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Alternate PBC Charcoal Load for Shorter Cooks

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    Alternate PBC Charcoal Load for Shorter Cooks

    Just wondering if anyone has had experience with smaller charcoal loads in the PBC. I recently did a pork shoulder sous vide for 18 hours and a finish smoke that needed 275 - 300 degrees for 1-/2 - 2 hours. Knowing that 275 - 300 degrees is the defacto sweet spot on the PBC I was tempted to go that way but was reluctant to blow through the standard charcoal load for a two hour max cook so tweaked my Weber SNS to 280 to get it done with much less charcoal. I did consider going with just a fully lit chimney of 40 in the PBC but decided this wasn't the time to experiment. Would this have been sufficient on the PBC for a predictable result?

    #2
    I have been slowly and haphazardly playing with this myself. I've done half an initial basket followed by a fully PBC chimney; that is instead of filling basket up full, I fill it up half or a bit more than half and then remove the 40 coals for the chimney.

    I have yet to try just 40 coals, but I've been itching to do some salmon (a really short cook), so I might try it then.

    Comment


      #3
      I typically used about 1/2 basket for ribs. It not only gave me an increased gap b/n the coals and the meat, but I had less leftover coals. Never counted, just eyeballed.

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        #4
        I have tried full, half, and about a quarter basket. When using half or less I cut the number in the chimney to 25 or 30 coals. I found that temps did not seem to be reduced much, perhaps somewhat. A quarter or perhaps a third basket gave me a 2.5 to 3.5 cook time. Great for shorter cooks. You can always add more hot coals a half hr in if its not hot enough or you see you will be short of fire.

        EDITED TO ADD: The above references 2.5 to 3.5 failed to indicate that to be hours of time.
        Last edited by Alabama Smoke; September 7, 2020, 10:57 AM.

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          #5
          Originally posted by cgrover60 View Post
          Just wondering if anyone has had experience with smaller charcoal loads in the PBC. I recently did a pork shoulder sous vide for 18 hours and a finish smoke that needed 275 - 300 degrees for 1-/2 - 2 hours. Knowing that 275 - 300 degrees is the defacto sweet spot on the PBC I was tempted to go that way but was reluctant to blow through the standard charcoal load for a two hour max cook so tweaked my Weber SNS to 280 to get it done with much less charcoal. I did consider going with just a fully lit chimney of 40 in the PBC but decided this wasn't the time to experiment. Would this have been sufficient on the PBC for a predictable result?
          You indicate using the SnS in the PBC. I have an 18" Jumbo Joe and the SnS basket and have been wondering about putting a full basket into the PBC (18" drum) placed on the opposite side of the intake vent to see what that would do, but have not tried it. Sounds like you have. If so, I and I bet others would really like to hear of your experiments and their outcome! Tom

          Comment


          • cgrover60
            cgrover60 commented
            Editing a comment
            Sorry that was confusing. I cooked on my Weber with the SnS.

          #6
          Yes all the time. I always start with 40 coals in the chimney and vary what I have in the basket based on length of cook.

          no coals in basket - very short cooks like steak or chicken pieces

          1/2 basket - wings, sous vide brisket/pork when you need 2-3 hrs of smoke time, half chickens

          full basket - full low and slow cooks of >5-6 hrs.

          Comment


            #7
            Charcoal Amount


            More than 6 hours--120 in basket, 40 in chimney
            Between 4 & 6--80 in basket, 40 in chimney
            Between 1 & 4--40 in basket , 40 in chimney
            Less than 1 hour--10 in basket, 40 in chimney

            Comment


            • BFlynn
              BFlynn commented
              Editing a comment
              I have used similar amounts but have also reduced number in chimney if I wanted to lower the temp

            • RobertC
              RobertC commented
              Editing a comment
              That's not far from my rule of thumb: a pound an hour + a pound. A bit more on a cold windy day, a bit less on a hot day.

            #8
            Brewmaster other than cook time how did your temps compare with different loads?

            Comment


            • Brewmaster
              Brewmaster commented
              Editing a comment
              I didn't notice much of a difference

            #9
            Brewmaster that is about what I expected. I noticed little difference in temps either, but did of course notice a difference in time before the coals burned out.

            BFlynn noticed a difference in temp when he used fewer in chimney. Makes sense, at least early on in the cook as fewer hot coals would take longer to light the cold coals, etc.
            Last edited by Alabama Smoke; September 8, 2020, 02:52 PM.

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              #10
              Thanks everyone for all the great feedback. This is why AR and the Pitmaster Club is such a great resource.

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                #11
                A half basket, with a half chimney (Weber small) will get you to about 4+hrs of cooktime and keeps temps around 275-290.
                A half basket, with a full chimney usually runs hot for about 3+hrs.

                Comment


                  #12
                  This is a great discussion since no where else could I find any information other than following the full basket method. Unfortunately for me, I have a hard time eye-balling 1/2 basket or 1/4 basket of 5/16 basket or whatever, and I don't always have the patience to count out my coals.

                  I wanted to do cedar plank salmon yesterday so I tried filling up a regular size Weber chimney to the top, took enough coals out of that to fill up about 3/4 of the PBC chimney (did eye-ball that but didn't count out how many coals that made) and dumped the rest into the basket, in the center, so there were actually no coals touching the sides of the basket.

                  The temperature ran pretty much as it usually does in a PBC (265 to 275 degrees for the 30 minutes it took). I thought it might run hotter since I had no rebars in place (but it did shoot up to 290 after the cook since I had the top off while taking pictures and removing the salmon and the corn on the cob I cooked at the same time).

                  The bottom line is that after 30 minutes it was maintaining temperature and there were still a few unlit charcoals in the basket. Oh, and the salmon was great.

                  Just thought I would toss this out there since I didn't see any methods mentioned besides eye-balling and counting.
                  Last edited by MarkN; September 12, 2021, 09:50 AM. Reason: Changed from "smoked" salmon to "cedar Plank" to be more precise.

                  Comment


                  • saneric38
                    saneric38 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I have never counted or measured. I have a 10 gallon galvanized can that the PBJ basket fits in. I may load basket with different things. Sometimes I use lump and sometimes charcoal. I always throw in a few pecan or apple chunks. If I am doing hot and fast, I raise the basket by placing a cinder block in form of a "T" and leave the vent wide open with no rebar. Basket goes in can to snuff out fire. Last cook, I put the basket in my crawfish burner (180k btu gas burner) to get it lit.

                  #13
                  Huskee did this wonderful tutorial a few years ago with some excellent pictures on how to estimate the number of coals in a chimney: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...ties-pictorial

                  Comment


                    #14
                    I want to thank all of you for this wonderful thread. Great question, advice, and suggestions.
                    May have to try SV in my instapot. But I am getting old and lazy, I think I will stick to my Traeger.
                    Long live BBQ.

                    Comment


                    • HawkerXP
                      HawkerXP commented
                      Editing a comment
                      PBC, PBR!

                    • bbqLuv
                      bbqLuv commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Are PBC and PBR related? 1st cousins once removed?

                    #15
                    Originally posted by MarkN View Post
                    This is a great discussion since no where else could I find any information other than following the full basket method. Unfortunately for me, I have a hard time eye-balling 1/2 basket or 1/4 basket of 5/16 basket or whatever, and I don't always have the patience to count out my coals. [...] Just thought I would toss this out there since I didn't see any methods mentioned besides eye-balling and counting.
                    I counted out 40 Kingsford briquettes into my chimney, then scratched a little mark on it so I can use the chimney as a "measuring cup." You can also fill the chimney to the brim and count out how many briquettes it holds in total.

                    Each Kingsford briquette weighs 25 grams, so there are 18 per pound. In a regular cook, I generally ballpark a pound per hour, plus a pound -- so, 5 pounds for a 4 hour cook, approximately (a bit more if it's cold or windy). 5 pounds is 90 briquettes, but if you use the chimney as a measuring cup you don't have to count each time.

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