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BBQ Smoker / Charcoal Grill Recommendations


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I have the New Braunfel's Black Diamond, which is available at the Home Despot and Barbecues Galore, I believe, for somewhere around $200.  I like it, but it's designed for hot smoking.

Huh??? I'm not sure what you mean by hot smoking but I could routinely smoke at about 225 chamber temperature with my New Braunfels. That is about optimum for brisket or pork butt. You leave the exit stack wide open and regulate the temperature with the air vent on the fire box.

Sorry, I was not clear. I meant to offer the caveat that it's designed to cook in the temperature range you described, around 225 degrees, rather than cold smoking, which would be much lower, for things like bacon and cured fish.

Oh... Now I get it. However, I have been known to have the temp drift into that range when I drink too much beer and don't pay attention to the fire box. Did you know that at 160-180 it will take days to do a brisket? :laugh::laugh::laugh:

My new Braunfel's leeks to much air into it and runs to hot. The webbers cost less and works better; just leave out the water pan and save it until your charcoal pan is all crapy and drill holes in the water pan and use it for a new charcoal pan.

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I have heard similar complaints about New Braunfels. I think they make some that are cheaper and not as heavy gauge. I paid about $200 for mine about 7 years ago. It works fine. It looks a lot like klink's set-up if you have seen those pictures. I just got the Weber Smokey Mountain bullet style to use on my apartment balconey for now. I intend to take it out for its maiden voyage this weekend.

I would never get rid of the water pan. That is what helps to keep temperature swings at a minimum and adds moisture to the smoking chamber. In the New Braunfels, I put two big aluminum pans of water on the bottom shelf of the smoking chamber.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Anyone know of anyplace where they detail modifications to the char griller. I just got mine earlier this summer, great for grilling, OK for smoking but WAAAY too many leaks. I also did not get the offset firebox so I'm thinking of ordering that from the manufacturer or fabricating one myself if I can think of a way. My other problem with the Char griller is the air intake valve does not offer enough temperature control. Any suggestions would be appreciated

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I would never get rid of the water pan. That is what helps to keep temperature swings at a minimum and adds moisture to the smoking chamber. In the New Braunfels, I put two big aluminum pans of water on the bottom shelf of the smoking chamber.

Water pans add negligible moisture to the air in a vented smoker. They're useful as a heat baffle, though.

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Anyone know of anyplace where they detail modifications to the char griller. I just got mine earlier this summer, great for grilling, OK for smoking but WAAAY too many leaks. I also did not get the offset firebox so I'm thinking of ordering that from the manufacturer or fabricating one myself if I can think of a way. My other problem with the  Char griller is the air intake valve does not offer enough temperature control. Any suggestions would be appreciated

Here's what I wrote a while ago:

When I'm at home, I rarely use the weber since I have my smoker and everything tastes better when it's been smoked. For the most part the chargriller pro that I have (pictured above) has been a real trooper and I can see at least another 5 years of heavy use. After about the 6 month period I had to tighten all of the bolts again, but so far it's done well. There has only been one thing that I've had to replace and that was the fire grate in the side firebox. The fire box comes with a small weber style grate (rectangular though, I'm just referring to the diameter of the steel rods) and another grate welded to a false bottom. After about 10 to 15 uses, both grates were just mangled and pretty much useless. Of course they were pretty useless to begin with. I had my buddy take off the small diameter grate and build a new one out of rebar in about 1" to 1.5" spacing. You can see it below:

fdd4a3e1.jpg

That fire grate has been a real champ, now I can get my smoker to above 400F without any problems. I don't have a cover for my smoker, but I part of my porch is covered so I just roll it back under when I'm done or it's raining outside. The paint on the firebox is not for high temps and it comes off pretty quickly so if you don't repaint it with special high temp paint, you need to spray it with oil after each use to retard oxidation. That may sound like a pain, but you really should have spray bottle of veggie oil by your grill or smoker anyway for spraying the grate before you put your meat on. I will grant that I don't spray down my cast iron grates because they're pretty well seasoned and if they're not, they soon will be with the all of the pork ass I smoke (snicker, snicker).

Since I've posted that, I've added fire bricks, two on each side of the fire grate, 1/2" thick and I wouldn't think of going back, they're a necessity.

As for "leaks", I've had mine for almost three years and I've abused the hell out of it without having any problems with leaks. What temperatures are you trying to maintain? How are you using the air intake and what are you trying to do with the smoker? Is it running too cold? too hot?

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Klink,

Generally my problem is running too hot, or having to constantly monitor to maintain proper temps. I hop this last problem can be eliminated by making a charcoal basket that I saw detailed somewhere using expanded metal and sheet metal; loading it up with unlit lump; and lighting using the "minion" method. The bulk of my problems are probably coming from the fact that I don't have a firebox yet and so I have to lift the lid every time I want to add fuel. Liike I said before, I will probably end up getting one from the manufacturer or attempting to fabricate one myself. I'm not too great a craftsman though.

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So you're using coals. If it's running too hot, use less coals and/or spread the coals out so they're less concentrated. It's pretty easy to snuff a fire.

I would buy the side firebox from Chargriller. It's a pretty easy installation (except for punching out a couple of holes) and you'll have a real firebox that you can use actual firewood in. You'll get better tasting meat that way. Also, with the firebox, you have easy access to the fire without lifting the lid of the smoker. I can't recommend it enough.

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I don't have a big green egg, but a friend swears by his.

I use a "mr. meat smoker" I got for a wedding gift 20years ago to smoke, and it's terrific. Probably fairly cheap if they still make them - flimsy metal and all- it still holds up great. I bbq on a weber kettle.

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