Newbie with ECB

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by rld, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. rld

    rld Newbie

    Howdy all!
    My first attempt at smoking with the ECB produced some difficulty controlling the temp...I found this site and it appears to be a common problem. [​IMG]
    So, I lurked for a day or two reading all the fantastic post from you fine folk, found the "Mods" and jumped right in!

    Here she sits just waiting for some cosmetic surgery.


    First mod...the grate up off the bottom of coal bin for better air flow.


    3 bolts just like y'all...


    Next I thought I'd try to get control of the intake so I rigged up a simple flap. Obviously this is "open"...


    And here is "closed". Not sure if this mod is necessary, but we'll see.


    Next, temp readout.
    Had a hard time finding a thermometer with high enough scale,
    and I didn't want to start with an electronic having read many bad comments on them,
    so a candy therm seemed like an idea.
    Got a couple corks and a grommet...tried the grommet first.


    Looks and fits good...


    Sits nicely just below rack...


    Hopefully the grommet won't melt at 250 degrees, but I'll find out today as I'm smoking a baby back slab.
    Thanks for the tips all!
    Anyone got a link to a nice baby back rub?
  2. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    Excellent pics! I've been mulling around the idea of getting an ECB (one on craigslist for 66 bucks).

    Keep us up to date on how things go with the smoke.
  3. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    If smoking on the wooden deck, be sure to put some concrete pavers or bricks underneath the smoker because it can scorch the deck (ask me how I know [​IMG]).
  4. bigbaldbbq

    bigbaldbbq Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF, glad to have you here.
  5. rld

    rld Newbie

    Thanks guys...
    I'm getting ready to fire up my chimney.
    I'm gonna try the 2-2-1 method for these baby backs.
    Will add 2/3 lit chimney to about as many unlit and see how things progress.
    Gettin' hongry jes thinkin' bout it!
  6. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    The OP is showing a gourmet brinkman. These can be had at Home depot and lowes for about 65 bucks. And if you don't like it, they'll take it back. So skip the one on Craigslist......

    Or keep looking for a better deal. The guy on Craigslist may have paid full retail, and really thinks he's offering a good deal.........
  7. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    2-2-1 is a great place to start on babybacks.

    The amount of coal you described would turn my gourmet into a blast furnace. Good thing you have a damper on the intake [​IMG]

    How far under the pan do you have to reach to get at the damper? How did you mark it to know how far it's open?
  8. rld

    rld Newbie

    Really?...Maybe I don't need so many unlit?
    remember I'm a newbie.[​IMG]
    I thought I read somewhere about 32 briquettes in the chimney (2/3)
    and then place on some unlit.
    I guess its all a bit of trial and error.
    As far as reaching for the damper, in my pic there is a shot of the rudimentary handle.
    I just have it marked for "open/closed...I figured I can eyeball it for in between.
  9. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Oh, okay. Well, I've posted numerous times that I start with 32 lits. I have a very large chimney starter, so they fill only about 1/4 of mine. I was picturing MY chimney starter when you said 2/3.

    And it is trial and error for sure. Then wind and air temperature factor in.

    Let us know how it goes.
  10. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I see the handle now. Don't know how I missed it. I closed off my bottom damper, and added a side damper instead. I'm not getting quite enough airflow, so I'm probably going to add a 2nd damper on the other side. That way, the damper handle won't interfere with using the unit as a waist high grill if I ever want to. Both dampers will be on the side of the outter pan.
  11. earache_my_eye

    earache_my_eye Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    That bottom damper will literally save your BUTT (or ribs, brisket, etc...)!! Being able to control the amount of air you feed the coals will give you much better control of your temps.

    Some other considerations for your Gourmet...(I have one, also)

    1. Tweak that side door until it closes as tight as possible.....then bend the latch so it closes even tighter....I never use that door anyway.

    2. A top vent will also help with temp control.....I know, I know....the Gourmet is notorious for having a sizable gap around the lid....unless you got "lucky" like me and the lid seals nearly perfect.
    Some stove gasket attached under the rib on the lid will seal it up...then a vent can be added to the top. I just drilled a dozen or so 3/8" holes in a circle and attached a piece of metal flashing so I can shut the whole thing down when I'm done and save whatever coals are left.
    I'll be damned if I can find the link now, but, someone posted a link about ecb mods that showed how to do the stove gasket with the high-heat cement.

    3. I used water in the water pan about 2 times.....then switched to lava rock and just cover it with foil for easy works for me, anyway....some people use sand.

    4. Try to catch any temp spikes early and dial back the can be difficult to get your temp back down in these lil guys if too much charcoal gets to burning all at once.

    And above all......BE PATIENT.....the reward is incredibly tasty smoked food!!

    Oh, and one more thing.......WELCOME TO SMF!!....[​IMG]

  12. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Notorious? It's by design.

    Did you use the gourmet for awhile without the vent? If so, how much of a differance in control did you notice after you installed it?
  13. rld

    rld Newbie

    Alright...preliminary report.
    For the 1st 45 minutes my temp hovered at 230...
    I got to thinkin' "wow...this is easy"...
    Soon enough, the temp started climbing as the other briquettes caught fire.
    I closed the damper, still climbing. Nothing I did would stop the temp from going up.
    At 250 I decided to take out some of the briquettes and that pretty much stopped it.
    Next time I'll use less or arrange them so they catch at a slower pace.
    So I've gone through the 2 hours of smoke, 2 hours of foil, and now they are firming with a slight glaze of chipotle BBQ sauce...[​IMG]
  14. harrylips

    harrylips Smoke Blower

    welcome to the forum and nice mods.
  15. rld

    rld Newbie


    Thanks for the welcomes everyone.
    I look forward to more days like this and learning more from all of you!
  16. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Looks great!
  17. earache_my_eye

    earache_my_eye Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Nice job on the ribs, RLD!! [​IMG]

    OK, maybe "notorious" wasn't the best word. My ecb is an oddity in that the lid actually fits tight, so I needed to add the top vent right away. I always smoke with the top vent wide open and control my heat by controlling air flow with the bottom damper.
  18. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Boy, how's that for quality control? Something that's supposed to leak, doesn't. How the heck can they screw that up? [​IMG]

    Modern manufacturing............
  19. rld

    rld Newbie

    Damn, those ribs was good!
    So a question for you ECB'ers.
    I saw the post about the stove gasket.
    Would it be worth it to try and get my ECB air tight so I can shut down the burn when it gets going too hot?
    As of now, I couldn't do it and had to remove briquettes.
    (Actually I'm not even sure it would work as my pan has slits and holes for ventilation.)
    Maybe I'm asking too much of this little smoker and should just try and dial in the right amount of charcoal at the start?

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