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ECB Brinkman Smoke & Grill

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok I'm sure you guys have seen these before, many may have one, many may have gotten rid of them and i'm sure there are mods out there (found a few already)
The ever/never famous ECB Brinkman Smoke and Grill.

Most of the ECB that are mentioned in the forums are a little nicer model than my $39 Home Depot special.

I am new to smoking and so far lovin' it. I have been using lump charcoal with the minion method and it works...well sorta. It takes a ton of tinkering to keep a temp in the right zone. On this model ECB if you tinker with the coal pan too much it falls off the brackets that hold it in the smoker body. Adding wood after the charcoal is lit is a pain in the rear also.
And I have not figured out a good way to actually add hot coals to the pan from my chimney starter. Any tips on this little guy would be great.

My main question pertains to airflow. On this model ECB I have no options. The charcoal pan sits on brackets and there is just open space below it. There are no vents on the lid and just the small door on the side.
Is there a need for me to modify this smoker, or is it not worth the effort?
I have done some ribs and chicken and they turned out ok, but it's about 100o here in Texas right now, with NO wind. I fear I may be having a bout of beginners luck. Any comments...
post #2 of 12
albee - i have three of these units and love them with all my heart. excelletn q has come off of them in all forms, and they are jsut as good as a smoker that costs many times more.

having said that, a few inexpensive modifications are critical in order to squeeze the maximum potential from this unit. for about 15 bucks, i modded mine using this wesbite as a guide:


i strongly recommend them. definitely do mods #1 and #2 (the "airflow cut-off" of mod 1 would be optional - i see no use for it and experience would bear that out). mod 2 mentions charcoal rails - i couldn't think of a good way to do these rails, so i simply line up my charcoal as if the rails were there and this works well. #3 is a no-brainer. mod 4 is self-explanitory and only costs about 15$. - mod 5 comes down to personal choice - some will question the necessity of the holes in the top drilled for exhaust. as for myself, i did drill them, but i don't know if they were absolutely necessary. i can say with confidence that they certainly didn't hurt anything and final results did not suffer at all as a result - having said that, it is possible that they helped with airflow and to keep stale smoke from accumulating - your choice, but i can say that there will be no harm in the exhaust vent holes. since conventional wisdom says that the exhaust should ALWAYS be wide open, i saw no reason to instal the "flap."

the ecb makes great 1 out of the box with a little care, but these very inexpensive mods will improve performance and expand the possibilities, guaranteed!

any questions, feel free to ask.
post #3 of 12
Tasunka nailed it.

All I might add is that when you drill holes in your charcoal pan, do it in a pattern that can be covered with a home made damper.

The Lid is made to leak smoke. The dome fills with heat and smoke, surrounds the meat for even cooking and exits at grate level. SEALING the lid and adding a lid vent is counterproductive in my opinion. However, adding a vent without sealing the lid might be worth a shot. I have the Gourmet, and used to use it as a grill. I was considering putting a lid vent on for when I used it for grilling. On my model, the lid goes on top the of the coal pan for grilling, and fits pretty snug. My coals were suffocating. But I use a Weber for grilling now, and never got around to it.
post #4 of 12
>>>when you drill holes in your charcoal pan, do it in a pattern that can be covered with a home made damper. <<<

steve - did you find some benefit from the damper in the inlet? i didn't see any reason for it, but then again i admit i never tried it. if it does do some good, then i stand corrected and agree that the damper on the inlet should be isntalled.

i also agree 100% that the dome of the ecb should NOT be sealed - it's that way for a reason and works well. the exhaoust vent holes in the top may or may not help (in my opinion the jury is still out on that) but the "loose dome" definitely does its job!
post #5 of 12
Yes, I did see some benefit, but I'm not done. I didn't need it all through the winter and spring. But when the "Oh my god it's hot!!" heat got here, I was having problems keeping the temps down. I sealed the bottom hole, and added a damper to one side of the outer pan. The temp got just hot enough that way, and I could adjust it down with the damper. I intend to add another 180* around the side of the outter pan, but haven't gotten around to it. I'm using the Smokenator for almost everything, I've kind of forgotten the Brinkmann.
post #6 of 12
poor lil ecb - sittin forgotten in the corner like the slightly-chunky girl with glasses at the prom. icon_cry.gif

dang, steve - take her for a spin now and then! do a couple of racks of ribs or a chicken, at least!PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif
post #7 of 12
Ron, I would, but stuff comes out better on the Weber kettle and Smokenator. PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif Gotta work Saturday, and Sunday will be grilling some Omaha steak fillets (courtesy of my work) So maybe next weekend, but I'll probably use the smokenator.......
post #8 of 12
I have the exact same model. Here is what I did to mine. Similar to the Randy mods.

post #9 of 12
Actually Ron, I think I'm probably going to buy the afterburner propane kit for it. That way, I'll have a charcoal and propane unit. And the afterburner is removeable, so I could still use it with charcoal. I just wish I could make the afterburner useable as a grill too. It would be real nice to have a propane grill next to my smokenator for searing. But then, gassers don't always get hot enough for a good sear anyway, so I dunno.
post #10 of 12
Hey Bryan,
I'll chime in here as I made some mods that I learned from the folks here.
You can see pics in this thread... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...ad.php?t=79025
I would say the bottom damper works, but only after establishing a nice even temp.
In other words, I couldn't stop a runaway increase in temp, or choke out the fire, but I could raise or lower a even temp somewhat.
Now that I've got an Afterburner I just leave it open.
post #11 of 12
That grommet you installed for the thermo..... Was it just a plain old grommet, or was it some type of high temperature piece? Did it melt?
post #12 of 12
As far as I know its just a plain ol' grommet.
It hasn't melted yet, and I've done a whole chicken at over 300*...actually works better than I anticipated as I got some corks at the same time in case it failed.
In fact, its such a nice snug fit fit that I spay some Pam on the probe and it goes right in...holds perfectly straight with no wobble.
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