This is a membership forum. As a guest, you can click around a bit. View 3 pages for free.

[ Lost Username or Password | Pitmaster Club Information, | Join 30 Days Free | Contact Us ]

There are 2 page views remaining.

Meat-Up in Memphis

T-Shirts & More T-Shirts & More
Order men's and women's T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Aprons, Mugs, Caps, Tote Bags, Flasks, and more, all imprinted with the Pitmaster Club logo. There's even a spiral bound journal where you can make notes on your cooks.

Cool Embroidered Shirt Cool Embroidered Shirt
This beautifully embroidered shirt is the same one Meathead wears in public and on TV. It's wash and wear and doesn't need ironing (really!), but it is a soft cottonlike feel. Choice of four colors and both men's and women's.

Click here for more info.

Support ARC

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon.


BBQ Stars


Some Of Our Favorite
Tools And Toys

These are not ads. These are products we love and highly recommend. Click here to read more about our medals and what they mean.



Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts

Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

maverick PT55 thermometer

A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

Click here for more info on the Maverick PT-55 Waterproof Instant-Read Thermometer Review shown above. It may be the best value in a thermometer out there

If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

slow n sear

The Slow 'N' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet's Dual Tube Burners

the good one grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King's proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review

The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

the good one grill

The Good-One Open Range is a charcoal grill with an offset smoke chamber attached. It is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. The grill sits low in front and doubles as a firebox for the smoke chamber which is spliced on above and behind so it can work like a horizontal offset smoker only better. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

Click here to read our complete review

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

Griddle And Deep Fryer All In One

The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone's Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all. Plus it has a built in cutting board, garbage bag holder, and paper towel holder. An additional work table on the left side provides plenty of counter space.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only 9 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them

The Swiss Army Knife Of Thermometers


The smart folks at ThermoWorks have finally done it: The Swiss Army Knife of thermometers, two in one. Start with the industry standard food thermometer, the Thermapen MK4, (Platinum Medal winner) truly instant (2 to 3 seconds) precise (+ or – 0.7°F). Then they built in an infrared thermometer ideal for measuring the temps of pizza stones, griddles, and frying pans (also great for finding leaks around doors and windows in your house).

Click here to read our test results and comprehensive review and why it won our Platinum Medal.

Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil's Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you're off to the party! Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted

NK-22-Ck Grill

Their NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It's hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


G&F Suede Welder's Gloves

Heat Resistant Gloves With Extra Long Sleeves Hold The Hot Stuff

If you're using oven mitts at the grill, it's time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder's gloves. They're heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.

Click here to read our detailed review

Click here to order from Amazon

GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone

grill grates

GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special

kareubequ bbq smoker

Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

Click here for our review of this superb smoker

Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

masterbuilt gas smoker

The First Propane Smoker With A Thermostat Makes This Baby Foolproof

Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

Click here to read our detailed review

Professional Steakhouse Knife Set

masterbuilt gas smoker

Our founder, Meathead, wanted the same steak knives used by steakhouses such as Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, Morton's, Kobe Club, Palm, and many others. So he located the manufacturer and had them stamp our name on some. They boast pointed, temper-ground, serrated, high-carbon stainless-steel, half-tang blades with excellent cutting edge ability. The beefy hardwood handle provides a comfortable grip secured by three hefty rivets. He has machine washed his more than 100 times. They have never rusted and they stay shiny without polishing. Please note that we do not make, sell, or distribute these knives, they just engrave them with our name.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

PK 360 grill

Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only

Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

fireboard bbq thermometer

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

Click here to read our detailed review

Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order



Meat-Up in Memphis 2020

Join us in Memphis for our Meat-Up! Click here for details. (https://amazingribs.com/memphis2020)
See more
See less

Light my (PBC) fire: tips on lighting and maintaining temperatures

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Top | #181
    Larry Grover the PBC is a 30 gal drum and a typical homemade drum smoker UDS is a 50 gal drum. Two different animals and two different dynamics.

    One intake at the bottom is sufficient typically for a PBC, although I added a lid vent for cooking poultry, but most people just crack the lid.


    • Top | #182
      Originally posted by Larry Grover View Post
      Thanks Kathryn, i will surely follow your advice. Also, is the consensus here that one intake at the bottom is sufficient? I was poking around the forum last night and found a link to a Popular Mechanics build of a drum smoker.

      Their instructions call for 4 intakes, and you mentioned Temps on one side of the barrel can be 40 degrees hotter than the other until it evens out during a longer cook. Just seems to me you'd want at least two so you have cross ventilation. I'm no expert though, just curious how you pro's feel about it.
      Larry Grover I'm definitely not in the same league with fzxdoc in any capacity, but I will tell you something I had to do that really helped. Get a full basket of charcoal (Kingsford Original), follow lighting instructions, etc....but don't cook anything. I should point out that I use the Maverick ET 732 digital leave in thermometer setup. What I did was I left the screw just snug (not tight) in the intake cover. Once I got it blazing hot and nice coals, I played with everything, one thing at a time and watched the temps for 20 minutes or so. It gave me a really good feel for how much to adjust and tinker. I find this method works well with a notebook, a lot of cold beer, and a book or rerun to watch on TV. You'll be shocked how sensitive the temps are to lid placement (moreso than the intake vent). Also, you can choke it down to a reasonable level after getting it really hot by wrapping foil around the rebars, allowing very minimal air escape. I find that once I get around the temp I want, I can remove 2 (not all 4) pieces of the foil and maintain fairly well. I believe the scientific method is called "play with it a while".

      I hope you'll give it a couple more shots. It's a really great product once you become friends with it...


      • Top | #183
        Larry Grover , the PBC is really well designed--the PBC folks had several prototypes before they came up with the barrel size and the vent placement, rebars etc. To my mind, it's not worth it to mess with (near) perfection. It's better to spend the time to understand how to maintain your desired temperature like Skelly has or by doing several cooks and noting all of the settings and resulting temps . Maintaining a solid barrel temperature is the first and most important key to consistent cooks on the PBC, not unlike your kitchen oven.

        That said, I think that a lid vent mod like lschweig has done makes sense if you don't want to mess with cracking the lid to get the temps up high for a poultry cook. I haven't done it, but I think about doing it from time to time, especially with a loaded down barrel of food.



        • Top | #184
          I was reading up on a forum where people build their own UDS. The consensus is 3 to 4 intakes with 3/4" pipe. One of which has a ball valve and the others either open or capped. To start they open them all up then start capping. When their desired temp is achieved the only one still open is the valve. If they need small or moderate increase in temps they start uncapping. Not so sure about consensus on exhausts, but 1.5 to 2" seemed common and one said total exhaust space should be close to intake.

          Long story short it seems they use intakes to control temp while the PBC is opposite - you mainly use the exhausts for control.

          one very experienced user said he has 10 barrels and they each have their own personality. One loves to run at 325 so he uses it for poultry. Another loves to run @ 240 so he uses it for L&S. He recommends doing a bunch of dry runs until you find the long term stable temps that your barrel prefers then work with it. This dude just drilled 3/4" intake holes which were adjusted with heavy duty flexible magnets, and said some of his barrels only have one intake and still gets good results.


          • Top | #185
            Interesting commentary, Larry Grover . Thanks for giving us the additional information. It's always fun to learn something new.

            I personally don't need any more lower vents (that I know of) but as I said, I've toyed with the idea of putting a vent in the lid. I even thought of drilling a couple of rebar-sized holes perpendicular to the standard ones, using them to adjust air flow with magnet covers.



            • johnec00
              johnec00 commented
              Editing a comment
              Two rebar sized holes is what I did. I just use 1/2" pipe plugs to open/close the extra holes. Magnets would work too, but I had the pipe plugs.

            • fzxdoc
              fzxdoc commented
              Editing a comment
              Good to hear that it works well for you, johnec00 . Thanks for letting us know.

          • Top | #186
            I'm not about to mod anything yet. But I now have a better understanding about how barrels work and I think I'm ready to cook. Want to try chicken as I'm curious how hot it gets with one rebar out. One reallly nice design decision is that the PBC can work in the rain. Some of the drum builders (who put vents on top) looked at those rebar holes in the side of the PBC and said "Dang, wish I had thought of that."

            There was also some discussion on proper placement of vents on the lid which may effect the swirling convection inside. Who knows? But I'd probably just add holes to the side like you noted if I'm using both rebars and feel the need for extra exhaust. I really don't like cracking the lid, I just feel like I'm messing up the program inside unless of course I just want to blow it up to crisp the skin at the end of a cook.


            • Top | #187
              When I'm only doing one chicken at a time, I cook with one rebar in, placed diagonally, Larry Grover . My PBC will run in the 325-350°F range the whole time, cranking that bird out in just over an hour. I always use a full basket of coals, even for the short cook. Sometimes I toss a meatloaf in when the chicken is done to grab some more of that good PBC fire and smoke.



            • Top | #188
              Kathryn when you cook a single chicken have you figured out a good way to make a complete meal in a barrel? For example tossing in some potato's & veggies? I have all the PBC accessories (folding grate etc.)


              • Top | #189
                Larry Grover I think the best way to do veggies and potatoes at the same time as the chicken is to put them in a basket that looks something like this:

                or this

                That way you can hook and hang the basket from the rebar along with the chicken. I do a similar thing for sausage, which I like to smoke with chicken because I think the sausage drippings on the fire really enhance the chicken's flavors. I modified a sausage basket by cutting the wooden handle part off so it hangs from the loop from the rebar.

                Click image for larger version  Name:	Sausage Basket modified 2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	250.4 KB ID:	295811

                Click image for larger version  Name:	Sausage Basket 3.jpg Views:	1 Size:	181.4 KB ID:	295812


                P.S. I just googled and saw a bunch of basket styles that can be modifed for the PBC on the Bed Bath and Beyond site:

                Last edited by fzxdoc; March 28th, 2017, 01:03 PM.


                • Top | #190

                  as you said about starting over again on lighting the pbc for a longer and consistent burn. I did a modified odc spinnaker layering of the coals. I filled the basket and removed the 40 from the center and returned the lit coals to the hole in the center. lid off 5 and rods in 5 and I loaded 2 rack of ribs. 350 down to 255. stayed there for 8 hours at 255 and I went to bed. wish I could have stayed up but to tired.at 70 no spring chicken any more. I did look in to see how the coals looked and I think it could go a couple more hours. I have done chicken the way you have said and I that my be drill two holes below the rods. 1below the left one and 1 opposite side on the right, went you said placed diagonally (rod) are you talking about from the right rod hole to the left rod hole?


                  • Top | #191
                    Planner47 , it sounds as though you've solved your problem for a good light to the PBC fire. Congrats!

                    I didn't drill any extra holes in my PBC. When I smoke one chicken, I put one rebar end on the right rebar hole on the vent side and the other end of the rebar into the left rebar hole of the opposite side so the rebar goes diagonally across the barrel.

                    I have considered drilling two extra holes at the same level of the rebar holes already there, but on the sides of the barrel away from the rebars (on the right and left sides of the barrel as you are facing the rebar holes). I would use them only to add more ventilation when I want a really hot fire. I have not done that yet, as I said, and I may not do it.



                    • Top | #192
                      Thanks Kathryn, I'll pop in my nearby Bed, Bath & Beyond and take a look around. I want to try some Roli Roti potatoes. They're a group of food trucks operating out of the San Francisco bay area. The fingerling potatoes (potatoes in a box) are prepared by cutting up into large chunks and placing at the bottom of a rotisserie chicken. The fat drips onto the potatoes as both are heated by flames. That would be hard to do in a PBC (nor would you really want to) but you could drizzle the chicken juice on top after you cut up the chicken.

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	potato in box 1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	454.6 KB ID:	295862
                      Click image for larger version  Name:	Potatoes in a box 2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	304.9 KB ID:	295863


                      • fzxdoc
                        fzxdoc commented
                        Editing a comment

                    • Top | #193
                      So I finally got a chance to do a cook. It's been really windy so have been waiting for good weather.

                      I followed the advice on page 1 and ended up doing a 23/10/10 using a Weber short chimney with 40 coals. I used about 6 lbs of charcoal, the PBC instructions call for 8 but according to my scale that's practically overflowing in the housing. So I just leveled it to the top which seemed to be 6 lbs. My chosen meat was one chicken mounted on a vertical roaster then hung whole. Thus, I went parallel with the rebar hanging the bird in the middle and the other rebar was out to keep temps hotter in the poultry zone.

                      After I put the lid on the temp peaked at 383 and slowly slid down to 317 one hour later. I messed with the intake (even opening it all the way at sea level) but it didn't seem to do anything so I cracked the lid slightly for about a minute. The temp shot up to 350 and slowly declined to 342 at which time the chicken was cooked.

                      The result was fantastic! Best chicken I've ever had. Before I was all over the place in the 225-290 range and the bird came out weird. But this time bringing the temp up in the recommended 325-350 range made all the difference. The texture was just right, especially the dark meat. The leg bone broke right off the ligaments but it wasn't soggy with grease. It was tender, Juicy and the smoked flavor was incredible! The breast was a tad dry but I took it out at 165, not Kathryn's recommended 160. Also, the vertical roaster stayed on during resting which may have slightly kept cooking the meat. I do like them because it's so easy to carve and it gives you a nice chimney to ensure the bird also cooks from the inside out.

                      Just want to say thanks to Kathryn and everyone else here for enlightening me. The other thing I was doing wrong was dumping the coals too soon, the 15/10/10 method did the trick. Now a couple questions...

                      1. Any advice on how I can maintain the same temp? Why are temps always sliding down?

                      2. What do you make of the intake not really doing anything? Is there a mod we could do to solve this problem?

                      I have a picture of the mounted bird, will try to post tomorrow.


                      • Top | #194
                        I'm glad I run across this post, this is great information and good detail, wonderful pictures, this is something that I can definitely do being an old country boy and being able to get my hands on some 55 gallon drums that are clean food grade thank you so much for sharing


                        • Top | #195
                          I was surfing around looking for reviews of the PBC 'Grill Grates' and accidentally came across a guy who lights his PBC as follows:

                          - Stubbs charcoal
                          1. Place 4 lighter cubes spaced in the charcoal basket with a full load.
                          2. Light cubes and let burn with lid off until ashed over: 20+ minutes.
                          3. Put lid on for 10 min to burn off white smoke & stabilize temp.

                          Anyone try this or something similar?
                          Last edited by Larry Grover; April 5th, 2017, 03:35 PM.