New ECB owner - rope/no rope and best way to add fuel?

Discussion in 'ECB Owners Group' started by jtraurig, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. jtraurig

    jtraurig Newbie

    Hi all, have a ECB the kids bought me a few years ago but after a few unsuccessful attempts to cook with it, it got stored in the side yard and forgotten.   I'm sure these questions have been asked before so please bear with this newbie.

    Following the advice on this site did the basic mods - picked up a $9.99 knockoff smokey joe which has become my charcoal bowl after moving the legs to the outside, put the unit on bricks to get clearance for the bowl, added a proper thermometer, cannibalized the vent from the bbq and installed it on the dome (3 ~ 1/2 holes).   Bought the fireplace rope but didn't install it yet.

    Fired up the ECB and ran it over the weekend for 5+ hours, was able to maintain a consistent  225 ~ 250 range with water in the pan after playing with different vent settings.  Got a lot  of white smoke out of the vent and the seal between the dome and the body.  Seems to be a difference of opinions about the rope vs. the benefits of letting the smoke vent out of the seal to avoid creosote/stale smoke buildup. 

    What's the collective wisdom advise:

    - is it best to let ECB smoke out the seal or add the rope or aluminum foil to seal in the smoke?

    - what's the best wat to add fuel mid way through the cooking?  Should I use my chimney  and preheat coals before adding them to the bowl or just add in more  coals along the way?   

    Once up to temp, this was not a "set it and forget it" operation - other suggestions?


  2. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Billowing white smoke is never a good thing. You want thin blue smoke. If you have the rope go ahead and seal it up. It will be much more efficient that way. Your top vent should be all the way open and the bottom dampers are for heat control. Are you using the Minion Method? Also if you are using water in the pan you do not need to. You can fill that pan up with play sand or pea gravel and wrap in foil. You do not need water in there, as it does not add anything to the meat itself and makes your smoker less efficient. When I used to use my ECB which is what I started on way back when, I just lifted the whole thing up off of the fire and reloaded. Makes it real easy. You should be able to get several hours out of a full load with the minion method. Another good idea is to make a fire basket. There are quite a few tutorials in the ECB section and the Weber Mini section. If I were you I would get yourself a big tamale steamer and make a mini out of that smoky joe. This is on my to do list. Then you can plant flowers in the ECB. haha...
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    jtraurig likes this.
  3. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    By the way, welcome to the site. If you swing by roll call you can get a proper introduction. Happy smoking. timber

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