Won't get up past 150 degrees

Discussion in 'ECB Owners Group' started by 4kdave, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. I can't seem to get much heat out of this thing. Have put in temp. gauge, two vents in bottom, one vent in lid and built longer legs but just won't get hot, Do I need more Royal Oak charcoal or what? Trying to season it now. Bought from someone who never used it as was new for $20. HELP !!!!! Wanted to do a Turkey for Thanksgiving.

  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just calm down Dave, we'll get through this. First off, which ECB is it? Round? Square? Open bottom? Closed bottom?
    My first thought is that you're using the stock coal pan. If this is the case, that's where your problem lies. If it's the round one, get a small coal grate, the replacement charcoal grate for the Weber smokey Joe works perfectly. Then work out some way to suspend it about one to one and a half inches off the bottom of the pan. I used 4 golf ball sized wads of aluminum foil, others have used long screws. Basically you just need to give the fire room to breathe from below. If it's the square one, get a grill wok or it might be called a wok topper. I got mine at Target, I think it was $8. It should slide right into the rails on the side of the smoker. That should get you some BTUs.
  3. Have already done the mod. you suggested and replaced the mickey mouse temp. gauge with one from Amazon. Oh. it's the round model and as I said installed two Weber three hole vents in the bottom & one in the dome. Can't think of anything else to do but build a giant pile of charcoal to bring the heat up. Put the pieces of wood that came with it in water overnight and got good smoke for a while but not near enough heat.
  4. It's the Brinkman Gourmet Model
  5. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper


    Can you post a pic of your charcoal pan and the grate you added?  Does it look something like this, minus the legs?

    This grate is sitting a little high.  I've since lowered it so I could fit a little more charcoal in my ECB.
  6. Can't do pics. unless my Son were here.

    Looking at your pic. my pan has (8) 3/4" holes around the pan above where your grate sits as well as slots in the bottom & (2) Weber 3 hole vents. My grill mod. puts it at a little over an inch from the bottom mounted on three long bolts as I was instructed in one of the mods. on here.

    I don't think that is a problem as yesterday's burn didn't use all the charcoal before going out with a small amount of ash left in the pan. I am just lost as I am an old guy (80) who has barbecued his whole adult life, but thought I would try smoking some things. Glad I only spent $20 for this piece of junk plus I don't know how much on Mods. and books.Thanks for the replys.

  7. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    Wow, that's a tough one.  Still sounds like it's an airflow problem.  An inch should be enough, and you've definitely got enough ventilation.  How much clearance is there between the ground and the bottom of the charcoal pan?

    You say there's a small amount of ash left in the pan, so the ash can't be the cause.  Are you using enough charcoal?  When I've used briquettes, I've always ended up with a LOT of ash, and have had to shake the pan a little bit during the smoke to drain the ash.  I've switched to mostly lump, so I don't have that problem anymore.
  8. Hi, clearance between ground and pan is 6" as we replaced the legs that came with it, with some we made. As to charcoal, am using Royal Oak and tried briquettes before with same results. How much charcoal to due a seasoning...as I tried the briquettes the first time without spraying veg. oil and then sprayed and used the R.O. Maybe I am not using enough but it seems to get hot but the gauge shows 120-150 degrees and never goes higher and I think the draft is good because the smoke pours out the Weber 3 hole I installed in the lid.
  9. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    Still a little confused about the charcoal.  When you say Royal Oak, do you mean Royal Oak lump?  There are also Royal Oak briquettes, which is what I'm more familiar with.

    Any chance you bought a Celsius thermometer? 120-150C equates to about 250-300 Fahrenheit, which would sound about right.  Maybe either check your Amazon order history, or set the thermometer in a pan of boiling water?
  10. Duke,

    I am using the Royal Oak lump, or I did this last time.

    The thermometer has both F & C so that's not the answer.

    Question...If you load your pan full with lit fuel how long till you reach say 225 ? And can you get it too hot and not be able to hold the desired temp.?

    I can't go by the owners book because of all the mods. but don't want to try smoking something and have a failure. I think I know what you are going to say..."Nothing ventured nothing gained".

  11. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper


    This is a real stumper!  When I use charcoal, I lift the smoker off of the pan (see pic above), then start the coals.  Once they're ready to go, I lower the unit back over the coals.  With the lid on, without a water pan, if the fire is sufficiently hot, it takes less than two minutes to get up to 225, which is where I usually cook.

    Are you using a water pan?

    Are you igniting your coals externally, then adding them when they're good and hot?

    In my experience, a full pan of lit coals will get me way over 225.  I use more coals than in the pic above, but not much.  Adding wood on top of that will produce even more heat, though it doesn't last as long.  I've learned through trial and error that it's easier to start small and add one or two unlit lumps than it is to pull out burning ones.

    BTW, most people seem to think that soaking wood isn't really necessary, especially if you're using larger chunks.

    If you're still getting to know your smoker, why not throw a cheap meatloaf on there and see how it goes?  That way you won't feel bad if you have to toss it, but you can still enjoy it if it turns out well.

    I hope we can get down to the bottom of this, because smoking's a whole lot of fun, and it can definitely be done on these cheap Brinkmann units.
  12. I did have the water pan half full as that was what I was told to do to break it in.

    I have Jeff's book so maybe a meat loaf would be a good starter. Thanks for your help & advice and will post my results in a while

  13. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    Fired up the ECB today and it was a bit slow getting up to temp.  I realized that I put cold water in the water pan, instead of the usual piping hot water.  That can be a factor.
  14. I did the same thing on my break-in run.
  15. I've had the complete opposite experience with my ECB. With a full pan of coals the temp will soar to 400. I've discovered that about half pan of coals will keep temp around 250. I've done the mods and have decent airflow.
  16. Thanks S.B. ,I guess I just have to get brave & try cooking something. I know that I skimped on the charcoal for the burn-in so will try a 1/2 pan and see what happens.

    I guess it's like reloading ammo, just get a book or some help and dive in.

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