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

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  • Jim Burgin
    Former Member
    • Sep 2015
    • 54
    • Clarkesville, GA

    #91
    Just ordered my PBC. Hasn't arrived yet. Enjoying reading this sticky. Question: Why so much talk about controlling the temp in the PBC. Their videos sound like one temp (established in a routine and uncomplicated set up) is fine for all meats. I know the "low and slow" slogan and its value. What problems arise when you use the PBC video method for all meats? There must be some or there wouldn't be all this info about controlling the temp? What is the virtue of the PBC that allows its maker to go against the common established wisdom of "low and slow"? Thanks. Jim Burgin

    Comment


    • Jerod Broussard
      Jerod Broussard commented
      Editing a comment
      Low and Slow or Hot and Fast, both will result in an excellent product. Coincidentally, the Pit Barrel falls in the middle with respect to temp, but the rate at which it cooks leans closer to the Hot and Fast method.

      Different altitudes, humidity levels, charcoal quality, will affect the temps to some degree.

      And since you are hanging the meat right above the heat source , how much meat you hang will also affect it.

    • smarkley
      smarkley commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree with Jerod on all his points... Plus I think Noah's main thing is, PBC is a set and forget unit... and it is good at that.

      But...... a bunch of us are control freaks and want to hit a certain temp and keep it there. With the PBC that is harder to do, keep reading and you see we have all kinds of tricks to control that beast hahahaha... but the bottom line is, once you get the fire going good, it really is a set and forget cooker.

      I have come full circle on controlling that cooker... I am back to get my fire real hot at first, then load it up and walk away and check the meat every once in awhile
      Last edited by smarkley; October 2nd, 2015, 05:30 AM.
  • Jim Burgin
    Former Member
    • Sep 2015
    • 54
    • Clarkesville, GA

    #92
    Thanks much Guys,
    Jim

    Comment

    • Ernest
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 3001
      • Dallas, Texas
      • Pit Barrel Cooker AKA The Chicken Whisperer, WSM 14.5 AKA Smokey, WSM 22.5 AKA Big Worm, Weber Performer Platinum. KARUBECUE

      #93
      We're tinkerers at heart. Hang and walk away works pretty well as is but it gets boring.
      You'll enjoy the PBC right out of the box

      Comment

      • fzxdoc
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 4138
        • My toys:
          Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC) aka Mr. Fancypants
          Pit Barrel Cooker (which rocks)
          Weber Summit S650 Gas Grill
          Weber Kettle Premium 22"
          Weber Jumbo Joe Premium 22" (a weird little 22" kettle mutant on 22"-long legs) (donated to local battered women's shelter.)
          Camp Chef Somerset IV 4-burner outdoor gas range


          Adrenaline BBQ Company's SnS, DnG and Large Charcoal Basket for WSCGC
          Adrenaline BBQ Company's Elevated SS Rack for WSCGC
          Adrenaline BBQ Company's SS Rack for DnG
          Grill Grate for SnS
          Grill Grates: five 17.375 sections with GrateGriddle for Summit S650 gasser (they sit on top of existing Weber SS grates)
          2 Grill Grate Griddles
          Grill Grates: six 19.25 panels for exact fit for Summit S650 gasser

          Fireboard Extreme BBQ Thermometer Package
          Fireboard Competition Probes 1" (two) and two more Ambient Probes
          Pit Viper Fan (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
          Thermoworks Thermapen MK5 (pink)
          Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 (pink too)
          Thermoworks Temp Test 2 Smart Thermometer
          Thermoworks Extra Big and Loud Timer
          Thermoworks Timestick Trio
          Maverick ET 73 a little workhorse with limited range
          Maverick ET 733
          Maverick (Ivation) ET 732
          Grill Pinz
          Vortex (two of them)

          Two Joule Sous Vide devices
          VacMaster Pro 350 Vacuum Sealer
          Instant Pot 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
          Charcoal Companion TurboQue
          A-Maze-N tube 12 inch tube smoker accessory for use with pellets

          BBQ Dragon and Dragon Chimney

          Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife
          Shun Classic 6" Chef's Knife
          Shun Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet Knife
          Shun Classic 3 1/2 inch Paring Knife

        #94
        The PBC works great right out of the box, Jim Burgin , and if you follow Noah's videos, you'll have some wonderful cooks and great food.

        However, I find that with many of Noah's videos the cook times are way different from what I and other PBC users here experience. It's sometimes difficult enough to "encourage" a meat to be done in time for supper, but doing it blind, not knowing Pit Barrel temperatures as shown in Noah's videos, did not make me comfortable. For that reason, I started another PBC topic (now a sticky as well) listing, by types of meat/veggies, cook times, internal temps, and PBC temps for many cooks. Compiling those data gave me a good place to start when trying to figure out how much time to allow. Here's a link to that topic, if you're interested.

        Controlling the PBC temperature is not very difficult, and for me, leads to a more reproducible result.

        That said, it's nice to have the insurance that if you do choose to set and forget, you'll still get a good result in however many hours it takes with that PBC setup on that day.

        Bottom line: you're going to love the food that comes out of that PBC. Smoke on!

        Kathryn

        Comment

        • ptehan
          Club Member
          • Sep 2015
          • 42

          #95
          Kathryn, this is my second cook on the PBC (chuck roast) and your lighting instructions seem to do the trick. I'm in Rochester, NY where even in a mild winter it's pretty cold and the temperature is up where i need it. Thanks.

          Comment

          • jecucolo
            Club Member
            • Nov 2015
            • 1173
            • Schertz Texas
            • Pit Barrel Cooker
              Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
              Weber 22" Kettle (Craiglist)
              Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
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              Maverick ET-732
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              Kingsford Competition Charcoal
              Anova Sous Vide

            #96
            So a couple of weeks ago I decided to try the OCD method of loading the charcoal in the PBC. I saw this a few months ago in the pit. I was cooking a chicken. I use the charcoal lighter fluid method of lighting. I let it burn for 15 minutes before putting the chicken on. Maybe I put too much fluid on it but this thing really burns hot. Not sure if I would do it again. I didn't keep temps but I puuled one of the rebars out and plugged the holes and it was still reading 350 degrees.

            Comment


            • Jerod Broussard
              Jerod Broussard commented
              Editing a comment
              Plenty fluid equals plenty high temps. I put enough to blast off the space shuttle when I want high temps. And that is with a Non-OCD method.
          • Big Daddy Jay
            Former Member
            • Dec 2015
            • 4
            • West Michigan

            #97
            Kathryn is the Queen of PBC Do you suggest the 10-10-10 method of lighting or are you sticking with the 15-10-10, remembering I'm at 705ft here. The PBC customer service Gal called back after my post yesterday, and said 12 minutes period then put the meat in, I have enough experience and being I don't have my Maverick yet I'm going with your lighting method.

            Comment

            • fzxdoc
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 4138
              • My toys:
                Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC) aka Mr. Fancypants
                Pit Barrel Cooker (which rocks)
                Weber Summit S650 Gas Grill
                Weber Kettle Premium 22"
                Weber Jumbo Joe Premium 22" (a weird little 22" kettle mutant on 22"-long legs) (donated to local battered women's shelter.)
                Camp Chef Somerset IV 4-burner outdoor gas range


                Adrenaline BBQ Company's SnS, DnG and Large Charcoal Basket for WSCGC
                Adrenaline BBQ Company's Elevated SS Rack for WSCGC
                Adrenaline BBQ Company's SS Rack for DnG
                Grill Grate for SnS
                Grill Grates: five 17.375 sections with GrateGriddle for Summit S650 gasser (they sit on top of existing Weber SS grates)
                2 Grill Grate Griddles
                Grill Grates: six 19.25 panels for exact fit for Summit S650 gasser

                Fireboard Extreme BBQ Thermometer Package
                Fireboard Competition Probes 1" (two) and two more Ambient Probes
                Pit Viper Fan (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
                Thermoworks Thermapen MK5 (pink)
                Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 (pink too)
                Thermoworks Temp Test 2 Smart Thermometer
                Thermoworks Extra Big and Loud Timer
                Thermoworks Timestick Trio
                Maverick ET 73 a little workhorse with limited range
                Maverick ET 733
                Maverick (Ivation) ET 732
                Grill Pinz
                Vortex (two of them)

                Two Joule Sous Vide devices
                VacMaster Pro 350 Vacuum Sealer
                Instant Pot 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
                Charcoal Companion TurboQue
                A-Maze-N tube 12 inch tube smoker accessory for use with pellets

                BBQ Dragon and Dragon Chimney

                Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife
                Shun Classic 6" Chef's Knife
                Shun Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet Knife
                Shun Classic 3 1/2 inch Paring Knife

              #98
              Big Daddy Jay , I use a chimney and I do 15-10-10 all the time with Kingsford Blue Bag charcoal. After 15 minutes in the chimney, the topmost coals are just starting to ash over. That's what I look for before pouring them onto the cold coals in the basket. If your coals ash over sooner than that, then go ahead and pour the chimney earlier than the 15 minute mark.

              For some reason, Kingsford Competition charcoal does not light up as fast, so when I use it (for my chicken cooks) I let it ride with a 20-10-10 combo.

              Good luck with that cook! And P.S. Thanks for the "Queen of PBC designation" (and the giggle). I do indeed love cooking on my PBC. I try to make my husband call me "Your Highness", but for some reason he balks at the notion.

              Kathryn

              Comment


              • fzxdoc
                fzxdoc commented
                Editing a comment
                Sounds like a good plan, Jerod. Jerod Broussard . At first I thought there was something wrong with the bag of Competition I was using. I've since gone through several bags of Competition charcoal and getting them well lit always takes longer than my ol' friend the Kingsford Blue Bag.

                K.

              • Big Daddy Jay
                Big Daddy Jay commented
                Editing a comment
                Your Royal Highness Queen Kathryn: Using your lighting method I was able to score some Awesome Baby Backs ribs this afternoon. I also found that the lid was not fitting properly until I hit it which my Rubber Malllet! The proof was in the final product. You are Amazing! Thanks again

              • fzxdoc
                fzxdoc commented
                Editing a comment
                Yay, Big Daddy Jay ! I'm so glad to hear that you had some tasty baby backs out of that PBC today and that you're on your way to a having great smoking experience every single time you fire it up! Congrats!

                Kathryn
            • Jerod Broussard
              Moderator
              • Jun 2014
              • 9029
              • East Texas
              • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
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                Vortex
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                Maverick ET-732 Copper
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                Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
                Thermoworks Timestick
                Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
                B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
                B & B Pellets

              #99
              jecucolo does the OCD method allow more briquettes to enter the party?

              Comment

              • Joedvasquez
                Club Member
                • Apr 2016
                • 46
                • San Francisco Bay Area

                Hello all. I've really enjoyed this thread. I got my PBC a couple weeks ago and broke it in right away with the Signature Chicken as Noah described on the video. It turned out amazing in just about 2 hours flat. The next day I did 3 racks of baby back ribs and a tritip. I did the same method as the day before and figured that the temp and instructions would be the same as the previous day. So, I went to check on them after only 2 hours and they were already done. I'm glad I checked sooner rather than later. My guests liked them but they ended up charred. I didn't have time to try to bring them back to life wrapped in foil and juice so I served as is.

                That made me realize that maybe there was a temp issue inside. I purchased the Maverick ET732 to monitor some dry runs without meat inside. Yesterday I lit per Noah's instructions and inserted my probe. I read every 15 minutes and here were highlights of what i read:
                15 minutes-297
                30 minutes-338
                1 hour -437
                2 hours - 487
                2 hrs15min-473
                2 1/2 hrs- 441
                3 hrs- 405
                4 hrs- 334
                4 1/2 hrs- 304

                That's where i stopped because I had to go somewhere. Not liking what I saw, I tried fzxdoc's method. I am at sea level and had the intake set at !/4 open. I used Kingsford Original and placed 40 in my chimney. I let burn for 10 minutes and emptied into the coal basket. I'm only and hour into that and the temps rose from yesterday.

                15 mins- 487
                30 mins- 520
                45 mins- 527

                I'm curious what your folks may think is going on? At this point, I shoved some foil into the rebar holes and even closed the intake all the way. The temp dropped to 489. What can I expect the temp to do once I put a couple racks of ribs in? I know it will lower a bit, but i'm guessing not 275 degrees. I want to figure this thing out a little before i char some more ribs. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

                Comment

                • fzxdoc
                  Founding Member
                  • Jul 2014
                  • 4138
                  • My toys:
                    Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC) aka Mr. Fancypants
                    Pit Barrel Cooker (which rocks)
                    Weber Summit S650 Gas Grill
                    Weber Kettle Premium 22"
                    Weber Jumbo Joe Premium 22" (a weird little 22" kettle mutant on 22"-long legs) (donated to local battered women's shelter.)
                    Camp Chef Somerset IV 4-burner outdoor gas range


                    Adrenaline BBQ Company's SnS, DnG and Large Charcoal Basket for WSCGC
                    Adrenaline BBQ Company's Elevated SS Rack for WSCGC
                    Adrenaline BBQ Company's SS Rack for DnG
                    Grill Grate for SnS
                    Grill Grates: five 17.375 sections with GrateGriddle for Summit S650 gasser (they sit on top of existing Weber SS grates)
                    2 Grill Grate Griddles
                    Grill Grates: six 19.25 panels for exact fit for Summit S650 gasser

                    Fireboard Extreme BBQ Thermometer Package
                    Fireboard Competition Probes 1" (two) and two more Ambient Probes
                    Pit Viper Fan (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
                    Thermoworks Thermapen MK5 (pink)
                    Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 (pink too)
                    Thermoworks Temp Test 2 Smart Thermometer
                    Thermoworks Extra Big and Loud Timer
                    Thermoworks Timestick Trio
                    Maverick ET 73 a little workhorse with limited range
                    Maverick ET 733
                    Maverick (Ivation) ET 732
                    Grill Pinz
                    Vortex (two of them)

                    Two Joule Sous Vide devices
                    VacMaster Pro 350 Vacuum Sealer
                    Instant Pot 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
                    Charcoal Companion TurboQue
                    A-Maze-N tube 12 inch tube smoker accessory for use with pellets

                    BBQ Dragon and Dragon Chimney

                    Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife
                    Shun Classic 6" Chef's Knife
                    Shun Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet Knife
                    Shun Classic 3 1/2 inch Paring Knife

                  Wow, Joe, Joedvasquez , that sounds strange indeed.

                  Have you checked the Maverick probe for accuracy in boiling water and an ice bath?

                  Where in the PBC is the Maverick probe hanging?

                  Are you running your PBC in these empty barrel tests with the rebars in (and the lid on)?

                  When you peek into the barrel, are there flames dancing on the coals? A thermometer probe directly over a flame can record some pretty high temps.

                  Have you checked to ensure that the lid is on tight? The temp can climb when some of the smoke leaks out from under the rim of the lid. It's really hard to see, especially in the areas of the rim above the rebars. I hold a piece of cardboard horizontally, one edge against the barrel above the rebar holes to block the rebar hole smoke wafting up so I can see if smoke is coming out from under the lid in those areas. I usually have to bang the lid of my PBC down with the rubber heel of my shoe (or a rubber mallet). It leaks in the area where the seam of the barrel is. On my second cook, the temperature took off on me, and after I tamped the lid on tight, the temperature settled right in. From that point on, I always check the lid for leaks.

                  I get temps like you're getting only with the lid off with/without the rebars, or with the lid on without the rebars. Never with the lid on securely and the rebars in place. My Maverick probe cable is wrapped a couple of times around the rebar and the probe tip hangs at the mid-level of the hanging meat.

                  Have you spoken with the PBC folks about this?

                  It will be interesting to get to the bottom of this problem. Don't get discouraged, you'll have a great-cooking PBC just as soon as this is figured out.

                  Kathryn
                  Last edited by fzxdoc; April 14th, 2016, 06:41 PM.

                  Comment

                  • jecucolo
                    Club Member
                    • Nov 2015
                    • 1173
                    • Schertz Texas
                    • Pit Barrel Cooker
                      Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
                      Weber 22" Kettle (Craiglist)
                      Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
                      Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
                      Maverick ET-732
                      Kingsford Original Charcoal
                      Kingsford Competition Charcoal
                      Anova Sous Vide

                    You might want to check and make sure the lid is on tight. Sometimes just a little crack can bring the temp up.
                    Did you put the bars back in?

                    Comment

                    • Joedvasquez
                      Club Member
                      • Apr 2016
                      • 46
                      • San Francisco Bay Area

                      Thank you for the quick response. To answer some of the questions:

                      I have not checked the Maverick for accuracy. That is a brilliant idea though. I will do that for sure.

                      I ran the probe through the rebar opening and installed the grate. The probe is affixed using the grate clip.

                      Bars in and lid on. I just assumed that the lid is solidly in place. There doesn't seem to be any way for it not to be closed all the way. For the record, I went out and tapped on it with a rubber mallet and it appears the temp is dropping and is now at 426, which is down approx. 35-40 degrees. (I stopped my readings just because I figured I had to make an adjustment on this anyway.)

                      I have not contacted PBC about this yet. I wanted to check with you all on here to see what I might be screwing up first.


                      Comment

                      • flyby
                        Former Member
                        • Apr 2016
                        • 44
                        • Michigan

                        I'm about to join the PBC family, so I'm truly interested on what is going on there. Part of the allure of the PBC is the almost 'no brainer' operation of the cooker. I don't mind fussing in the least, and certainly with something like BGE, tweaking is expected and is very achievable.... Hoping that whatever is going on is solvable. It sure sounds to me like a lid not quite seating right, more airflow through it, higher temps and in this case, not too controllable....


                        Cheers........Tony

                        Comment

                        • Joedvasquez
                          Club Member
                          • Apr 2016
                          • 46
                          • San Francisco Bay Area

                          Just an update, the temp continues to fall. I can't believe it could be something as simple as a tap of a shoe or mallet that could fix this issue. The temp is now at 378. It has dropped a considerable amount once I did that. We will do another one of these this weekend but I may throw some ribs in it. Tired of just faking it. Thank you so much for a simple heads up.

                          Comment

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                          masterbuilt gas smoker

                          The First Propane Smoker With A Thermostat Makes This Baby Foolproof

                          Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

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                          Professional Steakhouse Knife Set

                          masterbuilt gas smoker

                          Our founder, Meathead, wanted the same steak knives used by steakhouses such as Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, Morton's, Kobe Club, Palm, and many others. So he located the manufacturer and had them stamp our name on some. They boast pointed, temper-ground, serrated, high-carbon stainless-steel, half-tang blades with excellent cutting edge ability. The beefy hardwood handle provides a comfortable grip secured by three hefty rivets. He has machine washed his more than 100 times. They have never rusted and they stay shiny without polishing. Please note that we do not make, sell, or distribute these knives, they just engrave them with our name.

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                          PK 360 grill

                          Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

                          The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

                          Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

                          Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only


                          Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

                          fireboard bbq thermometer

                          With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

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                          Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

                          Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

                          Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

                          Click here to read our detailed review and to order