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

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    GourmandPhil, here's the link to the webpage where I purchased those gloves:

    https://www.northernsafety.com/Produ...Hi-Temp-Gloves

    The model number is #2452

    Here's a screenshot from the website. Double click on the picture to see it larger:

    Click image for larger version

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    HTH,
    Kathryn

    Comment


      Originally posted by fzxdoc View Post
      GourmandPhil, here's the link to the webpage where I purchased those gloves:

      https://www.northernsafety.com/Produ...Hi-Temp-Gloves

      The model number is #2452

      Here's a screenshot from the website. Double click on the picture to see it larger:

      [ATTACH=CONFIG]n189842[/ATTACH]

      HTH,
      Kathryn
      Thanks!

      Comment


        I sent an email to Northern Safety and item #2452 is Chicago Protective Part #234-AKV-KV. Ended up ordering through Amazon since I'm a Prime member and saved $5 when compared to higher and longer shipping costs by Northern Safety. Excited to give them a try!

        Comment


          I continue to experiment with variations on lighting methods and have (tentatively) concluded the following:
          1. Using Kathryn's ( fzxdoc ) method
            1. I always get a "hot start" (approx. 450 deg. initially)
            2. The PC always settles down to a very stable 350 - 355 degrees
            3. I suspect that altitude is a factor (I live at 6300 ft.)
            4. I will continue to use this method for poultry that should cook at 350 - 375
          2. Using the PBC recommended chimney-lighting method
            1. I always get the results advertised by the PBC folks
            2. Initial temp is in the low - mid 300's
            3. The PBC then settles to a very stable 275 - 310 degrees
            4. Again, I think that altitude plays a big role here. I'm at 6300 ft. and the PBC (and its lighting methods) were developed nearby in Strasburg, CO where the elevation is about 5200 ft.
            5. This will continue to be my go-to method for "normal" PBC cooks here at 6300 ft.
          3. Using the PBC recommended method ... but lighting only 20 briquettes in the chimney
            1. The PBC settles pretty quickly to an initially stable 225(ish) temp
            2. I don't know how long it would remain at that temperature (I didn't wait to see)
            3. I won't be using this method as I consider 225 to way too low for the PBC because of the likelihood of starving the coals of oxygen, having drippings extinguish at least some of the coals, and the production of nasty smoke.

          Comment


          • fzxdoc
            fzxdoc commented
            Editing a comment
            Great research, Mbmorgan. Thanks!

          Is there anything different to do when lighting the PBC to cook chicken? Do I light more than 40 charcoal because I want it hotter? Do I use less than a full basket of charcoal because the cook is only an hour or two? Thanks!

          Comment


            I use less than a full basket with a single chicken; usually about 3/4 of a basket. The dripping chicken can extinguish too many of the coals, though, if you go down any further in the amount of charcoal, at least in my experience. If I smoke more than one chicken, I use a full basket.

            I still start with 40 coals in the chimney no matter what. I'm at 3700 ft altitude, and I use the 15*-10-10 method described in the first post on this topic. Usually the PBC temps are 380 to 400 by that time, which is what I shoot for before adding the chicken. (*or however long it takes for the topmost coals in the chimney to be ashed over).

            But the biggest difference is that I use Kingsford Competition/Professional charcoal, which burns hotter for a shorter time. With it, I have little trouble keeping the PBC temp in the 350+ range. With Kingsford Original, I have to work a bit harder (as in watching the temp closer and settling sometimes for 325 or so for the cook) to keep the PBC temps in that range, but it certainly can be done, and the chicken is still delicious.

            Heck, the chicken is also delicious when smoked at 250-280, it just takes longer and the skin won't be crisp unless you crisp it up at the end by leaving the lid off the PBC for a few minutes or crisp it by laying the bird on a gas grill or under a broiler for a bit. I've never used those methods, but people here say they work.

            Folks here, Ernest for one, call the PBC the Chicken Whisperer, and it certainly lives up to its name.

            Kathryn

            Comment


              Originally posted by bep35 View Post
              Is there anything different to do when lighting the PBC to cook chicken? Do I light more than 40 charcoal because I want it hotter? Do I use less than a full basket of charcoal because the cook is only an hour or two? Thanks!
              I'm beginning to convince myself that altitude plays a significant role in the way that your lighting procedure affects the temperature at which the PBC settles. For instance, the PBC and PBC-recommended lighting procedure were developed in Strasburg, CO at an altitude of approximately 5400 ft. I live at 6300 ft (near Strasburg) and find that their recommended lighting procedure works best up here in the thin air of Colorado. Kathryn ( fzxdoc ) developed an alternative method that works best for her at approximately 3700 ft. (it's the first post in this thread). Bottom line is that you'll need to start with one of the recommended methods and then tweak it until you're getting the temperature you want. That's the bad news ... the good news is that the PBC is VERY forgiving (I just cooked an perfect tri-tip at 350 F in a "runaway" PBC).

              One piece of advice that I consider immutable: Do NOT attempt to control cooking temperature with the bottom vent. Once you get it set correctly for your altitude, leave it strictly alone. Focus on the lighting procedure, cracking (or sealing) the lid, leaving rebar in or out, and/or foiling the rebar hole(s) to dial in your temperature.

              Comment


                FZXDOC

                Fantastic sticky post, thanks! I am new to the membership and have truly enjoyed reading thru articles/posts such as this, fantastic stuff.

                I just purchased a PBC and I am planning on my first cook with it this weekend. Have a whole chicken and St Louis ribs set aside in fridge currently

                Your lighting tips are different then the current you tube video on the PBC site but similar to an older PBC video I found from a few years ago. Do you perform steps 11, 12 regardless of what you are cooking or are those steps for either longer or shorter planned cooks (chicken vs brisket as an example)

                Thanks!

                Rich

                Comment


                  Congrats on your PBC purchase, drbbq ! You are so going to love smoking on it. My husband says "I can't believe such good food comes so consistently from such a little thing". I say, "Uh, are you talking about me or about the PBC?"

                  To answer your question, my PBC loves to run at a sweet spot of 275 when I light with my 15-10-10 (or 20-10-10 for Kingsford Professional at my altitude). However long it takes for the chimney's topmost coals to ash over a bit.

                  On the PBC, ribs cooked at this temperature are delicious, done in about 4-5 hours or so. Chicken cooked at this temp is done in about 2 hours, but the skin is not bite-through or crispy, usually. That said, it will be the best chicken you ever tasted. To get crispy skin on chicken, I follow the method I outlined in this post:

                  https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...668#post186668

                  So for chicken alone, I smoke at 325+ with Kingsford Professional. That's a hot 'n fast cook, yielding beautifully crisp chicken skin in about 1 hour. If you let the PBC do its thing, at 270 or so, it will take longer, but the chicken will still be the best you've ever had, except, possibly for the skin texture. But if you mix a little baking powder in with the (very salty) PBC AP rub, and apply that to the skin only and let the chicken sit in the fridge, uncovered for 24 hours, you'll still get bite-through skin and a marvelous chicken cook at 250 to 280 deg F pit temp.

                  For ribs, brisket, pork butts, meatloaf, etc. I smoke at my PBC's sweet spot, about 275 or so.

                  I follow steps 11 and 12 whenever I want my PBC to run where it's happiest, 250+. I have cooked at 225 by eliminating step 12 only. I have found that, with the PBC, keeping it at 225 (which can certainly be done) generally starves the fire and makes for not-as-flavorful smoke. Plus it takes for-friggin-ever to smoke the brisket, etc. I have carefully tested briskets smoked at 225 and at 250+ (more in the 275 range), and can find no difference in flavor or tenderness, so that's why I always opt for letting the PBC run where it's happiest, which on my PBC is about 275.

                  To reiterate, the PBC is a simple device, and it's best to let it ride at whatever temp it wants to whenever you can.

                  HTH,
                  Kathryn

                  Comment


                    Thank you for this awesome post Kathryn! First cook is off to a great start with this info!

                    Comment


                    • fzxdoc
                      fzxdoc commented
                      Editing a comment
                      You're welcome jbeck1986 . We Pit Barrel owners are an enthusiastic bunch. Welcome to the herd! You're going to love every thing you cook in that amazing little barrel. Enjoy!

                      Kathryn

                    Click image for larger version

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ID:	217505my first cook with the PBC. Followed Noah's instructions. Cracked the lid for the last 20 min on the chicken to crisp up the skin. Juiciest chicken I have ever had. The ribs cooked for just over 4 hours with a dry rub, then I sauced one rack with a honey bourbon chili glaze. The glaze made me want to eat my fingers when there was no more rib meat. Click image for larger version

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                    Comment


                      Northside Brian Congrats on an amazing-looking first cook! It's good to hear it turned out so well. I also did my very first PBC cook following Noah's instructions for chicken a few years back. I remember being astounded at how well it turned out with so little effort. It was delicious. I've been hooked on the PBC (pun intended) ever since!

                      Kathryn

                      Comment


                        I did a chicken yesterday and it still amazes me how good they turn out. The left overs were even better. Chicken, ribs. Brisket, pork butt, chuckie's, turkeys make cooking easy and near flawless.

                        Comment


                          After reading all the comments in this and other PBC threads I have come to the conclusion that I have the perfect PBC. I dont say this to brag or anything, its just that I have never had any of the problems some people are having. My lid fits perfectly and doesnt leak at all. If I put it on a flat surface there is no wobble at all, same with the top of the PBC.
                          When it comes to temps, I spike at about 300 when first lighting and always seem to settle down to between 250-265 and I am able to get almost a 10 hr cook time from a full basket of KBB and 40 coals from the chimney. I know this seems low since the PBC is supposed to cook between 275-300, but my meat turns out perfect every time. As the song says "must be doing something right"

                          Comment


                          • PappyBBQ
                            PappyBBQ commented
                            Editing a comment
                            And here I thought I was all alone! :-) Ditto!

                          Northside Brian , sounds pretty perfect to me. I think most PBCs run like that. Just every now and then there's one with a problem that is easily fixed. I've had two PBCs and each settled in to a slightly different sweet spot temp, but each still rocked every single cook.

                          Kathryn

                          Comment


                          • Northside Brian
                            Northside Brian commented
                            Editing a comment
                            All of my cooks have been awesome. I have done 6 chickens, about a dozen racks of ribs (baby back, shorties, and spares) and tomorrow i am doing my second packer. My wife and friends have all commented that it is some of the best bbq they have ever had.

                          • fzxdoc
                            fzxdoc commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Northside Brian , that sounds great! That PBC is a heckuva cooker indeed.
                            Last edited by fzxdoc; October 8, 2016, 07:46 PM.

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