Howdy from El Salvador

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by isho21, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Hello all,

    I'm Isho in El Salvador.  For the past year or so, I have been experimenting with grilling and smoking, with fairly good results and some disasters in between (as i'm sure it happens when a noob tries to smoke a brisket!)  We have a very limited selection of equipment, meats, fuel and wood/chips here so we have to make do.

    My first grill was a made-in-china 22in kettle that cost around $70 and I think I got what I paid for.  After one winter it has corroded and is falling apart.  Last week I picked up a grill/smoker combo (should have been the first red flag, right?) and ran home to put it together only to read some pretty rough reviews, it's an ECB! Followed almost all of Jeff's mods and gave it a test drive smoking some salmon.  My first impression is that it was very difficult to control the temperature and I quickly overcooked the salmon, but the smoky flavor was awesome.

    Grilling is ok for me and I love burgers, but there's just nothing like some slow-smoked, juicy pork.  Baby backs are my faves and I'm not half bad at them by now.  Pork butt and the holy grail, brisket, are still things I'm struggling with but I understand they take more practice to get right, so i'll keep trying!

    I have tons of questions as I've had a hard time controlling temperature and also getting chips/chunks to smoke for longer than a few minutes.  I'll be posting in the forums to try to get some pointers on these.  For now, just wanted to say hi!
     
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]    Glad to have you with us!
     
  3. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fl
  4. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  glad to have you here. Now the ECB is hard to control but with the mods. and trial and error you will figure out

    how to control it pretty good. Post pic. of what mods you did and how you set up the coals.

    If you use chips I would soak them first. and putting them in a smoker box help them last longer.

    chunks I don't soak. Put the chunks next to the coals and they will smoke longer
     
  5. OK, here are some pics.  First up, how it looks assembled.  Note the vent on the lid, legs on outside, charcoal tray legs poking out.

    [​IMG]

    Closer look at the legs and vent

    [​IMG]

    Since my old POS grill rusted away after 1 yr of use, I took the vent from it and installed it on the ECB.

    [​IMG]

    Didn't have a drill bit large enough for the vent holes, so just did small triangles instead.  If I find I need even more ventilation, I guess I can always go back and drill some more holes...

    [​IMG]

    Freestanding charcoal tray so I can take the whole smoker off of it and add charcoal.  This is key, since trying to get into the charcoal tray from that tiny little door is useless.  Also, drilled 8 holes on each side as I had seen on Jeff's suggestions.  My extra little touch was to cut up the charcoal grill from my old one I'm discarding and install it within the pan so that the ashes fall below and away.  This may need tweaking since it actually holds very little charcoal now.  Hmm.

    Also, the stainless steel rod I used for the legs was a NIGHTMARE to cut.  I had the smallest little saw and worked at it furiously for about a half hour and got nowhere.  Fortunately there are some homes being built in my neighborhood and was so lucky to find a guy who had a power tool and did this in a few seconds.  Best $5 i ever spent!  Also, found the little rubber toppers which I put on the ends of the legs, great for stability and not scratching up the surfaces it stands on.  Also looks a tiny little bit more like it actually came that way, less fabricated.

    [​IMG]

    Holes on sides of charcoal tray.  But the grate is too high up on the pan, leaving very little room for the charcoal.  Gotta keep playing with this.

    [​IMG]

    Last one I need to make is to get a thermometer and install on the lid.  One of the drawbacks of living here, there are none available.  Will have to get one from the states the next time I'm up there and install afterward.  Until then, will have to be opening the lid and checking on my trusty surface thermometer which I have been placing on the grill surface.

    Overall I actually had a lot of fun doing the mods, and now it's mostly an issue of trial and error until I learn to control the temp better...
     
  6. Tried to add some pics but got a message about waiting to be moderated b/c I'm new.  Can post text, though.  Hopefully it'll be up soon so I can show you my ECB with its mods!
     
  7. kingkoch42

    kingkoch42 Smoke Blower

    gone
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome aboard, Isho!

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  9. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Welcome aboard! I wanna see a smoked papusa!
     
  10. Welcome Isho!  What is the postal/shipping like where you are at. Perhaps there is a member of two that could help you out with trades - something you can get easily there in trade for things you need from the states.  Good luck with your setup and keep the Qview coming.

    John
     
  11. Thanks, Cal!  At one of the hardware stores over here, they sell a metal box which I could pick up and try putting the wood chunks/chips in there.  I haven't heard too much about it but will pick one up now that you mention it.  Great tip!
     

  12. Hmm... there's an idea! Will try it soon and qview.
     
  13. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    You did a great job on your mod. for the smoker.

    I like the legs for the pan. Mine sit on blocks.

    If i'm not carefull when I lift the smoker off of it,

    it can get knock off the blocks. (that no fun)

    Will have to add legs like your to mine.

    one more mod. I would do would be take thin piece of metal

    and hook it up to the bowl so it can slide over the holes

    that way u can control air intake.

    Can you order a thermometer or is the shipping cost to high???

    now we need to see that smoker in action!!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Thanks John! While this would be a great idea within the same country, shipping costs and import taxes make it quite expensive.  Not to mention, any food/fuel/chemical products being imported have to get health dept import licenses! What a nightmare... What I usually do is whenever I make it up to the states (1-2x year) I just buy stuff at the store and bring it in my luggage.
     
  15. Thanks jrod! I actually really enjoyed making the mods.

    So for the additional mod you're suggesting, do you mean something like #7 in this guide? http://www.randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecbmods.html   That also may be part of the reason why I overcooked the salmon the only time i used it (couldn't get it below 300 degrees).
     
  16. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forum.I hope your planning some versions of the local food as well as brisket & baby backs.
     

  17. Thanks Moikel! Local foods here are pupusas, refried beans, thick corn tortillas, yucas.  All should be exciting foods to smoke, and i promise some qview soon.  For now, been trying to re-create my favorites from the years I lived in TX, brisket, ribs, pulled pork.  Only ones I've had any kind of success with have been baby backs.  For the past year, I experimented with smoking on a regular kettle grill, but last week I picked up an ECB, and have only used it once.  Gotta learn to control smoke and temp on that thing, it's not exactly easy!  =)
     
  18. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK you got me whats a pupusas? I eat just about anything thats not mans best friend or endangered . A lot of my friends regard me as a bit of a stunt eater but if the chinese guys at the next table are having pressed pig ear terrine I want to know what it tastes like. So its a what...?
     

  19. Haha! Love it!  I'll try anything once, but most of the very exotic stuff like pig ears, coagulated blood, bull balls and stuff like that, I don't come back to.

    A pupusa is a thick corn tortilla stuffed with cheese which is cooked on a griddle.  Many variations exist where they will also be stuffed with refried beans, pork, and combinations of those, so on.  I wonder about the consistency since they're cooked with oil or fat and so it kind of pan fries them.  The fatty crust is not something you want to take away from it.  So maybe you smoke it first and then finish it on the pan with some oil.  Hmmm.  Gotta think about that for a little bit.

    Some pics: http://www.whats4eats.com/files/images/breads-pupusas-flickr-waldenpond-2145662348.thumbnail.jpg

    http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/images/pupusas/pupusa-cu.jpg

    http://www.washingtonian.com/block_dbimages/15957/Picture 2.png

    http://www.washingtonian.com/block_dbimages/15958/irenes.folding.png
     
  20. tailgate72

    tailgate72 Smoke Blower

    Welcome to SMF, your already off to a great start.

    Ok I almost had the big one..I went to ups and calculated the cost of sending a 25 lb package to el salvador just to see how much it was and such..valued at $250. The cost of shipping it in a week was $583.47. I think I rather pack it in my luggage and fly it down there for that kind of money..then at least I get to see some sites.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011

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