Beginner Progress Thread

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by frankthetank, May 24, 2016.

  1. Hey guys, as I mentioned in my initial thread over in the roll call section, I am a complete beginner when it comes to smoking.  I purchased my first smoker, a Master Chef Vertical Smoker, at Canadian Tire a few days ago for $69.99.  This thing is the Canadian equivalent of the ECB, the "ECMC" I suppose.  Thankfully I came across Jeff's article about the recommended ECB mods and applied them to my ECMC. 


    I didn't have to add an exhaust vent to the top as it comes with one from the factory on this beauty.  I did install the legs on the outside, put some holes in my coal pan, and raised the pan grill to allow more room for ash in the bottom.


    Unlike the ECB, the ECMC comes in 3 pieces so I had to attach the bottom and mid section together with some small self tapping screws to allow me to lift the smoker up and add more lump coal.

    My first two attempts were failures due to creosote build up on the meat (the pizza I ordered was delicious though).  I am running my smoker right now post mods to try and burn some of that creosote smell out and try to learn its tendencies.  I was clueless my first attempt and had a ton of white billowing smoke coming out (just loaded it with hickory chips).  You guys would have likely had a heart attack had you been driving by and witnessed it.  I used Kingsford briquettes and there was a ton of ash.  I've since picked up some lump charcoal instead and I can already tell it is burning much cleaner and hotter which I'm loving.

    My second attempt was better as I added far less chips and had much less white smoke.  I barely had my exhaust open at the top however and don't believe my smoker ever got hot enough. 

    I've decided to try chicken for my third attempt and I'm feeling much more confident now after browsing these forums for the past few days.  The modifications made seem to be working really well thus far as well as the switch from briquettes to lump charcoal.  I ordered a ThermoPro digital wireless thermometer from amazon to monitor the meat and smoker temp and it should be arriving any day now.  That should give me a fighting chance to start turning out some half decent smoked meats.

    I'll be sure to keep you guys updated on my progress with some pictures if there is any interest. 

    Thanks a bunch for all the help already!


  2. 4pogo7

    4pogo7 Smoking Fanatic

    Sounds like you are getting things figured out. Keep posting on how things go and how your meat turns out. Also make sure to post pics of what you smoke! Have a good one!
  3. Keep plugging away...

    You'll come to a point where everything you have tried will all come together into the best smoked meal you have ever eaten.

    It's at this point you realize you're hooked and there's no turning back.

    I would suggest making a smoking log to record the different variables you have attempted. My logs keeps me from repeating the same mistakes and allows me to reproduce consistently great results. It also makes a great reference to look back on when you haven't made a particular meal in a while.

    Have fun!!!
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  4. Welcome aboard Frank, another ECMC owner here.

    Drilled holes in the charcoal pan and added a makeshift adjustable vent, it works well

    Gonna try something new with an old wheel rim in place of the pan.

    Had to grind a little off the top of the rim and it's a snug fit. Hope to try a burn this week.

    I like your idea of screwing the bottom 2 pieces together, did you use any kind of gasket?

    Keep the pictures coming, everybody learns.

    Randy    [​IMG]
  5. Will do, thanks!
    I'll have to get a log going, that's a great idea.
    Hey Randy, awesome set up!  I might have to steal your idea of that adjustable vent!  I'm curious to hear how your burn goes this week with the rim.  Why did you decide to go with the rim as opposed to your adjustable vent?  No I didn't bother with any kind of gasket and no visible smoke seems to be coming from that location although it probably wouldn't hurt.

    I've got some chicken leg quarters on the smoker now.  So far everything seems to be going smoothly.  No creosote smell, the smoke is thin and blue and smells pleasant (apple chips), and I'm holding the smoker around 250 deg and monitoring it using an oven thermo I had laying around the house.  Looking forward to getting my digital thermometer though to be sure of my temps.


  6. My 3rd attempt was a success (it was edible).  The rub/sauce I used tasted great but the skin was quite rubbery.  The inside was delicious and tender and had a nice smokey flavour.  I think I will try bone in/skin on chicken breasts tomorrow.  I plan on brining them, rinsing, applying a dry rub and smoking once again at around 250 deg.  However, when the chicken breasts reach an internal temp of 160ish, I'll throw them meaty side down on the grill on high heat and crisp up the skin.  Thoughts/suggestions?


  7. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    That's some good looking chicken.

    My suggestion for the breasts(and all poultry) is to cook at a higher temp, 325°-350°, for crispy skin. There is no need to put it on the grill at the end if you do.
  8. Looks good Frank
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice job Frank!

    I use the grill to crisp up the skin too, it works well.

  10. lancep

    lancep Master of the Pit

    That's some nice looking bird Frank! I do love me some slow smoked chicken but the skin can be a little soft. If your smoker has a water pan, I would suggest running it dry for chicken. Other than that, getting your temp up above 300 or tossing on the grill at the end should get you where you want to go.

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