Welcome!


This is a membership forum. As a guest, you can click around a bit. View 5 pages for free. If you would like to participate, please join.

[ Pitmaster Club Information | Join Now | Login | Contact Us ]

There are 4 page views remaining.

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

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

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    JCinPA John, I'm at 3500 feet, but a lot of folks at or close to sea level use 15-10-10. Give it a try and see if it works for you.

    I don't know it you've used your PBC before. The goal of course is to find a good reproducible way of firing up your PBC so it settles in to its sweet spot every single time. I couldn't do that with the method from the PBC website, but this 15-10-10 with Kingsford Original or Kingsford Professional works great for me. I hope it works for you too, but if not, you'll find a combo that does.

    Kathryn

    Comment


      Thanks! Yes I’ve used it before, it’s my second season, but on 15-10-10, it consistently settles in at 300 +/- 2*. Made a terrific pork shoulder today, but I think I’ll try 15-10 then cook next time and see if it settles out at 275. Seems to work well regardless.

      Comment


        I remember reading a while back about lighting the starter cubes directly in the coals...then I came across this Malcolm Reed drum smoking-rib video and noticed he lights two cubes in a barrel with lump charcoal...seems so simply just lights it and goes. I wonder how well this would work in the pbc.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPFu7709Tt8

        Comment


          stickbit I have never tried that, but if you do, let us know how it works out for you. Sure looks easy.

          Kathryn

          Comment


            Wow, talk about complete! Thanks for all the time you took to perfect your method. I need to explore the foil and allow my coals to fully heat before introducing the meats.

            Comment


            • fzxdoc
              fzxdoc commented
              Editing a comment
              My pleasure, 52Merc . Enjoy smoking on your PBC!

              Kathryn

            So I finally got around to trying the Malcolm Reed drum starter method...it was a failure but I think I know what I did wrong. I loaded 3/4 basket and lit with two starter cubes. waited 20-25 minutes then went lid on/rebars out and temped it. it slowly came up to temp around 275....i loaded it up with 6 brats on grate and 4 chicken halves on rebar. struggled the entire cook to keep temps up - constantly adding fuel and removing the lid. definitely didn't get a hot enough fire and didn't start with enough fuel....but at least the lid is sealed. i just need to figure out how to lock in temps and would love to do it with lump.

            Comment


            • fzxdoc
              fzxdoc commented
              Editing a comment
              Many people use lump in their PBCs stickbit . Maybe someone will chime in here about the lighting method they use. I think Noah (PBC president) in one video at a competition uses lump started with KBB in the chimney.

              Kathryn

            • jecucolo
              jecucolo commented
              Editing a comment
              I bought some B & B lump. I put a little on top of KBB and I did not care for it. It did a lot of crackling and popping.

            Interesting new PBC video on lighting methods...Noah shows two ways...one with charcoal and one with lump. Interested what y'all think?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dNPbU4Yt8w

            Comment


            • jecucolo
              jecucolo commented
              Editing a comment
              I’ll have to try it.

            • phoccer
              phoccer commented
              Editing a comment
              Very interesting. I've never tried that but definitely will.

            • phoccer
              phoccer commented
              Editing a comment
              So that worked perfectly. I grilled some salmon today and used lump following the directions in the video. I use a CharBroil small chimney so I might have used a little more than if using the PBC chimney but it worked perfectly. Definitely helps with one of the gripes I've seen about the PBC using too much charcoal for grilling.

            Rubarr here

            I have made a reverse flow smoker out of my iron box BBQ using a char grill fire box
            will try it today for first time
            How ever I see by your site that you are not real king on that set up

            You rate a pit barrel BBQ smoker as better,
            would I be better off mounting the fire box on my pit barrel

            I do a briquet snake set up on the pit barrel which is good for four or five hours
            of controlled heat but fine it hard to add fuel

            I mostly at this time make beef jerky , brisket ,ribs

            thanks for your input

            Rubarr

            Comment


            • Spinaker
              Spinaker commented
              Editing a comment
              I always use the Minion method. That is fill the basket with charcoal, then add about 25 lit briquettes to the top of the charcoal. Let the barrel smoke for about 10 mins, then cover again.

              What do you mean, exactly by mounting a fore box on your PBC? Not sure I follow that one........

            Hi, rubarr , nice to hear from you.

            The Pit Barrel Cooker is a fine cooker, but there are many other really fine cookers out there as well, as you have found with your reverse flow smoker. It all boils down to smoking food on whatever cooker suits us and the food best.

            If I were you, I'd leave the Pit Barrel Cooker alone and let it do what it does best. That would leave you free to do whatever your reverse-flow smoker does best as well. It's a a lot of fun to have 2 smokers and to tailor each cook to each smoker's strong points.

            For example, I love what the PBC does to whole/half chickens.

            But at the same time I love with my Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center in Kettle Mode does, along with the Vortex, to chicken wings and chicken pieces.

            So we're lucky to have a couple of options when we decide to grill or smoke our food.

            Whenever I add fuel to my PBC, I heat up a whole chimney of coals, waiting until the topmost coals are ashed over. Then I remove the meat from my PBC so I won't get ash on the food. Then I pour the whole chimney of coals into the basket. After the swirling ash and the white smoke have subsided, I add the food back to the PBC and continue on with the cook.

            Give that method a try the next time you run out of fuel in the PBC. FWIW, I usually get 8 to 11 hours of cook time out of an over-full basket of charcoal in the PBC. By over-full basket I mean that I fill the basket up even with the top with cold charcoal and pour the chimney of 40 charcoal briquettes on top of that at the beginning of the cook.

            The only problem with using an over-full basket for a long cook is that the ash builds up under the basket and at some point diminishes the flow of oxygen to the hot coals. But by the time this happens, the cook is mostly over anyway, at least in my experience.

            Best wishes,
            Kathryn
            Last edited by fzxdoc; March 27, 2019, 06:08 AM.

            Comment


            • bep35
              bep35 commented
              Editing a comment
              I also have had the ash issue where the PBC can't maintain temperature due to buildup under the basket. I pull the meat and finish it in a Cookshack Smokette. It's about the only time the Smokette gets used anymore. Unless it's to add some smoke to baked beans every now and then. Otherwise I always cook on a PBC or Weber with SlowNSear.

            • fzxdoc
              fzxdoc commented
              Editing a comment
              You've got a nice collection of cookers there, bep35 . I've always thought that the PBC and a kettle with SnS are a great combo for covering pretty much anything you would want to cook. Nice that you've got that Cookshack for finishing off a long cook if necessary.

              Kathryn

            Ok, so I have a PBC I bought used off CL, really only cooked burgers, Conecuh sausage and steaks at the hunting camp on it. I decided to bring it home so I can get better at other cuts of meat. I've noticed the past 5 cooks that the lid leaks smoke pretty bad, not sure if that's previous owner or someone at hunting camp. Previous owner mentioned he dropped lid loading from truck, there's a chip in the enamel. I do want to mention, this thing has.plenty of cooks on it, so it doesn't need more "seasoning".

            My question is, if I wanted to put some felt on the lid/barrel top, do I put it on the lid or the top of the barrel?

            Comment


            • phoccer
              phoccer commented
              Editing a comment
              Lid. Search gasket in this Pit Barrel Cooker forum and you'll find quite a few posts about them and what people have used.

            • au4stree
              au4stree commented
              Editing a comment
              phoccer. Thanks for that tip. I was originally trying to search it from my phone and could not locate the search feature within a thread. But am able to see what you mentioned when working from a desktop PC. I got my answer there. Grill on!

            au4stree , here's what I used on my PBC lid. Clean the inside rim really well and apply. Easy peasy.


            https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


            Click image for larger version

Name:	518WcfcUoQL.jpg
Views:	281
Size:	46.6 KB
ID:	658649

            Kathryn

            Comment


              So I cleaned the lid and did a little scraping to get to clean surface. I found a wire brush was helpful too. Lastly, I sprayed some orange all purpose cleaner as I find it cuts the grease well. When I got it clean and dry, I applied the new gasket.

              Filled the basket with fresh RO briqs and lit according to instructions. I put my thermometer in there with no meat, temps will vary slightly when I opened, but it has been rocking steady since 1pm CST.
              After a while I put some chicken parts I was saving for a broth, hoping it will add a little fat/seasoning to the new gasket. So there are slight dips in the graph, but that is me opening to check coals or as the chicken parts.

              So, to summarize, if your PBC is running hot, the recommended solution is spot on and appreciate y'all sharing.
              Attached Files

              Comment


              • stickbit
                stickbit commented
                Editing a comment
                thanks for posting! curious when you say ' lit according to instructions' which lighting method did you use?

              • stickbit
                stickbit commented
                Editing a comment
                thanks for posting! curious when you say ' lit according to instructions' which lighting method did you use?

              • au4stree
                au4stree commented
                Editing a comment
                stickbit, I lit according to Noah's vids.

              I'm glad that the gasket solution worked so well for you, au4stree . Those graphs are pretty impressive.

              Kathryn

              Comment


                I have owned my PBC for 3 years now. The first two years I loved it and would get delicious food, nailing the cooking times on the PBC site. However, starting last year I have been having an extremely difficult time maintaining temperature for even a 2 hour cook. My usual go to cook is split chicken (1-2 whole chickens cut in half as Noah explains on the site) and baby back ribs (2-3 racks). I have tried both the 15-10-10 and Noah's lighting method, using the original Kingsford blue bag, with the same results:

                After a good start, the temperature drops ~ 1-1 1/2 hours later to low 260s and continues to do so. At this point I usually open up the vent more to try and compensate.

                One thing I noticed last year was that smoke was leaking out of the lid. After reading this forum's advice, I purchased the Lava Lock 1/8" gasket, removed the grease off the lid edge with Dawn Professional Power Dissolver Spray and installed.

                Keeping the difficulties of the past cooks mind I decided to keep things simple today and cook only chicken (3 birds cut into 6 halves). Since I was cooking only chicken I used Kingsford Professional, which I recently picked up from Costco.

                I lit up the Charcoal using the 15-10-10 method and started the cook with a hinged grate configuration: Four Chicken halves hanging on one side and the other two halves lying on the grate along with a circle of brie (the appetizer).

                Checking back 15 minutes later, I saw that the lid was leaking smoke and noticed that the lid was not seated properly. After reseating the lid I saw that the gasket was doing a fantastic job. The temperature of the PBC (I use a Thermoworks Smoke) was 415° F at this time. 15 minutes later I removed the brie, the grate and hung all the chickens 3 per side.

                To my frustration about an hour later, the temperature of the cooker was in the low 260s and dropping. At this point I decided to open up my vent (See Start-Vent.JPG for a photo of the vent opening at the beginning of the cook and End-Vent.JPG for the vent opening after I adjusted)

                Since I had hungry guests, and the chicken temp in the breast was not rising beyond 152-154° F, I decided to finish them in the oven.

                While everyone enjoyed the results, I felt the they were dry and lacking in smoke flavor. For some reason the chicken color was also a bit paler than usual.

                Since I really do not know where to start I guess I have the follow questions for the forum:

                * Is my vent opening correct? (I am on Long Island, New York with an elevation of 87')
                * Is it fine to smoke items in the PBC that have different cook times? Basically, should I minimize the amount of time the PBC lid is opened and stick with one type of food.

                Things have been so hit or miss I am almost ready to give up on my PBC so any advice would be much appreciated.

                I know how great the results of the PBC can be and hopefully I can get back to it and start smoking with confidence soon enough!
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • cashelton
                  cashelton commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I've had to quit paying attention to my grill probe when doing large cooks. I cant give it the space it needs to give an accurate reading. I still attach it to keep an eye on temp spikes.

                  Here of lately I've been using the 15-10-10 method...probably too much by the book. The charcoal hasnt been ready at the 15 minute mark, but I was loading it into the PBC. Those cooks, the temps stayed lower than normal (240°)

                I have heard this problem a lot lately. fzxdoc believes it is high humidity causing the charcoal to be moist. Due to all the rain we have been having I brought a bag of unopened charcoal inside the house. I cooked half a turkey and temps were high. Maybe just a coincidence. Another common thread is the use of sealing the lid with lava lock. I am beginning to think the just may be too tight. One of the things I have been using to compensate for the low temp is I pick a small twig in the yard and just prop one end of the lid. It just seems to need a little bit more air.
                A final option is go purchase some 1/4” rebar rods. This gives additional oxygen to the pbc.

                Comment

                Announcement

                Collapse
                No announcement yet.
                Working...
                X
                false
                0
                Guest
                500
                ["pitmaster-my-membership","login","join-pitmaster","lostpw","reset-password","special-offers","help","nojs","meat-ups","gifts","authaau-alpha","ebooklogin-start","alpha","start"]
                false
                false
                {"count":0,"link":"/forum/announcements/","debug":""}
                Yes
                Rubs Promo
                Meat-Up in Memphis