ECB mod for northern winters?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by jonboat, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. jonboat

    jonboat Smoke Blower

    Are there any fellow "yankees" out there, who have found a way to get your ECB to hold heat during our colder months?
    Mine has the standard set of mods, and works great from mid May until maybe early October (on warm days), but once we start seeing temps below 40 outside, the thing just won't come up to temp.

    We ended up running a weed burner under the water bowl last Thanksgiving to get the turkeys (mostly) done.

    I've heard hot water heater blankets suggested, or flashing tin rings around the bottom to keep wind from blowing up from the bottom...
    Has anybody tried either of these (or both together) with success?

    I don't like the thought of going another winter without any home-smoked meat! (I guess it would still work for jerkey at the low temps).
  2. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  3. shields

    shields Newbie

    I used the ECB throughout the winter here in Upstate NY.  I just had to babysit the smoker more.  I was adding lump charcoal from my chimney every 2 hours or so.  I dont even have a ton of mods on that unit.  Id shake out the ash so that the fire was hot, but I could hold 230-260 for most of a 5 hour smoke.  Once I wrapped I would finish it in the oven.  
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A welding blanket works well for insulation, and as Willie said a 3 sided wind break would help too.
  5. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hopefully you are not using Water in the water pan. Have you tried Playbox sand? Will give you a higher and more constant temperature than water will.
  6. jonboat

    jonboat Smoke Blower

    It sonds like wind is the enemy here. So maybe if I dig out where the red lines are to make a wind break:

    and wrap my ECB with a welding blanket, I should be able to get my temps up.

    Now, for using the welding blanket - simply wrap the main body of the ECB, or do I want to cover the lid as well?

    and yes, I was using water in the water pan (hot water to start) - figuring the air gets super dry here in the winter and I'd want the extra moisture to keep the meat from drying out.
    The playsand idea sounds worth trying.. . Has anyone else tried it?
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  7. dribron

    dribron Meat Mopper

    Pretty much looks like MN maybe there's hope for winter smoking here yet.
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Try the Sand. Abelman is out in Colorado and he said it was the best advice he was ever given for Winter smoking. Water just does not work well with cold weather. You can always reuse the sand also, as long as you put a sheet of foil over top of it to catch spatters and remoisten it for the next smoke. Do a search on here and you will find it mentioned several times. I do tend to spritz a little more with sand. Water in the pan does add some moisture, but very little.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  10. dribron

    dribron Meat Mopper

    I have a few qwelts my mother in law made.. im sure they would work... Kinda thinking my wife might frown on it.   LOL

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