Much happier with my ECB

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scott t

Original poster
Dec 3, 2005
I followed the suggestions and links in this forum and I'm much happier with my ECB.

The first and probably the most important modification was to add a grate to the charcoal bowl. Prior to this I had trouble getting the temperature into the "Ideal" range. (Adding a new thermometer is next on the list). I stopped by the local steel distributer and bought a drop off of 9 gage expanded metal. I cut this in a circle of approximately 11 1/4". At this diameter the grate sits about two thirds of the way down in the bowl.

With this in place I made some ribs and a pork butt. The ribs were perfect. The small butt, at just under 4 pounds, was plateaued at around 160f. I couldn't quite push it through. I finished in the oven but it was still delicious. At about 7 hours the ash had filled the bottom and were starting to smother the coals.

I had already decided that I wanted to add air holes but I also wanted to be able to easily dump some ashes periodically. I opted to add a damper plate on the bottom and add an ash pit underneath. For this I used 1/16" aluminum. A 6" diameter fits perfectly in the indent of the fire bowl. I used a small stainless steel screw for the pivot. I then punched in four 3/4" equally spaced holes in both the bowl and the plate. I added a small handle to rotate the plate along with a support strap that limited the travel to full open one way and full closed the other.

I still needed legs for the fire bowl. I also wanted it to hold the ash tray. I used some scrap angle iron and steel flats to make a triangular base. The flats held the upright angles together and made a shelf for the ash tray. A 8 3/4" disposable pie pan fits perfect. A little shot of rattle can flat black and it looks like it came from the factory (well maybe some third world country factory).

I was going to rotate the existing legs to the outside just like RandyQ shows. I then had a idea. I simply trimmed the legs down by cutting off the inside tapered portion. I used the original notch as a guide and went straight down. Now I can lift the whole affair off of the fire bowl. Leaving the legs on the inside also has the advantage of keeping the barrel evenly spaced to the fire bowl.

I used this this past weekend to make several racks of ribs, twice baked potatoes and smoked devil eggs. Everything came out great. I had a real easy time maintaining temperature. I could even get rid of excess ash during the smoke without disturbing a thing.

I have an idea to add a sweeper to the pivot screw to be able to knock down even more ashes. I want get a replacement thermometer. The ones at Lowes go up to 700F and are in 50f increments. I want something with a little more resoloution. I may just get the digital one for $17 at Lowes and use that. I have enough control where i don't think I need a vent in the top.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and posting the links.

One happy smoker,
Hey Scott,
Glad to hear that you performed the mods to your ECB. I think that you will be happy with your work. It is amazing how a few mods can improve your smoker. I think that I may bust out my Modifed ECB this weekend!!
Glad to hear it worked out for you Scott. 8) I'm sure others as well as myself would like to see you mods if you could post pictures.

one point I might mention..I tried using charcoal..but didn't like it because it created too much ash...switched to the royal oak lump type really well...very little ash to worry about...doesn't choke off the air flow in the fire bowl..just be sure to use a wire rack to keep a space in between your coals ant the bottom of the bowl

Here are some pictures to go along with my description above.

Here is the base weldment. It is 8 1/2" tall. That places the fire bowl at its original position in the chamber

Here is the damper assembly showing the vents fully closed. The support strap at the top limits the travel.

Vents fully open.

This is a picture of the expanded metal grate and how it sits in the bowl.

This is the fire bowl assembly with ash tray (pie tin)

Here is a detail of the cut down legs.

Here's the whole thing back together.

This smile makes it all worthwhile!
Scott, Glad you got the picture thing to work; noticed the red X's in your test posting.

Great job with the photos and the discription-nice!!
I'm sure there will be others that will benefit from your photo documentary. Great job. 8)
Very nice work scotty, its funny I myself was thinking last week that I just need to go ahead and make the mods to my ecb your picks will help me out alot. Thanks for sharing and have a Happy Holidays :D
Awesome, good job on doing those. I'm not a handy type person so I wasn't enthusiastic about having to tinker with stuff, but it makes it worth it in the end. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.