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ECB wont hold the heat so I built it a little house for the winter months.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 


Newber here but I figured I'd share my newest build, been modifying, improvising and rigging things for about as long as I can remember.


As the title says my ECB won't hold the heat and going to lump coal is even a bunch of work in the cold months here in Idaho. I did a turkey, venison roast and venison jerky during the time I took the picture below. I'm sure some of you know how laborious this turned out to be in a ECB!


So not wanting to put myself through that again I started researching materials. I'll be the first to admit I'm still questionable about the plywood but I don't have a welder and when it get this cold wet hands start sticking to metal. Besides metal is pretty expensive for a guy like myself.

Here's where I started a simple plywood box framed by 1" fir pine.


Then I started with multiple layers of aluminum foil on the outside of the box covered by 100% wool blanket material. The four sticks of 1" square you see there close in the dampers and give support for the handles to come later. Yeah I can't sew for beans but the 100% wool yarn holds the blanket material closed on the corners.


After multiple layers of more of the same materials it looked like this. I left material over the dampers to keep bugs out.


Not owning a metal break to bend sheet metal I had to get creative.


I thought I did pretty good with the sheet metal so I congratulated myself with a cold one.


Then the metal went into the box and I made the interior damper holes.


Next I built the exterior box, trimmed the edges of the sheet metal, cut slat dampers and drilled holes in them, installed the legs and handles from my ECB.


Then onto the door which was more 1" material ripped from 2X4s attached to 3/8 inch ply, insulated a little heavier than the box and sheeted with metal.


Then I framed in the door with dadoed out fir, the dado channel was lined with aluminum channel to try and avoid warping of the door. Before the door was framed I also dadoed out a shallow channel for a gasket. The gasket is 100% wool yarn, about 25 to 30 strands twisted with a drill and stapled into place with a recessed hole at the bottom of the door for the ends.


A couple hinges a rigged latch for the door and she was ready for burn in.


I brought temps up to 400F 3 times and the 4th to 418F and let it cool down slow the 4th.


Left over coals from dinner did the job of burn in fine with the lid to my little Wally World special pulled off.


All seemed to have gone very well. Temp recovery time amazed me and being I'll never make pizza in this thing it will likely never see temps like that again. Now I just have to figure out the right heating element for my ECB so I can get 275 F in zero temps with electricity!


Edited by Smokin-wylie - 1/15/12 at 5:35pm
post #2 of 14

Quite a nice build!  At first I though you were just building a shelter for your ECB.  welder.gifCan't wait to catch your maiden smoke!



post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 


It started as being a shelter for my ECB which it will be in the colder months but should work well as a stand alone in the warmer months.


Chicken quarters are on the thaw and I'm rushing it to find a single element electrical burner that reviews well enough to run out and grab real quick for testing tonight. If I don't find the electrical burner I'll be using coal in a rig I don't know very well.


I post up my chicken for better or for worse. :dunno

post #4 of 14

Great looking build !!!!


post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks Shoney!

post #6 of 14


post #7 of 14

Wylie, morning.... for a guy that doesn't have the right tools, you built a mighty fine smoker.... looks and I'm sure cooks great... thanks for the pics... Dave

post #8 of 14

I put this in your other post...When I was Researching converting from Propane to Electric as needed, all the reviews got me here...JJ

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you folks!

Right now I think I'm best to put the new element on the back burner so to speak, pun intended. The suspension on the pickup was bugging me driving into town last night and there Feb. coming up as well. Might be best I just stick with the brickettes for a while till I get some other things taken care of.

post #10 of 14

Great idea and I agree with Dave, you did a fine job without having the proper tools! I had my smoker in the shed out back and hubby recently built me a "cabinet" for my smoker so it's closer to the house. 

post #11 of 14

Nice build! If you can get heat like that at zero it must be built well.

post #12 of 14

Very nice build -  congrats on a great job 

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks again folks, the maiden smoke is under way as I type. Near 30 degrees F outside, the smoker came up to 227 in 15 minutes with a full bowl of water, 12 chicken quarter and a half dozen chicken thighs. Heat dropped a little here at the half hours point so I started up some more coals, I went very sparingly to start which has me working more than I would like to but that's just smokin with coals.


I'm not even going to look at the birds until the 3.5 hour mark, I usually go about four hours at 225.


Smokehouse Maple under and over the skin and a mixture of Apple and Mesquite wood smoke this time around.




Edit: Should have known better than to put a full bowl of water in, once it started boiling it was swamping my coals. Added a few fresh coals and poured off some water and it's holding steady at 233 F now, 2 hours until I check the bird.


Editing again: Once again I'm onto a learning experience but do know I don't have to worry about the plywood, the chicken turned out really tasty. Hopefully I can learn to get a crispier skin someday.

Temps ended up varying from 220 to 260 while I was trying to manage with the dampers, one damper took on too much moisture and became pretty hard to move.

The thighs were done in three hours to 168 interior temp and at 3.5 hours I pulled the quarters at 166 interior temp, for the last hour I let temps hang around the 250 to260 range. Oh and I didn't load up as much chicken as I had thought in the first place, either that or my foreman knew I was cooking chicken and snuck a few pieces. Turned out I smoked 4 thighs and 9 quarters.



Made for some nice freezer fillings!




Edited by Smokin-wylie - 1/16/12 at 5:08pm
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Update on the build, besides somebody mentioned you guys like pictures. biggrin.gif


Being my element burned up and man must smoke meat I've carried on, life could be worse than meats smoked over charcoal!


Even though my coal tray was already drilled with like a bazillion holes (< exaggerasion) I didn't feel I was getting enough ventilation to my coals so I drilled about another 100 or so 3/8" holes in it, might be a little smaller i just grabbed a drill bit. Even with all the holes in the tray it was loading up with ash so mid smoke I grabbed a wire mesh I had on hand and had prepped (hit with a torch until glowing red to clean up) just in case. I dumped the coals out on a cookie sheep tossed the wire mesh in the coal tray and coals back on top of the wire mesh real quick and this ended up making a big difference!


After doing that I could damper down or up heat way better than before and managed to hold a steady temp of 228 F in something like 36 F ambient for almost two hours with no adjustments. Than the heat came up a few degrees so I thought I was running low on water, not the case but I added just a little anyway, I should have just closed the bottom dampers a hair. After opening the door and introducing more air the heat spiked to 250F which I dampered down again fairly quickly.


Only the second smoke and I think I'm getting to know this rig well. I'm pretty sure I'm going holiday season brined turkey with the next smoke.


Here is that mesh on the coal tray. I think I'll be swapping out the coal tray for this Wok Topper I've seen on the net used for the same purpose but the wire mesh will still be used. There's an aluminum tray below to catch ash.


One beef brisket, one london broil, three tiny beef roasts (for crock pot pot roasts later) and a venison back strap. Venison in it's own bag, everything marinaded 24 hours in McCorrmicks mesquite marinade smoked over mainly mesquite with a touch of apple wood, like that sweeter smoke thing the apple does.


And the freezer stash from the smoke.



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