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1st 2 cooks

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    1st 2 cooks

    My pit barrel was delivered at 2:15PM on Friday. By 3, it was lit and had the pit barrel recipe chicken in. Temp seemed to settle well at about 280 and at 2 hours the breast was 165. Fantastic chicken. I'd have taken pix, but I'm a bit of a tech luddite. Finally got a cell phone last week that takes pix, but I haven't tried to figure out how yet. The Maverick 733 is a challenge enough right now.

    On Saturday, I did a rack of baby back. I was planning on Noah's rec of 3.5 to 4.5 hours, which was a mistake. Temp seemed a bit higher - 290 to 320, and at two hours, I pulled the rack to check and poked it in a few places with a toothpick to check doneness. I figured 30 min more woul do it, so I hung it back in the barrel on the other rebar. I was in the house for 10 minutes or so and came out to find smoke billowing and a barrel temp of 425. Seems like there was a grease fire right below the ribs that must have caused the temp increase. I'm not sure if the grease fire was due to poking the ribs or leaving the lid off while I poked them. I crammed foil in around the rebar, but the temp wasn't dropping quickly. So, 10 minutes later, I pulled the rack, but they were overdone to dryness, but still tasted great.

    Today was thunderstorms forecast, so I gave Chubby the day off. My pit barrel experience is a work in progress.


    Glad the chicken went well, and I just posted to the fail thread, I think I had the same fire situation you did. I have been cooking on mine over a year and this is the first I have seen or heard of this, so maybe just beginners "luck"?


      In PBC my experience, it's not common to have the temp spike like that, grezs . The only time it's happened to me was when I did not re-seat the lid tightly after I checked on the meat. The temp climbed to over 400 in a very short amount of time. I did not notice that the lid was not well secured because the smoke that was leaking out under the rim of the lid was right by the rebar holes so I thought the smoke was coming from around the rebars only. But when I looked more closely, I could see it coming out from under the lid as well. Now whenever my PBC temp starts to climb quickly without apparent cause, I check the tightness of the lid first.

      Congrats on your chicken cook. That PBC cooks amazing chicken, IMO. I cooked my first chickens at the lower temps that you did and they took a couple of hours, just like yours. They were delicious, moist, and tender, but the skin was rubbery. Now I cook my chickens at 325 to 360 deg F and they get done in about an hour with crisp skin. I dry brine them with PBC's AP Rub massaged into the meat under the skin and lightly on the skin as well, and then let the chickens sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight before rubbing them down with a bit of oil under the skin just prior hanging them on the rebars the next evening an hour or so before suppertime. Delicious chicken every time.



        fzxdoc speaks the truth here! I scour out the rim of the barrel and the recess of the lid with a very stiff steel bristle brush. The stuff that builds up can actually leave a gap. Of course your barrel is new so that should not be a factor, but definitely make sure the lid is on tight!


          I had a very small amount of smoke coming from the lip of my PBC (also new this weekend). I was trying to decide if it was normal, but it didn't sound like it.

          I twisted and turned, didn't seem to help. My temps leveled out about 270-280, so the air wasn't a big problem.


            When my first PBC was new was when I had the problem with the lid not securing very well, causing the temps to climb uncontrollably. David Parrish recommended that I take a rubber mallet and tap the lid down to secure it. I never had to resort to the mallet tip, but I did have to twist the lid to get it articulate well with the rim of the barrel so that no smoke came out.

            After much use, I have followed JPP 's advice and used a little wire brush that looks sort of like a toothbrush for a really angry animal --a grizzly bear, maybe? It works like a charm to de-gunk the inner lip of the lid.

            Before I de-gunked it, the lid was sticking so tightly that I could lift the whole barrel, meat and all, with the lid handle!



            • JPP
              JPP commented
              Editing a comment
              re: very angry animal.... Fishercat I would think... or perhaps a wolverine, tazmanian devil... etc.

            • Yno
              Yno commented
              Editing a comment
              Honey Badger

            Today I tried a chuck roast and the temp was very consistent at around 280, except when I opened to fiddle, check, wrap etc. It was delicious.



              Welcome grezs! I'm pretty new to the PBC scene myself. I've been logging each cook that I do using Meathead's cooling log with modifications i made to it to produce a graph of pit temp, meat temp, ambient temp and humidity. This is gonna build a valuable library of information for follow on cooks. Keeping copious notes helps to document temp control and I'm now able to regulate my pit from 240 to 325 with pretty good consistency. As you've discovered, and others have confirmed, the PBC loves to spike when that lid gets opened. Since i use temp probes for pit and meat I never open the lid until absolutely necessary. Typically I only use one rod for hanging stuff (not cooking for an army) and the other set of holes I cover with magnets. I can easily manipulate the placement of the magnets to control temp - a tip I learned here. Anyway, enough rambling. Welcome aboard. You'll learn a lot hanging around the pit here. Some good cooks hanging around!



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