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Broke out the ECB---did mods and running temp tests

chef willie

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Well, after being on here a coupla weeks and soaking up the great info I decided to drag the old ECB outta the garage and clean it up. Did the recommended mods...drilled air holes, sand in the water pan, chicken wire basket for the coals etc. Got a longggg probe therm in a tater on top of the grill, bought a digital therm & have that in a tater as well on the grill to double check temps and put a dial therm from a grill above the useless ECB therm. Started with a 2/3 full chimney of hot coals and checking temps every 15 minutes. The probe was spot on in a boiling water test at 212...forgot to write down the digital test but I remember it was off a little low. First check the probe was 310, the digital 290. 2nd check probe was 300, digital 270. 3rd check probe was 275, digital was 267. Grill therm hasn't moved much...190 down from 200. Last check probe at 250, digital at 242 and grill therm at 175. Coals looking like I should add a few more at this point to keep things where they are. So I'm thinking when going to do a load I should add meat about this point? along with a few coals? since the temps seemed to have evened out after some initial flucuations. Words of wisdom appreciated...have a chuckie in the fridge I'd like to do in a few days. Oh, very windy here today, hence the windbreak
 

les3176

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Sounds like you got the ecb running good. Its kinds hard to regulate the heat with this unit cause theres no air vents or exhaust vents.Before i did my mods i just got a handle on how much fuel to use and add to keep the heat some what consistant. Since then i have added a exaust vent from a leftover chargriller to the lid of my ecb to help adjust temps.And have another vent for the charcoal pan,but i haven't done that one yet! i add the meat when the temps seem to stay around 250 And watch the temps close after that.Adding small amounts of lit charcoal to keep the temps around that 225-250 range.Good luck with that chuckie!!!
 

TulsaJeff

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Sounds like you got the right idea.. those types of smokers are high maintenance and I kind of enjoyed that when I was younger. Now a days, I enjoy a little more time between checks but the best tips I can give you for that smoker is to practice practice practice, try to remove any variables (such as wind) as much as possible and write down what you do in a sort of log format so you can remember it later.

Don't get too anal about keeping the temperature exactly on 225 or exactly on 240, be willing to allow it to fluctuate by 30-40 degrees up and down and use a digital probe meat thermometer to tell you when the meat is done. Don't worry about the time.

The suggestion to add lit charcoal a little at a time as needed is right on..

Most of all, enjoy the experience.
 

SmokinAl

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Sounds to me like you've got it dialed in. Now smoke something!   
 

chef willie

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Thanks Jeff.....how'd you know I was a 'little' anal?...lol...GF says I need to work on my patience as well....smoking meat is cheaper than therapy so glad I found this forum. Thanks also for all the great advice in your e-course. Years ago I used to just throw a turkey in the ECB with 10# coals for 12 hours....I realize now how little I knew.....Bill
 
Sounds like you got the right idea.. those types of smokers are high maintenance and I kind of enjoyed that when I was younger. Now a days, I enjoy a little more time between checks but the best tips I can give you for that smoker is to practice practice practice, try to remove any variables (such as wind) as much as possible and write down what you do in a sort of log format so you can remember it later.

Don't get too anal about keeping the temperature exactly on 225 or exactly on 240, be willing to allow it to fluctuate by 30-40 degrees up and down and use a digital probe meat thermometer to tell you when the meat is done. Don't worry about the time.

The suggestion to add lit charcoal a little at a time as needed is right on..

Most of all, enjoy the experience.
 

chef willie

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Thanks Al....have enjoyed reading your postings. Have a 3.5# chuckie that will be done on Tuesday in the revamped ECB following Bears tutorial.....I'm thinking about 7 hours or slightly less if I can maintain the temp around 250? Hopefully it won't be a windy day here in the PNW.
 
Sounds to me like you've got it dialed in. Now smoke something!   
 

chef willie

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Thanks for the input....would like to see a pic of that exhaust vent if possible. I may have to open the door a crack every now & then to vent some heat if it climbs to high. I'll start the coals a little early to hopefully tame the beast before the meat goes on. Gonna use the long probe therm as chamber monitor and stick the digital in the chuckie. I'll redo the boiling water test on the digital and write down the diff so I can remember the adjustment. Chuckie will get an overnight marinade on Monday & hit the grate on Tuesday.
 
Sounds like you got the ecb running good. Its kinds hard to regulate the heat with this unit cause theres no air vents or exhaust vents.Before i did my mods i just got a handle on how much fuel to use and add to keep the heat some what consistant. Since then i have added a exaust vent from a leftover chargriller to the lid of my ecb to help adjust temps.And have another vent for the charcoal pan,but i haven't done that one yet! i add the meat when the temps seem to stay around 250 And watch the temps close after that.Adding small amounts of lit charcoal to keep the temps around that 225-250 range.Good luck with that chuckie!!!
 

csmith2884

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 I tell lots of folks if that gets to be a pain to keep dialed in the propane conversion linked to my name is a great way to make a darn good cheap smoker. I love mine and can still do charcoal if I feel the need.
 

chef willie

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kinda interesting setup....always a twist out there....may have to look deeper into that for the future...thx for the info...Bill
 I tell lots of folks if that gets to be a pain to keep dialed in the propane conversion linked to my name is a great way to make a darn good cheap smoker. I love mine and can still do charcoal if I feel the need.
 

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