Trouble controlling my ECB

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by trainman01, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. A friend gave me a red Brinkman Gourmet smoker that he received years ago from Marlboro.  My searches on the internet brought me to some interesting sites on how to upgrade or modify this smoker.  I jumped in with both feet and added 3 round dampers on the bottom of the tray, put in an elevated charcoal basket, vented the cover and added an accurate thermometer.  My problem is during my dry runs, it runs way too hot.  Even if I close all damper it only throttles down to about 350.  This is with water in the pan.  I tried the Minion method with both briquettes and lump charcoal, only adding about 20 lit embers to the pan.  However, when the unlit coals begin to light, I'm back up to 350-400 in no time.  Any ideas? 
  2. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First, double check your thermometers, the factory thermos are usually way off. Second, I would try to cut your lit coals to 10 and see what happens. It is easier to get the temps up than down.
  3. do you mean try putting 10 lit coals on top of a pan of unlit ones?   Or just maintain 10 lit coals only in the pan?
  4. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Which version? Post some photos and someone with the same smoker can help you. I had the open bottom "Mr. Meat Smoker" and it was somewhat ok at holding temps most times, but sometimes it would just go nuts. If yours is the version with the closed bottom, my guess is you've created an air leak somewhere and it's getting too much.
  5. I'll post a pic of it now.  I didn't mention before I have an aftermarket thermometer in the lid and a Redi Chek digital unit as well.  They both read within 1 or 2 degrees of each other. 
  6. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    Did you try running it with a lower load of charcoal as the other poster suggested? As he said, much easier to raise the temp of an ECB than lower it. 
  7. I have since acquired a proper charcoal basket and I've had moderate success with the minion method with only 10 or less lit coals put in the middle.  I can now maintain temp for about 4 hrs.  Maybe with a little practice I'll be able to let it go overnight.
  8. bobank03

    bobank03 Smoking Fanatic

    What sort of charcoal basket? Just wondering if you have had any luck with the temps? 
  9. I found a 14 inch deep fryer basket on ebay for 15.00.  It's very heavy duty and fits into the bottom perfectly.  The grid pattern of the basket allows the ash to fall through and the air to get to the coals. 
  10. I have the same issue. Very tough to maintain "Smoking Temps" if you start off with wrong charcoal load. Mine has the mods done except for the raised charcoal pan. I use the minon method but if you add a full chimney to an equel amount of coals, you will be at a steady 350 for 2+ hours. I strat with maybe 10-15 unlit coals in the pan. Then I use 10 coals started in a chimney. I add the chimney and initially it hits 300 but backs down after about 30 minutes. I add 2-3 coals at a time as soon as I see the temp start to back off. Not perfect but seems to be going in the right direction.

    Key seems to be less coal on start.

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