Newb with a question

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Original poster
Mar 6, 2006
Hello all, nice website here. Just signed up yesterday and I'm very excited about it.

I'm an Iowa native living in Minnesota (saw a Buckeye fan on here, maybe we can get a Big Ten rivalry thing going :D ). My grandpa was a hog farmer, so naturally I've always been a huge fan of barbecued pork all my life. Last year I bought my first smoker (a Brinkmann Smoke n' Grill - vertical water smoker) and have been experimenting with rubs and sauces ever since. My wife thinks I'm nuts, but at least this hobby keeps me out of trouble. :twisted:

When using my smoker, my coals seem to die out more frequently than they should. I think the problem could be one or both of the following:

1. There are no vents on my grill to control airflow; and
2. I soak my woodchips in water for 30-45 minutes, then wrap them in foil and place them on top of the coals when I'm ready to start cooking, which might suffocate the coals.

I've been tempted to drill some holes in the side of the grill at the level of the charcoal pan to improve oxygen flow, but thought I would ask for some feedback first. Any help would be appreciated.
leger, bullet smokers are my weak suit, so I'll leave the advice to those who know this type of cooker better. I will say Welcome Friend, make yourself at home. There's lots of folks here who will be able to help you out. Great to have you aboard.
legerdemain-Welcome to the Smoking Meat Forum! I own an ECB too so I'm familiar with the problem you're having.

First off, add a grate to the charcoal basket-this will hold the briquettes off the bottom of the pan and allow for better air circulation.

Second, use a 1/2 drill bit and drill 4-5 additional air holes in the bottom of the pan to increase the air circulation.

Third, when lighting the briquettes, use the "Minion" Method. Place 2 full chimney's of unlit briquetes into the fire pan. Fill the chimney again and light it, when these briquette ash over spread them evenly over the top of the unlit briquettes. Add your wood directly on the briquettes. I will also add some wood chunks to the briquettes when I fill the fire pan.

Hope this will help you keep your fire going.
Welcome legerdemain. I hope you enjoy it here at smokingmeatforums, there is tons of great information here and I'm sure you'll be adding your own advice and experiences soon. One more mod that you'll probably want to make to your ECB is to put the coal pan on its own legs. The boy did this to ours and it really helps when you get into a long smoke and have to empty out some of the old coals in order to add more. I'll try and find out what website he found the instructions on and pass that along to you.
legerdemain, I had the granddaddy to the ECB called a Mr. Meat Smoker. It was manufactured back when they still had a hole in the firepan for air. The grate and airholes will be a BIG help in being able to control temperatures in your smoker.

But a word of caution: Drilling holes in the firepan will allow hot ash to drop out which can lead to secondary fires (the reason they stopped making pans with holes) if any flamable material like a wooden deck or grass are under the smoker. Wind can also blow the hot ashes around. I never had trouble on a concrete surface.
Good safety point there, Brother Bob! As a Firefighter, I sometimes overlook instructing the Newbies on the obvious.

Welcome to our Forum Legerdemain! All the above tip will assist you in maintaining a much better temp control.


Welcome aboard, sorry I can't help you with your smoker issues I use a ECB horizontal smoker.

But I did want to let you know that I too am a displaced Hawkeye, class of 95. Now I find myself stuck out here in Pac 10 country of all places. Not to start a rant but did you watch that Outback bowl, give me a break.
Welcome to the group, sounds like the rest of our friends have gave you a few simple fixes to your question, so I wont have to coment on that. However (as Ranger would say) living just about a short 20 min drive from the BIG HOUSE, I can elaborate on the big 10 at this point in time...I would like to say...GO BLUE !!!!!!!
Smoke on friends,
Thank you to everyone for the tips and warm welcome. I plan to start the modifications tonight.

Sasquatch - do you think Lloyd Carr is in trouble?

y2kpitt - the Hawks got hosed on both the PI call in the endzone and the offsides call, but if they would have showed up for the first half, it might not have mattered.

Is there an off-topic forum better suited for football discussions?
Hey, I kinda think that sports and good que kinda go good together!! :mrgreen:
Yes I do believe that Coach Carrs days are numbered....all depends on what happens this season. Here in Michigan we have been going through coaches....damn near in all our some people go through socks.
Oh yeah....and you are correct Dutch....i can remember many times out in the woods with the campers and buds.....watchin Hockey, Football, and Nascar, and a lil Basketball too...just packin in the Q like we had never eatin before. Lots of great memories. Hopefully will add some more here startin up on the next month or so.
Welcome Legerdemain, from what I've read, it seems that there have been some great responses to your BBQ questions, so I will just stick to the other statement...

How about a Pac-10 Rivalry??? I am a huge ASU fan, as you can tell if you see pictures of my truck. We do some serious Tailgating for those games, last year, we had a min of 500 people at each tailgate and for two of them (USC and UofA), we had over 1000, so we get pretty crazy, but it's all fun Earl, I agree, Sports and BBQ do go together very well.

Hope to see you at a future tailgate event, we may have to come back to your neck of the woods, but I'm sure it would be a great trip.
Hi legerdemain-

I finaly found that site where the boy got all of his ECB mods. It's

It has pictures which are always a help when trying to figure out what everyone is telling you to do.

I'd chime in on the football but I'm affraid I don't know much about PAC 10 sports. Now if we have any Big 12 buffs out there I'm all in. Go Aggies!!!!
AZ - ASU broke my heart when Iowa played out there 2 years ago, but I wasn't really surprised - a revenge game at night in the desert did not bode well for the Hawks.

jlloyd - Thanks for the site. And as long as you don't root for Iowa State or Nebraska, you're fine by me. :lol:
I know I'm bias, but I kind of liked that game. :D We should have an outstanding team this season, so I'm really looking forward to it.

And I'm not a Nebraska or Iowa State fan either. My teams are ASU, whoever is playing UofA and Notre Dame. Go Irish..
The 2003 result was much more appealing.
Bienvenue, Legerdemain! I am curious about your Nom de Plume! Perhaps you could expand on this? Are you a performing magician?
Monty-Does making food disappear count?? :D
Only if accompanied by incredulous OOOHS and AAAHS! And no apparent lip or jaw movement!
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