4Pogo7's Electric ECB mod ideas - looking for HELP/advice

Discussion in 'ECB Owners Group' started by 4pogo7, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. 4pogo7

    4pogo7 Smoking Fanatic

    Electric ECB mods - looking for HELP/advice

    I am thinking about modifying my Red Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker (Electric ECB), or Little Red Kettle as I like to call it, to get control of temperature and smoke.

    **** NOTE: Every time I mention ECB throughout the rest of this thread I am referring to the ELECTRIC smoker, not the charcoal ECB that many people think of. This thread is all about the ELECTRIC variant of the ECB. Thanks! ****

    I have been looking up mods that others have done but they all seem to be for the charcoal ECB except a few. Only one, by dysenterygary, was really good for the Electric ECB. Link below


    I will explain what I am thinking about doing and list the equipment and supplies I have found, including links to where I found them. Pictures and sketches will be included also.

    I would greatly appreciate any and all advice on this. That includes advice on better parts to use, where to buy parts, or links to mods that have already been done. I am trying to keep it relatively inexpensive and simple. If it’s going to get crazy and out of hand I might as well just go buy an MES 40 and have a great smoker without mods.

    Thank you very much in advance for your help. Once I have gathered all the information I need I will post about my chosen mods and then create a new thread about how they work as I go through the process. Thanks for looking and for your help!!

    The Desired End Result!

    I want to get better use out of my ECB. I have done a few smokes with it so far and they have gone alright, the last one being the best,


    But I want more. I want temperature control, I want more racks so I can smoke more at once, I want to know the temperature of my smoker, I want better seals, I want less heat lose, I want better smoke, I really want a window….but that one won’t happen.

    I want to take this….

    And make this!! Or something similar to it….

    Okay let me go step by step and hit all my “wants” with what I have sketched above.

    **** NOTE: I have my dad’s old ECB for parts, along with the middle section of my brother’s ECB. Also I have a Brinkmann All-In-One Gas & Charcoal Single Burner Smoker, Grill, & Fryer. The All-In-One is the only one that came with the grill grates. I will be using these for parts as needed. ****

    • Temperature control – for this I decided to go simple. I found this universal replacement heating element for electric smokers on Amazon and I think it sounds awesome. Basically just swap out my current one with it and BAM…adjustability! Qty: (1) at  $39.95

    • More Racks/Space – for this I actually need more racks/grates/grids, whatever you want to call them. I also need mounting brackets and hardware. I found all of this on Brinkmann’s website and they don’t seem to be priced too badly, BUT I may just steel them from my parts ECB’s or my All-In-One. I want (1) rack to sit on the base above the heating element like it would for grilling, and I want (1) additional rack to go between the (2) upper positions. For that to happen I would lower the rack/water pan position a few inches or so, raise the top rack position as high as possible, and place the new rack in the middle. This would give me a total of (3) cooking racks and (1) accessory rack. Racks Qty: (2) at $9.95 ea, Bolt Bag Qty: (1) at $1.95, Lower bracket Qty: (6) at $0.50 ea  = $24.85 or free if I steel from my parts smokers.
    • Smoker Temp – Okay, so I admit I went a little crazy with the thermometers in the sketch.  Is there any reason to monitor the temp at each grate, or should I eliminate all but (1) and mount it about 1” above the top grate?  Best reviewed one on Amazon that was adjustable for calibration. Assuming I don’t need all of them. Qty: (1) at $14.49

    I also want one of these for temps. Qty: (1) at $69.99

    • Better Seals – For this I was thinking about the rope gasket seal that many people have done on the charcoal ECB's to seal the gap at the top.  I really haven’t done any research on this one and dysenterygary  used a different method so I am open on this one.  I may just go the route he did since I have a spare lava rock pan. I would also want to seal the door how he did it. Many options in the link. Qty: (?) at $??.??
    • With better seals comes some sort of venting system. For the lid I would probably just do a Weber Style dome lid damper. Then I would either do the same thing for the base, opposite where the element cord comes out, or on the bottom with a handle to control it, or a vent damper on the bottom similar to a Weber charcoal grill. Advice on this one would be helpful!  Qty: (?) at $??.??


    • Heat Lose – for this I have a couple ideas. The first being what dysenterygary  did and use the (2) spare bodies I have to thicken the walls. I would also thicken the lid and base similarly. My alternative is to fabricate a “Smoker Coat.” This would be like a water heater blanket, or a flame retardant quilt material that I could custom fit into a, well, coat for my smoker.  If I do a water heater blanket I want a non-fiberglass one, (2 options below) but I am unsure what to do if I go with a quilt like material. Would quilted moving blankets work?  Qty: (?) at $??.??
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ter blanket&qid=1444858947&ref_=sr_1_5&sr=8-5

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ter blanket&qid=1444858947&ref_=sr_1_4&sr=8-4

    • Better Smoke – not to be confused with "more smoke", I want better smoke! I can get TBS going but the problem is how long it will last. Replacing chips in an ECB isn't the most ideal situation, but I do it when I need to. For this specific want I think most of us can agree on one product, A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker. This would be placed on the new lower rack I want above the heating element. If need be I can fabricate a heat shield to hang from the rack to keep the AMNPS from direct heat. Qty: (1) at $30.97 (1st option in drop down menu)
    • Window – Unless someone can find a cheap, curved, high heat glass that I can put into a curved door, this one won't happen. However, that doesn't mean I can't make accessing things easier! Sketch below.
    • As shown in the sketch, I am planning on adding a 2nd door down low to access the grate above the heating element where the AMNPS will sit. That way I can add or remove the smoke as needed without removing the smoker body. I am considering making the lower "door" more of a "drawer" and have a hook that attaches to the AMNPS so when I "open" the drawer it pulls the AMNPS out. Also when I "close" the drawer it will push the AMNPS back into the center of the rack. This would be made from my parts smokers or material I already have.
    • In the sketch on the right I have shown a larger main door. This would aid in checking meat on the lower racks and such. This would also be fabricated from material I already have.
    • Lastly, if I can't have my window, darn you dad's MES 40 for spoiling me!, I might just make a single large door on the side of the smoker body to access everything, sort of like the picture below. This would be done with material I already have.

    If you are still with me at this point I thank you very much for sticking it out and reading to the end!! Please reply with any comments, thoughts, advice, suggestions, critique, funny pics, or whatever! I would really appreciate any help I can get on this one so I don't waste money and time on bad ideas or bad parts.

    Thank you for looking and your help!!

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I read through this pretty fast so I apologize if I missed something but here are my thoughts:

    The adjustable thermostat is a great idea. My biggest complaint about my e-ecb is temp control. The only problem you might have is that one you posted is 1300 watts and I believe the stock one is 1500 so you will have a harder time keeping it up to temp in cold weather. 

    As for thermometers, get a maverick or igrill or similar to track temps. Don't worry with installing analog thermos. 

    If you are worried about heat loss you could use a welding blanket in the winter to keep it warm.

    Other than that I wouldn't make any changes. At the end of the day it is a $75 smoker and I personally would not invest another $100 plus into it.
  3. 4pogo7

    4pogo7 Smoking Fanatic

    bmaddox, it was a lot of info so no worries! Thanks for taking time to look at it and reply!

    I noticed that too, that it is 1300 instead of 1500 but I didn't know how it would affect things. Thanks for the info! That is another reason I would want it to be insulated and sealed.

    I do want a dual probe digital thermometer, so that's true that I wouldn't need a analog one.

    I will have to look into the welding blanket. I forgot all about those.

    The main reason I want to mod my E-ECB, besides temp control, is because this would really give me something fairly cheap to tinker with since I don't really have any other projects going on right now that I can afford to work on lol. I got this smoker as a gift so I don't have anything invested at this point, and I have all the spare parts from my dad's old E-ECB and the body from my brother's so I can probably use those for most things. I agree though. It's not worth dumping $100 or more into a $75 smoker when I could get something better for a couple hundred.

    I figured I would just have fun with my E-ECB and see what I can do. Thank you again for reading and the advice! 
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Good luck with the mods. I know the ECBs get looked down on but thats what I learned to smoke on and it worked really well. We have one at the hunting camp that will be running most of next week while we are there. 
  5. 4pogo7

    4pogo7 Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you. It is a good little smoker to learn on and it really does work well for a simple smoker. I am jealous about the hunting camp! I am still trying to figure out where I am going to go bow hunting this year and the season opened on the 1st!! Good luck and good smoking!
  6. 4pogo7

    4pogo7 Smoking Fanatic

    So you got me thinking. I found this 1500 watt replacement element


    That goes with this smoker


    I couldn't find anything on the approximate temp range for this one. Although the universal one says, "allows you to adjust the temperature from approximately 50 F up to 450 F, depending on size, construction and materials used in the smoker or grill."

    Do you have any additional thoughts about these two replacement options? Or do yo have any recommendations for what to use in place of the 1500 watt stock element? I am open to any idea, as long as the cost isn't too high.

  7. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    Corrugated cardbox boxes, with the ends open so it forms a diamond shape that fit over the smoker and its handles, are good at keeping heat in for low wattage electric smoker. (Most of the commercial electrics (like your dad's MES) have double-walled construction, which is sort of what the cardboard box is doing.)  Then you can throw a blanket over the top.  Yes a welding blanket over the whole thing will do the trick, but if you don't have one, they're a bit expensive.  Same with the water heater blanket.  Sealing your smoke leaks is a nice touch, but it's not like you're losing a lot of heat that way.  

    If your amaze-in smoker won't go the whole smoke (and you'll need a thermometer in your meat to determine that) I'd just make a chute to load more pellets into it from a quick open in the Brinkmann door.  You can put in a larger door, to put in another amaze-ing maze, but that's just that more heat you'll lose when you open it.  

    I'd do a few more smokes before you start doing much cutting.  Then you'll learn whether your problem is not enough insulation (too cold and slow) or not enough smoke, or ....  

    Most of the pros say the smoke does the most good while the meat is still under 120 degF, so I wouldn't worry too much if your  smoke runs out.  Possibly the same thing if your water runs out.  Just keep cooking.  
  8. 4pogo7

    4pogo7 Smoking Fanatic

    Hey bill1, thank you very for all the info!! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my very long thread and for giving suggestions and ideas!! I am just going to clarify a couple things.

    I have tried boxes before, and they work pretty well. With blankets I can custom fit them to my smoker so I still have access to the door, lid, and whatnot. When I remove a box it is like taking the lid off. I lose heat and have a slow recovery time. You are right about the box, but it’s just not the finished product I am looking for.

    The added "drawer/door" for the AMNPS is more for control over smoking or not. That way I could add or remove it without much heat lose.

    The larger door would be for big things that I would need to remove the lid for, like adding or removing meat.

    Most of my mods are based on having the ability to control things more, like being able to turn down the heat so I can cold smoke cheese! [​IMG]

    Thank you again for taking a look and for the ideas and suggestions. I definitely need to get more smokes under my belt.

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