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If you need help getting your Pit Barrel Cooker set up, post details here.

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    If you need help getting your Pit Barrel Cooker set up, post details here.

    I know for some folks (me included) these things don't run exactly how we want out of the box. If you still don't think yours is working how it should, or just have a PBC question in general, post it.

    Maybe I missed it but I have not seen anyone talk about water with a PBC. I know the juices drip off the meat onto the coals, but surely that isn't enough to keep it humid in there...

    I did a couple racks of baby backs this weekend, which turned out great, but they were a tad dry to me. We vacuumed up half a rack and had those a couple of days later (simmered the bag)and DAMN were they spot on.

    I cut my grate in half so I could hang the racks and do a chuck on the grate, now I wonder if I should add a water pan on the grate for the next cook.

    Over all I'm stoked with my PBC, and find myself faced with the biggest problem of all: What to cook next?!!?


      I've yet too see a need for a water pan. I know the two racks of ribs I did Sunday were just like all the others I have done. It seems like the top will never bark up and dry out, then finally the moisture gets off, it firms up, and here comes the bend test.

      I really think they hit a major home run by NOT putting an exhaust vent on the lid.


        My biggest problem is too much moisture. I started to notice on longer cooks that when I would check the meat the lid would drip, and it wasn't the freshest drip, so I will go out there fairly often and wipe off the bottom side of the lid.


        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          Wow, I've never had that happen, John. Does it happen all the time or just with certain amounts or cuts of meat?

          Thanks for starting this topic, BTW.


        • _John_
          _John_ commented
          Editing a comment
          Anything other than ribs really, not sure why. Make sure you are checking, might be dripping and you don't even know it! My lid looks like some weird black tar stuff

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          I wonder if it's your ambient humidity John? Is AR a humid state? I'm just tossing out ideas. My offset will periodically have that issue of excess moisture inside the lid and I just attribute it to the ambient humidity being higher on a given day. Just a WAG.

        Question, where's the power switch? Just kidding.


          Can someone post a pic or explain how they hang the temperature probe inside the cooker? I'm using a maverick, but don't think I was getting accurate readings today. Not sure if I had it too close to the rebar, or the hanging meat. This was my first cook and everything turned out great, but the temps appeared to be too low, although the food cooked in what I thought was a reasonable time. About 3.5 hours for the ribs and a little under 2 hours for the chicken. Thanks!


          • Ernest
            Ernest commented
            Editing a comment
            Through one of the rebar vents (with or without the bar), and just curl it around the bar. Let it hang

          What temps were you showing? I used to roll up a ball of foil and stick the probe through it, feed the line through a rebar hole and set it on the grate by the meat, but honestly now I just stick the tip through the whole and leave it there.

          Usually if there is a problem the error is on the low side, if you got ribs and chicken done that fast you had to be close to 300 I would think.


          • NashvilleSparty
            NashvilleSparty commented
            Editing a comment
            It would drop into the 180s-190s, so then I'd crack the lid to get the temp back up. I have the vent open what I think is a little more than a quarter of the way, as I'm at about 800 ft above sea level. I was using a different thermometer to spot check temps through the vent hole and those were coming back even lower. I may have had too much charcoal in the chimney starter to begin with, so next time I'll follow the lighting instructions that are stickied more closely.

          • NashvilleSparty
            NashvilleSparty commented
            Editing a comment
            if I was using the grate I'd just clip it there, but I was more curious how people got it to just hang from the most dsireable location.

          Didn't get a good start, check out the sticky on lighting procedures and give it a try, it should hang around 275-290


            I usually drape the smoker probe over the rebar and let it hang in the middle of the barrel at about the mid level of the hanging meat, psuftball. If I'm smoking something like ribs that don't need to have their temp monitored, then I hang both probes on opposite sides of the barrel (one on the side of the vent, the other on the side away from the vent). That's a good way to learn how the hot area of the coals moves around during a long cook.

            I did baby backs in my PBC today, too. They took just under 4 hours and were the best I've ever done--great bark, pretty smoke ring, and a clean bite. The average PBC temp was 270.

            Last edited by fzxdoc; May 10, 2015, 07:24 PM.


              I think most folks are uncomfortable with the initial PBC temp.
              Start hot , hang ya meat and the PBC will settle at whatever temp it wants to cook that day. If not then be ready to run around and experiment with different setups that you prefer.


                I can see Ernest's point - it's really, really hard to screw up a cook on a PBC if you start it out right so the need to do to much is minimal. However, the urge to fiddle / watch / check is strong in all of us, so here is what I do:

                1) put the probe wire through the rebar hole, dangle the probe off the rebar. The temp reading part of the probe will be 4 - 6" from the lid. Absolutely no need to be exact as far as I can tell, just so long as its not within an inch of meat.

                2) After hanging the meat, crack the lid about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Regardless of the lower vent aperture, the addition of the upper 'vent' (a cracked lid) will have air flowing through the coals and cause a rapid rise in temp. Reseat the lid at 380 - 390. The temp should then fall back to 270 - 290 and stay there for at least a few hours. If it falls too far beneath that - under say 240 - I stir the coals, crack the lid again and lift the temp.

                The key for me is that initial higher temp of 380+. That indicates to me that the coals are running well, and I'm going to get several hours in the cooking zone of 270 to 290. Without that higher temp, too few of the coals are sufficiently lit and the temp will drop back too far.

                Finally, as I started out, its really hard to screw up almost at any cooking temp and so I agree with Ernest - just let it do what it does. However, if you have a target time for delivery of the grub, keeping the temp in a 'known zone' (270-290) has meant greater predictability of finish time.

                Hope that helps,

                Note: I use kingsford blue.


                  On the water pan - the ONLY time I have had anything come out dry was the first set of pork ribs. I forgot how quickly the pbc cooks, and did the ribs for the 'traditional' 5 hours or whatever, when 3 would have been closer to mark.

                  Even then, they were only dryish. The chamber is always really moist I think because there is so little airflow. Getting a bark is the challenge, not keeping things moist.


                    I just received my cooker Friday and cooked pork ribs Sunday...amazing, and only 3 hours. But the interior lining is already flaking off on one side. Is this normal?


                    • Jerod Broussard
                      Jerod Broussard commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yeah, I got flakes gallore. I used to rub my welding gloves along the side to break them off. Not sure if I have done that in the last 6 months. You have pics? Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing. IvyH
                      Last edited by Jerod Broussard; May 11, 2015, 05:12 PM.

                    I just received an email from those guys and they said its perfectly normal. Wipe, and eventually the grease will form a natural coating. I'm thrilled with results for a first cook. No temp probe or meat thermometer. I think I'll go 3-1/2 hours next time to try for a little more bark. This site hit a home run recommending this cooker. Thanks!


                    • Jerod Broussard
                      Jerod Broussard commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Good deal. The uglier the insides, the better the product seems to be.


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