This is a membership forum. As a guest, you can click around a bit. View 5 pages for free. If you are a member you must log in now. If you would like to participate, please join.

[ Pitmaster Club Information | Join Now | Login | Contact Us ]

There are 4 page views remaining.


No announcement yet.

Barrel House Cooker

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Barrel House Cooker

    Does anyone have any experience with the Barrel House vertical cooker and if so how does it compare to the Pit Barrel Cooker?

    There was a lawsuit over this one. I am not sure how it all came out. But here is the link to the last topic regarding this cooker.


      I have one, the model with the hinged lid. I got it about six months ago, before I saw that lawsuit that Spinaker mentioned but as IANAL so I won't address that.

      Disclaimer: I've seen but never cooked on a PBC so I can't really compare to it in a detailed way -- but the BHC works pretty much as I imagined a smaller version of the PBC would work when I got it. It's basically a 20-gallon barrel (14" diameter rather than 18") compared to the PBC's 30 gallon volume, so it has roughly 60% of the capacity. We're a four-person family, soon to be three. When we entertain we usually only have only another three or four. For my needs a PBC would have been too much -- the middle-sized WSM was the alternative I was considering. I've done dinner for 10 people, but I don't have to feed 25 people so I don't worry about doing 3 pork butts or 3 briskets at once.

      It has some nice refinements compared to the PBC. Here are four of the nicest:
      1. You can detach the base, making feeding and clearing the charcoal basket easier. You don't need the "ash catcher" that costs an extra $30 with the PBC, nor do you need to load the charcoal basket into the barrel with a long handled rake.
      2. The charcoal basket has a tall collar with a charcoal grate set at about two-thirds of the way down the collar. This means there's a deep side to the basket and if you flip it over, there's a shallow side that holds about half the charcoal. The shallow side is perfect when cooking chicken or a tri-tip, while the deep side holds enough charcoal for at least a six hour cook.
      3. If you look at the pictures of the two, all other UDS are barrels with outward ridges. The BHC has reversed them so the ridges form indentations that you can set the grates on. There are three such ridges. From the topmost ridge down to the charcoal basket is at least 22", so you can hang pretty long items without having them touch the coals.
      4. Sometimes when cooking "juicy" meats like chickens, they can drip quite a bit. In fact, some chickens can drip so much that they can snuff out the charcoal directly below, so PBC owners occasionally rotate or re-arrange chickens so they drip on "fresh" coals. With the BHC, the hooks hang from a circular "H-frame" that sits on the ridge, and you can rotate the frame in the barrel in just a second if you choose to.

      After detaching the base, you can place a grate just inches above the charcoal basket so you can sear after slow cooking -- but I usually sear on my gas cooker, so I've never really bothered with this feature.

      There are a few other differences from the PBC but these were the biggest for me.

      Because the volume is smaller than the PBC I had to learn how to scale down the recommended lighting procedure and play with the exhaust ports. I snake the temperature probes through the exhaust ports. I am getting better at dialing in a temperature within +/-5 deg, and holding it there for several hours.

      I have done a 8-1/2 hour cook @ 260+/-5 deg loaded to full capacity (about 116 briquettes = 2.9 kg = 6.4 lbs) with fuel to spare. Eyeballing the charcoal basket I think it could've gone another hour and a half but that's just a guess. I haven't yet tested what would happen if the barrel were loaded with so much stuff that the air circulation might be affected.

      The "H" frame they use as a substitute for the rebar in the PBC can be kinda cool, as I mentioned above, and sometimes kind of a pain -- because the BHC has only 60% of the surface area, having extra bars that criss-cross the top limits the size the item you can easily maneuver through the gaps. It turns out that if you're cooking something big it's easier to lift the whole damn thing, hooks and items still attached, than to try to squeeze the big item past the openings. You get 8 hooks with the PBC and only 4 with the BHC but 4 turns out to be about right since it's so much smaller.

      The lid seals well and I haven't yet gotten any leaks around it. Some drum smokers have problems with loose or deformed lids, so you often hear of owners weighing down the lid or clamping it with binder clips. The "deluxe" model has the hinged lid so it doesn't get too many stresses than might deform it, but we shall see over time. The hinge has two positions so you can leave the lid either tightly closed or slightly ajar. I sometimes use the "ajar" position when trying to quickly raise the temperature for cooking chicken.

      The deluxe model also has an extra frame you can put half-grates on, and a tiny shelf I use to hold my Thermoworks Smoke. The extra frame can be handy if you hang pork butts from the top frame -- you can then put the grates on the second frame which is installed at the lowest ridge to prevent tender meat from falling off the hooks onto the coal basket. No need to ask me how I know this.

      All-in-all, a one-sentence summary might be: a 60% scale model of the most popular UDS with refinements that address many of their idiosyncrasies.


        Well, after reading the lawsuit and finding out some of the unscrupulous business practices (IMHO) I think I will pass on this one and move on. Thanks for the info Spinaker and for making that decision easier. Besides I am still trying to master the new kettle and SNS that I just got about a month ago.



        No announcement yet.


        These are not paid ads, they are a curated selection of products we love.

        All of the products below have been tested and are highly recommended. Click here to read more about our review process.

        Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

        Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our “buy now” links. This has zero impact on the price you pay but helps support the site.

        A Propane Smoker That Performs Under Pressure

        The Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’. Click here to read our detailed review.

        Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

        3 burner gas grill

        The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood including dual-tube burners that are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. Click here to read our complete review.

        The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted

        It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make their 22″ Pro Cart a great alternative! Click here for more about what makes this grill special.

        Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

        The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat-controlled oven. Click here for our review of this superb smoker.