Sunday, June 11, 2006

Char-Broil Grill, Fathers Day Changes Guide

Char-Broil Grill, Fathers Day Changes Guide


Because my wife will be traveling during Father's Day this year, she
decided to move Father's Day up to this Sunday so we could all be
together for it. When I woke up this morning I was hustled outside with
eyes closed to see what the newest toy for Dad would be! And to my
surprise after two years of looking, this greeted me when I opened my
eyes. A brand new two stage Char-Broil Charcoal pit. I have looked at a
lot of these pits as I have found the gas grill lacking (even with my
mods) in preparing certain foods that I am interested in producing.
Having the large equipment at the kitchen pretty much means I can do
anything I want, but it is just not always convenient. Now I have
another unit that can perform special tasks in preparing food!!! You can
never have enough things to cook on!

Now comes the best part, the first thing I did to it was start to drill
and cut and bend and modify the unit. Around the Bar-B-Q circuit the
easiest way to tell whether someone just cooks on it or really is into
Bar-B-Q is to look at the cooking rig. No rig comes from any store ready
to use, ever! I mean you could use them from the store, many people do,
but if you don't want to immediately modify it you probably should have
just stuck with gas! At the very least you should add a thermometer to
the cooking chamber: Example in the picture here, and let me tell you
the looks you get when you break out the power tools! Char-Grill
$159.00, Battery operated tools from Father's Days past, $289.00, look
on wonderful spouse's face when you drill holes in the new Char-Grill;

Simple tools required to make some of the most productive mods on your
grill. Basically a battery powered or electric drill, a saw, manual or
battery operated, screw driver set and a 1 inch dowel rod to make a few
handles that make life easier.

The first mod is the thermometer in the cook chamber. Why people want to
cook without knowing the temperature is beyond me? And with this thing
in place you also get to know the equipment fast. Draft 1/4 open and
stack 1/3 open equals 275 degrees F, etc. for all the different
settings. Instant feedback.

In my zeal to get started I had already modified the grill to add the
first thermometer immediately, so this pic is not the grill at the
start but after I made my wife proud by drilling a hole in the lid of
the brand new grill for the first thermometer in the cooking chamber!

Because I want you to know what I do and where I get it I am listing the
Thermometer links. This is not an endorsement of any thermometer these
are just ones I have used and found work well for the money. You will
need TWO of these

Deep Fry Thermometers
for a double stage grill. At $6.75 buy a hand
full, once you get used to using thermometers you will have them on
every grill or heat thing you use. It is a Great Mod, increases
performance and food quality and for such a cheap price!

Now some of the grills will have a hole for a thermometer that the
manufacturer sells for like $65 dollars. Big three inch dials, etc. Get
them if you like, but the deep fry NSF thermometer will serve you well
and installs easy. Here I drill the cap plugging the hole and shove the
thermometer through. Then I use a clip nut to secure it in place. Clip
nuts can be found in hardware stores worldwide!

Now onto another one of my pet peeves. What is wrong with handles on
things that can burn the crap out of you? I can tell you, to make it
easy to manufacture and cheap they don't want extra steps. Good news is
this mod is easy to do and adds to the usability of your grill!

First we look the grill over, on this one I see the fire box, stack
choke and draft damper all require attention. I don't want to burn
myself while cooking on a grill. I don't want to find the pliers to make
adjustments while cooking, I want it set to use! So we:

Drill a hole in every adjustment tang they have on the system. All these
adjustments are required to control your fire and your temp and your
smoke. So if we have to touch them and adjust them lets use a little
dowel rod and make them easy to handle. In its present condition this
draft damper tang is set to burn your fingers and burn you knuckles
against the firebox. So we must drill holes and add handles.

Pictured above is the firebox entrance tang after adding a handle to it.
Much nicer than grabbing at 450 F steel don't ya think?

As we did to the draft and the firebox we also fix up the stack

Now we have control over the Draft, Stack and Firebox when its hot. We
are on our way to a usable product!

Now that we can control the system we need to know what our controls
cause to happen. The whole of Bar-B-Q is cause and effect. We know what
to do to cause things but we must measure effect to understand the
system and its responses. So we add another important mod, the fire and
smoke box thermometer!

I use a deep fry that goes to 550 F but you can get away with the 450 F

Now I like to know what is going on with my food when it is cooking, so
I add in one more mod, I drill a hole in the main chamber and use a
bulkhead fitting to allow me access to the chamber for a temp probe
without slamming the lid on the thermocouple wire. This hooks to my
Redi-Chek ET-72 remote thermometer. Drinks on the porch while watching
the temp of the food! Ah! The ET-72 is available from for
$24.95 or so. Just click on New and Used and look for the tech seller
about three down.

On the inside it hooks in like this:

On word of caution, if you are not going to take the meat all the way to
165 F do not pierce the meat until you have had the outside of the
product get to 165 for 15 seconds. So about 15 minutes into the start of
cooking add your probe. Otherwise piercing raw meat prior to the outside
coming up to temp requires you take it through 165 F for 15 seconds, so
if you want medium rare or rare let the outside cook to temp before
adding you remote probe.

I don't like to use the firebox to smoke, I like to add a smoke box. So
I use aluminum pans with foil on top to choke the wood for O2 and
create a lot of smoke.

Last it is time to get grilling, if you done your mods correctly you
have a nice smoke building up:

So throw in the meat and watch it go to work!

And the smoke will do the magic and the low and slow temp will work the

When it comes out it should slice and look something like this:

Now some may wonder why that big firebox? Well since nothing is complete
until dessert you need room for a 10 inch Dutch oven to throw on that
backyard favorite cobbler! In this case Cherry.

Still some left anyone want some?

Until we talk again get outside and cook something, and after all these
years, add some mods to fix the things that torque you off about your
grill, you paid for it, make it into something you like to use. Like a
real nice Harley, with customizing it will speak of your ability and

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction Colorado USA