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Newbie with PBC

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    Newbie with PBC

    Hi Everyone, I am totally new to BBQ'ing and new to using charcoal in fact. Always had a gas grill. I just bought a PB yesterday and I also bought a meat thermometer but not one I can leave in the barrel. Do I need one for that to monitor the temps inside instead of the meat? If so what should I get?

    Once you get the lighting procedure down you really don't need it unless you try to operate multiple temps such as for chicken. Personally I only monitor the pit temp, when it is right then I know when to start checking the meat with a hand held.


      Hi John, thanks for the reply. So when I get this PB and I cook ribs on it what temp should the barrel be when they are cooking. I thought this barrel was kind of a set it and forget it to a point.


      • mtford72
        mtford72 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Clark - I put up a post yesterday on beef ribs here: http://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/for...ck-ribs-on-pbc
        It includes a temperature graph for the cook. I've found that the key is getting that initial temperature spike - read the post on lighting the pbc. Then it will trail back down to the manufacturers target range of 270 - 310 and stay there for much of the cook. If you don't get the initial spike of over 370, it will fall back to the mid / low 200's - which could greatly change the duration of the cook. As all the manufacturers videos use time, things could go way off if preparing for guests, etc.
        I strongly recommend that you have a digital thermometer in the PBC so that you can watch the ambient temp. The thermoworks TW362B works great for $20. Or go higher and get the chef alarm, that has a low alarm too which is handy for longer cooks. (I would buy two TW362B, one for ambient, one for meat. It's just easier in the long run!)
        Hope that helps.

      It is to a point, the best thing to do is look at the PBC section here, specifically the lighting tutorial. When I first got mine I wasn't getting a good light, so while it ran forever it hung around 240 and things just weren't that good. After getting the hang of lighting (let it spike well over 300) it should land around 275 to 290 and at that point it stays pretty steady.
      That said it will sometimes need tweaking, I am watching mine today and having to crack the lid a bit but I currently have 21 pounds of meat in it; 11 pounds of ribs and a 10 pound pork shoulder. With all of that cold meat you really can't expect it to operate at the same temperature as it would with just a rack or two.


        Clarkgriswald (love the name, BTW!), the PBC is truly set it and forget it. No matter what temp it settles at, it provides (in my experience) delicious food. Just follow Noah's how-to videos on the PBC site and you'll be golden. However, it won't be long before you're going to die to know what the smoker temp is and what your meat temp is.

        First of all, then, for meat temp you have to buy a Thermoworks Thermapen or Thermopop probe. Be sure to use Meathead's Amazon link to buy it (http://tinyurl.com/amazingribs) because why not help our peerless feeder, er, fearless leader here??? We've got to support this website, IMO, to make sure it's always here for us!

        Anyway, after you know your meat temp (uh, accurately), which is primo, it's nice to know your smoker temp. Why? Because first of all, the PBC is so simple that you can't help fiddling with it. Trust me on this. Also, once you have an amazing cook, you'd like to duplicate it for when the in-laws show up for supper. You could be a real hero. So then you need a Maverick which monitors both your smoker temp and your meat temp. (Christmas is coming, and you KNOW you're hard as heck for your wife/SO/girlfriend to buy for. Tell her about the link I posted above.). The Maverick gets you in the ballpark with the meat temp, and the Thermopen nails it. I'm a real Thermopen fan, but probably the Maverick as a first purchase may be wiser--I'll let you be the eventual judge of that.

        In my experience, if you don't use the lighting procedure which I (and others) outlined here, then your PBC most likely will settle in the 230-240 deg F range for the majority of the cook. If you crack the lid as described in that link, the PBC settles pretty happily into the 270-290 range which is perfect for almost everything, at least in my experience.

        I hadn't used charcoal since my grad school days when I wanted to make my dorm-mates envious with the smells of a cheap hibatchi cooking the cheapest gettable steak outside of my dorm room's exit door, but I took to the PBC like a duck to water. The PBC is amazing and you're going to love cooking with it. The best part about it is that the slope of its learning curve is pretty doggone small. Just jump right in and have a good time with it!

        Last edited by fzxdoc; October 26, 2014, 03:34 PM.


          Thank you Kathryn for your help. I told the wife I would like a Thermapen from Santa so hopefully that's what shows up. I have a newbie question. I am going to be using a chimney to start the coals. Am I only lighting the chimney coals and not the ones in the basket? How long do I let it sit after the coals are ready before I put the meat on. Thank you for your help. Clark


            Clark, start with topping the basket off with coals then remove 40 and put them in your chimney. You only light the coals in the chimney. The coals should burn for 12 to 15 minutes at sea level to 2000 ft elevations and 20 minutes at high elevations. Then dump them in your basket and use the tip of the rebar to uniformly distribute them. Then put the rebars in, hang the meat right away and put the lid on. If you don't put the lid on the temperatures will skyrocket.

            Noah the owner of the PBC shows how to do this in his Lighting the PBC video: http://pitbarrelcooker.com/how-to-videos.

            For more information go to this topic here: http://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/for...g-temperatures

            Hope this helps. Have fun with that PBC. I love mine!



              Awesome. Thank you Kathryn for your help. I hope it arrives soon because I am starving!


                Clark, do yourself a favor and get the weber compact chimney. I takes exactly 40 briquettes when filled to the top. Plus it fits Perfectly when dumping the lit coals in the PBC.
                As for temps and cooking times, do not rely solely on the PBC videos unless you live at the same sea level as Noah.
                Takes notes on your first few cooks and remember that everything cooks faster in the PBC.

                Few pointers,
                • Cut your rib racks in half
                • When you dump the lit coals in the basket, do not put the lid on for at least 10 minutes
                • If you're cooking a large amount of food, make sure that the coals are blazing hot before hanging the food
                • Figure out a way to clean the ashes. I use a 14 inch pizza pan under the basket.
                • Have a chicken ready to go at a moment's notice, Why? because everyone will be asking for it.
                • The PBC does come with side effects. You'll be cooking outdoors quite a lot, your shopping list will be determined by "PBC HANGABILITY," you neighbors will love you even more.


                  Thanks Ernest for the reply. I just got shipping conformation. I would love to try it this weekend but that doesn't look like that is going to happen.

                  You say to leave the lid off for 10 minutes after I pour the coals in and fzxdoc says to put the lid on right away. I am at 860ft sea level.

                  I did buy a chimney for my coals.


                  • fzxdoc
                    fzxdoc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Each of us has a method that works. If you read that link I gave you, you'll see what I mean. I'm at 3700 feet and for me it works best to hang the meat right away after pouring in the coals, secure the lid and then watch the smoker temp. If it's not up to 270-290 within the first 10 minutes, I crack the lid and leave it open until the temp hits about 350 deg F. Then when I settle the lid back on tightly, the temp sticks at about 270-290 for a good long while.

                    You'll find what works best for you after a few cooks. I always feel that for starters you should do as the Pit Barrel folks say and then go from there. I did that and on my first cook the PBC temp did not get above 220 or so. I was cooking chickens (also following the video instructions on the PBC website). They turned out amazing, but in subsequent cooks I find I like my chickens smoked at closer to 300 deg F or so. To get to that temp I started using the "crack the lid after 10 minutes" method recommended by seasoned PBC users. It works for me.

                    It's a learning curve. No matter what method you use, you'll end up with some great-tasting food.

                    I know some PBC owners who pulled their smoker out of the box and within half an hour had two chickens smoking away. Don't overthink it--just jump right in and have some fun. That PBC is a fun-lovers smoker for sure!

                    Last edited by fzxdoc; October 28, 2014, 05:15 PM.

                  Griswalds should should not be allowed near fire.


                  • fzxdoc
                    fzxdoc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I think that might be Griswolds. Love those movies!


                  Originally posted by W.A. View Post
                  Griswalds should should not be allowed near fire.
                  I am not cousin Eddy. Lol.


                    I just got confirmation that my barrel will be delivered on Friday. Hopefully be cooking Saturday. I will post pictures I hope of some fantastic ribs.


                    • Huskee
                      Huskee commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Right on, pics of those ribs please!

                      Clark let's get to work on your signature. If you need help holler real loud.

                    • Clarkgriswald
                      Clarkgriswald commented
                      Editing a comment
                      By signature you mean my avatar? If that's the case maybe it will be my first ribs.

                    You are gonna like it. I did chicken first, but most everything is easy in it.


                      Why wait until Saturday? I had my first PBC chicken within 2 hours after getting it out of the box. LOL Hey I guess you got time to dry brine a chicken.



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