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Questions on ECB mods

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi guys! Newbie here. After digging through these forums for almost a week, I'm planning to pick up an ECB from Home Depot today ($39!) and do some of the basic mods provided in Randy Lee's great ECB Mods write-up, which was referenced in Day 4 of Jeff's Smoking Basics eCourse:


I had two questions here. Can someone please enlighten me?

First, Modification 1 is to put rods (legs) on the charcoal bowl, and install the main unit's legs on the OUTSIDE. This would create a free-floating charcoal bowl that is not attached to the unit at all. Is this to provide access to the charcoal bowl by lifting the entire unit up and away from it? For example, to have full access to the charcoal pan to do a second Minion Method load-up (which I understand is a rare event)? Or am I totally misunderstanding this? Otherwise I don't see the point of this mod. Sounds kind of dangerous lifting the whole unit, meat and water and all, up off of the floating charcoal bowl, but no risk, no reward!

Second, Modification 2 - Improve firepan airflow, shows charcoal rails, but there is no mention of how these came to be. Is this something you can pick up at a hardware store? Do you have to fabricate it out of an old pie cooling rack and some chewing gum? Little confused here. This is a picture:

Thanks guys! Can't wait to start smoking!
post #2 of 9
To be honest with you, I'd just install the charcoal grate.


I did this and i was able to hold 225 for like 4-5 hours on one chimney of Kingsford briquettes. That's pretty much the only mod I did. Before this the charcoal would smother itself in it's own ash.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I did actually steal the charcoal grate from my wife's Smokey Joe, and put it in the bottom of the ECB's charcoal bowl. I just used three little rocks to give the grate 1" of height from the bottom of the pan, but I like the idea of using three bolts to hold it up instead, since they don't use up some of the potential ash space like the rocks do.

post #4 of 9
You might want to reconsider the 1" height and at least double it depending on what brand of charcoal you're using. If you're using blue bag Kingsford, the ash will be incredible, more than likely choking out your fire with only 1" of space. Just a thought.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip. I'll bump it up to 2" next time. I'll check to see how much ash I end up with when the coals have burned out, and if looks like more than 2" worth, maybe I'll bump it up slightly higher.
post #6 of 9
question a) yep, you're understanding this - make set the height of the ECB at the same level as what it would be if you were going to assemble/use the charcoal pan anyway - it works well and yes, you most likely need to add charcoal and/or stir/shake it around now and then - very useful mod.\

question b) i really like the charcoal rail idea, but like everyone else, i simply use a
round grate that fits.

welcome to the fold! we're glad to have you ~ if you have any other questions, jsut sing out. the ECB is a very good unit capable of turning out high-quality stuff and is in my opinion one of the best bangs you can get for your buck.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yeah, once i realized that I'd either have to chance upon charcoal rails that fit perfectly; or, I would have to fabricate some on my own, I kind of gave up on the charcoal rails idea.

post #8 of 9
For question A: I removed the legs altogether and sit the firepan and the ECB on a couple of cement blocks. If I need to tend to the fire, I lift the whole thing off. So far I haven't had much in the way of problems. I don't have welding skills nor do I have much in the way of steel drilling bits, so this seemed to be a faster and easier mod to get the pit free standing.

Having used it all summer, I'm convinced that doing something like the other mods listed here (getting a grate in the bottom and drilling holes for air) would improve things greatly.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
That's a nice workaround to having to drill the metal!

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