First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

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lowandslow1
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First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby lowandslow1 » Mon May 01, 2017 7:06 pm

Greetings Pitmasters. I rehabilitated a Chargrill Silver Smoker (COS- $20 off OfferUp) and turned it into a reverse flow by moving the chimney to the firebox side. I installed ceramic baffle plates to channel the smoke to the far end. They are sealed and work well. Fire box was bad, but a Chargrill Patio (HDepot) firebox bolted right on, except the firebox door is on the other side. No biggy. I did most of the suggested mods. Sealed the firebox to the smoke chamber, lava nomex sealed the doors, two latches on the smoke chamber door, two new thermometers mounted just above the grate. I have a 3/4" expanded metal coal box 10x13x5 that just fits inside the fbox door. I sits up about 1-1.5" off of the ash tray. Did a burn in to toast the external paint and sealant in the firebox and then an oil seasoning a couple days later with veggy oil on the inside. No leaks anywhere. Nice clean smoke out the chimney. The temps from one end of the smoke chamber to the other are within 10 degrees.

My burn:
Firebox vent (only one) open full.
Chimney vent open full.
Coal box full.
I am using Royal Oak Hardwood charcoal (large quantity) up close to the smoke chamber side and with the vent open all the way.
The highest temperature I can get is 210 degrees . Firebox end thermometer reads 210 and the far end reads 215.
When I use a 6 inch fan that if I rig it up to blow in the vent hole I can get it up to 265.

Questions:
What temp do/should I need to do a 15 lb brisket?
Is there a way to get a hotter fire?

Thanks.
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby Notorious Q.U.E. » Mon May 01, 2017 7:32 pm

Brisket is my forte and I'm sure some folks will disagree with what I have to say. So here it goes:

Brisket , for me, should be 225-240, at 75 minutes per pound. I used to wait till internal temp was 201 but it dried the meat too much. Based on when guests show up, I shoot for 185-195 internal temp. Each cook is unique like having a different beer.

I used to have a COS bought from Lowes and because so much heat escaped out of the thin skin, I would overcompensate with too big a fire. This would make my cook chamber temps 285-325 and didn't give the best results. Charcoal is also more predictable but some would say less flavorful than split logs of wood.

Good luck and keep the Qs about Que flowing!!
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"can't you see? Sometimes your words just hypnotize me and I just love your flashy ways. Guess that's why they broke and you're so paid."
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby Notorious Q.U.E. » Mon May 01, 2017 9:48 pm

It dawned on me that I didn't answer your questions straight out:

1) hotter fires are going to be with split wood but it comes with a lot more fire tending (my favorite) every 40 min . Depending on local supplies, it can get pricey

2) COS have the Achilles heel of not enough air underneath their coal bed so I've learned that putting the firebox cooking grates in place and putting wood/coal on top of the grates works well

3) reading more into your message , the 1.0-1.5 inch space between grate and ash pan isn't enough , a pair of firebricks laid flat is a low tech way to widen the gap to 4.0-5.0 inches

4) you may have to do mods to widen the intake damper opening and install a bigger pinwheel

5) a 15 pound packet brisket will probably go 20 hours, make sure that you foil, flip, and rotate so you get the succulent tenderness that'll have people talking about your Que weeks from now
Shirley Fabrication 24x50 Traditional Door (3/8 thick CC and FB) Patio aka "Precious Metal"

"can't you see? Sometimes your words just hypnotize me and I just love your flashy ways. Guess that's why they broke and you're so paid."
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby k.a.m. » Mon May 01, 2017 9:52 pm

Shoot for the 265° cooker temp. Cook it cap down with the point facing the opening opposite the firebox. Measure the internal temp in the center of the flat when it hits 165° ( about 4 hours) pan it and cover with foil then monitor the flat when it reaches 205° check for probe tender ( about 2.5 to 3 hours). Take off cooker let rest covered till the temp drops back down to around 160° then uncover and slice.
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby lowandslow1 » Tue May 02, 2017 11:19 am

Thanks for the info. Always try to learn from other folks victories and mistakes.
The firebox has a removable slide out tray which makes ash dumping fairly easy...did a 4 hour burn and it looks like I will be dumping a lot of ash over the course of a smoke. N-Que, thanks for the advice. The fb came with a coal grate and when I flip it over I can get 4" of grate height at the center. As for the vent size. The stock 4" pin wheel is as large as can be made without effecting the structural strength of the drawer face. So, I will try to come up with a vent that I can put on either side of the center vent or modify the center vent completely.
Living here in the Pacific NW, I have a lot of cedar, fir and alder. Not sure how they will do. Not much hardwood. I do know that I put a couple of small pieces of cedar each about the size of a home telephone receiver on the coals and got the chamber to rise from 210 to 250 in about 5 minutes and it stayed there for about 30 minutes till the pieces were consumed. Acted more like kindling, but did get the temp up quickly.
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby lowandslow1 » Tue May 02, 2017 11:33 am

Foiling....butcher paper...
Thanks for the tips on cooking. Not wanting to be a smoker heretic, but:
If the actual smoking and flavoring of the meat takes place during the first 4-6 hours and we wrap the meat in foil (blocking the smoke from the meat) then the next 12-14 hours could be cooked in an oven at 225-240. :?:
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby k.a.m. » Tue May 02, 2017 11:59 am

lowandslow1 wrote:Foiling....butcher paper...
Thanks for the tips on cooking. Not wanting to be a smoker heretic, but:
If the actual smoking and flavoring of the meat takes place during the first 4-6 hours and we wrap the meat in foil (blocking the smoke from the meat) then the next 12-14 hours could be cooked in an oven at 225-240. :?:

Yes it can if need be. I have done it on several occasions when time pulled me away from my cooker for whatever reason. Once the meat is ready to wrap or pan the "Smoking process" is through.
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby ucsteve » Wed May 03, 2017 2:41 pm

Don't use any type of fir, cedar, pine etc.
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby OldUsedParts » Wed May 03, 2017 2:48 pm

unless you like "Turpentine T-Bone Steak" :laughing7: :D :lol:
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby bondobill » Thu May 04, 2017 8:08 am

As already said...no cedar, fir. I use Alder once in a while. Alder is fine as long as it is well seasoned and make sure you debarked it. The thick bark on Alder will give the meat a acidic pungent flavor :(
I too live in the PNW. You shouldn't have too much problem finding Cherry, Apple and Maple.

Good luck and welcome :cheers:

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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby lowandslow1 » Thu May 04, 2017 11:48 pm

As suggested to get more airflow I cut out the pin wheel vent in the firebox and welded in a 4" tube and put a friction slider (like the chimney vent) to control airflow. Worked wonders, it was definitely starved for O2. With the firebox vent full open I can get the smoke chamber to 310 and stable. I have a little 6" fan that I use to blow into the vent for pre-heating and I can get the smoker up to temp very quickly, today I turned off the fan when it was 335. I have a little 12x2x4 mesh box that I put pellets in and set it on top of the coal box away from the coals and it will smolder for about 45 minutes with two cups of pellets. I put hickory pellets in it today and two cup fulls of pellets was just enough.
Today I did my first smoke. Butterflied a chicken and covered it with olive oil and just salt and pepper so I could tell what the smoke flavor was like. Got the smoker stable at 225 (bought a ThermoPro TP-20 twin probe unit, one in the bird the other clipped on the grill). 2:45 minutes later the unit (beeped) at 160 internal temp of the chicken. Let it rest while my wife got home from work. Wow, super tender and juicy. Just enough smoke flavor. Everyone loved it. The skin was however....chewy...more like leather. It looked fantastic, but like chewing on jerky. I put the skin in the toaster oven to see if that would crisp it up and make it easier to eat and it was just passable. Flavor was great, just not pleasant to eat.
Any ideas on making the skin better?
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby k.a.m. » Fri May 05, 2017 5:49 am

Cook the chicken between 275° and 325° to get crispy skin. The longer it rests the softer it will get.
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby Notorious Q.U.E. » Sat May 06, 2017 12:47 am

Nice job! It's nice how fast these fixes bear fruit. Air flow is everything and you can imagine how much more versatile your cooker can be if you've got air flow on demand
Shirley Fabrication 24x50 Traditional Door (3/8 thick CC and FB) Patio aka "Precious Metal"

"can't you see? Sometimes your words just hypnotize me and I just love your flashy ways. Guess that's why they broke and you're so paid."
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby lowandslow1 » Mon May 08, 2017 10:35 pm

Thanks for the tips. Sunday smoked baby back ribs. Very generic rub and a little salt and pepper. Smoked at 245 for 4-1/2 hours spritzing it with apple juice every 30 minutes, then covered with sauce and foil for the last hour. Perfect. My wife likes my new hobby. Working my way up to brisket this weekend. Getting to know the smoker before I try a $50 chunk of meat.
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Re: First Timer- COS...What temp should I expect?

Postby Notorious Q.U.E. » Wed May 10, 2017 3:45 pm

Nice job! If you're still learning smoking and the COS's behavior, I'd say err on the side of more time roped off for your first brisket. 1.5 hours per pound is a decent rule of thumb. You may have to light the smoker in the wee hours or do an overnight cooking depending on when you want to eat and how big of a brisket we are talking. 245 degrees is dead on the money so nice work. Salt, pepper, garlic (SPG) is all you need for some killer brisket. Take care and please post some Que View pics!!
Shirley Fabrication 24x50 Traditional Door (3/8 thick CC and FB) Patio aka "Precious Metal"

"can't you see? Sometimes your words just hypnotize me and I just love your flashy ways. Guess that's why they broke and you're so paid."

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