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Temperature fiddlin' on the PBC

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    Temperature fiddlin' on the PBC

    Why? I've seen a few posts on trying to tune the PBC for specific cooks, specifically trying to tone down the temp to 225. Has anyone done a side by side comparison? I'm skeptical that it makes a difference, other than taking longer.

    To start the test, I really 'robustly' (read: abusively) cooked some ribs. Other than making sure the PBC was well lit, I didn't fiddle. Infact, I deliberately ran hot - started at 400 and staying above 310 for most of the cook. Just to see if it ruined the ribs.

    Here are the finished ribs. Took about 3 hours, no wrap, no sauce. (two different rubs were used).

    Click image for larger version

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    Considering how easy they were, and obviously how well they turned out (bone demonstrates the clean finish, lower rib shows that the meat is still clinging for the satisfying 'tug'), does the extra time / fiddling reap any meaningful rewards?


    There have been some recent posts, I myself tried 225 for the first time, they took forever but my wife said they were my best. She is very texture sensitive, so I think the much longer cook allowed more fat to render and softened them up a bit. Personally I couldn't really tell a whole lot. You do have me curious to try 325, I can hit that temp consistently.


      Give it a go and see, John. Just to be clear, I typically run the pbc above 275, usually around 290 to 300. It was just this go round when I ran it a bit hotter.

      I did a brisket this weekend in that temperature range. Again, I would question if a meaningful difference would be noticed at 225 for a doubling in cook time.

      For the record, I don't believe I'm cooking championship winning food, but it's pretty hard to fault.


        On my PBC I learned that 225 was NOT the best temp for much of anything. The cooks took much longer and as you showed, Matt, the quality of the product was not better.

        I personally feel that trying to force the PBC down to 225 as I did for an early-in-my-PBC-career brisket cook is running the risk of ruining the meat by starving the fire. We all know how a starved fire retaliates.

        So I either let the PBC seek its own working temp for the longer cooks or I force the temp higher (around 325 deg F) for poultry cooks.



        • TheBigLebowski
          TheBigLebowski commented
          Editing a comment

          Kathryn...how to you force and hold say at 325? Pull a rebar?

          I cooked a couple of PB last weekend and pretty much let the PBC do its thing and it sat right about 280. If I cracked the lid, the temp would spike up no problem.

        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          Yup, TheBigLebowski , I keep the temp at 325 by pulling one rebar during a poultry cook. It stabilizes there pretty well for the hour or so it takes to smoke that bird.


        Thanks fzxdoc Kathryn.....Ill give it a go. Honestly its about easier to fire up the kettle to do a bird.

        Last edited by TheBigLebowski; June 1, 2015, 10:30 AM.


          If you really want to abuse the system... so to speak, try by starting a big hunk of meat (eg. pork butt or brisket). I did this and had a great settle in temp near 160F*. Then about two hours in, adding around 4 racks (~12 lbs) of cold ribs. That tanked the temp. for me to near 210 F. Decidedly far too low. The thing I found that *seemed* helped most (cracking the lid would bring the temp up but it refused to hold) was to remove the lid for two - three minutes. This allowed the barrel to come up to near three hundred (and this was after 5 hours) and settle back down at 260-270.

          * uh, 260!
          Last edited by JPP; June 2, 2015, 04:22 AM.


            JPP I just did the same thing yesterday. Started with a PB cooking and 3 hrs in I added 8 lbs of cold BB ribs and 3 lbs of potatoes. Temps plummeted. I wound up cracking the lid a few times to get it up to 300. It would usually drop down into the 230 range after about an hour. Near the end of my cook I also pulled 1 rebar to keep things up in the 270 range.


            • JPP
              JPP commented
              Editing a comment
              For sure adding cold meat to a nice stable PBC may take some skill.. And it's interesting how the temperature settled in after I wrapped the HOF I was cooking... it's impressive just how much life the coals still have after five or six hours.

            My next ribs I cook...I'll have to try and keep it closer to 225 just to see how they may turn out differently than a hotter cook for a shorter time......that's what MH suggests. Or, is that out the window when it comes to the PBC?


              I wouldn't say 225 is out of the question, but 250-270 works extremely well for me... That's around what î get when I cook four or more 6-7 lb racks... So long as I don't pile on more cold meat, of course! I think cooking more poundage gives a much more humid environment and I think I get better results than when cooking say, just two racks. I generally like to toss in a chicken or two as well... Since they don't take so long to cook, it's a very good thing that the pbc can still pull a high temp after hours of running.
              Last edited by JPP; June 1, 2015, 09:25 PM.


                Good reading. So, I just did some ribs yesterday and charted my temps. I lit the fire by filling the basket, removing 40 to a chimney, lighting the 40, spread 'em out in the basket, put basket into barrel, add ribs, put on lid. Didn't do the "let burn for 20 after adding lit coals. Temp started at 235. 30 minutes later at 262, and 30 minutes after that i was at 280, where it basically hung for the rest of the three hour cook. Ribs came out great.

                I used a full basket of charcoal as I wanted to see how long the pit would run. Problem was, when I took the ribs out the temp spiked to 328 and it basically rode there, dropping a couple of degrees an hour - 320 at 30 minutes, 314 at an hour, 302 at 90 minutes, 305 at 120 minutes... Then it started falling off, going to 273 at 2.5 hours and 230 at 3.5 hours.

                This makes me wonder about cooking something long like brisket or pork butt. If I pull to wrap at 180 and want to put it back in the pit on the grate I'm wondering how to get the temp back down to "low and slow" territory. It seems that once the pit spikes it stays at the spiked temp for a long time.

                Oh, and pics of the ribs. They were fab
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                  PappyBBQ Temp spikes can be calmed by plugging rebar holes. In fact, when things are wrapped, you can just pull rebar and plug holes up with magnets. I don't mind temp spikes when I wrap. 300-350 seems to get things DONE. I do it all the time with brisket.


                  • PappyBBQ
                    PappyBBQ commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Good to know Jerod! Dying to do up a brisket! I seem to remember seeing a post about using "soft" magnets on the holes.


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