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

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  • fzxdoc
    replied
    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 27th, 2019, 06:08 AM.

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  • Spinaker
    commented on 's reply
    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........

  • rubarr
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • jecucolo
    commented on 's reply
    I’ll have to try it.

  • stickbit
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • snctom
    commented on 's reply
    The reason you put the lighter fluid on outside the drum is to avoid a build-up for flammable fumes inside a contained area. Once the fluid is applied, place the charcoal basket inside and immediately light the charcoal. Reduces the chance of the fumes flashing. I believe this is in the "Lighting the PBC" video on their website.

  • jecucolo
    commented on 's reply
    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.

  • fzxdoc
    commented on 's reply
    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

  • stickbit
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • fzxdoc
    commented on 's reply
    My pleasure, 52Merc . Enjoy smoking on your PBC!

    Kathryn

  • 52Merc
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


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

    Kathryn

    Leave a comment:


  • stickbit
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • JCinPA
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • fzxdoc
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:

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