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Brisket on my Modified Pit Barrel Cooker

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    Brisket on my Modified Pit Barrel Cooker

    PBC “Texas Brisket Edition”

    When cooking large quantities of meat (e.g. >30 pounds of brisket, or >20 pounds of pork butts), I felt some slight modifications were in order for the PBC, as well as a hotter and longer burning charcoal, which came in the form of B & B Hardwood Briquettes. I found the B & B charcoal while cooking on my offset. I saw it at a local grocer so I emailed the owner of Gator Pits about the B & B since I had seen pictures on his website of the B & B. He said that he found the B & B to burn hotter, and longer, than the blue and white Kingsford. With one full basket of charcoal in my offset, I found the B & B to give me about 5.5 hours of 225, whereas the Kingsford gave me about 3.5 hours. The B & B was about $0.06 more per pound, so it was a no brainer to continue using it in my offset.

    On most my cooks in the PBC the Kingsford blue and white is the go to charcoal. When I’m cooking 3-5 briskets or 20+ pounds of pork butts, the B & B is a must, especially if I am cooking overnight. Not only for the increased temp, but also for the increased cooking time I might encounter since I rarely crutch butts, and my briskets are crutched very late in the game. Even after 9 hours of brisket cooking I’ve had the B & B still kicking out a steady temp above 250.
    I like the quick light up of the Kingsford using the lighter fluid method, so I fill up the basket with B & B, and leave just enough room at the top for a layer of Kingsford.

    When cooking the before mentioned large quantities of meat, extra air flow for increase temps is a must. There is no doubt cracking the lid on the PBC helps with this, however, I needed/wanted something that was a little more exact, or something I could at least set, and get some sleep for an extended period of time (i.e. more than 30 minutes of sleep at a time).

    I first installed a ½” valve with a 90 above the horseshoe handle that is on the opposite side of the bottom air vent. The intake for the valve was level with the rebar holes, and the top of the valve was approximately 2.5” above the lid. It worked somewhat, but still did not do enough to bring up the temp when cooking 3 or more briskets. To make things more symmetrical, I put another ½” valve opposite the first valve, and put a 12” extension on top each valve, giving me 14” of “lift” above the lid. The extra valve and “lift” proved to be successful. I tested it when cooking ribs one day. Opening both valves caused the temp to spike immediately. It actually brought the temp higher than I wanted. Seems I left them open a little too long. No harm was done, and I had high hopes they would work come “full packer – full PBC” time.

    Tonight I had 4 full packers with weights of 16.96, 13.16, 13.67, and 14.68 in the package. I trim ALL fat down to app. 1/8”-1/4” with most being closer to 1/8”. After lipid trimming my weights were 11.75, 8.0, 10.0, and 11.0, respectively. For the first time I cut my packers at the end of the flat (pic below), and hung that part of the point separate. I did not have room for one point, which is not a problem since I will have room in the cooker tomorrow. My reason for cutting was to get the brisket(s) off of the charcoal. Any brisket over 16” I cut. Later I will experiment with maybe leaving some 18-19”. That will maybe allow me to fit everything and not have a “spare point.”

    I went with a 15 minute preheat period using the lighter fluid method, with an almost full basket of B & B with one layer of Kingsford on top to make it full. Pit temp spiked at 252 five minutes after putting the lid on with both valves wide open. 9 minutes in it was down to 243, 23 minutes 241, 30 minutes 246, 60 minutes 261, 120 minutes 253, now at 124 minutes 150. I never cracked the lid, which is pretty impressive when you see how packed the Pit is. I got my BBQ hi set for 285, and BBQ low set for 220 on the Maverick. I figure when they enter into the evaporative cooling stage the temp will drop close to 220. We shall see.

    Temps ended up dropping to about 219. On my next cook I preheated for 20 minutes and had a noticeable increase in temps. I was also cooking with an ambient temp that was about 20 degree warmer. My pit temp easily went over 300 degrees. Cooking time on the briskets was 7-8 hours as opposed to 9+ hours.

    No matter the pit temp, the briskets always come out great. However, with the 300+ degree pit temp there is more charring on the brisket near the vent and a "brisket rotation" would be in order for such cooks.
    Last edited by Jerod Broussard; July 13, 2014, 03:38 PM.

    Pictures of the modified Pit Barrel Cooker. I had the horse shoes cut off the stand and I installed casters, one that can be locked. Being able to roll this dude around is DA BOMB!!!
    Last edited by Jerod Broussard; July 12, 2014, 08:34 PM.


      Thx for the info on B&B. A barrel full of meat! Beautiful!


        OH my! This is AWESOME!


          That twin stacks photo is really cool. Nice write up!



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