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View Full Version : Tuning plates? Need side box smoker help!


tedrodgerscpa
06-30-2011, 11:40 PM
All,

Took the plunge today and picked up a Char-Griller 5050 (combo grill / smoker with a firebox on the side) for a cheap price. I have done a bit of research, and see "veteran smokers" referring to the need to add "tuning plates" to even out the heat in the smoker.

While not the best reviewed smoker out there, I needed to get my feet wet. That, and our old grill gave up the ghost.

Has anyone added "tuning plates" to their horizontal smoker?

Any suggestions on how to get these fabricated?

I know there are lots of BBQ forums out there, but I like you guys, so I thought I would ask here first...

timj219
07-01-2011, 12:22 AM
Took the plunge today and picked up a Char-Griller 5050 (combo grill / smoker with a firebox on the side) for a cheap price. I have done a bit of research, and see "veteran smokers" referring to the need to add "tuning plates" to even out the heat in the smoker.I've been using a CharGriller with side firebox for about ten years without any tuning plates and I get excellent results with plenty of smoke flavor and temps that are even enough across the cooking surface to make beautiful ribs, pulled pork, brisket, bbq chicken. If I was smoking every day and cranking out large volumes of food that needed to be absolutely uniform I could see myself making mods like this. But for back yard cooking it seems strictly optional IMO.
I'll admit though I'm intrigued. I think I'll see what I can rig up with some heavy duty aluminum foil for my next bbq. Strategically draped and perforated I can see it providing the baffle and plate function. And rolled in to a cylinder to extend the chimney down near the cooking surface, the foil might increase smoke concentration at food level.

688sonarmen
07-01-2011, 06:48 AM
Depending on the season and temp outside I have found for my chargriller super pro I don't need them for the winter. For the summer I took out the thing that holds the hot charcoal and flipped it upside down and that worked fine. I'm lucky like most of the guys that mod'ed and have someone who is a sheet metal mechanic. I had 3 tuning plates made but only use one right by the outlet for the heat. Like posted before you can use some foil and be good to go. I really think that a lot of those mods are from very bored perfectionists:D But your grill can be a great smoker with just a few small adjustments. Get a better temp gauge, get some exhaust tubing for a dryer attach it to your exhaust pipe inside the grill down to the grate and if needed use the charcoal pan as a baffle plate.

OLS
07-01-2011, 07:26 AM
http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=810&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=chargriller+mods&start=280

Rat there is a good forum for this kind of stuff, this thread has every modification I could think of. I especially like
the flexible aluminum dryer hose, the real deal, not the foil kind, attached to the inner stack output and flexed along
the contour of the top lid down near the grate. REALLY evens out the smoke distribution to my liking. Tooting my
own horn here, but the smoked ribs and pork I turn out I would put up against any I have ever tasted or seen in
competition. Best taste to me for sure, maybe in comps I would have trouble competing for 3rd, lol.

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=810&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=chargriller+mods&start=260
This page is even more complete....same thread, just backwards.

wayner123
07-01-2011, 07:40 AM
All,

Took the plunge today and picked up a Char-Griller 5050 (combo grill / smoker with a firebox on the side) for a cheap price. I have done a bit of research, and see "veteran smokers" referring to the need to add "tuning plates" to even out the heat in the smoker.

While not the best reviewed smoker out there, I needed to get my feet wet. That, and our old grill gave up the ghost.

Has anyone added "tuning plates" to their horizontal smoker?

Any suggestions on how to get these fabricated?

I know there are lots of BBQ forums out there, but I like you guys, so I thought I would ask here first...

I don't think you will need tuning plates with such a small cooking footprint. If you had say a Brinkmann smoke n pit, then tuning plates would help a lot more as the barrel is much longer and it would help direct the heat along the length better. One good mod is to lengthen the smoke stack to touch the grate. And you could do the pizza pie plate baffle which would help to regulate temps a bit better. For such a small footprint fireplace bricks alone would regulate heat.

Btw, the mods I did to mine (I recently sold my SnP Pro) all came from the links Brad provided.

tedrodgerscpa
07-01-2011, 10:08 PM
Thanks, fellas!

Did the chimney mod with 3" aluminum ducting (a bit tough because my chimney had a flange on the inside; needle nose pliers took care of it!)

Picked up a cookie sheet that fit the measurements perfectly, and used it as a baffle. It actually did TOO good of a job, as the grate temperature at the firebox was less than the side OPPOSITE the firebox.

Next mod will be to drill a few holes in the cookie sheet, as it really funneled the heat to the far side of the smoker.

688sonarmen
07-01-2011, 10:19 PM
There you go!