ECB burning hot.

Discussion in 'ECB Owners Group' started by 509smoker, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. I'm new to smoking, just picked up the ECB from walmart, mounted the legs to the outside and drilled some holes in firepan, also put small grate in bottom of fire pan to get coals up. After coating the inside with vegetable oil I tossed in about 3/4 of a full charcoal starter of red oak lump. I didn't fill the water pan and the temps soared to 450 degrees! Temp dropped to 277 degrees 45 minutes later and completely cold after 3 hours. Everything i have read says these things are hard to get up in temp, not the case here. Im gonna do another test run this week to see if i can get the temp down and stay down, any pointers? Im gonna start by filling the water bath and using only about a third of a charcoal start full of coals. I need to get this thing figured out by the weekend, looking to try some ribs. Thanks a ton you guys!
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Fill the water pan with sand and use the minion method with briquettes. Something like Stubbs all natural works well. With the grate and the holes in the coal pan itll have no troubles getting up to temp. With a full load of lit coals itll run away. You want a controlled burn.
  3. How do you prefer to do your minion method, how many coles Iin the pan vs how many in the charcoal starter? Do you put the hot ones in the middle? How much wood do you use when doing ribs? Does your meat ever dry out with sand in the water bowl? Thanks.
  4. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    I've always preferred putting water in the water pan.  Could you post a pic of what your initial charcoal pan looks like?  It's possible you're using too much.  When I started out on the ECB, I was using enough charcoal to roast and grill -- way too much to smoke low and slow.
  5. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    This doesn't look like it'd be enough to do the job, but once it gets going, it hits about 250.  I throw in another chunk or two once the temp drops to 200 or so.

  6. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    My input regarding your questions:

    How many coals depends on what you're using.  I learned early on not to use briquettes in the ECB.  They burn even, but they leave way too much ash, and I'm forced to empty it out during the smoke.  Lump charcoal leaves very little ash.

    I think this picture is of a mix of lump and briquettes.  I honestly don't use briquettes anymore, except for grilling burgers and chicken.  I posted the pic just to show the volume of charcoal I usually go with.

    During a rib smoke, I might use 2 or 3 cigarette-pack-sized chunks of cherry.

    I might be a bit superstitious, but I'd never put sand in my water pan.  I live in southern Japan, where it's always pretty humid, but I still use the water pan for temperature stabilization and for creating steam.  As I understand it, smoke particles latch on to water vapor during the smoking process, making it easier for them to land on my meat.  And it makes a huge difference in terms of temp, as long as the coals are going.  Start with hot water from the tap.  I usually go with a 2-liter bottle's worth.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  7. When I tried the lump I used more than you show in your picture. I am doing a test run tonight with Stubbs briquettes using the snake method, the best I was able to get was a 260 average for an hour and a half, not too bad, gonna work on getting that down to the magic 225. Once the temp was up it burned pretty consistently which was nice. Here is what the numbers look like.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  8. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    Wow, looks like you've really put some thought into it.  As long as you don't mind tending the fire throughout the cook, you should come away with some nice results.  I spent many an afternoon getting to know my ECB just sitting next to it, watching a ballgame and monitoring temps.

    What are you doing for wood?  Thumb-sized chunks every few inches along the snake?
  9. I was stacking briquettes, the one thing I am finding with this method is that you can't account for outside influences, it seems with the snake you should be able to set it and forget it, but with no real way to control your airflow that only leaves the fuel as your real way to contol temp. I can't set and forget an ECB. I am going to try another test run with lump, this time starting with a stack about the size of yours and then just feed it as the temp drops. What's the longest cook you have done with your method.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  10. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    I've never been able to set and forget with charcoal, lump or briquettes, on the ECB.  Some people have figured it out, but I haven't yet.  For me, the briquette ash was always an obstacle, since it impedes airflow.  Lump doesn't produce much ash, but it also doesn't burn as evenly or predictably.  When using charcoal, I just throw in a few more lumps once the temp dips to 200... every 30 minutes or so.  I think the longest I've done was about nine hours that way.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015

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