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 | #196
    Never tried lighting my PBC without using the chimney. This method might be closer to the lighter fluid method. Several folks here who have used Stubbs are not particular fans of that brand. YMMV, though.



    • Top | #197
      Okay...about that PBC vent opening. Many discussions regarding the size of the vent opening with respect to temperature. Does anyone actually have a measurement that equates to a given vent size? I know that the size of the vent hole is 3" diameter. So how does one determine, for example, 1/4 open? 1/4 of 3" is 3/4" so does that mean there should be 3/4" from the vent hole edge in the barrel to the edge of the vent cover? Or, is there a template available from PBC/Noah for making this critical adjustment?


      • Top | #198
        The vent opening is not too critical as long as you get it in the ballpark, 1-bigmac . Just set it for the size recommended for your altitude. The Pit Barrel website has diagrams for the openings. Just set yours close and run a smoke.

        Here's their diagram: Click image for larger version  Name:	PBC Vent Opening Diagram.JPG Views:	1 Size:	34.5 KB ID:	308365

        The vent opening has little to do with temperature. It just ensures that the coals are getting enough oxygen at your altitude to do their thing. It doesn't function like the lower vent does, for example, on a kettle. It's a set-it-once and let it be type of deal.

        If your PBC runs too cold, you might consider opening your vent up a bit more. At my altitude, 1/2 open is recommended, but my PBC likes 5/8 open better. It's sat at that 5/8 opening for a few years now--I never touch it no matter what I'm cooking. I control the temps (when necessary) by cracking the lid to increase temps or foiling the rebars to decrease temps once I've made sure that there are no lid leaks, that is.


        P.S. Welcome to The Pit!
        Last edited by fzxdoc; April 22nd, 2017, 07:14 AM.


        • Top | #199
          Thanks for the welcome and quick response! As one who likes measuring/reproducibility, I would still like a number. One person's guesstimate of 1/2 open is probably quite different from another's. I'm sure PBC/Noah must have a gauge for doing their factory preset vent openings. Any knowledge of their spacing? I suppose I could scale the photo you included to where the barrel hole is 3" on paper and get a dimension. This assumes of course that the drawing/photo is accurate. Hummmm.


          • Top | #200
            compute the size of the open hole and then determine how much you should have open, or have a beer or 2 and wing it


            • Top | #201
              Since it's a 3" opening, you can measure the distance from the edge of your vent to the edge of the vent opening, that's what I did(.25 *3=.75) So I measured 3/4 of an inch from the edge of the vent to the edge of the vent opening. I just imagined a line going right through the middle of the vent and measured from that spot to the vent opening edge, as straight as I could ballpark. It's definitely not exact but it's pretty darn close IMO. Here's my crude drawing.

              Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 3.06.58 PM.png
Views:	1
Size:	12.1 KB
ID:	308501


              • Top | #202
                Thanks! That makes total sense to me, but note that the oriface using this calculation just "looks" larger than what the PBC/Noah folks show in the diagram that fzxdoc provided. So I see all these comments re how large someone's vent is open, and no where on all the posts do I see for example what 1/4 open really is! So we have all these PBC users trying to compare things without fundamental knowledge "how open" their specific Barrel vent is relative to each other. Three years ago, I asked Amber and Noah via email about this, but no response, so I thought some of the cognoscenti here would have the info...I guess not


                • Top | #203
                  Sorry to disappoint you by not having a firm answer to your question, 1-bigmac . As a fellow scientist, I certainly appreciate your need for exactitude, because from that comes, hopefully, consistency and reproducibility cook to cook.

                  But, much like medicine, for example, there is as much art in running the PBC as there is science. That's why I recommended setting the vent at what looks to you like the best opening for your altitude and trying a cook. See how it goes. If you're not happy with the cook, then modify the vent opening accordingly for the next cook. Change one parameter at a time, and you'll get to the perfect setup that makes your PBC run sweet every time.

                  After all, smoking is as much fun as it is science. Blending both will give you some awesome cooks, which I assume you've already had since you've had your PBC for a while now.

                  Best wishes,


                  • Top | #204
                    OK, one more retentive comment on vent opening. I took the diagram provided by fzxdoc above that she got from the PBC web site. I then expanded their diagram until the barrel opening circle was 3" in diameter (as it is on the actual barrel itself). From this exploded view I then used the method shown in phoccer response above to my earlier reply. From this method I was able to glean the following measurements:

                    1/4 open = 1/2" from barrel edge to vent edge apex
                    1/2 open = 1"
                    3/4 open = 1 1/2"

                    It would be interesting if members wanted to take a ruler to their PBC and take a quick reading in inches to correlate with their perceived opening size....

                    Now all may not be right with the world, but I'm feeling better about setting my vent. I've been using my Air Force PBC for 3 years now with a multitude of cooks, and have been searching for reproducibility. Hence my attraction to this forum and especially fzxdoc excellent treatise on lighting the PBC. Mods to my PBC are: a stainless steel screw & hardware for the vent hinge, a small shelf that mounts on the horse shoe handle to the left as you're facing the vent for my Maverick and anything else, a 30 gallon drum dolly so I can roll the PBC around, and finally a lid mounted temperature gauge to monitor lid temps when I don't want to mess with the Maverick.

                    To document that I'm not a poser, here's a PBC photo of a butterflied leg-of-lamb with fat cap mostly removed, 24 hours in a fresh rosemary-garlic-EVO rub, and then reinserted in original netting for hanging. Turned out great after 3 1/4 hours in the pit! Thanks again to the forum for the constructive feedback and tolerating my vent 'fetish'.

                    Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0974.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	1.65 MB
ID:	308959


                    • phoccer
                      phoccer commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Mine is set at 1/2" now. My last cook ran in the 350 range for 90 minutes then eventually settled down into the upper 200's. I'll likely knock it down to 1/4" for my next cook just to see how it runs. My elevation is 900'.

                  • Top | #205
                    Glad you worked the vent position out to your satisfaction, 1-bigmac . I hear you loud and clear about wanting things to be set up precisely so that you can get closer to reproducibility in cooks. I did the same thing myself when I first got the PBC. (In fact, it's still an ongoing endeavor.) While the PBC folks' "set and forget" claim was all well and good and turns out great food, I wanted to tighten things up a bit. It's not a good thing when guests are waiting for an extra hour or more for their supper--I'd rather aim for reproducibility and bring that meal in on time. Sounds like you've got the same goal.

                    I found that documenting the parameters of each cook helped me a lot to set up good game plans for brisket, pork butts, etc. I keep a Cooking Log for every single cook, using a modified version of Meathead's Cooking Log shown here.

                    From those Cooking Logs I compile a spreadsheet of the pertinent facts for each meat that I cook--one spreadsheet for chicken, one for chuck roast, one for ribs, etc. That way I can quickly scan the spreadsheet and see, for the ambient temp of the day, type of charcoal, etc., how former cooks went. It gives me an idea of what to expect.

                    Nice mods to your PBC. That shelf is a really good idea. Do you find that the thermometer in the lid accurately reflects the temps that the Maverick probe gets when suspended at the halfway point of the meat, a few inches away from it?

                    That leg of lamb shot is a nice one. Sounds like it turned out great. Do you happen to know the average PBC temp that you used for that cook, and the weight of the butterflied leg of lamb? Along with the cook time, I'd like to add it to the list of PBC cook times in the sticky here. If you don't have that info, no worries.

                    Best wishes,


                    • Top | #206
                      All These $20.00 Words are Too Copreous For My Comprehension❓ Was the Que "Guude" or Not❓❓ πŸ˜‰πŸ€—πŸ˜‡πŸ€—πŸ˜‰
                      Eat Well and Prosper! From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan


                      • Top | #207
                        So I looked back at some rudimentary notes on the leg-of-lamb cook, fzxdoc. It looks like the PBC was running a little cool around 265-270 degrees. I pulled the leg at 2hr 45' and then contrary to Meathead I foiled it and let it rest for 20. The internal temp at pull was 125 degrees as we like our lamb rare to med rare. The lamb was great with a typical PBC-induced flavor...all that lamb fat on the coals yummm!! A fuzzy close up on the carving board and a plated photo are attached. Actually @fsxdoc has inspired me to be more compulsive regarding my 'labnotes' on cooks and I will modify Meatheads Excel spreadsheet or she could post her template. Maybe fzxdoc should code an App for this...might supplement your income?! Ha..

                        As for the lid thermometer. I don't have any hard data correlating lid temp with down in the barrel temps. I know that if I have my Maverick probe near the rebar mounted with the clip as in the photo above, it is within 2-4 degrees of the lid thermo. The lid thermo probe ends at a point slightly below the bottom of the rebar holes in the PBC. I intend to compile some data on this on future cooks. A few photos attached to show lid mount etc..
                        Thanks again,

                        ​ Probe tip relative to rebar hole​ ​ ​ ​


                        • Top | #208
                          Thanks for the additional info, 1-bigmac . Can't see the photos, though. I'll add your cook to that post.

                          I imagine you'll make up a really good cooking log that suits your needs. I always run 2 pit probes in my smokers, one on each side (vent and opposite on the PBC) so I needed to change up the log sheet to reflect that among other things.



                          • Top | #209
                            Bummer about my photos as they show up on my MAC, but with a little "?" below each one, fzxdoc. Let me try the photos again.. BTW, I already have a column for 'Lid Temp'

                            Here it is on carving board
                            Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0976.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	1.92 MB
ID:	310238
                            Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0977.JPG
Views:	2
Size:	3.59 MB
ID:	310243

                            Close up of Tue-Temp day-glo thermo
                            Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2792.JPG
Views:	1
Size:	4.54 MB
ID:	310240
                            Edge on showing depth of Lid Temp probe
                            Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2793.JPG
Views:	1
Size:	2.76 MB
ID:	310241
                            1-bigmac's Air Force PBC
                            Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2791.JPG
Views:	1
Size:	4.34 MB
ID:	310242
                            Attached Files


                            • Top | #210
                              That leg of lamb looks perfectly done. You sure have that PBC doing your bidding, 1-bigmac . Thanks for getting the photos to work. They're fun to see.