bottom collar, two dollar

Discussion in 'ECB Owners Group' started by thinblueduke, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    I've noticed that a lot of smoke and heat escape from the ECB through the gap between the walls and the charcoal pan.  I'm guessing that in the original design, that gap was necessary to allow oxygen to reach the coals.  However, for those of us who have ventilated the charcoal pan and inserted a grate to elevate the coals from the bottom of the pan, that gap has become more of a liability. 

    While I'm waiting for the postman to deliver parts for a more permanent solution (more on that later), I've been toying around with a temporary solution.  I decided to cut up a lightly-used aluminum foil roasting pan, and affix it to the bottom rim of the ECB with binder clips.  Here are a few photos from my "proof of concept" mod.


    Last weekend, I tried it out with a 5-lb. pork shoulder, and was very pleased with the results.  Very little smoke came out the bottom, while smoke poured out the vents in the top at a heavier rate than I'd ever seen on my ECB (sorry, didn't get a picture of that).

    Today, I had some free time, so I decided to clean it up a little bit.  I got a pack of 7" aluminum foil pie pans, and cut the circle out of the bottom.  I cut one end open, then cut a notch every few inches so that it would bend properly.  It came out like this.

    It's about 2.5 pans' worth of material.  Basically, it was going to work, but I wanted to do something about the gaps, so I cut them into smaller pieces (about 4" long), then arranged them in an overlapping fashion.  The binder clips hold the foil pretty securely.


    Then I removed the little handles from the binder clips.

    Then I turned the ECB back over and lowered it over the charcoal pan, which is resting on two cement bricks.  The legs I had installed were a bit to high, so I'm going to pick up some shorter ones on my next trip to the hardware store.  The bricks work fine, but I want to be sure I get enough oxygen to the coals, so I can keep a hot fire and get more thin blue stuff.  Here's an internal look.


    I may also need to drill some holes in the sides of the charcoal pan.

    I haven't had time to try this out, but it's essentially the same setup that I used last weekend.  It just looks a little nicer.  I didn't have any problems with the first version, though when I needed to lift the body off of the charcoal pan, I made sure to take the lid off when putting the body back over the pans, so I could align it visually.  Almost everything on the ECB bends, and the flexibility of the foil collar seems to work well.  The foil pieces bend upward as you lower the body over the pan.

    The foil pans plus the binder clips came out to under $2.

    I'm sure I'll find something to smoke this weekend, so I'll post more pics then.  In the meantime, let me know if anybody has comments, suggestions, questions, laughter, etc!
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  2. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    interesting, I like where you are going with this. I had a slightly different thought. Get a piece of stainless heater duct about 10 inches wide and set it into the charcoal pan. 

    Here is a pic of what I am thinking about. I am also thinking about removing the legs altogether and sitting the smoker directly on some old bricks I have. 

  3. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    Gave it a spin on a very short smoke this afternoon. Four large bratwurst-type sausages and two 1.5-inch boneless pork chops.

    Everything was going fine. I had to smoke in the parking lot because of neighbor issues, so I was in and out.

    About one hour in, though, I came downstairs to check, and there was a lot of UWS (ugly white smoke) coming out. I figured the fire wasn't getting enough oxygen. I Gave the coals and wood (oak and cherry) a hard stoke, then opened the ECB door about half an inch. The thin blue smoke returned in about five minutes.

    The food turned out fine, but I'll have to modify that pan to get better airflow. Also thinking about about realigning the collar pieces.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  4. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    Was a bit pressed for time today, a Sunday, and I got called into work, but I had a pork collar thawing in the fridge, so I threw it on the ECB for a few hours, and readjusted the heat collar blades into a more turbine arrangement.

    Edit: Looks like the original pic didn't upload correctly, so I'll try again.

    This version seemed to work better. I had a little smoke coming out the bottom, but considerably less than without the collar. I had a little white smoke after stoking the coals, but otherwise, it was thin, blue and clean.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014

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