This is a membership forum. As a guest, you can click around a bit. View 5 pages for free. If you would like to participate, please join.

[ Pitmaster Club Information | Join Now | Login | Contact Us ]

There are 4 page views remaining.


No announcement yet.

Short cook. Fewer coals or just fill it up and let it go?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Short cook. Fewer coals or just fill it up and let it go?

    I'm sure this has been covered at great detail somewhere on the board but I didn't find it.

    This past weekend, I cooked three racks of BB ribs.....they turned out well....good taste but slightly different texture than I've been used to. Total cook with saucing came in at 3 1/2 hours. Grill ran about 275-285 the whole time. When I finished, I had lots and I mean lots of coals left. After I pulled the meat off, the grill continue to run at temp for another 5 hours....would have probably done more if I played with the lid a little.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	image_9342.jpeg
Views:	41
Size:	77.2 KB
ID:	85364 Click image for larger version

Name:	image_9343.jpeg
Views:	40
Size:	136.4 KB
ID:	85365
    Anyway, I've read the posts about choking out the fire with foil or magnets.....I've also heard that some are using fewer coals on cooks they believe will be shorter.

    I guess my question is: Is it worth trying to figure out a lesser amount of coals, or should I just fill it up and let it go? My cooks have been pretty good filling it up and using fluid to start (no taste or smell of fluid at all). And besides....Lowe's was having a sale and I do have a few bags of charcoal.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	image (5).jpeg
Views:	41
Size:	35.9 KB
ID:	85366


    So let's say you decide to use 1/2 basket......would the lighting procedure be the same. ie douse the 1/2 basket with fluid and set it on fire? I remember someone saying in a PBC forum when asked how much lighter fluid to put on the coals.....they responded with "pretend you're refueling the space shuttle."

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited by TheBigLebowski; May 27, 2015, 03:09 PM.

    If you can choke your Pit Barrel of oxygen the coals will stop burning and can be re-used for your next cook. That would take the guesswork out of it. Using fewer coals is also an option but it's one that comes through experience - learning your device and how much it burns over certain periods of time. It would suck to use too few coals so I wouldn't try to get it perfect but there should be no reason why you couldn't cut it back a little bit when cooking, say, ribs.


      I've used a half basket several times with success using a chimney and dumping them across the top instead of trying for a fuse or something. If you are still an hour or 2 out and feel like you need to keep the lid open to maintain temp, do so and start up another chimney and it should get you the rest of the way and be ready before you drop too low. The only time I have had to add more was when I was loaded with a lot of cold meat on a windy day.


        "If you can choke your Pit Barrel of oxygen the coals will stop burning and can be re-used for your next cook. That would take the guesswork out of it."

        I like this idea, but my coals are always at least somewhat burnt, so using them would create guesswork for the next cook. I guess you could save them for something you knew would be an hour or so, but otherwise, I wouldn't start a long cook with a bunch of cola leftover from my last cook.


          Excuse me if this sounds terribly dumb, but if I had a 1/2 basket of unburned coals that were choked out from my previous cook. Loose ash was shaken off them and everything......and I filled up the basket with new charcoal. Once the basket is reignited, is there any difference? I mean you still have a level basket full of charcoal. Right?


          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            I've done that. I just make sure to start with fresh briquettes as for as the lighting goes.

          • Fire Water Music
            Fire Water Music commented
            Editing a comment
            I do it all the time. I just make sure to let the food drippings burn off before I snuff out the cooker.

          I use half a basket for any cook less than 5 hours.


            I lift the basket out of the pit barrel using a garden rake and place it in a weber kettle to snuff out the charcoal. I then use them in my next basket but not for lighting. Just to get the charcoal to the top of the basket. On a long cook I start with a basket of fresh charcoal.


              I used a half basket tonight, worked really well. Still used lighter fluid to start. Pulled the top round roast in a little over two hours. PBC held temp easily and continued for another 3 hours.

              Thanks for the help.



              No announcement yet.
              Rubs Promo


              These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

              These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

              Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

              A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

              Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

              The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
              Click here for our review of this superb smoker

              Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

              3 burner gas grill

              The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

              Click here to read ourácompleteáreview

              The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

              The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

              Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them

              Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

              Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography

              With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
              Click here to read our detailedáreview

              The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

              The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

              Click here to read ourácomplete review


              Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps

              Amazingribs.com temperature magnet
              Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.

              Click here to order.

              Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

              The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

              Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

              Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal