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Light my (PBC) fire: tips on lighting and maintaining temperatures

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    1-bigmac Love the PBC shelf mod. Can you provide more information on construction/attachment to your PBC?

    Comment


      Hey snctom thanks for the comments. I have a tendency to "over engineer" things, so please take that in to consideration if you can make it through the following description. I started the mod by 1st drilling 3 5/16" holes in the horseshoe handle spaced in areas with full metal across the shoe. The shelf itself was cut from 2 pieces of 3/4' scrap 1x6 poplar cut into 8" lengths. To make it look more 'finished', I decided to curve the ends to a radius that approximates the PBC 30 gallon circumference profile. Once I had the 2 identical pieces, I took the piece that would be the bottom of the shelf and drilled 7/16" holes in it that matched the pattern I had drilled out on the horseshoe. Then on the 'top' surface of this bottom piece a slight countersink aligned with the 3 holes was drilled to match the flange diameter of t-nutserts that were then fastened with small nails and a little glue. At this point, the top and bottom pieces were glued together with Titebond III waterproof wood glue. After drying, I then drilled 2 small 1/8 holes 6" apart through the piece, and counter sunk the bottom side of theses holes with a 1/4" bit about 1/4" deep. Next the piece was sanded and then I slapped on a coat of Polyurethane spar varnish. When dry, I then threaded a piece of elastic shoelace through the small holes and each end was secured on the underside in place with a large knot to keep it from pulling through the holes. The elastic stretches and makes it easy to slide the mount on my Maverick transmitter under the elastic. It's forgiving, so if you bang the transmitter say with a rebar or larger chunk of meat the Maverick escapes relatively unscathed. A lot of this mod detail is because I wanted to be able to remove the shelf from the PBC in situations where I didn't need it, e.g. pork ribs etc., but it would be much easier for a permanent shelf. All the hardware is easy to find at HD/Lowe's. If I were to this again, I would probably make the shelf a little larger and I think that 2 holes in the shoe are sufficient. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos as I was building the shelf, but below are some that I just took that should be instructive.

      5/16" holes in the shoe

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      T-nut used for attachment
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      End-on, you can see the seam between the top and bottom pieces
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      Here's the hole layout from the bottom of the shelf
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      From the underside, here's how the shelf attaches to the shoe with 3 T-bolts
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      Top view
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      Last edited by 1-bigmac; May 4, 2017, 11:29 AM.

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      • MBMorgan
        MBMorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Well thought out, nicely constructed, and totally over engineered (but in a good way)!

      @fzxdoc Kathryn, Thank you for your lighting notes. I must have read your detailed instructions half a dozen times, I lit my brand new PBC per your instructions and everything went very smoothly. My temps stayed consistently @ 285-290 ish .. would spike to 305 when I opened the lid, then right back down to the 285 temp.

      I love when things work as advertised - Tim


      Comment


        SoCalTim
        Tim, that's wonderful to hear. Sounds like your PBC is tuned up just right for you. Enjoy!

        Kathryn

        Comment


          fzxdoc I used an abbreviated form of your lighting instructions on my last PBC video but I made it a self contained unit and plan on adding it on to any future PBC cooks. I did give you(fzxdoc) and AmazingRibs credit at the bottom. hope you don't mind.

          Comment


          • fzxdoc
            fzxdoc commented
            Editing a comment
            No worries, GadjetGriller . It's nice to hear you're making videos of PBC cooks. Thanks for giving me a heads up.

            Kathryn

          I have a PBC question :

          I am planning on doing a very short 2 to 3 hr cook this weekend, tri tip and maybe chicken, how much charcoal should I use for such a short cook?

          Comment


          • MBMorgan
            MBMorgan commented
            Editing a comment
            You could probably get away with using half a load of charcoal (approx 4 lb.). However, remember that chicken needs to cook at around 300 deg. F to ensure crispy skin ... but tri-tip doesn't.

          • MBMorgan
            MBMorgan commented
            Editing a comment
            ... oh ... and don't change your lighting technique. Stick with the 40 briquettes method and you should be fine.

          • Doozy
            Doozy commented
            Editing a comment
            Wow, I wish I'd read this afternoon about the 40 briquets. W/O reading the complete thread, I'd almost replicated your suggestion Mbmorgan. However, I lit 20 briquets instead of 40, my skin wasn't crispy. :-(

          Mbmorgan .. thank you, last thing I wanted to do was to waste a bunch of charcoal.

          Comment


            @fzxdoc..Thanks for the lighting info! I saw it on the site last week before I joined after I got my PBC. Worked perfectly with my first cook of bone in chicken breasts (hanging) then grilling steaks. The interesting thing is that tonight while grilling for my mom (she has a Chargriller Outlaw like my old one at home) is that I realized that I had been basically doing the same 15/10/10 for Kingsford and the Chargriller for a few years now. Dump the charcoal from the chimney when the top layer just gets some ash, then let pile it up and let it go for 10 minutes, then spread it out and close the lid for 5-10 minutes then cook.

            So if you follows PBC's advice of starting to cook immediately what did you experience that made you experiment to come up with the 15/10/10 method?

            Thanks!

            Comment


              I have a question, I do know the answer is in the previous 15+ pages, but I'm not able to go back and find it at this moment. I am doing a short cook tomorrow, tri tip and half chickens - just a couple hours long. Makes sense that I only use 1/2 load of charcoal and go on business as usual??

              Comment


                SoCalTim, you can use less charcoal, but it's difficult to keep the temps up high enough for chicken with a less-than-full load, at least for my PBC at my altitude. I figure the difference is so negligible, costwise, in charcoal that a full load is fine. Plus you can always toss a meatloaf on at the end.

                For me, consistency in a good burn is based on a full load (or at the very least a nearly full load, say no less than 3/4 full) of charcoal that I'm hesitant to mess with it unless I want to have to watch the temps pretty closely throughout the entire cook.

                Kathryn

                Comment


                • SoCalTim
                  SoCalTim commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you, i think i will go by your expertise and use a full load and your 100% right KB is cheap especially right now.

                  Tim

                I struggled just a bit this weekend doing my first Pork Shoulder - I pulled my butt to foil - I dropped it right on the coals. Damn. I also learned it's very difficult to lay the butt on the grate without hitting the rebar - much less two butts, wonder if anyone has a trick up their sleeves for this?

                All-in-all .. i did two 8 lb butts in 5.5 hrs with temps ranging anywhere from 290 to 335 ... very tender & extremely juicy. #MAGIC

                Comment


                  Yeah I have this problem too. When I foil up and put shoulders on the grate, it has to smash under the rebar just to fit. I now just pull the rebar entirely and either deal with the higher temps and/or shove some foil in the holes to simulate them being in. Also, sometimes I just bump it over to my offset smoker to finish.

                  Comment


                    About your 8 lb butts crammed below the rebars, SoCalTim , remember that once the foil is on, heat is heat, no matter what the source. The PBC or other smoker won't add any more flavor through the wrap. You just need the heat energy to bring that baby home to 203 or probe tenderness.

                    So most of the time, if/when I wrap (which I don't do for butts anyway--but do for chuckies) I'll fit whatever I can into the PBC and the rest goes into the oven at 275 to finish up.

                    Kathryn

                    Comment


                      Over the past 3-4 months I have been mostly cooking briskets and have been experimenting on different lighting techniques, rubs, cook times, brisket sizes, etc. I have noticed that even after a 10 hour cook I still have at least 2 more hours cook time left. I have cooked 8-14 lb packer briskets all choice. So the last couple of cooks I have decided not to rush the lighting stage. Filled the basket and removed 40 briquets into my chimney and let them almost turn white as per fzxdoc's lighting instructions then pour and distribute then let it burn with the lid off for 5 minutes. I then place the bars and lid on and let it sit for close to 30 minutes (mostly the "blue" smoke at this point) by then the temp has dropped from 400+ to down to 300. Added brisket and then temp after a few minutes has dropped into the 240-270 range. I felt more comfortable hanging a brisket in that environment than the 400+ temp.

                      Comment


                      • fzxdoc
                        fzxdoc commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Congrats on finding a lighting technique that works well for you and your PBC, tjguidry . I'm going to give it a try too. It's always fun to see how the PBC responds to different lighting methods and different types of charcoal.

                        Kathryn

                      • Nackman
                        Nackman commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I've only had the PBC about a month now and I too prefer to let it settle in. I've been following fzxdoc's method and my last cook, basically did a 15-10-20. The temperature was settling down and just a nice blue smoke at this point. Like you say, just feel more comfortable hanging at that point.

                      • PappyBBQ
                        PappyBBQ commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Yup. I always let my PBC "settle in" before hanging... Once it "settles in" i toss in wood chunks and hang as fast as I can to get that lid back on!

                      Originally posted by native_texan View Post
                      @fzxdoc..Thanks for the lighting info! I saw it on the site last week before I joined after I got my PBC. Worked perfectly with my first cook of bone in chicken breasts (hanging) then grilling steaks. The interesting thing is that tonight while grilling for my mom (she has a Chargriller Outlaw like my old one at home) is that I realized that I had been basically doing the same 15/10/10 for Kingsford and the Chargriller for a few years now. Dump the charcoal from the chimney when the top layer just gets some ash, then let pile it up and let it go for 10 minutes, then spread it out and close the lid for 5-10 minutes then cook.

                      So if you follows PBC's advice of starting to cook immediately what did you experience that made you experiment to come up with the 15/10/10 method?

                      Thanks!
                      Oh my goodness, native_texan , I'm sorry I missed your comment and question. The "@" link did not work in your post, so I didn't get notification that you had posted on this topic. I apologize for my (now) tardy response.

                      I gravitated to the 15-10-10 lighting method by careful experimentation with lighting techniques, changing only one parameter or variable at a time. I had originally started with Noah's lighting recommendation but was not satisfied with the inconsistency of the cooks. For example, using his method, sometimes smoking a chicken would take 2.5 hours, and the next time it may take 1.25 hours. As the only cook in the household, it was hard for me to predict mealtime with such wide swings in ETA times from the smoker and have all the sides ready at that same (unpredictable) time.

                      So I thought if I could follow a plan where the fire would light consistently for me every time and the PBC would respond by settling into its sweet spot reliably, then I could use the PBC as an appliance, much like my oven, that is, set a temp and then do the cook accordingly. The key was to get the fire to light consistently.

                      With the 15-10-10 method, I found that my PBC would settle in to a 275° sweet spot and stay there for the vast majority of my cooks. I liked that predictability.

                      It would work just as well with a 15-10 method, but I disliked all that white smoke that would result when I added the meat before the "blue smoke" phase. So that's why I tacked on an extra 10 minute burn to my original plan. Hence the 15-10-10 method, which works great for me and my PBC.

                      I encourage everyone to start with any method, Noah's method/15-10-10 or whatever, and test it out in subsequent cooks, changing only one thing at a time in the lighting process until their PBC settles into a sweet spot of reliable, stable temperature time and again.

                      Kathryn

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