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Any tips? First Smoke on ECB tonight.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Doing two whole spatchcocked chickens tonight on my new ECB. I've used it to grill some chicken legs, some beef medallions, taters, baked beans and some chicken breasts so far this week, but I haven't done a smoke on it yet.

Just wondering if there's any suggestions or tips on keeping temps up at 275+ on a stock unit (haven't had time to make any mods to it yet).

I'll be burning Kingston briquettes and hickory chunks about 2" in diameter.

Any advice would be much appreciated as this is my first smoke over charcoal! PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif
post #2 of 12

here's a couple quick mods

1. If your smoker doesn't have legs, set it up on blocks/bricks to get some air under it. It's got to have good air flow from underneath.

2. I drilled three 3/8" holes in the bottom of my ECB. Not the ash pan with the slats, the actual bottom part that has one large hole in the middle. This, coupled with #1 above really helped improve air flow.

3. Go easy on the hickory or you'll get too much smoke. Add one or 2 small chunks at a time. Dont' go piling 8-10 chunks on at once.

4. If you have trouble this smoke, do the mods before the next one. But I suggest doing one mod at a time.

post #3 of 12
If you haven't done the mods at least get a grate under your coals so they don't just sit on the pan. Drilling a few holes in the coal pan will help.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Your replies are very much appreciated.

The ECB I have has legs and stands about 4-6" off the ground. I'll have to do some digging around to see if I have anything on hand that I could use as a grate in the coal pan to keep the chips off the bottom. I could also pop a couple quick holes with a drill.

All my thermo's were left at the cottage... So I just ran out on my lunch break and picked up a cheap wireless thermo at Walmart so I can monitor things closely tonight. I certainly won't be counting on the "Ideal" part of the thermo in the ECB's lid!
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Oh, and Squirt... Great suggestion making one mod at a time. I wouldn't have thought to do that, but it makes perfect sense to gauge the effects of each mod. Thx.
post #6 of 12
hey, back country - i cna't add too much to the excellent advice already given - the only thing i can say is that you're going to love it and, if it ain't perfect the first time, don't be afraid to keep trying!

one thing that will help a lot is to make sure you start with BOILING water in the water pan, and when you add water, make sure it is either boiling or very hot. also, when adding water, use a watering can (like for flowers, but not with a "sprinkling" head) with a long neck.

be sure to brush something oil-based on the meat as it cooks; with an ECB, moisture loss is not critical, but it can be an issue. make sure all poultry is on the bottom. do not expect the skin to be crisp - it may look picture-perfect, but there is a possibility that the skin will be rather rubbery.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
More great info. Thanks TW! I added my brine, but the other half of the pan was boiling water. I'm noticing that temps are climbing slowly.

I was thinking of brushing straight up EVOO on the birds, so thanks for the solidification on that one.

All on the bottom? Is that to ensure they stay moist keeping closer to the water pan?
post #8 of 12
the idea of putting poultry on the bottom is so that the juices don't run down on anything else. to me, beef and pork drippings are no big deal and can add a lot of flavor, but poultry and all of its possible contaminates are another matter. it does help a bit with the moisture as well, but with skin-on poultry you might want to put on top rack if it is alone so that it crisps up better. when i first read your post i thought you were doing several kinds of food along with the poultry; since it is poulty-only, probably no big deal.

you can boil the brine/marinade with the water next time and then add to the water pan. brushing on evoo is a great idea - some people like to add a little lemon juice, oregano or other seasoning, but only do this if it won't interfere with your marinade/brine.

one more suggestion: putting birds breast-down will help keep the juices in the birds.

question - what is spatchcocked?
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok thanks for the explaination. I just got the birds on the ecb and unfortunately with them being spatchcocked, they won't fit 2 per grill, so I'm forced to have one on each. It could end up being a nice comparison, or I might switch them out after the first 90 minutes or so. We'll see...

Spatchcocked is when you cut the spine out of the bird so it cooks faster and more evenly. It just thins or flattens it out I guess. Looks like a big frog when spread out... Wutang introduced it to me in a Q-view he did a while back:

post #10 of 12
Well, how are those birds? PDT_Armataz_01_03.gif
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Coming along quite nicely!


Going to probe them shortly and see what the internals are.
post #12 of 12
By now you're done. Can't help much with an unmodified one. I modded mine before I used it the first time. But here's some info for when/if you do mod it.

For most ECBs:

For the Gourmet specifically:

Good luck with it.
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