Any Char Broil ECB Tips?

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Original poster
May 28, 2007
Hey Folks,

I'm almost too embarrased to make this post, but I've got to humble myself if I'm going to get better. Maybe it will help out some other newbies also. My wife got me this Char Broil model ECB for my birthday - a cruel joke since I live in Massachusetts and it was December, so I had to wait five months to fire it up. I did Jeff's 5 day e-course and did a pork shoulder with the Carolina rub and sauce (I was born there so thought it was appropriate) and it turned out pretty good (a little heavy on the paprika/celery salt, tho). Along the way I learned some lessons and had some questions, and here they are:

1. You don't need 3 cups of rub for a 7lb picnic cut; start with a cup and procede from there.
2. Line a large casserole dish with plastic wrap (use a wide roll) to rub the meat to catch the rub that spills off the sides. After rubbing you can wrap it up neat and easy and place in the fridge.
3. Load the fire starter and unlits coals into the coal bowl before putting the bowl into the smoker; it's awkward to reach 3 feet down into the smoker to pour coals in and arrange everything. I found a decent fire starter is to take a cardboard egg carton, fill with strips of newspaper (I roll the strips so they fit easy in each egg holder), and let some strips hang out so the rest can light; cover these with the charcoal and light. (I have a chimney starter, but I couldn't use it because the coal bowl is so awkward to set in - have to almost turn it on it's side - and I was worried about spilling hot coals everywhere)
4. Let the temperature of the smoker get up to at least 225 before putting in the meat. I made the mistake of putting in the meat when it was 200 expecting that the temperature would continue to rise rapidly, but it took another two hours as the coals continued to light and the 40* meat cooled down the smoker.
5. I found that maintaining the temperature wasn't too hard if I pushed the hot coals to the side away from my door and just added fresh unlit coals every couple of hours. Perhaps I was fortunate, but I never had a problem with the temperature getting too hot.
6. The Home Depot near me didn't carry the hardwood charcoal, but Target did. Crazy.
7. The True Value near me had oak smoking chips from Jack Daniel's barrels. Now that's making the most of the distilling process.
8. The vague temperature gauge isn't that helpful, but a remote thermometer with both meat and internal temperture is very helpful. Though some people seem to drill holes for the wires, I just let them out the little door with no problem.
9. After taking out the bone, fat, and other non-meat stuff, a 7lb picnic cut goes quick if you're hungry and have a few people to share with!

1. What do you set the lid on when you are doing stuff on the inside? I was working out on the driveway and just set the lid on the ground, but am worried over time the coating will chip away and the lid will rust. Also worried that a hot lid will burn into a wood table. Same question for the grids to set the meat on.
2. What do you use for a firebox to light hot coals as you go? (I just added unlit coals since I didn't have one.) Is there something specifically made for this purpose, or do you just use another charcoal grill?
3. What is your favorite rub/sauce combo? I'm going to try Jeff's, of course.
4. What is your favorite smoking wood/combo? Esp. as this relates to rub/sauce combo - assuming this is like pairing wine with a meal.
4. Any other tips? Comments on the lessons I've learned, how to do things better?

Thanks for your consideration!
I am new and cant answer many but here goes

I use a charcoal chimney starter and you can just light the charcoal in it and pour it into the fire box.

I like hickory and Pecan for my wood

I like the rub simple-Cajun seasoning (that Tony Chatori????) stuff-onion powder and a little brown sugar and Paprika
Another newbie here, but I can speak from the few things I have smoked.

So far Jeff's rub is what I have been using on all my pork, it's great. I did spare ribs yesterday for some friends using the 3-2-1 method. Everyone raved about the ribs. I have a pork shoulder, I just pulled off the smoker, that was rubbed with it.

The wood i use most is mesquite. My bro-in-law would always smoke with mesquite logs he got from Texas. He was the one that got me started smoking meat. I just like the flavor. I read apple is great to smoke with ribs. I will chop down a apple tree when my mother moves from her house. I don't think the new people will appreciate it as much as I would.
Congrats on your ECB
I suggest you make the mods. It'll make your temp control and adding fuel easier.

Check out my ECB with mods.

I use this rub for butts:

Southern Succor Pork Rub

1/2 cup freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt
4 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp cayenne

Mix the spices thoroughly in a bowl.

Recipe from Smoke and Spice.

Carolina Red Pork Sauce


1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp cayenne or hot dried red chile flakes
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Serve at room temp or chilled. Sauce keeps indefinitely.

Recipe from Smoke & Spice

Set your cover on some newspaper, same with the grills. I like cherry and hickory wood.
BrizDawg -

When you use the chimney set it on something else when you start it like a pizza pan or something metal and when the coals get going dump them into the coal pan.

I set my cover either on my old grill or on a hunk of 2x4 wrapped in foil. It does touch the meat sometimes so I make use whatever it touches is cleaned first.

My favorite rub is just garlic, onion, canjun spice, paprika, chili powder, mustard and either lemon zest or orange zest and a pinch of salt with an apple juice sprizt.

My favorte BBQ sauce is Jeffs or in a pinch - Italian dressing, garlic, onion, canjun spice, mustard and ketsup with a little bit of maple syrup.

For woods I like hiclory and mesquite, Apple and maple or apple and hickory or any combination of the above. It's what I have a available.

Biggest tip I have is - relax and enjoy it!

If you like a combination of spices for cooking in general you'll probably like it for smoking. Keep your temperatures low as well as your smoke levels and all will be well.

AND have more than one thermometer and use them!

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