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Made and tested a charcoal basket for my LSG 20x42

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    Made and tested a charcoal basket for my LSG 20x42

    I bought the fire management basket with my LSG 20x42. It works really well to concentrate the coal bed and make poking sticks more of a pleasure. It is a "must have" accessory in my opinion.

    Of course, this LSG is an offset with its primary mission of being a stick burner. That is what I wanted and that’s the reason I bought it. I knew that a stick burner needs lot of fire tending to run it. Flip side, this pit can also be loaded with lump or a high-quality natural briquette and run without so much fire tending.

    The LSG can be configured with a fan port as an option when you order it. I did so with the intention of running it on lump charcoal and a PID controller and fan. I use a FireBoard coupled to a Pit Bull fan. I opted not to buy their charcoal basket thinking that I would build my own. Yes, you could use their fire management basket but it is not large enough and is really intended for splits.
    I built my new charcoal basket with that in mind.

    Here’s the basket and a purposeful trial run with B&B briquettes.

    Photos and some results:

    The basket I built:

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    Sized to hold a nominal 20lb bag of charcoal:

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    My basket, FireBoard and Pit Bull

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    My charcoal basket and the LSG "Fire Management Basket" for splits; side by side -

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    Basket in the pit ready to add ½ chimney to start

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    Chimney lit, added and off to the races

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    Coals at about an hour into test

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    Yes, I put something on the grill as a bonus from the test. Point here however is take notice the placement of the two ambient probes on top grate and one in the center of the lower grate.

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    The Data Log of the cook, surprising how tight this thing runs! Naturally you see when I opened the pit!

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    1. The pit runs really well on good charcoal. The door is tight enough and seals adequately so that the fan has complete control authority. The FireBoard and Pit Bull combination runs the pit flat line on the set point.
    2. I stepped the set point up by 25 degrees twice toward the end of the test to check response time and I was astounded at its quick system response.
    3. I tracked the temperatures on both ends of the pit on the upper grate and they were practically the same. The upper grate was 25 to 30 degrees hotter than the bottom. This was as claimed by LSG.
    4. After 5 ½ hours it was still going strong. I ran out of time and had to quit. I suspect you could run an 8 or 9 hour cook for a brisket with good lump or B&B briquettes without adding additional fuel.
    5. B&B briquettes are my "go to" for charcoal briquettes. They come in an 8 kg (17.6 lb) bag for $10 out the door at my local Academy. They perform like lump, are consistent in shape, and have few fines/chips in the bag. There is no saw dust or accelerants in the briquettes that you have to burn off before you use them. This means you can fill a basket like this and simply torch it off on one side with a partial chimney and start cooking. The fire will traverse the bed at a controlled rate using a PID and fan. It burns like lump as I expected with a clean smoke.
    6. The LSG’s firebox is tight and lets the fan have full control authority. Set up in this manner, it tracks the set point like a Yoder S series pellet grill. It performed better than I expected.
    7. The FireBoard combined with Guru’s larger Pit Bull fan is a winning combination. The fan chooches along with no problem. It is very nice feature that FireBoard allows you to use other’s fan and probes. Their cloud-based data logging and record keeping is top of the heap. Being able to see performance over time, keep notes, and retrieve it later is something I wouldn’t do without.
    8. While I would not buy the LSG to only run it off a PID and fan, this is a nice advantage that the pit offers. Next test, I will run on pecan or hickory splits for two hours reaping the rewards of the smoke profile to the meat and then dump a bag of B&B on top and run on automatic through to the finish.
    Sorry for the long post!
    Attached Files

    Nice!! I've got a bag of B & B by the patio door. Probably smoke my pastrami with it in the 22 kettle in a few days.


      Nice post! Thanks for all the details! Well built charcoal basket too.


        What Henrik said! Very nice post with lots of good info. Beautiful basket, as well.


          Really good post, thanks for the info! Looks like a good option to use on my LSG one day as well!


            This is a great post! Love the detail and step by step info you provide. LSG LSG LSG!!!!

            You are getting that LSG dialed in quickly. Cant wait to see the next cook!


              The next evening after charcoal basket test, I retrieved the charcoal remnants and discovered I had a chimney full to run again. I fired up the LSG on the remnants and here's the story:

              Fired up the remnants and using the LSG fire management basket:

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              My boss made two of these:

              Click image for larger version  Name:	About to go on.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.21 MB ID:	818436

              Here's one underway, cooked in the top of the firebox on the LSG:

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              Finished and ready for the plate:

              Click image for larger version  Name:	finished large.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.43 MB ID:	818439


              • Ahumadora
                Ahumadora commented
                Editing a comment
                Love that V shaped basket.

              • Alphonse
                Alphonse commented
                Editing a comment
                Ahumadora, me too! It is well thought out, robust and it works. For burning splits, it concentrates the coal bed and makes adding splits a breeze.

                It is just a bit too small for a long charcoal run and the briquettes can fall out the back through the hole for the gas assist lighter and also out the front. I intend to tack a piece of expanded metal over the back hole since I don't use gas assist.

                LSG make a fine Charcoal basket. I knew I wanted to make my own so I didn't order it.

              Great post, love B&B


                Alphonse Awesome wright up.
                Soo glad you’re enjoying this beast. 👊

                And that basket. WOW. When mine burns out I’m gonna have you make me up another one.
                That is some beautiful work. 👍

                Where does that pit boss attach??
                Can you post a pic?
                Last edited by Steve B; March 21, 2020, 09:08 PM.


                  Outstanding post! I agree with you completely about the Fireboard / Pit Bull combination. I no longer use the fan with my stick fires because it doesn't seem necessary.

                  I bought LSG's charcoal basket when I ordered my 20x42 but I have never used it. I plan to use it soon.... I'm picturing a long overnight cook (probably a brisket). I'll use for my Fireboard / Pit Bull for that one.


                  • Alphonse
                    Alphonse commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Kenyata, I think the LSG basket should work well. I started to buy it with my order but knew I could build my own.

                    The 25 cfm Pit Bull is a superior capacity fan as compared to the one that FireBoard sells. FireBoard doesn't care whose fan you use anyway. The fan they sell is actually an Auber Instruments fan put a FireBoard package. There's nothing wrong with it but for an offset you need a bit more capacity. I have tested both fans and the Pit Bull is a hoss compared to the other.

                  • kenrobin
                    kenrobin commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I love that Fireboard designed their adapter to work with most fans. I wish Thermoworks had did the same for the Signal.

                  Not only a superb job, fabricatin yer basket, but a very thorough, well thought out, well documented experimental test run, as well!

                  Congrats on not only a job very well done, but fer such a helpful, useful contribution to th Hive Mind, Brother!

                  Truly, I doff my Beloved Cowboy Hat, an bow respectfully in yer direction!


                    Steve B - Thanks again for all your help last fall when I was trying to sort my LSG order out!

                    Here's the photo you requested.

                    It shows the Guru Pit Bull using a Guru 3/4" npt adapter mounted on the firebox blower port. As you know, this port is an option when you order the pit. The blower port is an elevation below the fire grate which helps distribute combustion air beneath the fire and improves the efficiency of it all. It also helps keep that port cooler since it is below the elevation of the fire.

                    The quality of the Guru Pit Bull and the adapter are both top shelf. I sure hope Guru doesn't go the route they did on their smaller blower, the Pit Viper, and morph it to a cheaper housing design. Currently the Pit Bull is still their "old school" design using a SS sheet metal housing that makes changing the fan out a breeze.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	Blower wide view.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.76 MB ID:	818665

                    EDIT: also meant to say, notice the cooling fins on the Pit Bull blower. It helps keep the conductive heat off the blower. The other helpful thing about the location is that the radiant heat from the fire doesn't see the blower. If that blower were located at an elevation equal to the fire, it would "see" the flame and the radiant energy would likely damage the blower.
                    Last edited by Alphonse; March 22, 2020, 11:01 AM.


                      Thanks Alphonse I wish they offered that option when I got mine. I’m sure that’ll keep that beast under control.
                      Interesting they placed it on that side of the fire box. 🤔

                      I seems like that would go against the air flow. But I’m sure they tested this extensively before putting it out on their rigs.

                      Oh yeah my viper has the plastic housing. Kinda cheesy.
                      Last edited by Steve B; March 22, 2020, 11:12 AM.


                        Originally posted by Steve B View Post
                        Thanks Alphonse I wish they offered that option when I got mine. I’m sure that’ll keep that beast under control.
                        Interesting they placed it on that side of the fire box. 🤔

                        I seems like that would go against the air flow. But I’m sure they tested this extensively before putting it out on their rigs.

                        Oh yeah my viper has the plastic housing. Kinda cheesy.
                        Steve, if you think about it a bit, it is intuitive. Looking at the FireBoard datalog, the blower is only running part time and not at full capacity at all. It is not "blow torching" the fire. It did run 100% at the very beginning of the run to get the fire and pit stoked up but after that it is just "chooching" along part time and part throttle. The FireBoard PID runs a blower at variable speed and part time. You see that as the green curve on the datalog. On the left you see 100% blower on and then it drops off as intermittent and at low speed. BTW, you also see that FireBoard has an "open lid detect". When I opened the pit to load the chicken, the temp dropped quickly but the fan didn't run, overtorching the coal bed! This was the dire mistake Thermoworks made when they first released their Signal system without "open lid detect".

                        So with the vent on the door closed, the blower is throttling air to keep the coals generating only enough heat to maintain the set point. The combustion air is being pushed into the plenum beneath the fire and it is distributed under the fire. Again, not blow torching but gently adding air flow. By the way, natural draft is going to pull air through the blower even though it is not running but the PID controller knows and has quickly learned that during the run and counts on it. So if the blower is not running, there's still combustion air coming in through the blower housing.

                        I am betting that LSG put the port toward the front so that it doesn't interfere with the gas assist port and burner for those that use it. A plus for that location is the blower is easy for you to mount and hook up. So yes, looks like LSG knew what they were doing, doesn't it?
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Alphonse; March 22, 2020, 11:55 AM.


                        • Steve B
                          Steve B commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Damn. I need one of those ports. 😁
                          What fuel are you using?

                        • Alphonse
                          Alphonse commented
                          Editing a comment
                          This was a load of B&B briquettes. I believe a good lump will work the same.

                          You can get a bulkhead port from BBQ Guru I believe. Alternatively get someone to weld you a 3/4" npt coupling on it.


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