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Unread 11-10-2009, 10:26 AM   #1
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Default heat issue on ECB - water brinkman bullet

I tried searching for this but was unsuccessful, so my apologies if this is redundant. I have the vertical water brinkman ECB with modifications found many places on the web. My problem is that after 3 hrs or so, the unit will not maintain a higher heat. I'm thinking the issue is the ash in the firepan is blocking the airflow. I'm wondering if any of you have devised a solution to this heat problem. Thanks for any advice and ideas.

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Unread 11-10-2009, 10:39 AM   #2
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Didn't you find a mod to keep the coals suspended so they don't choke themselves out? The key with this kinda smoker is to seal up the air leaks and get air to the coals. You will probably have to babysit more than other cookers but good Q can be made on one.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 10:49 AM   #3
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Skidder - thanks, yes, I do have them suspended. And the fire does well for about 3hrs. Then it loses heat and will not go up. Yea, I was afraid it would require more attention. So I'm trying to figure that out. Probably be lifting the coals up out, dumping ash, and resetting. Thanks. for the comment.

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Didn't you find a mod to keep the coals suspended so they don't choke themselves out? The key with this kinda smoker is to seal up the air leaks and get air to the coals. You will probably have to babysit more than other cookers but good Q can be made on one.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 12:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Probably be lifting the coals up out, dumping ash, and resetting. Thanks. for the comment.
Sounds like a pretty solid solution.

That was the main reason I went the the "gourmet" ECB (cooking champer lifts off the coal pan much easier).
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Unread 11-10-2009, 12:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Sounds like a pretty solid solution.

That was the main reason I went the the "gourmet" ECB (cooking champer lifts off the coal pan much easier).
Yeah, I have the Gourmet as well. Not as familiar with the STD ECB. Sometimes I have to lift the cook chamber off of the firepan and shake the ash or make sure the larger holes are not plugging up.

I get 325-350 out of mine, but I have to leave the water bowl dry. Plus, I don't usually need it for that long. I only use higher temps for hams or poultry.

What kinda temps and for how long are you looking for?
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Unread 11-10-2009, 01:01 PM   #6
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We put bricks under the feet and moved the coal bin under its mounts so that we could pull the whole unit off the coals and futz with the ash without taking the unit apart. The bricks seem to give you the height necessary.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 01:10 PM   #7
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I was doing a pork shoulder the other day and all was fine until about 3hrs. Then the temp stalled around 225 and the cooking was really going slow. The roast stayed at 152 or so for an hour with no movement. I'm planning on doing a turkey - say around 15 lbs - for Thanksgiving and don't want the heat hanging up on me. Looks like I need another mod for the firepan. Anyone with advice on the turkey - will be my first on this unit. Will also be doing one on my gas grill as indirect as possible - been doing that for years. Great advice here - thanks.

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Originally Posted by Wampus View Post
I get 325-350 out of mine, but I have to leave the water bowl dry. Plus, I don't usually need it for that long. I only use higher temps for hams or poultry.

What kinda temps and for how long are you looking for?
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Unread 11-10-2009, 01:24 PM   #8
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Pork shoulder does stall in that range. That is very common. If your cooker started to drop off thats an issue but if cooker temps hoovered around 225 the whole time the shoulder was stalled that is common.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Pork shoulder does stall in that range. That is very common. If your cooker started to drop off thats an issue but if cooker temps hoovered around 225 the whole time the shoulder was stalled that is common.
Exactly! I once had a butt stall for more than a couple of hours! 225 should be easily achievable with the ECB as long as there's plenty of airflow to the coals. Turkey's likely to require above 300 to properly crisp the skin. You'll need a longer, hotter fire for that (depending on the size of the turkey). Don't know if you have the option, but I always do my turkeys on the Webers. No need fir low&slow for poultry, IMHO.

Making the cook chamber able to lift completely off of the firepan will certainly help if you need to lift it off and shake the ash out of the coals.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 02:17 PM   #10
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Oh, good info on the pork - that's news to me and I appreciate the input. Re: the turkey, that's what I was guessing to get it done in some sort of timely manner. And it will be brined, so I'm not concerned about it drying out.

I do have the mod that lets the whole thing lift off - very handy. I just need a safe and easy way to get ash out of the pan after the cook part is off. I'm thinking how to lift the grill I have the charcoal on so I can clear the air holes. Maybe just vise grips and gloves when the time comes.

Thanks, all, for the great input.

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Turkey's likely to require above 300 to properly crisp the skin. You'll need a longer, hotter fire for that (depending on the size of the turkey). Don't know if you have the option, but I always do my turkeys on the Webers. No need fir low&slow for poultry, IMHO.

Making the cook chamber able to lift completely off of the firepan will certainly help if you need to lift it off and shake the ash out of the coals.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 02:41 PM   #11
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Are you using minion method?

Are your coals ashing out or are they burned up completely?
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Unread 11-10-2009, 03:00 PM   #12
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No - adding charcoal as the fire burns down. When it stalls, there is plenty of charcoal still lit and red, but not much heat rising. The lit stuff seems to have much ash around and underneath them, hence my next effort of lifting and emptying, then going one. Got another idea?

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Are you using minion method?

Are your coals ashing out or are they burned up completely?
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Unread 11-10-2009, 03:36 PM   #13
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Give the minion method a try. Google it, lots of info. Also you could try using lump charcoal mixed in with the regular stuff. Lump doesn't make as much ash. I get ash blocking my vents as well so I bent the tip of a metal rod and just poke through the bottom to clear the ash. Works well for quick cooks but for low and slow I usually have to lift out the coals and dump the ash at some point. Good luck.
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Unread 11-10-2009, 03:43 PM   #14
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I created a second coal pan. That way I can get that one going, lift the cooker off of the original pan of coals and set it directly on the fresh pan of coals. But I usually get 5+ hours before I have to do this.

I use a modified minion. I place about 15 or so hot coals in a large juice can with both sides cut out. Pack around that with unlit charcoal and a few chunks of wood. Pull the juice can and whalla!

Hope this helps
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Unread 11-10-2009, 03:53 PM   #15
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Don't the ash pans have a hole in the bottom of them? I seem to remember mine did. With a small mesh over it? If you elevate the ash pan enough you can tap the ash out and free up the live coals. I've seen tools that lift the grate too. Its usually a wire fork bent on nearly 90. You lace the forks between two grate rails then lift when you are at the 90. Its hard to explain. Imagine the letter L with the flat part under the grate, the bend between the grate rails and the vertical above and perpendicular to the grate. Not quite a 90 gives you more leverage when you lift.
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Yeah it looks good...but how does it smell?

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