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PBC question - always a full load of charcoal ?

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    PBC question - always a full load of charcoal ?

    I know Pit Barrel recommends always filling the charcoal basket full for every cook, but it seems a bit too much to use 8 pounds (half a bag) of Kingsford for a short cook, like tri tips.

    Have any of you PBC users experimented with using less? It sure seems like maybe half of that would be plenty for the hour or so that it will take for tri tip , and then leave the thing to burn out for many hours.


    #2
    I've only done a few cooks but used a full basket each time. Save coals by lifting the basket out and placing it in my Weber kettle and closing the vents. Use a garden rake to lift the basket in and out. Works great!

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      #3
      Personally I just use fresh coal. It costs $4 for a basket of charcoal, which is cheap relative to the meat.

      Snuffing it out and using it in a kettle for your next kettle cook is a great idea, but I like to use fresh coal each time in my PBC so I get consistent results. Coal is cheap relative to the meat, even if it's just a 3 lb tri-tip you'll cook 40 minutes.

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        #4
        I used about a half basket a couple weeks ago for a tri tip and it came out fine. My temps seemed to be higher than normal, 300 + during the cook, and not as predictable. Not sure if you should adjust the light up time due to less charcoal. Mostly I've opted for the more consistent full basket in my brief time with the cooker. Others have tinkered a bit more with it and will chime in I'm sure.

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        • David Parrish
          David Parrish commented
          Editing a comment
          Welcome to The Pit Surfsup!

        #5
        I use a full load. I use Kingsford original charcoal. I reuse the unburned charcoal. The PBC burns at a slow rate, I think I could get close to 10 hours out of a full load of charcoal.

        My last cook was about 5 hours. After I have finished cooking, I put a piece of duct tape over the inlet and the fire goes out after a while. I have not needed to put foil around the rebar holes. The next day I take out the basket and shake off the loose ash. The basket at this point is about half full.

        I top off the basket with fresh charcoal. I then take enough new charcoal out of the basket to fill the Weber chimney about 3/4 full (up to 60 briquettes if the basket was about half full after the cook) and the chimney is ready to be started for the next cook. I don't worry about the charcoal in the chimney absorbing too much humidity because it won't sit there for more than a few days at most.

        I get consistent temp results with this. I have not noticed any difference between all new briquettes and reusing briquettes. I haven't wanted to experiment with using a partially full basket because I have good temp results with a full basket and I don't want to mess with what works.

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          #6
          I recently did a couple of cooks that were small and only a few hours, so I really didn't want to use an entire basket. Huskee I believe had reverse seared a steak with like 8 coals or something so I figured they would get hot enough. I took a chimney of coals and poured half into the basket and lit the other half. I had to leave the lid cracked until basically all of the coals were lit but it hit 310, and then cooked for 4 hours at about 270 though it was starting to wear down about that time (having to crack lid to maintain 270) and was pretty much spent at that point. I think from now on I will do my 4 hour or less cooks with half a basket.

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            #7
            Originally posted by John View Post
            I recently did a couple of cooks that were small and only a few hours, so I really didn't want to use an entire basket. Huskee I believe had reverse seared a steak with like 8 coals or something so I figured they would get hot enough. I took a chimney of coals and poured half into the basket and lit the other half. I had to leave the lid cracked until basically all of the coals were lit but it hit 310, and then cooked for 4 hours at about 270 though it was starting to wear down about that time (having to crack lid to maintain 270) and was pretty much spent at that point. I think from now on I will do my 4 hour or less cooks with half a basket.

            That was yours truly that reverse seared the steak on the PBC... using 12 briquettes.

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              #8
              Folks I'm going to move this thread over to the Grills and Smoker channel. We need more folks talking about their cookers. That's what it's for

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