Well after contemplating to mod my charcoal ECB to an electric element I decided against it the other day. Mainly because I had heard the weather was not going to conducive for the electric, I decided to stick with the charcoal.BTW the day was perfect on Sunday . Now with that said I would just like to say that for me the minion method worked o k but not great. Also will not be putting in water in the water pan again will only be sand or heat rocks! The day started off great got up, set everything up had the ribs sitting overnight in the fridge with my rub and then pulled them out to get up to temp. So while that was happening I set out to light the smoker.I arranged the minion method as I had seen on youtube and what not. I put about maybe 50-60 briquettes in the pan(one mod that I think helped greatly was I raised the charcoal screen up to the top of the pan itself to give more airflow and to catch more ash without hindering the heat)pulled about 10 out of the middle lit those with my chimney and let them burn. Then added them to the middle of the unlit coals.
So as that was getting to temp I put my ribs in rib rack well not so much a rib rack but a napkin holder that I picked up at the dollar store worked great I fit 5 racks of ribs in the smoker along with about 12 sausages.
But for the life of me the smoker could not get past 150-175 tops. So I put the racks in the smoker as it was. Now here is what I found worked for me and it worked great. After about an hour or so maybe 2 on the smoker, it still hadn't hit the desired 225-250 temp that I wanted. So I took the smoker off the the pan and added about 5 or 6 more briquettes to the top of the coals and let those get hot. As they were heating I did some other things, got my sauce ready and peeled some potatoes. So when I went back out temp was at 275 maybe 300 so it got hot, but then it started to drop after about 30 mins and stayed at around 230 or so for the next few hours so. So I think I have found a happy medium until I get a bigger and netter smoker.
Now my thoughts on the water pan filled with water. It seemed to me, that all the water did was boil the sausages rather than smoke them?. Maybe it was the low heat for the first few hours until I added a bit more briquettes but once I did get them going the turned out great but a little to moist for me on the inside. I like them a little dryer but thats me. And I did measure the temp and all of them read 190+ so they were cooked. The last time I did them on my smoker they turned out way better and I was using sand then as they turned out perfect.
So after doing that minion method and adding a little more airflow to the pan me ECB worked great so I am in a good place now with my little guy lol
Sorry about this long post but wanted to make sure I got it right
And sorry no pics to show, but I can take some pics of the bones if you would like