Smoker mods (Camp Chef)

Discussion in 'The Smokehouse' started by BDF, Jun 11, 2020.

  1. BDF

    BDF

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    After 1 1/2 years of owning and using a Camp Chef Woodwind, I wanted to make some changes.

    First of all, I bought the new PID controller for the unit. I found the old controller had a pretty big swing in temperature while running, and occasionally 'went out', which is a PITA during what is basically a 'hands off' smoke. The new controller is supposed to fix that- I have it installed and have done a test burn but have not yet gotten WIFI to work (a very clunky and terribly explained setup to do this but I am working through it).

    Also find I cannot get enough smoke out of the pellet burner and so added one of those smoke tubes. That works OK but again, is inconsistent and occasionally goes out I believe due to the lack of air to feed it. So I purchased a SmokeMeister smoke unit that is an external unit that chugs smoke into the cooking chamber of the smoker. Unfortunately it does not really mount to the Camp Chef in a practical position on the front or sides of the unit so I have to either adapt it with an elbow(s) or mount it behind the smoker. I am leaning toward mounting it in the rear (Easy Boys!) because I think it will be easier overall to use and not present a potential place to get burned in front of the smoker. It is supposed to last up to 24 hours (I bought the burn extension for longer duration) without any attention so stepping behind the smoker to fill and light the smoke generator should not be a big deal.

    Will report on how that goes once it is installed (the smoke generator) as well as the new controller.

    I kicked around the idea of buying one of the Masterbuilt vertical fuel charcoal / wood chunk smokers but I really do kinda' like the pellet grill for ease of use. Hoping these couple of mods. make it more in line with the Masterbuilt vertical or maybe even an offset smoker (Hey- put your torches and pitchforks down, not saying it WILL be the equal, just kinda' hoping it is closer.... :whistle::D
     
  2. cnice_37

    cnice_37

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    This was on my list but ended up with a Grilla. Curious is the PID adaptation generally a requirement of other Camp Chef owners? Swings are ok but going out is not.

    I wish you luck. Seems like with all your mods the "easy" part of the pellet grill is diminishing.
     
  3. BDF

    BDF

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    I do not know about other owners, only my own experience.

    I hear ya' about the easy part :) but these mods still leave behind a basic pellet grill, which I <think> is the easiest smoker available to use. Fill the hopper and set the temp. and the smoker will take care of everything else, including starting. Every other type of pit or smoker takes considerably more work to start, and some, notably offset smokers, take considerable attention during the entire smoke.

     
  4. BDF

    BDF

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    15 June 2020 update: The new controller works very well, and considerably better than the original. As stated by both Camp Chef and independent reviewers, it holds temps. much closer than the original, usually +/- 5 degrees but never past +/- 10 degrees F after it settles down- after perhaps 30 min. of burning. The new controller also allows skipping the start up routine.

    The remote control and readings are nice on a smart phone also (iPhone) but the setup leaves something to be desired. Especially regarding the instructions which are both incorrect and not nearly detailed enough. But after a fair amount of trial and error, and some interesting combinations of colorful words, I think I have it working correctly. The short story is that the grill controller uses Bluetooth to establish a link and then uses the phone as the controlling device to set up WiFi. Not a terrible system in itself but that is enormously NOT obvious nor spelled out. Also, there is a big difference in what they call 'cycling power' to the controller: if the on/ off switch is used, it will not reset Bluetooth, nor re- establish a 'find me' mode. But it does both of those things if the power cord is unplugged and plugged in again. Also, if that is done, the existing Bluetooth connection with the phone must be removed ('forget this connection') and a new link set up using a new PIN. As I said, not horrible nor terribly difficult but a cast- iron (#)(%*# as there are absolutely no instructions alluding as to how this works.

    Have also installed the Smokemeister and it seems like a nice unit. I did not give it enough time to properly ignite before turning it down but it was late and I will try it another time. Having a separate unit provide smoke and heat (and some smoke of course) is nice in that it allows a quick change of a small amount of pellets to <mostly> control the smoke flavor while leaving the main heat producing pellets alone in the grill.
     
  5. BDF

    BDF

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    1 Aug. 2020: update. The smoke generator failed because no matter what I did, it would not push any smoke into the firebox of the smoker. The smoke literally comes out the bottom of the smoke unit, which is basically a SS can with a 1" pipe into the firebox and an adjustable opening on the bottom that serves as the draft for the wood chips / pellets.

    All the other canister type smoke generators have an aquarium air pump on them and now I know why- 'cause it is needed. So I ordered the thing air pipe, silicone hose and air pump as spare parts from anther mfg. and installed them onto this one. As of this AM, I have it producing excellent smoke, easily throttle and working very well. Got some country style (the straight, lean ones, not sliced Boston Butt) on the smoker running cherry pellets in the smoke generator. In an hour or two they should be done and I am hopeful they will have a nice smoke ring.

    Brian
     
  6. SKEETER McCLUSKEY

    SKEETER McCLUSKEY

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    i never worry about the smoke ring when im hungry:rofl: :lol:
     
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  7. Eric VW

    Eric VW Moderator

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