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New PK360 owner--first cooks.

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    New PK360 owner--first cooks.

    After researching a bunch here, including some recent posts on accessories and charcoal baskets, my new grill arrived last week and I'm totally enjoying it. After a break in burn, and then a couple quick grills of sausages and eggs (the latter cooked on a cast iron skillet), I tried a Boston butt low and slow for the 4th of July. Unfortunately, my local butcher was closed when I went shopping on the 3rd, I guess to give his staff a long holiday weekend. So I ended up using a supermarket Hormel butt, pre-brined. Not my first choice, but all I could get on short notice.

    The final product tasted great, but the cook did not go as planned. Up til now I've done my low and slow on an Akorn Kamado, which does really well for me. I use an old (1st generation, I think) BBQ Guru PartyQ for temperature control, and I get a steady continuous burn at whatever temp I set it for. I think I've gone up to 16 hours on one load of fuel and still had plenty of lump charcoal left.

    While I was tempted to try and control the PK360 with just with the vents, I had some errands to run during the day, so I wasn't able to babysit it while I learned how to fine tune the temperature. So I hooked up the PartyQ using the tips given here on AR by Polarbear777 and Larry Grover. I used a slightly different way to block off the vent tube that the fan connects to, using a silicone rubber cork and some stainless hardware:

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    Found the plugs on Amazon, size #8. Hardware from my local True Value bins. Here's the front view of my setup:

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    While my PartyQ works, the "up" button for setting the temp doesn't always respond, and I'm afraid one day soon it might fail completely. Which is all the excuse I needed to order a Fireboard2 Drive and a Pit Viper fan. The fan has already arrived, and I'm hoping to have the controller this week.

    Alas, the cook didn't go entirely as planned. It was a 8lb butt. I started it at 5 AM at 225F, hoping it would be done no later than 5 PM. I'm using the recently discussed Burn Shop charcoal basket designed for the PK360 with the divider set on I think the third set of slots from the right, and used some Royal Oak lump. Somewhere around noon the temps started to fall off with the fan blowing strong, and sure enough it needed more fuel. So I filled it again. At 5 PM I think I was only around 160F, but I wasn't in a rush, added more fuel, and bumped the set temp up to 240. Then more fuel at 8. And then I conked out on the couch, woke up at 11 PM, and it was still just at 187F. But I wasn't going to be able to stay awake any longer, so I pulled it, shut down the grill, and sliced/pulled the meat into what was still very tasty BBQ.

    Not the stupendous success I was hoping for. But I'm not in the least discouraged. It was delicious, and fortunately no one was waiting for me to serve dinner that night. Next time I will start with a LOT more fuel, and a set temp of 250F. I also wonder if the pre-brined butt had more moisture and thus took longer for that reason, too. I'm encouraged that Polarbear has gotten 19+ hours at 225 on one load of fuel, so I'll eventually try to emulate the parts of his technique that I haven't already. I did have the fan on the left as shown, with the left hand side of the charcoal grate covered in foil to force the incoming air to the coals on the right. Right top vent was closed. Left top vent at half. I tinkered with the vents a bit, but not much, since the fan was there to get it hit the set temp.

    Since then I've done more breakfast fare, and tonight did some chicken breasts in a spicy lime marinade which my wife will turn into chicken salad tomorrow. The pieces I snuck were delicious.

    Still learning, but enjoying every minute up. Next time I'll try to take some pictures with the lid open, and of the finished product.

    #2
    Welcome to the fold!

    Comment


      #3
      Nice mod on a classic cooker. Keep working with her and sh’ll soon be turning out some good ‘cue. Welcome also to the Pit !!

      Comment


        #4
        That’s a beauty

        Comment


          #5
          I love my PK360. Working with it 90% of the time. I see your BBQ Guru (BG) set up. Love BG, but have not yet had to set it up on my PK. The temps on a normal distribution of coals will render a rock steady 350 d for a few hours. Control vents work really well and you can really dial in the temps.

          My BG is standard on the WSM. Does a great job and keeps the temps perfect.

          Comment


            #6
            Nice mod, that back end of the tube can be a little tricky. Can't really speak for lump, I think I tried it once. Sometimes the temps ran away and took awhile to settle back down and I had to re-fuel. Around the time I setup my fan Weber briquettes were just coming out and they had a big sale. Bought a boat load and have stuck with it since, long burn, no re-fueling and ash isn't bad.

            I haven't tried the Burn Shop basket. Seems to me the benefits are stacking the coals to meat level and protecting the aluminum. I'd probably have them make one without a bottom - the less material down there blocking air the better and it would be lighter. Polar's test seemed like it didn't make a difference though so I dunno, but I'd maybe remove it on your next cook & see how it goes.

            I only use the fan for hotter cooks like poultry or super long cooks. Pretty easy to get stable L&S temps without a fan. The only difference it that I crack the vent over the fire. I've gotten better results with a slightly hotter fire while still getting 225 on the indirect side. I mostly control temps with that vent...things running too cool I'll crack it open a little more etc.

            Comment


              #7
              Try the PK with just vent settings and it will dial in at 250 like magic. I was amazed at my first 4-5 hr rib cook and probably could have gone a few more hours.

              Comment


                #8
                Congrats on a successful cook, an learnin experience, amigo!

                Expansion plugs is what them there things is called.

                I've done literally hunnerts Hormel Always Tender butts, from Hyvee, never been disappointed...
                Last edited by Mr. Bones; July 9, 2020, 08:20 PM.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I have a PK360 and love it. I also have set it up and used a FireBoard controller with Pit Viper fan with some custom machined pieces and parts. It is fun to experiment with do some low and slow cooks. But at the end of the day it's aluminum shell conducts heat as perfectly as science would predict and it is not efficient on fuel consumption. Just know you will have to add fuel and that's where the factory hinged grate system comes in!

                  It is truly awesome for steaks and chops and that is where it gets the most service at my house. I love the reverse sear method of cooking!

                  BTW, I am still hoping for a PK600 to get some more grill area. At 360 square inches, the PK360 just doesn't have enough real estate for my needs for two zone cooks.

                  Comment


                  • Polarbear777
                    Polarbear777 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Pk 600 for sure.

                    For low and slow I can run 12-15 hours on about 1.5 chimneys of coal. No Kamado but efficient enough.

                  • Larry Grover
                    Larry Grover commented
                    Editing a comment
                    A couple weeks back I contacted PK for permission to post that vintage cookbook. I also asked them if there was any bigger grills in the works? They said nope.

                  #10
                  Sure is purdy, perfect fit to.

                  Comment

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