Monday, March 12, 2007

The Arsenal

As one of my first posts, I thought I would show you what I'm cooking on. I don't use the fanciest equipment, but you know what they say: "It ain't the pit that makes the BBQ, it's the pitmaster". You may have heard that saying put a little differently, but it's true. You can make fantastic Q in a hole in the ground. You don't have to have thousands of bucks work of equipment. Here is what I'm currently using:


Brined chops and a pork steak (I'll post the recipe soon)

Everybody should own a Weber Kettle, in my opinion. They are by far the most versatile grills there are. I guess that is why there are so many knockoffs on the market. Some of the knockoffs probably work as well (or close to it), but I don't want to go thru a few of them to find out. Right now I do most of my direct and indirect grilling on the Kettle. If I need more space I go with my bigger cooker....


I have made lots of good Q on the Chargriller (go to Lowe's if you want to buy'll save a little cash) and would recommend it to anybody. However, cookers in this price range tend to need some modifications to make them work properly, and the Chargriller is no exception. Here is a list of the mods that I have done.
  • Extend the smokestack--When new, the smoke stack only extends an inch or so into the cooking chamber. This doesn't allow the smoke and heat to circulate well in the chamber.
  • Add a good thermometer--The stock thermometer is junk. I added one from BBQ Galore.....unfortunately my "good" thermometer is not working right, so I'm using the Maverick remote thermometer now.
  • charcoal baskets--I bought two of these from Chargriller, but you could make your own or come up with a similar solution. The problem is that with the stock charcoal grate sets too low in the firebox. The ash generated from the charcoal/wood tends to snuff the fire out. By raising the coals a bit you get more airflow and a hotter fire.
  • Baffle--If you don't have some kind of baffle the end of the cooking chamber closest to the firebox gets way to hot while the other end is just about right. Some folks add a baffle made out of sheet metal to their Chargriller to deflect the heat out of the firebox. Because I like to grill on mine sometimes, I just turn the charcoal pan upside down and put in to the highest setting when I smoke.
  • Warmer Plate--Again, I bought it from Chargriller, but you could make your own if you wanted too. This isn't a must, but it's nice to have to heat up/cook sauces, beans, etc.
This was pre-mods (in 2004)

You can see the stack extension, warming plate, and upside down "baffle"

Charcoal baskets

You should be able to see the mods in the pics. If you have any questions about them, leave a comment.


This is an ancient electric grill that I stole borrowed from my Dad. I ripped the guts out of it and used charcoal to cook hundreds and hundreds of hamburgers and hotdogs on it when tailgating for NC State football games (GO STATE!!). Sadly, the grate is burned through and it's relegated to burning down charcoal from time to time.


This is what my buddy, Junior, was cooking on until I gave him my old El Cheapo Brinkman (ECB).

That reminds me. I need to post about the ECB. Don't buy one until you've read my post about it or get in touch with me (comments). They are doable, but, again, need to be heavily modified (more so than the Chargriller).

2 comments: said...

Great Blog - I am thinking about starting a BBQ blog (with a little hunting & fishing mixed in), and I am learning a lot from the bloggers already out there...

Any other advice you can give on modifications to the smoker? I have the same smoker, and love it, but also realize how much the charcoal baskets would help.

Keep the blogs coming (FYI - I graduated from NCSU in 2000)

Hogwild said...

Hi, Wolfpack!! Our boys couldn't pull it out Tuesday, but next year should be fun.

The chargiller works very well for me with the mods I have listed. If you have any specific questions let me know. The stack extension and something to raise the coals are a must. Anything to raise the coals will work. I just used two pieces of metal under the stock grate to raise it up before I got the baskets.

I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. It's been fun so far.