I recently bought one of the Vision Professional S grills from Home Depot. It was shipped on May 27 and arrived on June 6 which was quicker than I was expecting. I was very eager to get smoking on it this weekend and did 2 practice runs to see what could be done to keep and hold temperatures so I could do a low and slow cook. First attempt was to start out low and increase temperature to initially season the grill from initial shipping materials and such. I started by filling about ¼ of the firebox with hardwood lump charcoal and started 2 pieces of charcoal in a chimney to get something started to begin the low test. Placed the 2 lit, but not red hot pieces on top of the rest, covered with the lava stone and closed the lid. Set the top to 1 and bottom to 1 to get air in to generate the burn. The temperature quickly rose to 200 and I closed the bottom vent and moved the top to about 1/2 on the dial. Temperature just kept rising so I just figured I would abort and go with the high heat test. Opened all vents and got grill hot to a sear temperature around 575 on the temperature gauge. Ran for about 20 minutes and closed off all vents to snuff out the fire/charcoal. Interesting enough, the temperature did not seem to drop over the next 4 hours and I chalked it up to heat retention from the ceramic. I check on the firebox the following morning and to my surprise, all charcoal burned up and there were no chunks remaining as I would have expected. Cleaned out the firebox and reset this time to ½ full of charcoal and same set up as before. When temp got to 175, I closed the bottom vent and moved top again to about 1/2. I added some wood chips to create a bit more smoke to see if I could track any leakage. The front vent set up seemed to be allowing air to easily churn through and smoke would come through all 4 sides of the front assembly. It almost looks as if the ash drawer sits in there cockeyed which is preventing from making a good seal. There was also an abundant amount of smoke that was pillowing out the top of the closed cast iron top vent which I could not understand since this should be a sealed tight unit. I could not keep a consistent temperature to smoke and ended up closing all vents to call it a day to come back and check on it in the afternoon. Grill thermometer was over 500 degrees in the afternoon and there were visible red hot coals when I opened the top. There seems to be a large failure here allowing air to push through and keep this thing hot. I had purchased this to do my smoking in, but feel as if I cannot do that with the assembly as received.
Do you have any recommendations on what I should try? Is there some additional sealing set up to use or would there be a way to replace the ash drawer and see if that covers any of the issues I am experiencing.
I sent this exact email to Vision and their response was lacking to say the least.
"We suggest you cooking on grill 5-6 times before attempting to smoke to get creosote build up and flavor in the grill. Once you have done so, then you can try smoking at low temperatures. We also suggest, when smoking, not to use as much fuel as you do with other grills. The ceramic absorbs heat a lot better and maintains it very well so you can start with low fuel and add charcoal accordingly."
My thought is that out of the box, this thing should not have had any issue holding a temperature that is adequate of smoking. I bought this specifically to use as a smoker, not as a grill and part time smoker.
Thanks in advance!