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Help! Larger smoker: PBC Junior vs Weber kettle+SNS???

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    Help! Larger smoker: PBC Junior vs Weber kettle+SNS???

    My only current cooker is the Weber Smokey Joe, & I absolutely love it, since I’m always cooking for two. BUT, it has big size limitations & very small charcoal capacity on longer cooks, so it does require constant tending, at least every 15 minutes once running. So based on the last few weeks cooking with the WSJ, and beautiful results with both steaks/chops & long cooks of ribs/roasts, the Ol Lady has given me the OK to buy a larger smoker so we can cook larger cuts and have leftovers (we pretty much smash the entire WSJ cook)...SOOO,
    I read the write up here on the PBC, and think the JR is right about the size and price I’m comfortable with, and was all set to order one, when I realized two POTENTIAL ISSUES WITH THE PBJ:
    1) CHARCOAL LOAD: it seems to need an huge amount of charcoal, even for shorter cooks (think tender roasts to medium rare)... there are lots of threads on the PBC channel about cutting down the Charcoal in the bowl, although they seem to be more related to regulating temperature, which brings me to number 2: control!
    Meathead 2) CONTROL: I notice that nearly all of the PBC posts are about trying to modify either the cooker or the technique to GAIN CONTROL over what seems to be designed as, and function best as, a set-it-and-forget-it cooker! I mean, the product reviews here really emphasize how well this thing cooks if just set as instructed and left alone, even though the temps are higher than a lot of recipes here. Meathead even says in the write up that it’s “hard to argue” with the results, MAINLY fantastic meat, great bark, tender & juicy results, and SHORTER COOKS.... SO WHY IS EVERYONE TRYING TO DEFEAT THE DESiGN? I have to believe it’s EITHER WE HAVE A NEED TO FIDDLE WITH SETTINGS AND TEMPS, OR THE RESULTS OF THE PBC JUST AREN’T THAT GREAT WHEN USED AS DIRECTED. So which is it??
    So my other option is a larger Weber Kettle plus the Slow ‘N Sear, which will, of course, have lower capacity than the PBJ as far as size of cut, BUT I’m not gonna be cooking a full packer brisket or more than maybe two slabs of ribs, so it should suffice. It seems to me that the key ADVANTAGES the Weber + SNS combo might have are:
    1) less charcoal consumption on shorter cooks, like a medium-rare roast.
    If I’m going to buy a dedicated smoker, I’m not sure how I would feel about set-it-and-forget it... A GREAT DEAL OF THE PLEASURE OF BBQ IS IN THE INTERACTION WITH THE COOK ITSELF, AND THE PRIDE WHEN IT WORKS PERFECTLY! So it seems like using a PBC as-designed removes that.
    I AM NOT ON A QUEST SOLELY FOR GREAT MEAT TO EAT: I LOVE THE INTERACTION WITH THE COOK ITSELF, which has me leaning toward the Weber + SNS combo, just so I can fiddle...
    Are there OTHER QUALITY SMOKERS AROUND $300 that would allow me to interact more with my meal and cook larger hunks o meat? Or is it practical to actually fiddle with the PBC?
    I’m on a tight budget, disabled, desire more from my cooks, but don’t want to just throw meat and charcoal in one end and pull out meat 6 hours later— takes the fun out of it? ANY ADVICE OR OTHER OPTIONS?

    I have a Jumbo Joe with a SlowNSear and a Vortex. I use them both about an equal amount of time. I would think the 22” Weber with SlowNSear or Vortex would allow you to cook just about anything you want and would be more versatile the PBC. Since you primarily cook for 2 the 22” Weber would allow you enough space to cook an entire meal for two especially if it is grilling.


      Webber 22” with a Slow and Sear should do everything you want and be within your budget.


        I've got both a PBJr. and a Weber/SnS and love 'em both. If I had to pick just one it'd be the Weber, just for the flexibility. Don't get me wrong the PBJr. is a great little cooker, it beats the Weber on capacity at least if your hanging meat, & they both use about the same amount of charcoal on long cooks. It's not great for direct grilling, and if you want control over temp at best it's pretty crude without some kind of hackery.

        The Weber can do just about everything, and do it pretty well. Smoke? Yup. A nice, clean roast? Yup. Grill? Well, Yeah. I lags a bit on capacity, you can get 6 racks of spare ribs in the PBJr., versus 3-4 in the Weber with a rib rack. It beats the PBJr. all hollow on temp control. Honestly, if you want a "do everything" cooker, it's hard to beat the Weber.

        Plus, you can probably pick up a used Weber off of Craigslist for less than $50. From your criteria I'd say go with the Weber.


          I like the PBC. It works great as is.
          Im moslty fiddling with mine bc
          a} I like to fiddle with stuff and
          b} have lots of time at home right now.

          The Weber may meet your needs more but I wouldn't be put off the PBJ just bc a number of folks tinker with theirs.


            Yep. A 22" Weber kettle with a SnS can do everything well. Low n slow to screaming hot searing and everything in between. Plus there are tons of gadgets and mods down the road if you choose.


              I have a PBC and a Weber 22 w/SnS. They compliment each other very well.

              I will say though your desire to “fiddle” to enjoy the cook means you probably shouldn’t get either of them and go buy a COS Or OK Joe instead so you can fiddle all you want.

              PBC should be allowed to mostly do its thing with the exception of wanting to bump up the heat for some crispy skin... people obsess over the 225 myth.

              The Weber w/SnS if being used right should run pretty rock steady once you get it set... so you shouldn’t be fiddling with it too much once it is going otherwise you defeat the purpose there too.

              The benefit of the SnS is the versatility. If I had to choose between the two it would be the SnS and Weber for that reason... But if you are keeping your current Weber then you have some options to play.

              Seriously though if you want to play with fire then maybe think of something different... again the two you mentioned are designed to run for hours without playing with them too much.
              Last edited by Nate; June 27, 2020, 04:44 PM.


                As others have said, the 22" Weber kettle with SnS gives you both a nice grill and a nice smoker. That is your ticket I think.


                  First off. lemme open with I think th PBC/PBJ's are fine cookers, an many folks hereabouts love em to pieces.

                  If somebody were to give me one to review, reckon I'd figger out how to make it work, an fit into my repertoire of cookers, an products. More Power to those who rock em on a daily basis!

                  That bein said, I sincerely believe that th Weber kettle/SnS combo is a much more well-rounded, an versatile option, overall.

                  Does it have th capacity of th PB family??? Nope.

                  But can th PB Family of cookers do alla th things a kettle can do? Nope.

                  Git whatever is gonna fit yer lifestyle, meet yer budgetary constraints, an makes ya happy, an eager to cook again on it, most importantly.

                  Of course, ya know, no matter which one ya ultimately decide to git, that we'uns are gonna be expectin some pics.

                  In th long run, I wish ya luck with yer choosin, but bein's how ya were askin, well, there's my ¢2 worth...
                  Last edited by Mr. Bones; June 29, 2020, 07:55 PM. Reason: s


                  • Mark V
                    Mark V commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes! First get what fits your lifestyle. Then you can get MCS and fill it out.

                  • patcrail
                    patcrail commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks Mr. Bones , just ordered both the 22” Weber & a SNS , think they will keep me in larger cooks for a long time!

                  I think I explained myself wrong! I DON’T WANT TO CONSTANTLY TINKER, but I do enjoy keeping an eye on the temp, deciding what temp for what cut, and when I’m going to intercede.... I don’t want to hover and fiddle all day, but I do want the end result to be a mix of the meat, the seasoning, and MY SKILL, and that’s what gives me pause about the PBC —— I love my Smokey Joe, but the small size has me constantly managing the fire, and I don’t want that..... I want something in the middle?


                  • mnavarre
                    mnavarre commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You still need to pay attention to all that on a PBC. I monitor my meat temp and the cooker temp in the PBJr., same as the Weber. Despite their marketing, a PBC isn't Set & Forget, it's more "Set & Don't Worry About It Too Much". It still all comes down to the guy behind the tongs.

                  That said, I appreciate all the input, and I’m glad I asked y’all! I’ve learned more than I realized there was to learn in less than a month on here, but, THE BIGGEST THING I’VE LEARNED FROM YALL IS THAT I LOVE BBQing! SMOKING! Just plain cooking meat over fire! I’m not ready for a set-it-n-forget-it cooker, or I’d probably save for a pellet smoker, although the PBC looks like a damned fine option.
                  I just want a little more input on my cooking results, especially on the long cooks.... I can only afford one right now, cause otherwise I’d just buy the PBC and the /SNS and cook on! thank you all, and I guess it’s the Weber SNS combo, unless anyone has another recommendation!?


                    I have all 3 ,the PBC and a 22” Weber and a Jumbo Joe,,,,,all rock for what I need them to do
                    To cook for more than me and the sweet heart I would go with a 22” Weber W/ SNS
                    smoke , grill, Sear
                    I love all 3 cuz they meet my needs fer me and the family
                    Last edited by Greygoose; June 27, 2020, 05:31 PM.


                      I guess im still not clear on what you want to do during the cook. I've got a 22" weber and the SNS. I can get it to stay right around 250 for hours... and you don't WANT to fiddle with anything then or you'll just cause temp fluctuations.

                      But if you want to feel more involved in the cook... I wonder if there's a starter offset smoker. Requires constant fire management (which may not be what you want either).

                      The thing is, smoking really isn't about skill and technique. It's about selecting a good cut, seasoning it right, getting the fire to behave and *letting it do its thing*. Unlike a lot of other cooking, it's just not a style where I find myself doing much as the meat cooks.


                      • patcrail
                        patcrail commented
                        Editing a comment
                        @ rickgregory : I explained it all wrong: I guess I just mean controlling the temp at which I’m cooking (200-225-276-325) NOT fiddling with it constantly, just having the input to decide if it’s a real lowNslow cook, or higher for birds, that type of thing. Seems like the PBC is designed to run around 275 for everything & you need to mod it to change that ????

                      • rickgregory
                        rickgregory commented
                        Editing a comment
                        oh, I see. You can do that, with practice, on a weber and SNS.

                      Over the years I've had a Weber Smokey Joe, a 22" Weber kettle with a Smokenator (which is sort of an older variant of the SNS), and currently, a Barrel House Cooker, which is a 14" barrel that comes apart so you can use the bottom part as a 14" grill (like an extra small Smokey Joe), so it's the same diameter as the PBC Jr.

                      If I had to choose one and *only* one, I guess it would be the 22" kettle and SNS.

                      The reason I gave up on the Webers had nothing to do with dissatisfaction: I had the Smokey Joe for almost a decade before getting the 22"; then a few years later we moved to another country for a few years so I gave the kettle away. When we returned to the States, I thought maybe we'd try something different and bought a gas grill. After a couple of years, I missed the smoking experience, and could have gotten another kettle and SNS but instead I went with the Barrel House. I've been pretty happy with it, and hardly ever use the gas grill except for making pizza. I have a post here from about a year ago showing the volume of the Barrel House: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...sized-14-drums


                        Also keep in mind, the PBC is a *cooker*, not a smoker in the true sense of the genre. It’s great at doing what it was designed to do, shorter cooks at higher temps without too much baby sitting. From a versatility standpoint, I have a Weber Performer with SNS and Vortex and I love the set up, kind of a Swiss Army knife of outdoor cooking.



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