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Old 01-02-2012, 07:00 PM   #1
Got rid of the matchlight.
Join Date: 12-19-11
Location: davis ca
Default ECB Brinkmann Smoker Mod Question(s)

Hello Guys,

First time smoker here and after lots of R&D on this site and some others, i Went out and bought the ECB Brinkmann smoker and made some mods, most of which were recommended by this site. Question though, i cannot get the smoker to hold a certain temperature for a long time. I use the minion method, instead of dropping lit coals in the middle, i have the lit ones on one side and un-lit on the other. With this setup, I can get it around 250, and with the coals left burn around until 200 ish for about 3 hours. I will post pictures of my setup. Also, in terms of temperature measurement, i cannot get it two different therometers to read the same temp. I have a regular kitchen aid with a 5-6 inch needle and a man-law smoker gauge with a 1.5 inch needle. Does the length of the needle matter? I positioned the man-law right below the stock brinkmann smoker gauge, and i use the portable kitchen aid on top of the smoke vent i made. Any thoughts? Any help would much be appreciated.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
Babbling Farker
Join Date: 12-03-08
Location: Pearl River LA

Looks like ash buildup may be your problem. You can either try rigging up some way to let the ash fall away from the bed of coals, but not into your air intakes, or try switching to lump charcoal, which produces a fraction of the ash that briquettes do.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:51 PM   #3
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Join Date: 08-23-08
Location: Gainesville, Fl area Gator Country (1-0)

I use a similar setup to yours. I also put the legs on the outside to allow the charcoal bowl to sit high enough to put the bowl into the inside of the ECB.

However, instead of the setup you use to lift the bowl off the ground, I have the bowl sitting directly on an electric hotplate. I do not light the charcoal at all. I usually fill the bowl halfway with charcoal. Then I add any wood chips/chunks then finish filling the bowl with charcoal. My bowl does not have holes in the bottom.

I leave the hotplate turned on almost high and just plug it in. The charcoal starts to smoke quite soon.

If you are going to be watching it you can unplug the hotplate until the coals have burned down some and re-plug if needed ... or, you can just leave it plugged in.

I leave mine plugged in and the temperature stays very constant in my ECB. I have been using it this way for a couple of years now and it works just fine.

I adjusted the legs so that with the bowl sitting on the hotplate the top of the bowl is slightly below bottom of the the water bowl. Smokes quite good and the meat comes out nice and properly done with deep smoke rings and good smoke flavor.
ECB charcoal smoker altered to use electric burner and wood.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:59 PM   #4
Got rid of the matchlight.
Join Date: 12-19-11
Location: davis ca

hey Q-date,

to clarify on your post, the charcoals sits on a grate which is raised up about 1.5 inches off the pan. are you saying that i should make sure my exhuast vent does not get clogged up? my setup right now allows ash to fall down away from the coals into my designated area.
also any recommendations on the gauges? seems like the longer the stem the better?
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:33 PM   #5
Babbling Farker
Join Date: 06-24-07
Location: visalia, ca

i did the mods also and found it acceptable. but now i use a weber sj for the coals.
spam, can't live without it
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:52 PM   #6
somebody shut me the fark up.

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Join Date: 06-05-09
Location: Mooresville, IN

Thought #1: Regarding the temp guages......I'd guess that the 1.5" probe in the side is reading real hot because the water smokers direct the heat up and around the water bowl so the sides are hotter than where the meat is. So, if your probe in the lid is longer and sits down below the hotter air, it'll read cooler than the one in the wall.

Thought #2: The design of the ECB leaves that gigantic gap between the lid and wall. If I were to make any further suggestion it would be to close that gap which will decrease the exhaust rate, thus decreasing the intake rate. That should help with fuel consumption. Of course, I could be wrong, but that's my thought.

To close that gap, I'd use a 1" fiberglass rope like this:

.....around the lid like this:

Here's a thread I put up this past summer about my take on ECB Gourmet mods. Granted they won't all apply to your model, but.....maybe it'll help:
Big JT's Smokin' BBQ Competition Team

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Old 01-03-2012, 10:49 PM   #7
Got rid of the matchlight.
Join Date: 12-19-11
Location: davis ca

Hey wampus, regarding your thought #1, I'm getting the opposite, the lid thermometer reads hotter than the side thermometer. Difference in 50 to 100 degrees.
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