Yeah I eventually got the ring and box out (after the burn out). I just "disconnected" it with a flathead screwdriver and lifted the ring, then the firebox out so I could properly clean out the body of the egg.
Another question......this one does NOT have a gasket. Putting one on seems easy enough, no?
And a clarification....
The soot ring was well below the joint between the lid and base so I don't think it was from the air/smoke coming out of where the gasket would be.
It's almost like it LEECHED out of the egg body itself in an exact concentric ring 360 degrees around the egg.
Big JT's Smokin' BBQ Competition Team
"The path was worn and slippery. My foot slipped from underneath me, knocking the other out of the way, but I recovered and said to myself, 'It's a slip and not a fall.'"