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Mastering the Pit Barrel Cooker

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  • Michael Watson
    replied
    After having spoken with Noah I do believe that you may be right. His R&D was extensive and when you combine the performance of all the other parameters, he could possibly have been targeting a cooking temp range as one of his design goals. Or if you look at it from a business perspective, it does not hurt to have your hot new product specifically endorse a brand of charcoal that invests heavily in the competitive BBQ brotherhood.

    Leave a comment:


  • JPP
    replied
    Could it be that the ash production of kingsford may be the reason it's recommended? I.e. to act as a throttle so that a more uniform temperature profile will be the result?

    Leave a comment:


  • Michael Watson
    commented on 's reply
    Jerod - once again thank you for your input. You have profiled both a solution to the issue, use an alternate fuel source and manage the higher temp profile. And you validated my situation encountered with the use of K B&W charcoal. I am in no way attempting to bash the capabilities nor limitations of PBC. My intentions is to bring forth a recognizing of how the PBC functions and what techniques those of you have found to mitigate these issues.

    Thank you for your participation.

  • Michael Watson
    commented on 's reply
    Absolutely another solution to the circumstances.

  • Michael Watson
    commented on 's reply
    I did not plan to have that long of a cook session it just happened. I started with 3 racks of ribs and 1 large hen at about the 3 hour mark they were done and I then put a 1/2 pork loin on after 2 hours I still had plenty of fuel. So I pulled a 1/2 flat brisket out of the freezer and put it in a zip lock bag then placed it in a pot of hot tap water and left the tap running hot water into the pot. After about 1 hour of this the beef still had some frozen center meat and i put it on the PBC for about 3.5 hours.

    From 1:00pm to 11:30pm - I just hate to not use a well lit set of coals. And you are also correct in that most people including me would be through with a cook session in less than 10.5 hours. After having benefited so much from all of the postings about the PBC and different techniques used, I just thought that I owed the PBC community a few of my observations.

  • Michael Watson
    commented on 's reply
    Yes you are absolutely correct in your approach to solve this circumstance. I used a 1/4in round by 36in long rod to do exactly as you suggest. I moved it back and forth to push the build up aside.

  • Michael Watson
    commented on 's reply
    Max - It was my maiden cook on the PBC and I just hate to waste coals. What I was writing about was my initial observations relative to all that I have read on the Disqus postings. In no way do I consider my first experience with the PBC to be a problem. I just wished to flesh out what may be happening with others when they get to the end of a cook session and there is more coals left over. In fact there may be a number of factors contributing to that issue is all that I was trying to say. If everyone is aware of these factors then they can make adjustments accordingly. Any and all adjustments to fuel air ratio will have an impact on the resulting temperature profile.

    Noah actually confirmed to me that the use of a solid metal ring on the fire basket was no accident and that the gap between the bottom edge of the side ring does in fact place a limit on the amount of air available to the coals. The rest of my tirade was conjecture on my part. But almost all of the fire basket designs that I have seen use expanded metal for the entire enclosure. To use solid metal requires access to the proper diameter pipe (the easiest approach) or the ability to bend the metal band to the proper diameter and then weld it together which is what PBC does (a more time consuming method). This is most often a tool and skill set obstacle for the common backyard pit builder.

  • Jerod Broussard
    replied
    I didn't like the thought of dumping ash out. So I built a temp plate before that one came in. Had to cook on the PBC right away.

    It is the same diameter of the outer diameter of the stand. At first I had a simple chain that you use to hang potted plants....then duuuhhh, how about small diameter cable using those cable crimp sleeves. You can see the bottom one better.

    I have two cables crossing each other. I have three cut outs to miss the grate tabs but most times I just tilt the plate when inserting and removing.

    Leave a comment:


  • pittkappasig
    replied
    jerod is that a metal plate with cables that you lower into your PBC with the coal basket?!?! wtf!! i am new to the PBC(see my prior panicked post regarding the relight, btw the shoulder came out great!) and this looks genius!

    Leave a comment:


  • Jerod Broussard
    replied
    This was a 10 hour 40+ minute cook. Average temp was about 250-260. Basket of B & B briquettes. It was full but not to the tippy-top full. It was 4 in the morning, and I was working with a headlight. It looked full enough.

    I had 10 hour cooks with Kingsford whereby I had to reload to finish. The ash build up had the expanded metal imprint in it, from the bottom of the charcoal basket.

    As you can see here, no where near the ash I would get with Kingsford.

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  • Jerod Broussard
    replied
    I'm 9 hours 36 minutes into a cook with B & B briquettes. Picnic just got wrapped and the PBC is running 338 (ultra mag??).

    It had dropped while at church, so I pulled the rebar, opened the valves, and cracked the lid. Only the lid has been shut.

    No reloading or shaking needed. I'll post a picture of the ash build up, or lack thereof, after the cook.

    Leave a comment:


  • smarkley
    replied
    If this happened to me, I might shaking the basket a little then pull it out quickly and sweep the ashes away to the opposite side... then put everything back together. Maybe add some more charcoal at that time too.

    Leave a comment:


  • fredcanfly
    replied
    I have only used the PBC a few times now, but one was for a 12 lb brisket that was done in well under 10 hours. Didn't have any cold spots (that I could tell) and the basket stayed lit for several hours after my cook was done. That was using KBB. I would imagine that if I had an issue with ash build up, I would probably just move everything to the oven to finish the cook. That late into a cook, I would imagine whatever I was cooking would have absorbed all the smoke it was going to absorb and it would be wrapped in foil anyway. I figure the oven would taste the same as the PBC at that point. I could be wrong.

    What are you trying to do with the PBC where you are not only cooking that long, but you are leaving your pit without monitoring for 5 hours?

    Leave a comment:


  • Max Good
    replied
    A basketful of lump will not be as dense as the same volume of uniformly manufactured briquettes. It will produce less ash but will likely be spent much sooner than briquettes.
    Last edited by Max Good; August 10, 2014, 01:02 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • boftx
    replied
    Would using lump for the unlit charcoal be an option? I could be wrong, but it sure seems to me to produce a lot less ash than brigs do.

    Leave a comment:

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