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Wanted from ECB Gourmet users: opinions on your smoker

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Owners/users of the Gourmet Charcoal: I would like your opinion. I recently decided to get away from the gas-fired smoking/grilling more, opting for charcoal instead, and would like to try a smaller rig for one-meal smokes for my family. I am strongly considering the Gourmet Charcoal for it's dual purpose use and low cost investment.

My signature lists what I cook with now. The SNP has been returned to charcoal service and the burner removed, but it is a fuel hungry rig regardless of it's load size.

Is the ECB a relatively fuel efficient smoker? How many pounds of charcoal (not lump) should I expect to burn on a 5-6 hour smoke with light winds and 60* ambient temps?

I'm just curious, but it would seem to make sense that with a vertical configuration and much smaller cooking chamber capacity, the ECB should use much less fuel than the big ole hog SNP...correct?

I do understand that the Gourmet is a two-grate smoker with approx 16-1/2" diameter grates (approx. 408 sq in total), and I'm OK with that...I can smoke a meal for 6-7 on that size of grates pretty easily. I would use it for whole, halved & quartered chickens, 3-4lb chuck roasts, 4-5lb butts, & a few taters and/or other sides with a meat.

I would also use the ECB for cold smoked & seared steaks, chops, chix pieces, etc., like I've done on my 22.5" charcoal grill...this would be for increased capacity/back-up for the grill. I think it would be a good fit for that type of cooking as well, so it would save me having to acquire an additional grill as well.

What is your overall level of satisfaction with your rig after doing charcoal basket mods, etc?

Thanks for your thoughts and tips.

post #2 of 8
I know BigSteve has one of these, I would PM him or I'm sure he will be along soon.
post #3 of 8
eric - i don't have a gourmet, but i do have the "standard" ecb and i am a big fan - i love my SnP to pieces, but if i'm only going to do a small amount of food, the ECB is the way to go - i would say that the most charcoal i've used for a standard smoke is 2 chimneys' worth; PPB or brisket would of course take much more and a chicken or small rack of ribs would of course take less.

very efficient with the mods (if i remember correctly, the gourmet has the mods done already?) and great-tasting q is not difficult at all.
post #4 of 8
Eric, I have the Gourmet model. I love it. I can't really answer many of your questions as I use lump. I enjoy using it a lot. The capacity is not enough quite often lately. My guys are turning into big eaters and put a big dent in the amount of food that's left over after the meal. My only complaint is that when it's fully loaded with big pieces of meat it's difficult for me to lift to tend the fire. I'm looking in to getting a different smoker for those reasons, but will continue to use the Brinkmann as well. The charcoal basket mod that I did was easy and works great.
I don't think the Gourmet goes through much fuel or wood at all. Feel free to pm me if you have any more questions I might be able to answer for you.
post #5 of 8
Eric I have 2 ECB's regular 1's-I also love them.very good on fuel,I even stack mine when doing sausage-and yes as Dawn states with both racks full there pretty heavy.
post #6 of 8
If the Gourmet is the price range you're looking at, I don't think you can do any better, short of a great deal on a used WSM. I don't weigh charcoal, but guesstimating, I'd say I use only a couple of pounds for a 3 hr smoke, then add a little more. If you get one and start modding, make sure you make your intake adjustable. Most of the temp control on a Gourmet is based on how much coal you start out with that is lit. But no matter how careful you are, some days the Gourmet just does what it wants. So damping the intake will help you a LOT if you're running hot one day.

Me? I liked it well enough, and was getting good results. But then I added a smokenator to a used Weber 22 1/2 kettle I bought. I promptly forgot the Gourmet. The smokenator set up uses even less coals, is easy to control the temps, and for only a few bucks you can get a grill to add on to give you two layers of cooking.

What I did in the meantime was buy a propane afterburner for my Gourmet. Now I can do shorter smokes, like chicken pieces on weeknights after work, without waiting for my coals to heat up. This weekend is a Boston Butt on the Smokenator.

So, my advice is that if the Gourmet is what you've budgeted, go ahead, you'll be fine. But if you can afford something better, then don't futz around with the Gourmet.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
COOL!!!!!! Lots of great info here!

This pretty much makes my mind up for me...I could probably swing a few more bucks into a better smoker, but, then again, this will make smoker #4... PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif, and 2 grills.

I think it's more for the intrique of the beloved bullet that so many have started with, while I smoked on a gas grill and then, moved up to the GOSM. It required no real fire management skills using a gasser. I just can't get enough of that charcoal fired goodness with the smoke...mmm-mmm-mmm.

Anyway, let the quest continue...I'll be scouting for an ECB to bag and tag soon!

Thanks Bill, Tas, Dawn, Bob, Steve, and..........Mikey again (PM'd me).

I'll be anxiously awaiting to post her maiden smoke...the sooner the better!

post #8 of 8
Check Craig's List often, I see a ton of ECB's on there for cheap!
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