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Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker Reviewed - Not a standard ECB!
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USFMD82
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Joined: 16 Feb 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29 07 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have long been wanting to close off the lid on my ECB (standard not
gourmet) could you go into a bit more detail where was this rope purchased, is it flexible? it appears you formed a gasket at which the top is now sitting higher then it was, in other words, you succeeded in closing the gap however, you can no longer put the lid fully down is that the case? I was looking at in my mind getting some flexible rope and then taking high temp tape and taping it up to the lid, problem is im not entirely sure of the size I would need as im unsure the size of the gap. I will continue to look at this with interest,though. What size hole did you use for the top?

I am mainly interested in this because I wanted ot get temps up in the 350's (to get a good crisp on the skin of poultry however I feel without the ability to close the air gap that will not be possible as I loose a great deal of the heat to this opening, if I could add the exhaust as you have at the top that would be much better. For instance last week I cooked a
goose, i used the ECB as an oven (read no smoking chips or anything added) I was unable to get it above 230 (even with no water in the pan)

Be careful with the exhaust on op however, you want ot run it fully open anytime your smoking as f it is closed the smoke becomes stale and adds a bitter flavor ot the meat (this is not form personal experience but something I have read many times on this and other smoking forums.

I one had the smae problem you did with the door and is appears the quick bend of the hinge did a good job, its kept it nice and tight a good 6 months now, besides I very rarely open this door anyway
Love the Pics, keep up the good work
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wasilvers
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Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Sussex - WI

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29 07 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

USFMD82 - The rope I purchased was "fiberglass rope". I purchased it from Fleet Farm (or Farm Fleet - they sell about the same stuff - always having everything I have ever needed!) I found it by the indoor stoves/fireplaces. Fleet Farm had several sizes of round rope as well. The packages say they are for fireplaces and indoor stoves. I purchased the flat rope, about 1/4 (or 3/Cool thick in by 1/2 inches wide - the only flat type they had. It was packaged with mounting silicone and cost about $12.50.

My lid has a slight protrusion around the rim. I mounted the rope to the bottom of the ridge (side farthest from the handle). This does raise the lid a bit as the lid and rope rests slightly inside the body of the smoker. The lid will not fall off as there is still a lip inside the lid that rests inside the body of the smoker. Before I mounted the rope, I tried to burn it with a torch, but the rope would only glow red. This setup really helps seal the lid from heat escape and assists with airflow control.

My smoker had problems keeping the temperatures down. It kept wanting to run at 350 degrees, so I was interested in reducing airflow. The vent holes on the top are a little less than 1/2 in diameter, with smaller holes scattered throughout. I would guess there would be plenty of airflow around the lid area, especially with an escape for it. When I put a lot of chips on for testing, the smoke bellowed out the top vents like there was no tomorrow! I ususally try to match the top vents with the bottom vent, 1/2 open and 1/2 open. I would doubt there would be stale smoke in that case. If I am wrong - Please let me know before I ruin some good meat!

I look forward to many more bbq's with this little guy - maybe even ribs!
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USFMD82
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Joined: 16 Feb 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29 07 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You did a good job explaining, but I still dont quite grasp what you mean on the lid, I guess my question is if the lid is still down with the rope inside as well or is the lid no longer functioning by itself, and it is being held up by the rope.. lol, Im confusing myself now.

I woudl think that should be fine, I think the main worry is having it closed all the way. Did you get it up and keep it up at 350?
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pistolpete



Joined: 12 Nov 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03 07 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted an alternative method that doesn't require any drilling and gets pretty close to making this smoker run efficiently here:

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9502

If it is a windy day, I just wrap some foil around the airvents by the charcoal pan to block the wind and that seems to work fine. Most of the time, I just leave it as it is in the picture. You will notice that there is a gap between the lid and the barrel and that is built that way on purpose for air flow and it seems to work ok for me. That's what is fun about these things, we can get to the destination taking several different routes and use what works best for you.
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wasilvers
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Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Sussex - WI

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03 07 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

USFMD82 - To answer your question of how the rope and lid meet the body.... The rope sits on the inside of the body. The entire lid is held up by the rope - which is resting on the body. The exposed lip below the rope helps guide the lid back on. It doesn't feel like it will fall off. In fact, my son hit the thing with a little basketball and nothing happend. Here is a picture of the rope attached to the lid. The rope (and ridge) makes sure the rope will seal nicely against the body of the smoker.



I did get the temperatures up to 300 and held them there - using charcoal. I didn't want to go much more than that as I was following a recipe. I don't think it would go much higher easily unless I added more vents in the lower section.



pistolpete - I had a good laugh when I told a coworker of the mods I made - drilling holdes and such. They looked at me and said - "So you can't take that back now, can you?" Laughing Your plan looks like it would work great as well!

On another note, 3 weekends since I got this little guy - and three weekends of meals from the smoker! I tried to make a couple of racks of baby back ribs for the first time in my life this Saturday. I followed (basically) the "Best Ribs In The Universe" recipe from the "virtual weber bullet" website. I added a chicken and some foil wrapped potatoes to the smoker when I found out the inlaws were joining us for dinner. The ribs turned out great - I really liked them! Here's a picture a few hours after we ate as much as we could consume. The chicken was delicious as well, but it fell apart when I was pulling it off the grill Yummmm! The potatoes were just right. The entire meal cooked and was ready at the same time. The first and probably the last time that will ever happen Smile



Happy Smoking,

Will
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pistolpete



Joined: 12 Nov 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04 07 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wasilvers, Man those ribs look good!! I really liked the mods that you made and I think that you would be able to fine tune your smoker to the conditions with those vents that you put in. I admire the handy guys here that do some pretty cool mods like you did as I am not too mechanically inclined. I fall in the category: "For the hardest job, find the laziest man and he will show you the easiest way to do it". As you found out with your meal, you can really crank out some good food with these smokers and not to knock the WSM crowd but I think with a few mods here and there that they keep up pretty well. Hope it serves you well for many years to come.
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USFMD82
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Joined: 16 Feb 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08 07 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see that makes more sense, any ideas on the thickness that that gasket was, I just got off the phone with ACE and they sad they have varying degrees of thickness I might want to get a smaller degree of thickness than yours I would like to if possibly actually have the gasket nestled inside the grill so that the rope cant be seen, but if it comes down to it, I will just go with it the way you have (looks like it turns back eventually anyway Smile. But I figured id list the thickness so maybe I can try to get it a bit smaller but at most I don't want it to small where it wont even cover the whole.

Braided Black Gasket Rope (fiberglass impregnated good to 1,000 Deg)
in Inches

1 inch by 6 feet
3/4
5/16
1/2
1/4
5/8
3/8
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wasilvers
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Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Sussex - WI

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09 07 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

USFMD82 - I think the size I used was 3/8 inch. It was fairly small. I wanted to it fit inside and not be visible as well, but that would have required some awesome fitting on my part. Smile Good Luck to you!

I made a brisket this weekend on this little smoker. The brisket was too large to fit without touching the sides, so I slid a little foil on the sides where the meat would otherwise touche the side of the smoker. Once the meat shrunk a bit, I pulled the foil off. The ends were a little dark, but that's the way I like them anyway. Once the grill was at 250, the brisket went on (10:30 pm). It smoked away on a little mequite and some apple wood smoke. I flipped it 3 times to make sure each side got darkend evenly. It seems that my mods, (and the large piece of meat) make the top of the meat a little less likely to blaken the same as the bottom. The brisket held at 159/160 degrees for about 4 hours (I was getting worried), but the temp finally started rising again. Once the brisket was about 170 internal 7:00am, I wrapped it in foil and let it go till 200 internal. I pulled it off and tested it in multiple places, and it was all about 198. So I put it back on till it was 200 again (8:30 am) and then put it in the cooler to keep warm till lunch, Sorry there are no pictures, but I was helping a friend work when my wife brought it to us for lunch. The outside was perfect, the smoke ring was at least 1/4 inch everywhere, closer to 3/8+ in many places! The brisket was done just the way I like. The thinner areas were falling apart, the thick parts were very tender, but held together nicely. I can't imagine making a brisket any better! Very Happy

Now to try some pork butts! Wink
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USFMD82
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Joined: 16 Feb 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09 07 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will order my rope in a day or so here, I look forward to hearing about your pork butt cook, I just cooked a brisket in my mini grill yesterday, everyone said it was my best yet, I thought it was a bit dry. Ill keep you up to date on anything I find out, You oughta try to get the temps up and steady at around the 350, and do a Beer Can Chicken, I would make these things all the time if I could!! but I hve to relate to the gas grill to get the consistent 350 temp for the crispy skin
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wasilvers
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Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Sussex - WI

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10 07 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never had a beer can chicken, but every says they are delicious. I'm sure I'll try it by the end of the summer. Smile

I suppose if I fed more air in the intake, I could get the temps up to hold at 350 as long as the fuel held out..... Perhaps more modifications to come....
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Smokedog
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Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11 07 2:27 am    Post subject: Cement or silicone Reply with quote

I have looked into using the rope gasket...I can only find the 2000 degree cement or a 500 degree 100% silicone which has been recommended in a few posts on here...do they make a higher rated 100% silicone adhesive?
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Smokem



Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21 07 5:00 am    Post subject: Modifications.... Reply with quote

How do you post a picture in the thread. I have done a modification I'd like to share with the group.
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wasilvers
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Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Sussex - WI

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21 07 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I upload mine to my webpage, then put the "[img][/img]" text around the link to the image.

A tutorial on using photobucket or one of the other image hosting sites is located as a sticky post in the "General BBQ Discussion" forum.

Good luck!

Will
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hydrology_joe



Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 12
Location: Topeka, KS

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28 07 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First - A BIG THANK YOU to wasilvers for his write up on the ECB! This was a wealth of information on modifications for the "new" design of the Gourmet Charcoal Smoker. (most other sources of modifications were for the older designs)

I made some of the modifications described and my ECB has been an absolute dream to cook with. I did not cover the hole in the bottom or install vents in the lid, but did use a rack for the charcoal, add a thermometer and seal the lid (with foil). Using the Minion Method, I get a good consistent 5+ hours of burn time from a chimney of Kingsford. So far, I have had brisket and chicken turn out beautifully on the ECB. I will be attempting some salmon filets this weekend. I will try some pork shoulder after a little more practice controlling temps and times.

Do NOT be afraid of this little cheapo! For those on limited budgets or new to the hobby (like me), this is a good starting point.
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SectorB
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Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 280
Location: SW Burbs,IL

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18 07 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Cook'N Cajun, Gourmet without the door, and did similar mods. I contacted weber and got the 3 dampers for the lower half of the 18 1/2" kettle, Free Very Happy the lady on the other end was in a good mood. I placed 2 opposite of each other on the bottom pan and one on the top. I relocated my thermometer to grate level and my next step is to gasket the top to seal it tighter if the temps become uncontrollable. If you have any other tips to make this even better please share.

Here is the pic.

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WSM
UDS-
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The Smokey Future is cloudy but tasty
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code red



Joined: 20 Mar 2007
Posts: 20
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18 07 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for sharing the idea about the fiberglass rope. i too was looking for way to fill the gap around the lid without using foil every time i cooked. brilliant!
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code red



Joined: 20 Mar 2007
Posts: 20
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20 07 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i found out that you have to special order the gasket from either lowes or home depot. the dude working at lowes recommended checking a appliance parts store. he said if you call the special order line that they ask for a model number of your appliance and it would probably confuse them if you just stated you need a piece of fiberglass rope. we have several appliance stores in austin so just to let everyone know, if you have one of those types of stores in your area they will have the stuff you need and you wont have to wait for a special order to arrive.
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hydrology_joe



Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 12
Location: Topeka, KS

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24 08 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The local fireplace store (or chimney sweep) may be able to get the fiberglass rope for you. I priced some while I was at Swims & Sweeps (Topeka) and decided I can buy a lot of aluminum foil before I equal the cost of the fiberglass rope they were asking.
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wasilvers
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Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 32
Location: Sussex - WI

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24 08 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see a business opportunity suppling fibeglass rope gaskets.... hmmm Very Happy

I paid about $12 for a 6? foot lenght and the silicone to hold it on... the rope itself was about $5 (if I wanted to buy it separate)
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artificialj
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Joined: 13 Jan 2008
Posts: 41
Location: cincinnati, oh

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24 08 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

awesome review/post/mods - been wanting to have a little smoker at school, as i frequently get stuck there working for 18+ hours in my office, but was not so keen on spending the money for a wsm (that might get stolen from my outside area). gonna try to get one of these!

also, awesome pic of that squirrel/chipmunk giving you the evil eye.
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