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Thoughts on PBC temp concerns

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    Thoughts on PBC temp concerns

    First of all, I should preface this by stating two things: This is just my opinion, and I am a newbie to the higher arts of smoking food.

    I have had a PBC for a few months, and have had nothing but roaring success with it. I have cooked ribs, pork butt, brisket, ribs, chicken, ribs, leeks, ribs, and corn on it, and everything has been incredible. Like many around here, I have absorbed the dedication to thermometers and monitoring temps espoused on this site, and as soon as I started using the PBC, I monitored temps, fussed with thermometer probes, etc. And almost every cook has been a little haywire, with temps higher than I thought I wanted, or lower, or whatever. And I would chase them around with cracked lids and tin foiled rebar. But I re-watched some of Noah's videos recently, and decided to just stop. For my last few cooks I have just lit the coals as directed, hung (or placed) the food, and let the magic happen. And everything came out amazing.

    My point is that I don't yet know what I am doing. For those of you that have been doing this kind of cooking for a long time, there is a lot of informed and effective tweaking to be done in any cooker. But there are others like me, who have right from the beginning started trying to apply everything they have learned here. But I think I am going to just roll with the PBC, and let it teach me for a while. So my advice to those like me, who don't actually know what they are doing, is to simply follow the directions for a few cooks and see what happens.

    Just my 2¢

    I agree - I've yet to screw something up when it's just left to get on with it! I will just say that I do still monitor, but mainly as a tool for completion times.


      Good ideas... We are generally a bunch of tweakers around here


      • FLBuckeye
        FLBuckeye commented
        Editing a comment
        Better tweakers than twerkers

      • smarkley
        smarkley commented
        Editing a comment
        Hahahaha... ok I had a bad picture pop in my mind (I am a pervert sometimes)

        BBQ Twerkers... LOL!!!!

      Well said. When I got "serious" about BBQ a couple of years ago my Dad bought me a COS - a huge thing that has a gasser on one half, and a charcoal grill with offset firebox on the other side. I started turning out the best damned BBQ I'd ever tasted, and that was BEFORE I found this site. I've learned my COS pretty well by now, but I have a PBC coming for my birthday and I'm totally looking forward to it. I'm gonna do exactly as you stated - fire it up and let it do it's thing and see how she goes. Now I'll be monitoring the pit temp and the meat temp as I always do with my Maverick (good habits really) but I'm really looking forward to being able to do "other stuff" while I'm Qing. And I'm really looking forward to the capacity, cuz when I fire up the neighbors come runnin'! I'll keep the COS but I'm probably done "smoking" with it - I'll use it for the gasser and charcoal grill as the capacity of it is tiny given I can only really cook on half of the surface furthest away from the heat source (learned that the hard way). Anyway, I've been following this site for probably 6 months and just joined the Pit recently. Great community here, and damn, I've learned a heck of a lot hanging around here. Thanks all.


      • Jerod Broussard
        Jerod Broussard commented
        Editing a comment
        My COS got converted to gas (sausage smoking) and got pushed to the side after we ate the ribs out of my first Pit Barrel cook. Wasn't even close as for as the hassle. PBC definitely brought that BBQ flavor I grew up on.

      mayapoppa, I think that's not a bad way to go at all... definitely a good thing in fact as one should always reduce stress in ones life :-).it just depends Perhaps the engineer/scientist/inventor (there are a great many contributing to these pages) just have too much fun doodling around with all this great stuff you can sink a ton of cash into!!!


        I agree, mayapoppa, that the best way to start with the PBC is to follow one of Noah's (original) videos which are more informative than the newer ones IMO. Then if you want to optimize the cooking time or the product, you can tweak from there. For example, my first chicken cooks, following Noah's video instructions, were over 2 hours long because the average pit temp was 230. We loved the results, except for the rubbery skin, so I wanted to experiment with higher pit temps and shorter cooking times for chicken. Now my chickens cook in about 1 hour and the skin is crispy, or mostly so. The more chickens in the PBC, the less crisp the skin is, at least for my cooks.

        Anyway, speaking as a scientist, I prefer changing one parameter at a time when experimenting with PBC cooks. 😄


        Edited to add: I have found that one of the best learning tools is to keep a cooking log for each cook, graphing out the temps for longer cooks. That way when I go to cook a meat that I have already done before, I can review my previous cook and plan any change that I might want to try. I started with Meathead's cooking log form on this website and then adapted it to my needs.
        Last edited by fzxdoc; June 11, 2015, 06:50 AM.



          My chicken is always terrible! I just don't get it. Any tips on how you make it so good? I want to try again...


            supergas6 , in my experience the PBC makes great chicken, and the way I do it is pretty simple.

            24 hours before: Cut the chicken in half lengthwise, the way that Noah does on the older PBC video for chicken. Slide your hand between the skin and the muscle and separate the skin from the meat on the breast and the thighs and legs. Rub the meat with PBC's All Purpose rub. It has salt in it so this is the dry brine step. Next rub the skin with a little All Purpose rub mixed with baking powder (about 1/4 a teaspoon baking powder to a tablespoon of rub). Let the chicken sit, uncovered, in the fridge until ready to hook and hang in the PBC. Remember that this rub is salty, so use it as if it is a salt shaker--it has a great flavor, perfect for chicken, but don't overdo the rub.

            35 minutes before: Start your PBC fire as described in my first post in this topic. Get the temp to peak around 400 or more; it will then settle around 325-350. Hang the chicken on one rebar. Leave the other rebar out to help keep the temp at 325 or so for the hour that it takes for the chicken to get to 160 deg F breast temp. The thigh should be at 185 deg F at the same time.

            When I smoke 3 or 4 chickens, I use both rebars to hang them and crack the lid to keep the temp where I want it.

            I usually buy chickens that weigh 5 lbs or so, and they finish up in 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes cook time.

            Sometimes I will rub the meat (but not the skin) with oil just before hooking/hanging in the PBC, but the skin is crisper if I don't use any oil.

            I usually sprinkle/rub the skin with some sweet paprika right before adding to the PBC, just to make the skin a pretty color.

            For another PBC chicken method, see Ernest's method described in this post. He calls the PBC the "Chicken Whisperer". I agree.

            Hope this helps to start you toward having a great chicken cook.


            Edited to add: I use Kingsford Competition. It burns hotter/faster in my PBC. Thanks, Ernest, for reminding me of that detail.

            Last edited by fzxdoc; June 13, 2015, 07:57 AM.


              I must confess that I have never followed any of the official PBC instructions from day one. It never made sense to me that a Chicken would take 2 hours to cook.
              So I pretty much rebelled from my first cook. Used competition kingsford, coz I don't like the blue bags.
              One has to become one with the pit.


                I use Kingsford Competition as well. It makes a big difference, IMO, in getting the chicken done nicely and quickly. I tried the Ozark Oak that you have used, Ernest but think the flavor from using the Kingsford Competition is a bit better, to my palate at least.



                • Ernest
                  Ernest commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I was informed just a week ago that Ozark oak lump charcoal may be discontinued.
                  My usual supplier was forced to replace it with BGE brand charcoal. I almost cried, I'm down to 2 bags

                • fzxdoc
                  fzxdoc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Oh no, Ernest! I know how much you like it. I have half a bag left and am thinking of mixing it half and half with Kingsford Competition for my next chicken cook.

                  I hope you can find some more before it's all gone!



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