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Offset grill/smoker

 
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lostriver21



Joined: 29 Dec 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03 11 8:58 pm    Post subject: Offset grill/smoker Reply with quote

I am in the market for an offset that will be used mostly for grill and every once in awhile for smoking. I have been thinking about the Char Griller Smokin Pro but would like some other ideas. One of the requirments is it needs to have a moveable charcoal grate. My budget is around $450
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sixfofalcon
BBQ Fan


Joined: 05 Feb 2009
Posts: 255
Location: Philadelphia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04 11 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the Ring!

The CG Smokin' Pro is a pretty good value for an entry-level offset, and it is quite versatile. The cast iron grates are great, and there is plenty of cooking area. I've turned out some fantastic Q on my CG over the years, however it was not without considerable added effort in terms of modifications, tweaks, maintenance, and trial and error.

The main drawbacks are that the steel is quite thin, and when you assemble it, you will find some inconsistencies in the fit and finish (things bent, misaligned, etc.), and basically the thing leaks air like a sieve even when everything is lined up as intended. If you are willing to do some DIY modifications, you can seal up the majority of the leaks, and with the addition of a good charcoal basket in the firebox, you can turn out some good Q.

But that thin steel construction will always hold you back a bit. The CG is going to be a fuel hog on longer cooks since so much heat is lost through the thin steel of the side firebox. On cold, windy days, you are going to have a hard time maintaining adequate heat in the cooking chamber. Some people resort to using welding blankets to retain heat in cold conditions.

As you can imagine, rust and durability will be concerns over the years. No matter how much you baby it and protect it from the elements, things will eventually rust through. Fortunately CG sells virtually every replacement part on their website, so in theory you can just keep rebuilding the grill every few years.

I have enjoyed my CG for several years, although I eventually spent more money on the WSM for long smokes, and a kettle grill for everyday grilling, so now there is little reason for me to fool around with the CG with all its quirks. If you only have $200-300 to spend, the CG is a fine choice for an offset grill/smoker, but it looks like you have a little more than that in your budget so I would start looking for something that is made of thicker steel and has a little better fit and finish. Unfortunately, I don't know much about the offsets in the $300+ range, so hopefully another Ringer can help you out there.

Are you hell bent on a horizontal offset design? Would you consider a large kettle (which might be more convenient for everyday grilling) like the 26.75" Weber? Heck, for $450 you might even be able to get a dedicated smoker for long BBQ sessions and have enough $$ left over for a decent kettle kettle grill or an entry-level gas grill for the quick weeknight grilling sessions.
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22.5" WSM
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lostriver21



Joined: 29 Dec 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05 11 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the help
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cvann
Newbie


Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05 11 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2 X 22.5" Weber Gold kettles with indirect coal gizmos. Or save up another $500 and call Turner Custom Cookers for one of these:


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patruns
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 03 Mar 2010
Posts: 3193
Location: Long Island, New York

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06 11 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The CG is a good entry level offset for the money. I did minimal work on mine and can keep it pretty level on the temps. What sixfofalcon said is true though. It uses a lot of fuel and is going to be a problem keep up temps in the cold. You don't mention where you are from. Up in NY here it is too cold for me to bother trying to maintain temps so I have put off further cooks until the spring. What I would add is CG says to use wood in their side fire boxes and I somewhat agree unless it is summer. In the summer I was fine with lump and some wood chunks but as the fall approached I switched to splits. I also think this is primarily true with most offsets no matter how thick the metal. Depending on where you live and whether you want to Q in the winter, you might be better off with an upright.
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Pat

Char-Griller Outlaw with SFB
Weber Smokey Joe
Weber Q 220
LIAR#49
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Texas Golfer
Newbie


Joined: 20 Oct 2010
Posts: 69
Location: near Houston Texas

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06 11 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Offset grill/smoker Reply with quote

lostriver21 wrote:
I am in the market for an offset that will be used mostly for grill and every once in awhile for smoking. I have been thinking about the Char Griller Smokin Pro but would like some other ideas. One of the requirments is it needs to have a moveable charcoal grate. My budget is around $450


Before I got my CG Pro I did a lot of looking through Craigslist. I saw a lot of really nice used smokers in that price range. Unfortunately, that was out of my budget.
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lostriver21



Joined: 29 Dec 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06 11 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in Southern Indiana, so winter temps can vary greatly. Is there a difference in food quality between an upright and offset smoker.
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