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In defense of "junior" sized 14" drums

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    In defense of "junior" sized 14" drums

    On Sunday I made dinner for 19 (admittedly, three were under the age of 7) with my 14" diameter "junior" sized drum cooker. We had plenty left over, and I could have cooked more. I cooked two 6 pound pork butts and one 5 pound chicken, boned and tied into a ballotine. As you can see from the photos, I think I could have cooked another pork butt without problem, and possibly, in a pinch have squeezed in yet another for a total of four. I rested the butts for two-and-a-half hours after cooking, during which time I cooked the ballotine'd chicken and had plenty of time for it to rest, too.

    Attached is a shot of two 6-pound pork butts in the cooker, and a shot of a single ballotine'd chicken. As you can see from the photos, there was plenty of room for additional butts and chickens.

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    In fact, I had an additional chicken I could have cooked but two butts and a single chicken (a couple of the guests prefer chicken to pork) were sufficient. I'll add that I deboned and tied the chicken into a ballotine -- that's how I could've gotten up to four chickens in there. I've done 2 split chickens (4 halves) but I think I can get more in if they were prepared that way. Ordinarily, you can do one turkey in a 14" junior sized drum but I think I might be able to fit two boned and tied turkeys, for example. Above you can see the chicken hanging; below is a photo of a chicken ballotine, ready to be hung: think of it as a porchetta done with a bird. The ends of the drumsticks are there just for the shape, and to help close the body cavity. Otherwise, there are no bones and you can just slice crosswise. Sometimes I stuff the bird. This time I just seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme. The outside was rubbed with MMD. A ballotine is more compact and evenly shaped than a regular chicken, so it takes up less space and cooks very evenly.

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by RobertC; January 3, 2019, 03:50 PM.

    Nice Job, amigo!


      Very nice utilization of a small space!


        Lookin' good.


          Nice cook! Good job done!


            It's not the size of your cooker, it's how you use it!


              If I ever got an UDS I would get the junior. That said I'm not sure why I would. I did have an Orion cooker but didn't prefer it over my other cookers. Now it's at my sisters.


              • RobertC
                RobertC commented
                Editing a comment
                One of the kids is off to college, so 95% of the time it's just 3 of us or maybe another couple of friends. The cooker is pretty light so it's easy to move around, and timing and temp and technique work just like the "grown-up" version. On those 5% of occasions when I need to cook for a fair-sized group I can; I think the photos show I had lots of extra capacity. I don't have to cook for 75-person parties. All-in-all, I'm pretty happy with my choice.

              • Attjack
                Attjack commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice. Seems like a good fit for you.

              Nice looking cook.


                Not sure there is a need to defend whatever size cooker works for your situation. Sounds like you have the one that works for you, while others might need the capacity of the full-size model. Nice job!


                  Very nice. Barrelheads rule!


                    Is it shorter, or just smaller in circumference? Plenty of depth to hang a rack of ribs?

                    90% of the time I'm cooking for 2, so I can appreciate the value of a smaller cooker.


                    • RobertC
                      RobertC commented
                      Editing a comment
                      On my cooker, there's 24" of clearance from the top of the coal basket to the hanging rack. I don't have a full-size drum to compare but I *think* that's full-height (i.e., it isn't shorter, just smaller in circumference).

                    My 14.5 WSM can handle plenty of meat, especially when I am creative about how it gets crammed in.


                      Nicely done. I have thought about adding the PBC jr. to my line up. More just to have one. I also think it would be nice for those smaller cooks.


                        Nice job on the ballotined chicken. That takes finesse to do correctly.


                        • Polarbear777
                          Polarbear777 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          So here’s a situation where we need a video of how to do it and an explanation of the advantages. Haven’t seen that one on this site. (Yet)

                        • mnavarre
                          mnavarre commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Well, here's Jaques Pepin to show you how:


                        • RobertC
                          RobertC commented
                          Editing a comment
                          mnavarre, yup, that's the video I learned from. Polarbear777, it cooks evenly, it's a snap to serve, and you can fit lots into your smoker. I've done this with turkeys, including last Thanksgiving.

                        I'm heading in the opposite direction. I have an original PBC (30 gallon), and I'm currently building a 55 gallon UDS, because I need more cooking capacity.

                        I like to allow space between meats hanging in the PBC, for proper air circulation and even cooking. And I like to cook as many chickens as possible each cook, so I can freeze the pulled meat for chicken stews.

                        I halve chickens, so I can cook 4 at once (4 halves on each rebar) in the original (30 gallon) PBC. I'd love to do 6-8 chickens at once, thus my desire for a 55 gallon UDS.

                        So, when do yall think we'll see Noah introduce the 55 gallon PBC?
                        Last edited by TBoneJack; February 17, 2019, 07:32 PM.


                        • jfmorris
                          jfmorris commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I'm with you on that one, for the same reasons. Our house is downsizing as kids get married and move out, but if I am going to fire up the smoker, I tend to cook lots, as it freezes well with my vacuum sealer, and makes for easy to reheat meals. Especially pulled pork, chuck or chicken. I usually do at least 4 split chickens, sometimes 8 with 2 grills going.


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