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First smoke

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    First smoke

    I'll be doing my first smoke in my new PBC this weekend...it's actually my first smoke ever. I've been around for smoking with some friends and my fiance's father, but this one is all me. I'm doing a few chickens following Meathead's Sweet Georgia Brown recipe and since we love our skin crispy, I will be taking the skin off of at least one bird to make some cracklins. I'm planning on leaving the skin on one bird to test it out.

    I've been reading A LOT on here the last week and feel pretty good heading into it and can't wait to get my first cook under my belt.

    Welcome, I have seen that recipe but not tried it, make sure to share some pictures.


      Ya got a thermometer? you really need to get the temp above 300 to cook chickens I prefer 325 plus. after you preheat the PBC put the lid on and maybe wait another 5 or 10 minutes before you hang the chickens that will make sure to give you a good start up to temp because those birds bring a lot of moisture to the game


        I have an iGrill2 with two probes.

        What temp are you shooting for before you hang the birds? Maintaining 325 probably means cracking the lid a little bit right?


          I try to get the initial temp up around 400 before adding the chickens to the PBC.

          If you can fit the chickens all on one rebar, leave the other out and you'll stay at or above 325 no problem. Otherwise, you'll have to crack the lid.

          I have come to like Kingsford Competition for my PBC chickens. Easier to keep the heat up with it.

          Also, maybe not for this one but for a future PBC chicken cook, give Pit Barrel's All Purpose Rub a try. It's great on chicken IMO.

          Have fun on that first PBC cook!



          • JTK
            JTK commented
            Editing a comment
            The night the PBC arrived we were having some chicken thighs...I got excited and tossed some of the All Purpose on a few of the them and really liked it. I'm sure doing it in the PBC will make it even better.

          • fzxdoc
            fzxdoc commented
            Editing a comment
            I dry brine my chickens for 24-48 hours with PB's AP rub, putting it both under and on top of the skin. Then the birds sit uncovered in the fridge until showtime. Do a (just a bit of) cooking oil rubdown right before adding the bird to the PBC. Yum.
            Last edited by fzxdoc; March 27, 2015, 02:04 PM.

          • Voodoo
            Voodoo commented
            Editing a comment
            Fzxdoc's statement about dry brining is spot on. Almost nothing helps the taste of a bird more than getting a little sodium down deep in those muscles.

          First of all JTK, welcome to the addicting world of cooking dead animals with fire and smoke and watching friends and family fall in love with you all over again. Your PBC was a wise choice. Don't get too anxious, things will turn out good the first time, and better and better every time.
          Sustaining 325 will mean cracking the lid. However, I usually let the cooker and chickens settle into a steady temp before cracking the lid. If you lite your PBC correctly, let the pre burn go for the prescribed time (don't wait too long with the lid off, it doesn't help), and then get the birds on, eventually the temps will fall down and settle in the upper 200's. If you crack the lid too soon, you might have kind of runaway temps.
          Maybe someone else thinks otherwise.
          Best of luck. Take pics.


            The first smoke was great! It seemed like a bumpy road during the cook but the final result was awesome. I started out with the mindset of keeping the temp up around your recommendations of 300-325...once I started the cook I had a vision in my head of all the times I've seen people say to try it the way Noah recommends and then tweak the process down the road...so I figured I would just close the lid and let them go for 2 hours. With 3 split chickens hanging, the temp on the cooker steadily dropped down to 200 at which point I panicked and cracked the lid to bring it back up. I felt like I was taking crazy pills...I kept bouncing between Noah's "put it in and let it go" method and Jerod and Doc's recommendation of "300-325". The graph on in the iGrill2 cooker temp is a stream of up and down spikes. However, the meat was a steady climb up to 165. After all my messing around and temp lows and highs...the chicken was awesome.

            I also bought 4 pounds of pork belly and started curing it to smoke this weekend...I'm hooked.

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            • Voodoo
              Voodoo commented
              Editing a comment
              Well done sir! I bet it was awesome. What a good feeling.
              Now, you need to find out what it was you did that your PBC temps would fall to 200. First, where did you hang the probe? What lighting method did you use (full basket vs half basket, starter fluid vs chimney, number of coals, amount of fluid, time to burn without lid, etc)?
              Good luck with the weekend cook.

            Congrats on a delicious-looking first cook, JTK. I did the same thing you did for my first one, following Noah's method all the way. It took about 2.5 hours to get those birds cooked at an ave PBC temp around 220.

            Then I began researching better lighting techniques and temperature maintenance tricks which have been discussed here. I think that the PBC is so forgiving that you can follow Noah's recommendations exactly for a long slow cook or tweak them to suit you (and use higher temps especially for poultry) and you'll still get a good meal out of it.

            My learning curve took about 4 chicken cooks to get chickens just the way we like them with the time/temp profiles that I think work best. It was delicious learning curve no matter what!

            The key, as Voodoo says, is to get a good light in the first place, though. Noah makes it look easy but it doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes I wish Noah would talk about the smoker temps he gets with the cooks on his videos, but that complicates his simple "set and forget" approach, I guess.



              Thanks Kathryn, I did read your lighting techniques page a few times before I did it and it sounds like I'll have to go back and study it a few more times. I followed Noah's directions for lighting a full basket, I didn't use a chimney, and then put the lid on and let it go another 10 minutes on Jerod's recommendation. I have to find which method will work best for me but that sounds like half the fun...smoking more meat.



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