and the upper two closed (to keep the heat in)? In other words, when (and how) do you use the grates? I'll check HOW TO GRILL, but would appreciate any comments you have.


Post Mon Apr 05, 2004 10:03 am

1. Keeping the vents open near the fire allows for more oxygen, which feeds the fire, which makes it hotter.
2. Keeping the vents open in your chamber allow for the hot air to circulate past your food, and to keep a steady flow of oxygen getting to the fire.

Post Mon Apr 05, 2004 12:03 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
Vents are used to control the temperature of a grill or smoker. Opening the vents increases airflow and oxygen to the fire (as AndyC mentioned). Closing the vents does not keep the heat in, but instead cuts off the oxygen supply thereby slowing the burn of your fuel and lowering the temperature or it can put the fire out completely. I turn my charcoal grill "off" by closing the vents when I'm finished.

You have an upper and a lower vent on each end of your unit. For grilling all vents should be open for air flow. How hot you want the grill will determine how much you open each vent.

The placement of your vents also allows your cooker to be an effective smoker. Place the fire at one end and the food at the opposite end. Open the bottom vent and close the top vent on the fire’s end; and close the bottom vent and open the top vent on the food’s end. This allows the heat and smoke to travel horizontally across the cooking chamber for smoking.

You can also place a small fire at each end and the food in the center for indirect cooking. For indirect cooking all the vents would be opened slightly.

Hope this helps!

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