Q on most important ECB mod

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by stoaway, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. stoaway

    stoaway Fire Starter

    Hi, I want to start using my ECB again...been a few years.  Have not used it because... "I did not trust it".  Basically temps, fire control.  I've read and seen a lot of the mod's.  Replace the thermometer, bottom vents on the fire pan, add top vents.  They all make good sense.  But I'm a little strapped for time.  I'm hosting an 80th b-day party soon and thinking of doing a butt.  So I'm trying to decide what's the best I can get done soon that's easy and effective.

    So I have a couple Q's.

    1 replace the thermometer, a no brainer.

    Q. Most suggest the 6" probe type.  Any opinions on the reliability of the smaller 1/2 probe or so, "they" sell ?   Easy to install.  Drill a hole and attach with a nut.  No glue or anything to secure.  Or should I really get the 6" probe?

    2 add some vent holes in the fire pan.

    I don't know if I'll have time to add a "damper" but some holes would probably help and drill them to plan for the damper later.

    Q Should I drill without a damper in the fire pan ?

    3 This one I'm really stumped on.  The top vent.

    Q should I really try to get this done?  After reading I still don't fully understand the benefits of a top vent.  I know air has to flow I guess but I don't know the "science of smoking".

    Q Is there such a thing as "old" smoke"?  Does that cause potential for creosote buildup ?  Or is the top vent more for "keeping the fire lit ?

    Previously the smoke just leaked "some"  around the top cover.

    Thanks a lot, I hope this is where to post this Q.  Just joined 1st post.

  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Are we talking the round vertical ECB here with the water pan? If so, I'd be reluctant to do anything other than add a charcoal grate and a good probe thermometer. Mine stays pretty much at 230˚-240˚ with no mods other than a charcoal grate. Messing with the airflow on these things strikes me as a red flag. Kinda along the lines of trying to improve the aerodynamics of a sledge hammer. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    As for your trust of it. I really think a good probe thermo will alleviate a lot of your misgivings. I recently got an ET 732 from Todd on here, and it confirmed what I already believed to be true, that the ECB is essentially "smoking for dummies". It isn't as simple as a gas or electric, but it's not too far off.

    The only other mod I'd consider is relocating the legs to the outside of the drum and either adding legs to the coal pan, or setting it on bricks at the proper height. That way, you can lift the entire drum off the pan to access the coals, rather than removing the grates or trying to go through that ridiculous little door.

    Good luck and happy birthday to the octogenarian!
  3. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Excellent question.  Being an old fart, I think of the ECB as my old orange "Sportsman" water smoker from the 70's and the 80's?  There are so many other Brinkman products out there now that it gets confusing.  Or is it just my age that always has me confused?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  4. stoaway

    stoaway Fire Starter

    Thanks, Mdboatbum and Venture.

    When I posted this Q. I was "I though" pressed for time on the mods.  (I won't get into the details).  This Brinkman "Smoke and Grill" was a gift, sometime early 1990 i think.  Anyway, I found some material around the house (saved me time) to do the mods.  Did the legs, grate, fire pan vents, and a top vent.

    After a test burn Mdboatbum pretty much nailed it.  The most important is just add the grate.  That made the most improvement, per the test burn.

    * I closed the original fire pan hole and added 2 - 1" holes.  with dampers to close if needed. Also notches to indicate how far the dampers are open.

    * Added a top vent. Close if not needed or at least an access for a meat thermometer.

    * Added a thermometer to the body. Get rid of the stock low,med,high thermometer.


    * Added the grate.  I used a weber smoky joe grate.  I added stabilizer screws where the grate fit in the pan.  After a test burn I should have raised those screws another inch or so. Because the ash built up quickly.

    After the test burns Mdboatbum was correct. The most improvement to the stock Brinkman is the grate.  The rest is just flexibility.

    I'm not sure how many people have these old Brinkman's these days.  But I just started the mods.  They help.

  5. dribron

    dribron Meat Mopper

    I really think it matters on your smoker. As am example my smoker always burned very hot 270-325. So after raisinf the coal from the ground, I added a sliding cover for the bottom hole to hopfully help better controle the temp. Still I got high temps in the 270 range. Then I discovered that the door had a 1/4" gap where the door hinge is. Sealing the door (something I never use) solved this. I now can easily keep temps as low as 200-225 to as high as 240-250 for more than 10 hourse before adding more lump. I havent decided if i will do the fiberglass rope and damper mod to the dome lib, but most likely will. All an all my ecb has turned to be a veery controlable and reliable smoker that i am sure i will use for years to come.
  6. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    My Dad had one of those years ago....
  7. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Kinda like this one?

  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I know I've said this before but:

    I just love that smoker Flash!
  9. dribron

    dribron Meat Mopper

    I hope mine last that long.... Something to be trully proud of!!
  10. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     That one was bought somewhere around '74 or '75.
  11. dribron

    dribron Meat Mopper

    Wow I was 4 or five years old at that time. Now that is a well seasoned smoker.
  12. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I see mods on that smoker.

    Is that some orange paint left or rust?

    That little puppy looks pretty familiar to me?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  13. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Just for fun, this is where I got my start.

    An 80's version of the ECB.  Billowing white smoke at the beginning.  Still got good meat on occasion.

    I have been thinking about modding it out to make it work right?  Gathering dust on my patio for years.  Just didn't have the heart to pitch it after I moved on?

    Here it is for historical interest:

  14. dribron

    dribron Meat Mopper

    There's alot of things you could do to make that cook right.
  15. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     Yes, some mods. New temp gauge as the old one was off by - 65º

     Vent lid installed, extra holes in fire pan and removed legs. The fire pan

    just sets down nicely on the concrete blocks. Depending on if I turn the block with

    holes outward, it allows for massive amounts of air flow. I can reach over 450º

    with this smoker.

     No, the smoker was always black. Orange color did not come out till years later.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Flash.......BE CAREFULL...........If I were you, I would take that picture down before the Smithsonian sees it.....[​IMG].....they might be eyeing it now.......then you would have to break in another smoker for 40 years........that would not be good.....

  17. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     She's semi-retired Dave, my GOSM charcoal/propane conversion does 90% of the work now.

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