Let me tell you what I've done to get the temperature up.
The charcoal bowl has been modified per the FAQ. It has 8 inch legs and
five 3/8 holes in the bottom. I've done a picnic, two sets of ribs, a 7
lb chicken, three five pound chickens and some trout (over the last
several weeks) with just these modifications. The quality of the results
seems to be fine, but after 12 hours on the smoker, I had to finish the
picnic in the oven. I use large chunks of soaked wood for smoke and wait
until the charcoal is well on before adding one to three chunks.
I cut a circle of expanded metal 11" in diameter to hold the charcoal 1
1/2 inches off the bottom of the bowl. I've set up my spare ECB (I'm
glad I bought two) to allow me to start additional charcoal before
I was able to successfully smoke two large, skinless salmon filets
(three layers of romaine lettuce leaves provided an excellent artificial
skin and oil trap) and a five lb turkey breast. I gave the salmon three
hours before declaring victory. After eight hours, I pulled the turkey
in and finished it in the oven.
I noticed that opening the door slightly seems to raise the temperature,
which leads me to believe that I need more fresh air getting to the
charcoal. Opening the door isn't a controllable way to add more air. Any
suggestions as to technique or additional modifications? More holes in
the bottom of the bowl? ...
More holes in the bottom might work for you as you've got a great (grate?)
charcoal separation with the expanded metal. That and a top venting device
and you'd have better temp control.
I have a aluminum water heater pan under my ECB more to keep grease off
the patio than for catching embers and such. I think I'll enlarge the
holes from 3/8" to 7/8" a few at a time. That should allow more ash to
fall through and more air to enter.
I'm thinking that larger holes (7/8" instead of 3/8") will help, but top
venting might help, too. Any suggestions on how to modify the top?
I just popped out the temp guage that was in the lid and fashioned an
adjustible damper from the bottom of a small tin can. For the most part I
leave it all the way open during cooking as I don't want the smoke to get
Drill holes in the top in a semicircular array. then fasten a half moon of
sheet metal or a pie tin with a screw at the radius point of your hole
array. Cut the metal so that you have enough to fold a "handle" on it. I
think 1/2" or 5/8" diameter on the holes. It was my next planned
modification to mine before I found money under the pillow and just bought a
I have an ECB too. I made the same modifications that you mentioned (legs,
charcoal grate, holes in the bottom of the pan) but still wasn't able to get
the temp to stay stable.
Thinking that it wasn't getting enough air, I cut the entire bottom out of the
fire pan leaving only the grate to hold the charcoal. Like you I have a pan
below to catch the ashes and embers that fall through. Even with this it
really didn't seem to keep the temp up or keep it steady. I'm really thinking
that the key is the openings in the top that will allow a "draft" to develop.
All that said, I'm ready to retire the ECB. In an inexpensive manner it allowed
me to find out that I enjoy doing BBQ and let me learn the basics. In the next
few weeks I think I'm going to track down a WSM.
>OK, I've gotten enough experience with my ECB to say that I really don't
>know how to consistently run it at 220-250. I can get it to go all day
>at 190-210, but it takes all day and part of the night to do anything of
>suggestions as to technique or additional modifications? More holes in
>the bottom of the bowl? ...
I have been using my ECB for several years now. I have NOT made any
of the modifications. I have an older version that had the hole in
the ash-pan. About the only thing I do different is I don't put water
in the pan; I cover it with foil so it acts as a thermal barrier. It
just takes practice and good 'anticipation' to keep the fire stable.
The Hero is commonly the
simplest and obscurest of men.
- Henry David Thoreau
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