ECB Mods and inconsistent temps

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bvanderheyden, May 27, 2016.

  1. bvanderheyden

    bvanderheyden Newbie

    Hello all,

    I was wondering how many of you out there have modded ECBS and what you have done to regulate the temps. The first couple of hours on mine is a rollercoaster. My ECB wants to level at 200 and I can't get it to stay at the 225 temp. Today for instance I smoked brisket. (My first one) and it turned out last than spectacula, but I believe I know the problem. I have flairs at the beginning of the smoke. My temps spiked to 500degs when I tried the minion method. Before you ask I let my royal oak lump charcoal ash over till no visible was there. I went poured the coals on waited about an 20 minutes, and the temp was 225, but than everything started on fire and stayed t 500for a good hour. Are there mods that will help maintain an internal temp of 250?

    The Mods I have done;
    Holes in the charcoal pan.
    Legs moved to the outside.
    Temp gauge installed.
  2. I'm going to assume by ECB you have Brinkmann ( kinda R2D2 looking) smoker. This is where pics are going to be worth several thousand words.

     First thing that concerns me is the use of lump. I've never used it but have read it can be inconsistant in the burn. For that reason I suggest briquets.

     Secondly and maybe more importantly, where did you put the holes in the charcoal pan ? And did you provide a way to control air intake ? This is where I fear things may have gone drastically wrong. Too much uncontroled air intake and the coals will burn too fast and hot. At some point the temp will drop due to the coals smothering in their own ashes.
  3. bvanderheyden

    bvanderheyden Newbie


    I have holes around the sides of the charcoal pan.I've looked at a thousand different mods but none that seemed effective for air imtake. I'm trying to find a way to make a damper on the top to vent but that has yet to come to fruition. My first couple of times on it I used briquettes and it choked itself out. I've been people using charcoal grates to elevate the coals. I I will take pictures tomorrow and post them.
  4. That type of mod works well for a WSM, but those are in a container with intake vents. The ECB is built a bunch different. Controling the air flow from the exhaust vent is not recommended.

     Some charcoal bowls came with a 3/4 inch hole in the center, some were solid. My original had a hole, I didn't take care of it and it rusted out. Currentlt a ragged 3 inch dia. I found another whole unit on a buy/sell/trade/page on facebook for $10. It was like new, missing one grate. Score !! Charcoal bowl had the hole. I say this because I'm afraid you may need to start over with the holes. I see them on Craigs list and other places all the time from free/curb alert to +$50. Just gotta keep your eyes open. You may be able to use a water bowl for the charcoal. My originals were identical except for the hole.

    I cut a peice of expanded steel a little bigger than the bottom of the bowl, so it won't sit all the way to the bottom and provide air flow to coals, also allows ash to fall thru. Added to that an upright contraption (also expanded steel) to provide a gap in the coals. Think a pie with one peice missing. Filled pan with charcoal briquets (except for wedge) and lit one end. It burned for 6 hrs and held steady on 275 deg. All this with the original 3/4 inch hole.

     Next I will rig up a slider to cover the hole to choke the temps down even more. I think I will patch the rusted out pan with a plate that has a much larger hole and slider.

     I just bought a MES and really have no reason to continue messing with the ECB but I can't stand to give up or see yet another project go unfinished. I have unique ideas for the top vent and need to see how well it works. Working in a machineshop has it's perks.

    Start looking for a good charcoal/water bowl and lets start from there.
  5. I had a thought after I went to bed, of course. To get you by and back to smoking, you could go ahead and drill a hole in the center of your charcoal pan and wrap/line the whole thing with foil ( punch out the bottom hole), Rig what ever to dampen air flow on that bowl. This could get you by indefinately until you find another bowl or what ever. If you can come up with a grate ( possibly from a smokey joe or sim off craigs for example, a peice of brick laid from edge to center, will serve as a barrier for minion/snake method. This will get you up and running for cheap. Just no sense in dropping alot of money in a smoker thats not made any more and sold for less than $60 new. Bare in mind Home Depot carries a similar smoker by Masterbuilt For $50 ish. Some of the mods have already been addressed.
    Last edited: May 28, 2016

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