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Curtos.com – Turning an Alfresco ALXE Grill into an Offset Smoker

Written by Appliance Dude | August 4th, 2016

In my never ending quest to bend, warp, re-shape and squeeze every bit of functionality out of my various bbq grills, I’m here to report on my latest project – turning my Alfresco 42″ ALXE grill into an offset smoker.
What?
Yes you ready that correctly.
It’s not enough that I have a Kamado Joe and Memphis wood-fired pellet grill for smoking. And it’s not enough that Alfresco grills already offer a smoking chamber in the grill. Nope. I needed to push things further. Influenced and inspired by the great Steve Raichlen and his show/book “Projcet Smoke”, smoking has become my passion over the last year. So let me explain why I decided to do this and what the initial results were.

I’ve been using the Alfresco SFI-POD (solid fuel insert) since last winter. This is the insert which allows you to cook with lump charcoal and/or wood.
While using it the other week, I noticed that the wood wasn’t burning with flame atop the charcoal, but was instead releasing a lazy, fragrant plume of smoke around the grill.
Pop. Lightbulb went off.

If I had the SFI-POD lit on the side, what if I turned off the other 2 gas burners, and elevated the meat (in this case a spatchcock chicken) on the multi-position cooking rack. Powered by the smoke from the wood and lump coal, could I then emulate the performance of a stick-burner smoker on my Alfresco?

After one night of testing, the answer is no.

The first and biggest problem is that the chicken did not cook evenly as it does on a kamado or pellet grill. The side closest to the SFI-POD (which was on the right) was cooking far quicker than the left side of the bird. I was hoping to see a type of convection process happen withing the cooking chamber which would allow a more even cook, but alas it was not to be. I eventually shifted the bird around with cooking tongs in order to evenly cook each side, and I also turned on the middle burner on the grill on LOW, so as to create some heat from the bottom. This eventually caused some of the fat and seasoning from the bird to drip down on the hot ceramic briquettes, creating lovely little smoke-kisses of flavor.

I’m going to try this again with some modification and will report findings here. Oh, and one other thing – the cooking rack on the Alfresco opens up more possibilities from the griller/smoker b/c of its flexibility. Note how I didn’t call it a warming rack – this device does far more than warm hot dog buns folks. More to come!
Curtos.com - Spatchcock chicken

Spatchcock chicken on the Alfresco Grill.

Spatchcock chicken on the Alfresco Grill.

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