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Bad charcoal?

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  • JeffJ
    commented on 's reply
    I've experienced wind problems in past cooks. I frequently use my 14.5 WSM on the front porch because it provides quite a bit of shelter from the wind.

  • tongatim
    commented on 's reply
    Still thinking the wind has a strong influence. Cooked 6 racks of ribs yesterday. No wind. Temp held steady at 270-290 with very little attention.

  • tongatim
    replied
    After considering my recent experience in light of the other comments I'm really thinking this is wind-related.

    I just did my first PBC cook. I followed standard recommendations for lighting. All started out fine, with temp holding around 290-300. Then a very brisk wind kicked up and the temp gradually dropped to 160. The charcoal was 75% consumed after only 4 hours, and what was left was not burning well. I rescued the cook with half a chimney load of pre-lit briquettes, but definitely not the "hands free" cook I'm looking for from the PBC. Looking forward to getting to know this beast.

    Tim

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  • JeffJ
    commented on 's reply
    I am about 5 minutes away from I-96.

  • NashvilleSparty
    commented on 's reply
    About 40 mins from me.

  • Ernest
    commented on 's reply
    The PBC ashtray should not be an issue. I thought he had a makeshift ashtray.

  • fzxdoc
    replied
    NashvilleSparty , I also doubt that it could be your charcoal if storage conditions have been the same. I store my charcoal in big Rubbermaid containers in the garage and don't have a problem with it.

    I often monitor the temperature on both sides of the PBC especially for a long cook. I find that the side closest to the vent can easily run 20 to 50 degrees hotter than the side away from the vent for the first 3 to 5 hours of the cook, depending on how loaded the PBC is, and then the situation reverses, with the side away from the vent slowly taking precedence, temperaturewise, and eventually running 30 or more degrees hotter from then on.

    The PBC is such an efficient cooker that this does not bother me. However, I always hang the larger pieces of meat closer to the vent for long cooks.

    For short cooks, I find it's not uncommon to have the charcoal toward the vent more thoroughly burned by the end of the cook.

    I don't have the PBC ash pan (yet) and use double layers of heavy duty aluminum foil to catch the ash. My ash catcher is on its way, though, so I'll have fun with my next long cook as I see how it affects the temperatures, if at all.

    About the vent, I'm with Ernest and other PBC users who say that its position is not too critical once it's opened enough. I'm at 3700 feet altitude and it should be half open. I often run it 3/4 open and don't notice a difference. However, below 1/2, and I definitely see the effects of a starved fire.

    Kathryn

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  • David Parrish
    commented on 's reply
    If your PBC is maintaining 230F or higher I think things might be normal and you're just running cooler because of the weather.

  • David Parrish
    commented on 's reply
    I don't see how the ash tray could be the problem.

  • JeffJ
    commented on 's reply
    Brighton area. About 20 miles due North of Ann Arbor.

  • NashvilleSparty
    commented on 's reply
    Where about in michigan? I'm in the east Lansing area.

  • NashvilleSparty
    commented on 's reply
    Charcoal looks normal to me and I keep it inside so no extreme weather. It's not too old, maybe a few months. Haven't moved the PBC and have not adjusted the vent. Only thing different is I've used the PBC ash tray 2 of the last 3 cooks. I just feel like the charcoal closest to the vent has been burning more quickly than before. Anywhere from 20-30 degrees cooler than my summer cooks. No other changes to setup that I can think of.

  • NashvilleSparty
    commented on 's reply
    I have used the PBC ash tray the last two cooks.

  • JeffJ
    replied
    It could just be the weather conditions. I cooked 3 slabs of baby backs in my kettle this weekend with the Smokenator. I struggled all day long to keep it at 200 and I added lit coals 3 times along with some unlit coals. I've never had that problem before. It was windy but unseasonably warm (in the low '60's). I've used the Smokenator and my 14.5 WSM in far worse conditions and didn't have this kind of trouble. Maybe it's something in the Michigan air (I am from Michigan as well).

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  • PappyBBQ
    replied
    Being a creature of habit I set my PBC in pretty much the same spot every time I use it, with the vent facing away from the prevailing breeze. There are so few "moving parts" on a PBC that it's hard to imagine a "circulation issue" unless it's overloaded or something. About the only issues I've had with KBB - heck, any charcoal for that matter - is it's tendency to act like a sponge when exposed to high humidity. Now I live in Los Angeles so that's rarely a problem, and about the only problem I've seen relative to that is a lower temp burn. I do notice that the coals in the basket burn out from vent side to non-vent side which makes sense. I typically can get close to 10 hours burn time on a full load of coals. Think I'd get a new bag and see if that resolves the issues. I've burned lots of KBB and find it very consistent so this is definitely a mystery.

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