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Yet Another ECB Build - Been 1000's done - But at least I got Q-view!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Howdy Gang!!!

 

So I have had a barrel for a UDS in my garage for WAY TOO LONG, and cant get any traction. Momma bought me a barely used ECB for my birthday!! Don't ask me when that was..cause the ECB has sat too long too!!

 

Let me say that maybe I can cook a little, but the resources and friendly folks here are helpful beyond words. I love what I am learning here every day! To that end, here are the 3 main links that are guiding my construction:

 

http://www.smoking-meat.com/modify-brinkmann-ecb-smoker.html

 

http://randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecbmods3.html

 

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=104545

 

 

Here is my gift...shiny and almost new...Looks like he built one fire and then never used it. Grates are uncooked on:

 

0a85e8de.jpg

 

Bought some 1/4" "legs"; high temp gasket rope and high temp RTV:

 

9fc15a36.jpg

 

Measure and drilled some holes for the legs:

 

6bc436a7.jpg

 

Didn't cut them to length...and fit inside smoker so may leave them:

 

bcdcca01.jpg

 

Drilled small holes every 4" for sheet metal screws to hold the gasket in place while RTV was drying. Like the guy before me, will prob leave screws in:

4d5fb61f.jpg

 

Lid fits okay. Not super tight seal but has to be better than factory right?? In retrospect maybe drilled holes to "high" on lip, but you live and learn:

7b270fad.jpg

 

2915fac3.jpg

 

Didn't drill the holes in ash pan yet, as I am still deciding damper vs. no damper on bottom. Couldn't find a darn 13" grate for fire pan or cheap thermometer for lid at Lowes or Wally World, so production stopped for today.

 

Still need damper/chimney and thermo for lid; drill holes in fire pan and cheap electronic therm until I can swing Maverick.

 

More to come in next day or so, including "Baptism by Ribs" first smoke. You vets have seen this a million times, but any questions, comment or pokes are welcome.

 

Thanks for looking gang!!a42.gif

post #2 of 5

Looking great!

post #3 of 5

I like the legs on the coal pan. I just sat mine on bricks, which was kind of a pain. Yours looks way better. With the lid sealed up, you will definitely need a vent in the lid to avoid stale smoke.

I liken the ECB to the AK-47. The main reason it works so well is it's loose tolerances and haphazard build. The gaps are mostly in the right places out of the box, so it's good at one thing, and only one thing. Once you start improving it, you'll end up with a better, more versatile cooker but just be careful not to go too far. If you drill too many holes in the coal pan you might end up with a runaway fire that'll be a bear to keep in check. The one thing about the ecb that can't be changed is the open bottom. There's no realistic way to make it adjustable. It's going to cook at whatever temp it wants and that's it.

I have a couple suggestions. Please take these as suggestions only. You're doing a great job and I'm not trying to tell you otherwise. I'm just offering my experience with the ECB.

 

#1 Don't drill any holes in your coal pan. At least not at first. Find a suitably sized charcoal grate and try running with that first. I got mine at ACE, I believe it was $6 or $7. I raised it off the bottom of the pan about 1.5" by making several 1.5" balls of HD aluminum foil. Bolts and washers would be a more elegant solution, but I used what I had on hand. You see, the problem with the coal pan is not necessarily a lack of air, it's just an ash management problem. By raising the coals and allowing the ashes to fall away, you remove that problem.

 

#2 Don't use lump. I know, everyone here on this board swears by the stuff. I love it for grilling or high heat cooks too, but if you're trying to get low and slow in your ECB, it'll frustrate you. Get Stubbs all natural briquettes. They sell them at Lowe's. If you have a Trader Joe's in your area, they also sell a similar product. What you want is a dense briquette with little additives. It'll burn better, longer, cleaner and produce less ash. Kingsford produces way too much ash for that little pan.

 

#3 Don't use water in the water pan. It's a pitifully small pan and all the water will evaporate halfway through your cook. The temp will skyrocket and you'll (if you're anything like me) burn the crap out of your hand on steam and end up spilling the water in the coal pan and putting the fire out when you're trying to refill it. Instead, get a couple 7 or 8 inch clay saucers from the garden center at Lowe's while you're there getting your Stubbs briquettes. Stack them on top of each other, wrap them in foil and place them in your water pan. This will give you the thermal mass you need to regulate your temps, without having to worry about water.

 

#4 Get a good probe thermometer, preferably one with dual probes. You'll want to monitor your pit temp and your food temp. The lid therms are less than useless.

 

That's all I got. Good luck with the smoker, and let us know how it turns out!!

post #4 of 5

Looking good and some great advice for you as well 

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdboatbum View Post

I like the legs on the coal pan. I just sat mine on bricks, which was kind of a pain. Yours looks way better. With the lid sealed up, you will definitely need a vent in the lid to avoid stale smoke.

I liken the ECB to the AK-47. The main reason it works so well is it's loose tolerances and haphazard build. The gaps are mostly in the right places out of the box, so it's good at one thing, and only one thing. Once you start improving it, you'll end up with a better, more versatile cooker but just be careful not to go too far. If you drill too many holes in the coal pan you might end up with a runaway fire that'll be a bear to keep in check. The one thing about the ecb that can't be changed is the open bottom. There's no realistic way to make it adjustable. It's going to cook at whatever temp it wants and that's it. I hope this isn't the case entirely...would really like to keep temps low. 

 

I have a couple suggestions. Please take these as suggestions only. You're doing a great job and I'm not trying to tell you otherwise. I'm just offering my experience with the ECB. LOL - I am always open to those who have been there, done that. 

 

#1 Don't drill any holes in your coal pan. At least not at first. Find a suitably sized charcoal grate and try running with that first. I got mine at ACE, I believe it was $6 or $7. I raised it off the bottom of the pan about 1.5" by making several 1.5" balls of HD aluminum foil. Bolts and washers would be a more elegant solution, but I used what I had on hand. You see, the problem with the coal pan is not necessarily a lack of air, it's just an ash management problem. By raising the coals and allowing the ashes to fall away, you remove that problem. Interesting observation about the holes. Now that I think about it, the whole bottom is open so draft should not be a problem. I will certainly run first test and/or cook without holes and see what happens. I do have a smaller grill now and has some bolts laying around so good to go there.

 

#2 Don't use lump. I know, everyone here on this board swears by the stuff. I love it for grilling or high heat cooks too, but if you're trying to get low and slow in your ECB, it'll frustrate you. Get Stubbs all natural briquettes. They sell them at Lowe's. If you have a Trader Joe's in your area, they also sell a similar product. What you want is a dense briquette with little additives. It'll burn better, longer, cleaner and produce less ash. Kingsford produces way too much ash for that little pan.  Hmmmm...and I thought lump produced less ash than briqs. I can get Stubbs here and doesn't hurt to try I guess. The couple of guys I have "run with" at comps use pellets so I am on my own here from an experience perspective.

 

#3 Don't use water in the water pan. It's a pitifully small pan and all the water will evaporate halfway through your cook. The temp will skyrocket and you'll (if you're anything like me) burn the crap out of your hand on steam and end up spilling the water in the coal pan and putting the fire out when you're trying to refill it. Instead, get a couple 7 or 8 inch clay saucers from the garden center at Lowe's while you're there getting your Stubbs briquettes. Stack them on top of each other, wrap them in foil and place them in your water pan. This will give you the thermal mass you need to regulate your temps, without having to worry about water. Gotcha here...and a much more elegant solution than sand.

 

#4 Get a good probe thermometer, preferably one with dual probes. You'll want to monitor your pit temp and your food temp. The lid therms are less than useless. Got a couple el cheapos from Academy until i can swing Maverick.

 

That's all I got. Good luck with the smoker, and let us know how it turns out!! I certainly will beercheer.gif Can't say it enough, but this is the best group I know!! THANKS AGAIN!!!

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