Mod to fire-pan in my ECB knockoff

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by flip me over, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. I have an 20+ year old Meco vertical that I just cant get hot enough. (Bad pic of it, sorry)

    I vented the top, sealed the big front slider door, put an apron with air intake around the bottom. I use foil as a lid gasket for now. 


    The fire-pan sat on brackets inside, removed those and gave the pan legs so to lift the smoker off it. I added a grate and drilled several vent holes. Use Royal Oak lump for fuel. 

    Still, it won't get above 200, usually sits at 180. 

    So I'm thinking of drilling 1/2" holes very close together (like swiss cheese) in the flat part bottom of the pan, and where I can under the grate, then hang an ash catch pan under it. I think this will give the fire more air. Also I will probably add another intake or two with regulators at the bottom. Don't know if they are needed, but I think they will look cool [​IMG]  

    This is a better pic, before I fixed the front slider door.


  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The massive air-gap between the barrel and coal-pan is likely your biggest cause for heat loss, or, excessive fuel use and the need for a monster fire. I'd close-up most of that gap before drilling any more holes in the pan, otherwise, with too much air to the fire the temps will run out of control once you get the heat-losses corrected. BTW, when you get that gap closed-down a bit, remove the foil gasket on the lid so it can breathe a needs the heat and smoke to be able to flow upwards or it won't heat up and cook the food on the top of the smoke chamber.

    BTW, that fire-pan and barrel configuration is quite similar to the Brinkmann Smoke n Grill...both are rather ineffective and difficult/impossible to achieve consistent/good results without doing mods.

    Also, be sure your thermometer is reading relatively accurately by doing a boil-check.

    Just looked again at your base ring...if it has tight seal and is a closed unit, it should control your fire and air flow through the smoke chamber just fine...didn't look it over close enough the first time around. I did load the pic with the thermometer...seems a bit too wide of a range for a smoker, but if you can calibrate it to read accurately in the 200-250+ range, then it should work out OK.

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  3. Thanks for the advice, Eric. 
  4. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I feel your pain. Temp control in my bring h2o
    Was horrible so I converted it to propane
    Sat it on top of my turkey fryer base.
    Now I have no trouble maintaining temp
    And the original charcoal pan sits on top of the flame and I throw a few chunks of wood there.
  5. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sorry stupid phone I ment to say brinkman
  6. I did my mod yesterday, drilled a BUNCH of holes in the bottom, Hung an ash pan under, Fired it up this AM with a moderate amt of lump, my air intakes wide open and it got up to over 300! closing up vents I was able to keep 225, 250 from 11:00 till 1:30. Then opened the vents, rearranged the fire and got another hour out of it without more fuel. haven't touched it in a couple hours and it's still 201, no fuel added. 

    I still will tinker with the setup (don't we all need to tinker?) but I'm calling it a vast improvement!

  7. Here are some pictures of what I did

    I don't like my grate in the bottom. It's a rack from a long gone grill I cut up to sort of fit in the bottom of the pan. I'll figure out something better.

    Got a pie tin from the dollar store and hung it off the bottom as an ash pan. 

    Stayed right in this neighborhood with the vents mostly closed.

    The results. Pork steaks that came out pretty good if I say so myself!


  8. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like you pretty much have it nailed down, Scott. Good lookin' shoulder pork, too!!!

    Now smoking will be a pleasure instead of a chore...stick with it!!!


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