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    I cooked some wings yesterday, they turned out pretty good. But the main point of this thread is, again , the temp in the PBC. I included a pic of the coals, this is 15 min of alone time after lighting with fluid and just before putting on the chicken. There is the pic of the vent opening, 1/4 if not a little more. The PBC never got above 255 without me cracking the lid. After installing the lid initially, it worked it's way to about 255 then proceed to drop so I cracked the lid, temp began going up, cleary an air flow issue. If there is a consensus that the vent is not 1/4 open, I'll open it more but to my view and to second opinion that I got....it is. And if it is, do the coals look sufficiently lit? And if they do, could it be a low quality batch of Kingsford coals? Otherwise, I'm stumped.
    Last edited by Chuck; May 17, 2015, 07:03 AM.

    I wanted to show the vent opening from the inside of the barrel and the coals left this morning after installing the lid when done cooking...about 7pm yesterday. I would think the coals should be all used up.
    Last edited by Chuck; May 17, 2015, 06:48 AM.


      Looks like the fire was having a tough time spreading, hence all of the coals gone from just one part of the basket. That makes me think it has to be air flow. I fought with mine for months and finally one day ran it empty and did nothing but fiddle with the bottom, starting nearly closed and opening a little and waiting 15 minutes for it to respond. Then I moved to the top, removing the rebar one at a time and plugging the holes. Learned a LOT about temp control that way. You could always throw something on the grate to not waste coals, but I don't see it as a waste if you are fixing all of your future cooks.

      I was certain my bottom was open correctly, but what fixed it in the end was opening it further, I think it is less of what percentage of the hole is showing and more of how much has it been rotated between closed and wide open. I say that because even closed there is hole showing.

      I just went out and snapped a pic of mine, I am at 1,300 feet, so should be 1/4 open.
      Click image for larger version

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        What I have started doing for chicken and things I really want it hot (over 300), is:

        1. Give it a GOOOOD dose of lighter fluid, pretend you are filling up the space shuttle for take off.
        2. 15 minutes preheat, then put the lid on (no food), and wait until the temp gets to almost 400. Typically it only takes about 5 more minutes, maybe a little less at times.
        3. Put in the food (no rebar) and adjust lid (or magnets on rebar holes) as needed to get temp to 325-350.

        I don't freight over the vent, haven't touched it in a looooooong time. I make sure it is open since I move it around a bit.
        Last edited by Jerod Broussard; May 17, 2015, 08:24 AM.


          Chuck, I had similar issues with my PBC and in many ways brought it upon myself. When it arrived my vent was between 1/4 and 1/2, definitely not at 1/4. I'm at sea level (225 ft) to be exact. I contacted Noah about it and he said not to worry. Well, I couldn't resist, so I measured it and set it exactly at 1/4 (well as close as possible because as you know when fully closed it still has a small gap). My first few cooks left me with unused coals. I followed all the tips here in controlling from the top holes but still could not get it right. I opened the vent back to where it was when shipped and it has been great. Now I control everything from the top like Jarod and the great tips he has provided on that. Never touch the bottom anymore, and I can easily get temps in the 450 range before putting the lid on it.

          Hope this helps,


            I appreciate the comments of the chicken and I'll use it. However, since this thing is new to me, a little fretting over operation is not really uncalled for IMO......I want to know why I'm not getting my PBC to do what everyone else says theirs is doing. Namely, spiking at a high temp and then settling down to a cook temp for several hours. That ain't happening for me right now and their has to be a reason why.....it must be something I'm doing because the cooker is just too simple. I won't do a long cook until I can understand why it does not spike in temp then settle and why I'm having to crack the lid just minutes after loading the food to stop the temp from dropping given the amount the vent is currently open, which certainly seems sufficient to me.

            Were there any thoughts from Daniel, Jarrod, or John on how the coals looked after lighting, did it appear sufficient (I used lighter fluid) ? Does the vent seem sufficiently open when viewed from inside the cooker (400 ft. elevation) ?

            Also, I wonder has anyone ever counted how many coals makes up a level basket, just curious. Thanks in advance for all advice.......I'm sure I'll get it figured out and/or become more at ease with it's quirks.


            • Jerod Broussard
              Jerod Broussard commented
              Editing a comment
              The coals didn't look too bad. Not enough lighter fluid will cause a weak light up.

            Thanks Jarod

            For the hell of it I did a dry run...
            I lit the coals with lighter fluid...man I really felt like I covered them good. After a 15 min preheat, put the lid on. At the one hour and 10 min mark, the temp dropped below 225....so I cracked the lid. My issues are clearly air flow but the bottom vent was opened close to half. Cracking the lid ever so slightly pushes that temp up nicely. But all my cooks so far have resulted in the PBC reaching whatever the highest temp may be and then starting a gradual decline to below even the lowest recommended cook temp of 225....that's when I Crack the lid.

            All that being said...the meat I've cooked has been the best I've ever cooked. I'm just disappointed in the inability so far for the cooker to "settle" at a cooking range of 250 to 275 for any extended period of time....a bit annoying it is.



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