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First PBC (or any smoker) cook: chicken & ribs

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    First PBC (or any smoker) cook: chicken & ribs

    After buying a house a couple of months ago, I finally decided on the PBC last weekend and had it delivered yesterday. I was very excited to unbox and get started with my first smoke yesterday and the results were solid.

    I knew I wouldn't get started until around 530-6, so I wanted something quick and easy and decided to go with a whole chicken for the entree and ribs for dessert (I'm guessing that's normal around here? )

    I also decided to stick with standard operating procedure for the first cook, so I used PBC's recommended chimney method and applied the recommended rubs to the chicken (after splitting in half) and ribs. This is where my primary problem started I think, in that I got a little carried away in preparing the meat while the chimney was running and I think it went about 20-25 min (I'll time it next time) before being dumped on the coals.

    After dumping the coals I placed the rebar and top on and checked the temp after about 10 min (318) and decided to put the meat on. After 15 min, temp was 370 and then 400 at 23 min and then 420 shortly thereafter. I frantically search the site and discover the sticky for lighting, seeing that I will likely experience a spike in temps but not quite that high. So over the next 30 min, I stuff 1, 2, then 3 rebar holes with foil and close the dampener slightly (it was 1/4 open, I went to 1/8). PBC hit 275 at the hour mark and then I removed foil every few min (one at a time to see how it would react) until the PBC no longer looked like it was warding off aliens.

    I was relieved to see temps hold steady in the 265-275 range until 1:40 when I checked the chicken, which needed another 20 min (I was surprised by this given the higher temps earlier on). Temp was 243 at the 2hr mark when I pulled the chicken at 160.

    Temps held steady around the 240-275 mark thereafter for the ribs, which I basted with bbq sauce at 3:35 and pulled at 4:00.

    I failed to take a pic of the bird... But the chicken was fantastic and the prep work was practically nil. The breast was a touch dry but the wing, thigh, and leg were out of this world good and incredibly juicy. The skin was oddly chewy and a little crispy/tough at the same time (but still delicious) - is this a function of the high temps at the beginning and lower relative temps at the end? Usually this is flip-flopped for crisping up the skin, correct?

    The ribs were delicious. They probably should've gone another 30 min. The last rib closest to the charcoal was a bit like jerky, but overall I was thrilled at making my first rack of ribs that were tasty, juicy, and tender (except for that last guy).

    Next time I plan to be more precise with lighting as it sounds like that can be a big driver of performance. Also, has anyone noticed a difference in performance if you place all your meat on one side? I'm wondering if the PBC ran a little hotter on the side opposite the meat because of that (the coals were definitely hotter on the opposite side when I lifted the lid at 420 degrees to see what was going on).

    I think I'm going to enjoy this hobby...

    0:00 - 318
    0:15 - 368
    0:23 - 399
    0:26 - 420 - Adj dampener to 1/8 and plug 3 rebar holes w/ foil
    0:31 - 360
    0:44 - 296 - one hole unplugged
    0:59 - 274 - all rebar holes unplugged
    1:12 - 270
    1:37 - 284 - checked chicken
    2:00 - 243 - pulled chicken
    2:48 - 252
    3:47 - 276 - based bbq sauce on ribs ~10 min earlier
    4:00 - 262 - pulled ribs

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    Congrats on the new toy and your successful maiden voyage! You're in the right place for the wealth of knowledge and 'tech support' of sorts with the PBC here in The Pit. I like to aim for 340-360 with whole chickens, no less than 325. You'll likely find that cooking chicken and ribs together won't give you the best possible results with each, since they both favor widely different temps, but as you found out that's not to say it can't be done.

    Keep up the good work!


      AWESOME COOK! Thanks for the share. Congrats on the cooker the cook and the new digs!


        To add to Huskee, since the PBC was new and not seasoned yet, the relative shininess of the interior likely caused your spike to be as high as it was. Since it went down to 240 on its own, I would probably crack the bottom opening a hair as well. I have measured I think 40 degrees difference directly over the hot side vs the other. When trimming the ribs I don't mess with the end that will be near the coals, I seem to always have to sacrifice it so it might as well be a tiny bone that should have been trimmed.

        Ribs don't mind a little rest, if I were to do this cook I would start the ribs and with an hour or so to go I would add the chicken and let the temp come up once I sauced my ribs so the sauce would set. Ideally the ribs would come off and the temps would be about 325-350 where I would finish the chicken while wrapping the ribs.

        All in all great first cook, once you get the chicken skin down you will be good to go. When is the brisket going on?


          dillywe, I swear I can Smell Your Ribs in Fargo! Dan




              Clean barrel....clean cook!!


                Looks great my friend. Its always great to get the first one under your belt. Looks like it went well.


                  Congrats on your first PBC cook, dillywe . My family can't get enough of PBC chicken with the AP rub. To get the skin crispy, try this:
                  1. Cut chicken in half lengthwise.
                  2. Sliding your fingers under the skin, separate the skin from the underlying meat in the breast, legs, and thigh areas.
                  3. Sprinkle PBC's AP rub directly on the meat.
                  4. Mix 1/2 tsp baking powder with 1 TBL AP rub. Sprinkle that mixture on the skin. The baking powder helps to dry the skin.
                  5. Let chicken sit, uncovered, overnight in the fridge. This will dry the skin so it is crispy when cooked.
                  6. Light your PBC with your preferred method. Add chicken. Keep temps at 325-360. Chicken should be done in about 1 hour.

                  When I smoke ribs in my PBC, I always cut them in half. I don't like sacrificing any part of that deliciousness to the fire.

                  On my PBC, the temperature is always 20 to 40 degrees higher (measured at grate level) on the side closest to the vent for the first 3 or 4 hours of cooking, then it switches to the other side being hotter by the same amount. I always place my chickens closest to the vent. I also rotate meat around for longer cooks.

                  And finally, the only time my PBC spikes temperatures like that, steadily climbing, is when I have not secured the lid tightly. Sometimes it's hard to see smoke coming out from under the lid, especially if it happens in the area where the rebars are. But each time the temp climbs unexpectedly, on my PBC at least, I find a leak under the lid at the rim. Once I tamp down that section of lid, the temp drops.

                  Enjoy cooking on your PBC! Any leftover chicken (if you have any) is great in Green Chicken Enchiladas.



                  • smarkley
                    smarkley commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Kathryn.. you ARE the PBC GURU around here... your advise is always the best!

                  • fzxdoc
                    fzxdoc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Awwww, thanks, Steve smarkley . I'm blushing. I continue to learn a lot from others, too, you included!


                  Thanks for the helpful words, I'll put them to good use. I'm planning to work up to a brisket John... In my mind it's the holy grail. I miss those Tx briskets. I'm planning to give the chicken another go soon and then do a pork butt for football munching on the weekend. What a tasty hobby.


                    dillywe The briskets you'll pull out of the PBC are amazing. Its the only cooker I use for briskets. They come out with awesome bark, flavor and the moisture level is spot on. I usually let mine go to about 175 internal just to make sure I get that extra bark from the direct heat. Oh yeah and get Prime if you can get it. A lot of folks here do fine with choice however. Again, congrats on your first cook brother.


                      Great first cook, welcome to the club



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