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Pit Barrel Cooker vs. Smokenator/DigiQ DX2 combo

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    Pit Barrel Cooker vs. Smokenator/DigiQ DX2 combo

    First post in this great forum. I have a 22.5" Weber kettle with a Smokenator controlled by a DigiQ DX2/Pit Viper combo. Have seen the latest buzz about the Pit Barrel Cooker and I'm interested. To those of you who have used both of these setups, what differences in taste/texture have you noticed in your cooks? Which setup gives me the best chance at truly great BBQ? Will there really be much of a difference in the finished food?

    #2
    Capacity - PBC
    easy of use - PBC
    Taste - Depends on the chef with edge to PBC
    Will there be difference in finished food? I believe that there's something about cooking by hanging. Plus the drippings hitting those hot coals it's NIGHT and DAY!!

    WINNER - PBC

    Comment


      #3
      Welcome S&B! We're glad you're here. I've made great food on a kettle and a PBC. If I could only have one I'd pick the Kettle as it can smoke and sear. If I had room for two I'd own both. They make a great combination.

      Comment


        #4
        Agree with Ernest, if you are sure you will never cook much then the kettle would be my pick, if there is a chance you will cook more than a pork butt or a couple racks of ribs then I would go PBC. That said I own both, but use the PBC 90% of the time.

        And welcome aboard.

        Comment


          #5
          It really is unfair that the PBC allows meat to sit over hot coals and drip juices for hours at a time.

          Comment


          • Ernest
            Ernest commented
            Editing a comment
            HAHAHAHAHAHAHA DWCowles

          #6
          No comment

          Comment


          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            You'd better not, you got a firebox/grill - a smoke box - AND - a warming box, on wheels!!

          #7
          I have admired this site's scientific discourse, wondering if I can get actual setup comparisons? Actual real-world taste comparisons comparing the Gold Star Smokenator (with other expensive add-on in the DigiQ) with (PBC) Gold Star as it recommends. Both Gold Star Recommendations, yet no review comparison. Quality of Food difference between the two????

          Comment


          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            Sooooooo many variables. I know I have no intentions of going back to an offset. One in which I used just wood, and charcoal/wood. Good stuff, but not "Pit Barrel stuff."

          • Max Good
            Max Good commented
            Editing a comment
            You're considering two quality set ups that have earned a high level of respect and confidence in the market place. Our reviews present useful, unbiased info that enables readers to make informed decisions that fit with their unique cooking style and budget. If you want to grill steaks and smoke meats, Weber with accessories is a good choice, on the other hand, a PBC with a hibachi isn't bad either. And there are many, many other options as well that may be explored using our searchable equipment and thermometer reviews.

          #8
          A little more since you requested it.
          It's not likely you'll find much in the way of direct comparisons because most of us are just like you, we see it as an either or rather than a both, so there are probably very few people with both of these. I can get a similar end product no matter what I use, but it takes much more work on a kettle.
          • Humidity-The PBC is more humid, to make up for that you need a water pan in the kettle. The smokenator has this covered somewhat but according to their FAQ at a dome temp of 230 you need to refill the water every 70-80 minutes, they say higher temps drastically reduce this time. If you are cooking a pork shoulder you will probably have to refill 10 times during your cook.
          • Heat-The PBC has heat all around (though slightly hotter on the bottom), the kettle has heat on one side, to cook evenly you may have to rotate your meat depending on type and thickness.
          • Duration-at 230 the smokenator has enough coals for 5-6 hours depending on external temps, this reduces rapidly at higher temps. The PBC in the same conditions should last 10 hours, though the initial volume of charcoal is much more. Again for a large pork shoulder you will need to replace the coals at least once, possibly twice.
          • Flavor-you can get similar flavor with both, except that as the PBC cooks juices drip on to the coals and evaporate adding some extra flavor for the duration of the cook.
          • Control-With the DigiQ the Kettle obviously wins, you can maintain much more accurate temps than the PBC. My PBC is finicky, 80% of the time I can set it and forget it, but the other 20% I have to go out and crack the lid to get the temp up every hour or so. Haven't figured out what conditions cause that to happen, but I haven't really tried either to be honest.
          • Capacity-With the hovergrill you can fit a bit more, but it still won't come close to the PBC. Jerod has hung 5 briskets at a time in his, I have done 4 pork shoulders at once, 8 racks of ribs is easy, and I've done 2 15 pound turkeys at once with plenty of room left over for larger birds or a few racks of ribs.
          For the money, the PBC wins no contest for me, but I cook a large volume of food quite often (I cooked between 800-1,000 pounds on the PBC last year). If I only ever cooked a few racks of ribs at a time or a pork shoulder, or spent half my time grilling then I might go with the Kettle combo.

          Comment


          • David Parrish
            David Parrish commented
            Editing a comment
            Nice comment John.

          • Smoke and Beers
            Smoke and Beers commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you, John, for your thorough reply. It was exactly what I was looking for! I appreciate the thought that went into it. Helped me to get off the fence and get a PBC.

          • (robert_s)
            (robert_s) commented
            Editing a comment
            I actually have both. I agree with what is written above and I can just say that I don't use the smokenator/DigiQ any more. The PBC is just so easy to use.

          #9
          Thank you all for your replies and thoughts! This is a great place for advice. Looks like I will be pulling the trigger on a PBC. Maybe I can sell my DigiQ along the way. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. The Guinness is on me.
          Last edited by Smoke and Beers; March 17, 2015, 10:33 AM.

          Comment


            #10
            Smoke and Beers Might wanna keep the DigiQ, never know when you might need it.

            Comment


              #11
              Ernest, good advice! I'm wondering if someone has yet created a blower adapter for the main vent hole of a PBC to use with a DigiQ. But then, I guess you'd end up with some sort of very pretty UDS. Fixing what isn't broke, but intriguing, nonetheless.

              Comment


                #12
                You don't want to strap the DigiQ to the PBC. After you've cooked with it for a while you'll understand why!

                Comment


                • Smoke and Beers
                  Smoke and Beers commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Looking forward to its arrival. Thanks, David.

                • David Parrish
                  David Parrish commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You bet S&B. Keep us informed on how things are going

                #13
                You're going to love that PBC, Smoke and Beers. Get that order in soon and get cooking some truly delicious food.

                Kathryn
                (who has 2 Pork Butts and a Pastrami smoking in my PBC as I write this )

                Comment


                • Smoke and Beers
                  Smoke and Beers commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sounds yummy, Kathryn. I'm sure they were tasty. PBC on its way. Can't wait to see the difference.

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