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

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    #76
    psuftball1 What temps did you get to?

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      #77
      I think the max before putting meat in was between 360-380. Temp hung around 280 the first 4 or 5 hours and then around 250 the rest of the cook. Once it fell below 230 I rotated the basket and got another couple hours out of the remaining charcoal. Enough time to finish the butt and cook up some jalapeño poppers.

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        #78
        Since you got 14 hours of good temps and are pleased with your cook, I'd say don't change a thing, psuftball1 . Try a few more cooks with different meats and see how you like the results. Congrats on what sounds like a fine cook!

        Kathryn

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          #79
          I just did a 8.5 lb pork butt... There is no way the KB would've lasted 14 hours... As it is, it went 6 hours until I wrapped, 7 hours cooking total. When I pulled everything out at around 8 hrs, things were dying. I posted my temp profile in "Third time's the charm" thread.... I'd love to understand how you can get useful temps over 14 hours... 10 hours maybe... But 14?
          Last edited by JPP; July 15, 2015, 12:09 PM.

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            #80
            I agree with you JPP. I've only got a half dozen cooks on my PBC, and I've let them all go until the fire died out, charting temps every 30 minutes. I've gotten 10 hours and it was on it's last legs at that point (and that length of time simply astounds me). Now, take into account that i had to pop the lid to get the food out every time and that causes a pretty good temp spike that makes the coals burn quicker and maybe I'd get longer times, but, most big stuff has to come out for wrapping and that amounts to two periods of time with the lid off (I make this as quick as possible). I haven't had any cooks needing anywhere near 10 hours though. Course I haven't tried a whole packer brisket yet, and probably won't. Can't consume that much meat! :-)

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            • JPP
              JPP commented
              Editing a comment
              Well I suppose you can't consume that much.... But you could try😀!

            #81
            I've often gotten 12 hours out of PBC cooks with Kingsford Original, and was really upset when one of my more recent cooks died at 8 hours. Sounds like each PBC has a schedule of its own.

            Kathryn

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              #82
              fzxdoc : Might even depend on the day of the week :-) I speculate that it's certainly possible (if you don't weigh your charcoal) to at different times have slightly more or slightly less in the basket which could account for at least an hour's variation. Tons of variables to control... age of charcoal humidity etc. Generally my cooker temp varies slowly over time... it's been rare when I get a flat temperatures for more than half an hour. My last cook had three temps at 180 within a 20 minute span but essentially the temp varied slooowwwly over time the entire time. BUT in this case the temp was more or less predictable... I did a replot of the data I originally posted and this is what it looked like:

              Click image for larger version

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              The min value at three hours is when I pulled the rebar. The second massive spike is when I opened it up to wrap the pb. Initial max temp was 324 so I had to crack the lid a-la your step 11 to pull it up to 381... but as you can see... the temp (with both rebar in) drifted down the entire time until I pulled out one rebar. The cooker ran for about another 45 minutes until the chicken I added was done, and the temp by then was in the upper 240's. The coals on the side opposite where I had the PB were quite spent... I doubt what was left would've provided heat for more than another 30-60 minutes at that point. A *very* complete burn in this case.
              Last edited by JPP; July 15, 2015, 09:57 AM.

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                #83
                JPP I absolutely love seeing temperature graphs for PBC cooks. It's one reason why I'm still lusting after the iGrill setup with 4 probes. Thanks for posting your graph. I still graph my temps old school--colored pencils on graph paper for the longer cooks.

                I agree with you that I get really stable temps when I pull a rebar relatively late in the long-cook game.

                And that is true, I think, about each of us adding different amounts of charcoal to make the basket "full" as Noah recommends. For me, more is more in all things, so it wouldn't surprise me if I routinely fill my basket to a healthy "roundedly full" level for the long cooks.

                Kathryn

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                • JPP
                  JPP commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That one was all transcribed by hand... the physics guy in me... does HBOOK and Paw mean anything to you?

                • fzxdoc
                  fzxdoc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes, but only peripherally. I recently downloaded the Excel app to my iPad, and will start charting and graphing my temps for long cooks on that I have been too lazy to "haul" my laptop from my office to the deck to chart temps on it in the past. The iPad is easier. How spoiled we've become with respect to portability. 😀

                  Kathryn

                • JPP
                  JPP commented
                  Editing a comment
                  We definitely are spoiled! But sometimes only a good old-fashioned keyboard will do....

                #84
                Did my second cook with my PBC last night and tried out the lighting instructions at the top of the thread. I think it worked out a lot better. I'v been calling it the 10-10-10 lighting technique in my head (I'm in the sea level zone) so I can remember how long the coals are in each stage.

                I don't have a bbq temp probe yet so I don't know what temps I was cooking at, but it should be here before my next cook.

                I made ribs that came out really good, Top 2 slabs dry rubbed with Memphis Dust and sauced with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. The bottom rack just dry rubbed. Click image for larger version

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                • JPP
                  JPP commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Lookin' VERY nice

                • smarkley
                  smarkley commented
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                  VERY NICE!!!!

                • fzxdoc
                  fzxdoc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Those look really tasty. Congrats on that cook!

                  Kathryn

                #85
                My basket was as full as possible. It was a 10lb butt and I don't wrap at all during the cook. For some reason they always take longer to cook than what other people seem to experience. I do take it up to 203. I put the butt on at 4 am, pulled it at 203 IT around 3:30 pm, rotated the basket as there were still some coals on the far side that weren't burned through, then put on jalapeño poppers which I cooked for an hour. I used Kathryn's lighting instructions. However I don't mess with cracking the lid or pulling rebar unless my temps fall below 215. I honestly don't monitor temps to closely as I just set the alarm on my maverick to let me know if the temp is too low.

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                • JPP
                  JPP commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Makes very good sense... it stands to reason that keeping the temp up would shorten the lifetime of the burn. So if a large fraction of the time the PBC was running below, say 250, would extend the burn time somewhat. My thought was: How the heck can you get 14 hours running near 280 F. Well... perhaps you can't! :-)

                • psuftball1
                  psuftball1 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ive only done 4 or 5 cooks on it so far, so I'm still trying to figure things out. Can't say I've been disappointed with any of the food though!

                #86
                smoked two 9 lb turkey breasts on the PBC after injecting with chicken broth and rubbing Simon and Garfunkel rub under and on top of skin. Threw a few chunks of apple wood on the coals at the beginning. Thanks to Kathryn (aka fzxdoc) for her tips on how to light and keep temperatures above 300. It took about 3hrs in total to bring the breasts to 160/165.

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                  #87
                  I'm at sea level and have struggled with the temps, the vent opening recommended by PBC just don't seem to work, I have my vent probably 1/4 open and that seems to do the trick, It almost need an adjustable vent, I have 3 cooks, Ribs, chicken, and 2 chuckies. I didn't cook the ribs long enough but were ok, the chicken was perfect, and the Chuckies were ok, a bit over done because I slacked at the end.

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                  • Jerod Broussard
                    Jerod Broussard commented
                    Editing a comment
                    How are you lighting? And are the temps too high or low? JohnF
                    Last edited by Jerod Broussard; September 24, 2015, 05:01 PM.

                  #88
                  Jerod, they have been low until I opened the vent, Lighting I follow Kathryn's method to the T using dry Blue Kingsford.

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                    #89
                    JohnF if they are low, I would put the lid on after the recommended preheating period, and wait another 5-10 minutes before adding the meat. If you have a Maverick, I would let the temp get above 300 before hanging.

                    For chicken, I let it ride to close to 400 before I hang the birds.
                    Last edited by Jerod Broussard; September 24, 2015, 05:27 PM.

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                    • JohnF
                      JohnF commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thank you, if I am doing anything wrong , I'm adding the meat too soon.

                    #90
                    Why light the fire outside of the PBC, lowering with a rake, etc. ? I have just ordered my PBC - not arrived yet. I believe the PBC site videos show lighting INSIDE the PBC. What gives? Thanks. Jim Burgin

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                    • Jerod Broussard
                      Jerod Broussard commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Some folks don't like bending over into the barrel to light it. I have NO problems lighting in the barrel, or dumping coals into the barrel.

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