ECB mods with ModView and Questions

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by billbo, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I finally did the mods on my ECB! I had converted it to electric years ago because I could never cook correctly on the stupid thing. Then I found this site and found out all the mods you could do and about the air flow problem. I thank you all for all those posts!

    Below are some pics of the finished product. I have seen on some posts where people have vented the dome of the ECB. Recently Ron just posted pics of this on his rig. I am wondering if this is needed on an ECB. It seems to me that the dome does not fit on tight anyway so this would give you good airflow on it's own. What do you guys think?

    Take a look at the holes I drilled in the firepan. Do you guys think that is enough or do I still need more air flow?

    Thanks for looking and enjoy!

    First I took the legs off and mounted them on the outside.

    I then took a 3 foot piece of 1/2 inch stainless threaded rod and cut it into three 8 inch pieces. I found stainless washers but I could only get zink coated nuts at the Depot. I took the nuts and burned them with my torch(any excuse to use that!) to remove the zink coating. Mounted the rod and drilled 3/8 inch holes in the fire pan.

    I pirated the charcoal grate from my Smokey Joe and it looks pretty good. What do you think?

    Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated on the mods and fuel use! When you fire this up do you load any unlit charcoal in the firepan? I was thinking 3/4 or so of a lit chimney would be a good place to start. Does that soung good too? I thank you all in advance for your answers!
  2. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    billbo - mods look great!

    you might go with a few more holes OR bigger holes to help ash go down through them - also, be sure to put a pie plate or something with water in it underneth to catch ash or embers as they fall down.

    i did drill a small triangular pattern about the size of something between an orange and a grapefruit in the top of mine on the backside (opposite the location of the heat indicator, but on top of the unit near the handle. i am not sure if this absolutely needed but the claim is that it helps prevent stale smoke and creosote. i notice that there seems to be plenty of flow through the loose liud (which is what it is designed to do) but i see no harm in the hole in top as they can only help airflow if needed.
  3. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Thanks for the reply! I'll drill a few more holes in the firepan. I guess you could always plug some if you found it was too much air flow. I drilled 3/8 inch holes in the pan. Maybe I'll go bigger with the next ones.

  4. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    a couple of my coworkers have these both are watt burners we cooked with one at work one day. i put a perforated pan on the element with 5 coals and a few hickory chips. it was not easy to add chips or water to pan thru that little door. temp run fairly consistant but i thought it needed a larger door. so i mooded one & it worked great now they both have the same mod.
  5. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    billbo - i'm still kind of new at this, but i'll offer answers based on my experience.

    3/8 inch holes should be just fine (couldn't tell in the pic) - those are the size of mine. i got my "mod" instructions from this site:

    as you can see, he drills his in a line so that he can rig a pretty good airflow control system. i drilled mine the same way, but did not install the swinging plate as i have found no need for it...yet. it's too late to do this with yours, but you could drill more holes and install the plate to cut some of it off if needed to bring temps down.

    i don't have a pic and the camera has dead batteries, but it looks very similar to the one on the link posted above:


    the only difference is that mine is in a triangular pattern like bowling pins. like the charcoal pan, i did not install a cut-off plate because ALL sources say to leave outflow wide open anyway. if you want, you can install it easily.

    i did the same mods to all three of my ECBbs as i found them to work well.

    as for firebuild, i am still learning, but it looks like this:


    i then dump a chimmney-full of lump or briquettes (depending on availability) on that, trying to maintain some open space in a line down the middle on the same track as the hole in the pan. i then either put chunks (not soaked) of chips in a foil pouch with a very small hole (soaked) on the coals and sit back and enjoy the BBQ. when the foil pack SEEMS done, open it up all the way and you will have quite a few minutes of extra smoke there.

    like i said, i am still learning a lot about temp control and the fire - you can read some of my revalations here:
  6. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I think what you've done will make it work much better. I would not cut vent holes in the dome. The dome fits loose by design. Your coal pan I would leave for now, and see what happens. Pesonally, I would have cut fewer, and larger holes, in a pattern so that I could easily construct an intake damper if it burns tooooo good. Your intake holes may clog with ash. But a bump when you're checking the coals will empty them anyway.

    That aside, I think it's going to work better. Try it out and see before you do too much at one time.
  7. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Now THAT is a cool Brinkman mod!! I don't have the tools to do that. Probably not worth paying a shop to do it either. But, it's still a nice mod.
  8. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Oops...... Forgot to mention. You may want to put 3 bolts through the pan to stabalize the smokey Joe grate. Looks like it could do the Mambo while you're futzing around with hot coals.
  9. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    yes it does do the mambo and dang, that's an easy fix - thanks, steve!
  10. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Sorry, I'm not in gear today. All these posts to answer one post. Oh well.

    Here's what I've been doing. I light off 32 blue bag Kingsford in my chimney. I dump them into the empty pan, and use tongs to scoot them over to one side. I pile them up doubled. That takes about 1/4 of the pan. Then I add about double, perhaps a tad more unlit, and put some unlits on the edge of the lit ones. The rest I double pile. That fills about 3/4 of the pan. I get 240* (on the dome) solid for 3 hours that way. In Rons' post he mentioned he filled the pan up, with unlits, and got over 4 hours at 240*.

    The reason I start with 32 lit coals is because more runs too hot, and less runs cooler. 30 coals to start with gets me 215-225.

    That's a starting point, you will most likely have to fine tune things for your own smoker.
  11. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    steve - next time you do this, if you could post a pic of the setup, i'd be grateful.
  12. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I'll be happy to. Funny, I was thinking of trying your method next! [​IMG]
  13. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    the fire build i use looks good, but i'll admit i am very confused on the amounts of charcoal (lit and unlit) to use. give it a try using amounts of charcoal based on your experiences and post a comparison - chances are with my weather lately, you'll be doing a smoke before i do!
  14. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Well, you have to fiddle with the amount of coal. My Brinkman is called the "gourmet" model. It came with slots in the fire pan, and the firepan sits in a second vented pan. My firepan has a flat bottom, and the corners are 90*. I think the older models have the concave pan, which would hold less charcoal.

    Anyway, what I'm doing is just a version of the minion method. Mine breathes very well, so lighting off more coal in the begining just gets me too much heat.

    LOL I mentioned once before..... Before I ever used my Brinkman, I did the coal grate mod, so it would breath really well. I have one of those pretty big Weber chimneys. I filled it FULL and lit it off. I dumped the coals and put the smoker together. It got so hot, the Brinkman thermometer went PASSED hot, and was pointing straight down at the ground! Couldn't put the ribs on for a few hours. Then of course, the coals were going out, and I had not learned how to control temps. When it was all said and done, the ribs were still pretty darn good.
  15. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think I will heed this advice and give it a whirl next weekend and see what happens. Thanks BigSteve!
  16. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    If you haven't done it yet, go to Home Depot and get a thermometer. It's about 8 bucks. You drill one hole, and it mounts with a wing nut. I smoke with my dome heat at 240* I really don't know what temp the grate is. I intend to get a wireless thermometer to check that someday.

    When you get the thermometer, hold the tip in a pan of boiling water to calibrate it. Mine is 5* low, so I know 250, is really 245.
  17. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have an ET-73. I try to keep my grill temp around 225 or so. That way if I get a little spike it's fine. Can't wait to fire this thing up now!
  18. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I was thinking I need to get that or an ET-7. But I hemmed and hawed, and got distracted and forgot. I've been smoking using the dome thermometer, and getting really good results now. I know a good digital thermometer will only make things better, but my superstitious side tells me not to change anything now that I'm getting better.
  19. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you got one you could track your temp at the dome and cooking grate levels. I like it because I know what temp my cooking grates are at. I picked mine up on ebay for less than they sell retail.
  20. teacup13

    teacup13 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

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