ECB and the Minon method

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bill r, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    Bill, last weekend I had soaked hickory chunks in aluminum foil with holes in top, I got good smoke and still had some left in the foil.  Towards the end, I had a few chunks left in the soaker pail, so I threw them in the side door,  Even though they were soaked, it didn't take very long for them to flare up, raising the inside temp's and burned up in a short while.  I know there are a lot of opinions about it, but I will definitely have wood in aluminum foil, but might try non-smoked at some point.



    Sorry, I meant "non-SOAKED".  My bad!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  2. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     Watch your temps until you realize how much charcoal you can cut back on.
  3. bill r

    bill r Newbie

    Thanks for the extra detail on doing the foil wrap. I will definitely give that a try. No smoke this weekend, I've got too much going on. Hopefully next weekend. Good luck with the brisket!
  4. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    Well, Bill, here is my report on my brisket for this weekend and my daughters birthday.  Setup was as follows:

    - I did all the published mod's to the ECM (thermometer in lid, outside legs, firebox grate, flue in lid and a wood stove gasket rope around the lid) and set it up on flat pavers for the legs and firebox (three stacked, round pavers). I only wrapped the rope around the lid without glueing it in place, as it only took a few seconds to fit it.

    - I used charcoal chunks instead of briquets, for the main reasons of temperature control and lack of ash:  Both of these proved to be true.  My temperature in my ECM held steady at about 225 on my thermometer (one of the mod's to my ECM), only varying when I added chunks and I went through a 6 hour session without having to empty the firebox.  I was amazed at how steady the temp's held from my chicken attempt last weekend (the rope and charcoal chunks were the main changes).

    This is my smoker workplace setup:

    - I used the Minion starter method and put a bottom-less gallon can in the center of my firebox, charcoal chunks surrounding it and my soaked smoke chunk packets on top (see a packet below).  I then used the chimney to start some chunks, dumped them in the center gallon can and removed it:

    I used hickory in one packet and apple in the other (just trying something different).  You can see the setup below just after filling the gallon can and removing it.  Ready to start.  Those black paint spots on the pavers are my targets when putting the whole smoker back in place after working on the firebox.

    I followed a brisket recipe (for a 6 pound flat) that did a brine solution overnight, patting it dry and adding a rub, then allowing it to sit while I got the smoker started.  It was allowed to smoke for 3 hours, then removed and put into aluminum foil to cook for another 2 hours.  After that I put it into a wrap of aluminum foil and towels and held for 1-2 hours in a styrofoam cooler.  I was planning on pulling it out of the aluminum foil and smoking over the coals, without the water container (to get a crust), but the temperature showed it was already up to well done.

    We sliced the brisket for sandwiches and it was very tender and passed as a success to the whole family.


  5. bill r

    bill r Newbie

    Glad to hear the brisket was a success!  How did the minion method and the wood stove rope work out?  I liked your idea of painting "targets" on the pavers to position your smoker legs on.  I just took the legs off of my smoker to try out the cinder block stand that Flash used in his photos.  I made smoked stuffed peppers last night.  Pretty darn good!  Sorry the first pic is sideways--took it w/ my phone and couldn't get it rotated once it was on the computer. 

  6. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    Well, today I took on baby back ribs and BBQ beans.  It was a total success, but I will qualify that by saying it took some effort.  We ended up having wind today and it took some extra effort to get past the impact of that.  Here was my roadmap:

    1. Plan was to follow the 3-2-1 method of doing the ribs, with it to be modified to 2-2-1 with baby backs, according the my research.

    2. The wind blew all day and kept the smoker temperature down at about 190-195 F, so I got my horse in gear to find some way to take the wind out of the situation.

    3. Picked up a roll of 2' x ? thin aluminum sheeting, cut it to the approximate circumference of the ECM and clamped it in place around the base of the unit.

    4. I got the temperature up to about 205-210 F and then went ahead and cooked for 3 hours because of lost temp's to start with (two racks in one of those rib holders), with the beans (Bourbon Barbeque Baked Beans, can't remember where I got the recipe) on the lower grill to catch dripping from the ribs.

    5. Took the ribs off, wrapped them in aluminum foil and put them back on for 2 more hours.  At that time, I pulled the beans and put them in the oven at 250 F (I was unsure of whether to leave the beans on the smoker for another 2 hours; found out it would have been okay).

    6. Pulled the ribs, unwrapped them, put them back in the rack on the lower grill to crust them off.

    7. Finished after 6 hours and had wonderful ribs and beans.

    There are a lot of rocks thrown at the Brinkmann ECM, but it has started to grow on me.  It just takes a little work, but I have found (without wind) that I can hold the temp's at about 215-225 F after putting on all the mod's, using chunk charcoal instead of brickets and putting my soaked smoking wood chunks in aluminum foil (shaped like crescents to fit around the starter can) with holes in the top.  I bought some wood stove gasket rope, to seal off the lid from leaking and that works well to help seal smoke leaks.   I get a little leakage around the top damper and around the door, but that is all.  I also use the Binion method of ignition which helps keep the temp's constant by slowly igniting the charcoal around the starter chunks in the center (i.e. a bottomless can in the center, where I put burning chunks from my chimney, then removing the can) .  I'm finding my temp's hold constant for hours that way.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  7. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    I will definitely stick with soaked smoker wood in aluminum foil.  I did that and had some soaked wood chunks left over.  I just threw them on the burning charcoal chunks and the temperature slammed clear up into the 300+ range.  With the wrapped packages, they just slowly burn and smoke until they are gone.
  8. bill r

    bill r Newbie

    I haven't done the aluminum foil packets yet like you've shown.  I'll have to try on my next smoke. 

    In a couple of weeks I am going to be smoking brisket and pork shoulder for a group of guys from church.  I think there will be about 55 to 60 of us.  Does anyone have a suggestion for how many pounds of uncooked brisket and pork shoulder I should plan to secure to feed a group of this size? 

    My thought was that I could put two brisket flats on the top rack of my ECB and two pork shoulders on the bottom rack.  I have access to an electric ECB if I need to have more than smoker going at once. 

    Look forward to trying the foil wrap to see if I can keep my flare-ups down and make my soaked wood last longer.  
  9. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    Bill, on another forum today, I read how it did no good to wet smoke wood, because wood does not absorb water.....???  I don't really believe that and have had good success with wet wood in the aluminum packets.  If I had any caution on them is that it might take longer to get those chunks to start smoking.  But they for sure, for me, lasted longer and eliminated the flare-ups.  That is only my opinion, so take it for what its worth.

    I did salmon on the smoker today and it turned out great, using wood chunk packets.

  10. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Wetting the wood, for wood chips is not a bad idea. It really serves no purpose for dried chunks because it doesn't penetrate the wood that deeply.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  11. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    I should give more detail on my wood chunk packets.  I take the wood CHUNKS and split them down into pieces that are bigger than wood chips, but smaller than the large wood chunks (mini-chunks).  I also soak them for 24 hours before using.

  12. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I always soaked wood chunks, no matter the size. Sometimes chopped them up some too. I really see no advantage after trying it both ways. However, do what you are familiar with, that is what is best.
  13. bill r

    bill r Newbie

    Thanks for the clarification on the packets-- I tried it once with large chunks, but had issues with the packets being so big that they hung up against the bottom of the water pan. That was with only a few chunks in the foil. Cutting it down and soaking 24 hours sounds like a better plan.

    By the way--in a couple of weeks I am helping prepare a big BBQ for a men's group from church (between 50 & 60 people). We'll be smoking pork shoulder and brisket. Both will be pulled. Anyone know how many pounds of meat I should plan on smoking? My thought was to put two pork shoulders on the ECB top rack and two brisket flats on the bottom rack. I have access to an electric ECB if I need a second smoker.

  14. bomftdrum

    bomftdrum Smoke Blower

    Figure 2 sandwiches a person. 2 of each depending on the size should do. I have fed 8 people with 5 lbs of pork and everyone had at least 3 sandwiches. Hope that helps.
  15. bill r

    bill r Newbie

    That's about the direction I was leaning.  I am estimating approximately 1 pound of meat for every 2 people (aka 1/2 pound of uncooked meat per person)  I am hoping that 2 6 to 8 pound briskets and 2 6 to 8 pound pork shoulders will feed the masses. 
  16. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    I am about to try a pork butt (6-8 pounds), with the assumption of 2 hours per pound.  Any opinions on that?
  17. bomftdrum

    bomftdrum Smoke Blower

    That is what I would figure on. Just go to temp not time. Good luck.
  18. bill r

    bill r Newbie

    My last one was an 8 pounder and it took about 16 hours. After 13 or 14 hours I pulled it off the smoker and put it in the oven to finish. When the alarm on my temp gauge went off I knew it was done.
  19. deanoaz

    deanoaz Meat Mopper

    That I understand, but I am not yet a smoker with digital alarms that go off at 2:00 AM in my bedroom when the meat is done.  If I go on the smoker at a specific time, I would like to at least know about when it might reach temperature, so t that I can plan a starting time.

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  20. bomftdrum

    bomftdrum Smoke Blower

    I would give myself 16 hours to be safe. If you want to start feeding at 5pm, I would start about 11pm. If you get done early you can wrap in foil and then in towels and put in a cooler. Each butt ail smoke differently. I cooked 2 3 pound roasts and one got done one hour before the other one. Better done early than late.

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