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A Tale of 2 Butts: PBC vs ECB--

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  • HC in SC
    Former Member
    • Nov 2014
    • 476
    • SC Lowcountry

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    ECB Update:

    After 9 hours the EBC is down for the count.

    The temp of the ECB butt was 166 out of the smoker and into the wrap.

    After temps dropped under 200 in the EBC and the final coals were checking out I pulled and wrapped it and stuck in the oven (next to his buddy from the PBC) set at 250.

    The PBC butt is pushing 180, so its time is short before resting @ room temp.

    The ECB butt will take at least another two hours to reach 190-195.

    Judging from the time, effort and energy the PBC wins hands down (especially considering the false alarm on coal outage that cracking the lid would have fixed).

    Judging from the taste of the burnt bark I peeled off of the racks of the cookers - ECB has it by a full car length thus far.

    I'll report out the final pics and stats when all done - right now its time for a Sunshine Daydream (or 2)...


    Thanks everyone!

    ...and the folks at work thought I was crazy for burning up vacation time taking time off on a 45 degree and rainy Lowcountry day!


    • HC in SC
      Former Member
      • Nov 2014
      • 476
      • SC Lowcountry

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      Final Scorecard:

      Butt pre-cooked = 8.4 lbs (dripping wet in mustard and HRR)
      Final Yield: 3.67 lbs pulled pork
      Time in cooker at avg. of 285: 6 hours until internal meat temp was 155-160.
      Maintenance of coals = none*
      Time wrapped in oven at 250 = 2.5 hours until 195.
      Total cook time: 8.5 hours

      Butt in ECB pre-cooked = 7.1 lbs (also in same mustard and HHR)
      Final Yield: 3.3 lbs pulled pork
      Time in smoker at avg. of 230 = 9 hours until internal meat temp was 166.
      Maintenance of coals = 1 add of a mini chimney of fresh lit coals for quick refresh & then 1 complete firebox change out (dump out, start all over - in the rain, to boot)
      Time wrapped in oven at 250 = 1.75 hours until 195-200
      Total cook time: 10.75

      Best taste: (drumroll).....ECB by a nose. The slow-cooking really makes a difference, however slight. Once you add your favorite BBQ sauce it is a draw. Very little difference in taste or texture.

      Best experience: (by that I mean least hassle from start to finish): PBC no question. Having to deal with fooling with coals and babysitting can get old (I still find it a challenge) - especially in the rain. My best fire in the ECB lasted almost 4 hours, but it was work getting it there. *Had I carbureted my PBC better the fire would have lasted much longer than 6 hours - probably about 7 to 7.5 at good cooking temp.

      1. Know your cooker's capacity for all things and stick to it - do not try and over-fill your coals, your meat and especially your water pan. I figured I'd pack my EBC down to the near brim with water in the pan and it couldn't get over 200 out of the gate until the problem was remedied.
      2. *Again - the carbureting trick on the PBC when the temp drops, even well into your cook - even if your coals are on their last leg, cracking the lid will bump it up for one last gasp of heat if not a couple hours more.
      3. Mustard slathering the meat by mixing cheap yellow mustard and HRR to the point of a honey consistency - maybe just a bit thinner, wrapping and keeping in the fridge for 5-24+ hours is the only way I'll make 'em going forward - PBC or ECB.
      4. Just because your cut of meat starts out big, it will not end up yielding but appx 1/2 the weight of cooked, ready-to-eat pulled pork after the water and fats get cooked out and the bone is removed.
      5. Stick to a proven, repeatable process - in this case wrapping and putting in the oven at 250. Maybe I'll get a wild hair and do like PitBoss suggests and let cook unwrapped until done on the PBC, but this time both turned out great using the crutched method.

      Consistency is sure a confidence builder on these long cooks - especially for someone as green as I am with the non-gasser stuff! Definitely worth it when it pays off like it did today despite the few blunders on my part.

      Thanks to all for joining me on this adventure - can't wait to take another vacation day from the old coal mine and do it again!!

      Last edited by HC in SC; December 8th, 2014, 07:27 PM.


      • Deuce
        Former Member
        • Aug 2014
        • 227
        • Sulphur, Louisiana

        Excellent cook HC, I'll take a sammy of both.


        • HC in SC
          HC in SC commented
          Editing a comment
          Actually I cooked this amount of meat to see how freezing works in large batches. Come on up to SC and I'll gladly give you a sammich and pack you a few for the trip back!
      • DWCowles
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 9760
        • Smiths Grove, Ky
        • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

        The bottom pic looks the best


        • HC in SC
          HC in SC commented
          Editing a comment
          It had a slightly better taste as well. So more proof that slow smoking makes a better product.

          There is alot to be said for the low maintenance and quicker cook of the PBC though.

          Once sauce was added to the meat, you really couldn't tell the difference though - both were pretty jam-up.
      • David Parrish
        Founding Member - Pit Boss Emeritus
        • May 2014
        • 5040
        • Charlotte, NC
          • Slow 'N Sear Kamado (SnSK)
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        HC trust me on the unwrapped butt in the PBC. Dry brine in 1/2 teaspoon per lb of kosher salt 24 hours prior. Coat with rub (HRR or MD as you prefer) and EVOO the day of. Throw it in the PBC and cook it until it hits 203F. Add a few chunks of dry wood right before you throw on the butt.

        It takes a little more time over wrapping but it is WORTH IT.

        Great thread!


        • HC in SC
          HC in SC commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the tip Kathryn.

          I started wrapping just to avoid having to re-up the fire box in the ECB for the final stall to finish and it has become part of my 'process'. I am getting more comfortable with the PBC so I should let the cooker cook!

          I think I'll take this weekend off push the limits of the PBC and do two large butts (7+ lbs each) on the PBC (on grate, not hung) and see how well that goes.
          Last edited by HC in SC; December 11th, 2014, 08:26 AM.

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Note: Dont dry brine AND use my rub, unless you use a saltless version. If you do that, add a smidge of salt to the surface after adding the rub. I find the saltless HRR is bland even with a generous dry brine. That's why I prefer to keep it salted.

        • HC in SC
          HC in SC commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh no Huskee, I dry brine with the rub, salt included. I also mix a few teaspoons of salted rub into to the mustard. I measure the rub by 1 teaspoon per pound. I figure since the salt is appx 1/4 of the mix, that gives me 1 /4 teaspoon salt per pound towards my 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

          The other salt is made up of the rub mixed in with the mustard. I shoot for a conservative 3/8 teaspoon of salt per pound to ensure I don't get too much salt.

          I have 2 - 7 pounders marinating tin the fridge now to cook tomorrow. I'll detail with pics the rub / slathering process so it is a bit clearer. I am thinking since I had the operator error on the temps with the PBC last time, I'll do both on the PBC this time.

          I'll save Kathryn / Huskees / smarkleys ideas about cutting the whole butts up for another time. I want to push the PBC to the limit (for me anyway - I've seen Jerods 3-4 brisket pics, I know he has pushed the real PBC envelope).
      • Huskee
        Pit Boss
        • May 2014
        • 14526
        • central MI, USA
        • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

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        Nice writeup HC! Very nice. These are the kinds of posts we love here, something that is interesting and educational.

        One thing I forget though, have you done a side by side on the mustard slather/brine, and one w/o mustard, cooked equally, so as to taste test if the MS method adds something?


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          I've never purchased chipotle powder in my life. I think I need to try a small batch with it added to see what it can do for me.

        • HC in SC
          HC in SC commented
          Editing a comment
          Just be careful - it can get very hot very quickly! It has the 'slow burn' effect on your taste buds like black pepper, but it can get much hotter depending how much you add.

          My wife will walk away from anything "too spicy" (whatever that means - lol), but she has no problem with the small 1/4 tsp I add to the HRR recipe.

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          That describes black pepper to a T. Thanks for the heads up. I think that's the nature of jalapenos. Tasty little buggers then that heat sneaks right up and attacks your tongue.
      • _John_
        Former Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 2454

        That horseshoe on top of the PBC is made for this...


        • HC in SC
          HC in SC commented
          Editing a comment
          Good thinking - I ended up just moving both rigs on my screened porch.
      • HC in SC
        Former Member
        • Nov 2014
        • 476
        • SC Lowcountry

        Heads-up. I'm going to try and redeem myself on the PBC. I'm gonna try doing 2 whole 7.5 lb butts on the PBC tomorrow without wrapping at the stall.


        • fzxdoc
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 4707
          • My toys:
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          I've got my PBC jersey on and I'm pulling up an easy chair with popcorn and a beer to watch today's HC in SC's PBs in the PBC show! Go team!



          • HC in SC
            HC in SC commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm going to try and follow your advice not wrapping at the stall. Everything is still marinading in the icebox - tomorrow am will be appx 40 hours in the HRR / mustard slather. I'm hoping for zero unforced errors! Thanks!
        • Spinaker
          • Nov 2014
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          Awesome write up. We got a lot of great info outta this. Thanks. What kind of cooker is that other one you have? Other than the PBC?


          • fzxdoc
            fzxdoc commented
            Editing a comment
            Seriously, I thought that ECB stood for El Cheapo Brinkman. Did I fall victim to an urban myth? If so, duh on my part!


          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            It does Kathryn! They're cheap, but they can do good thigns with a little TLC. I learned on this exact smoker! I think HC's criticism of POS is a tad harsh, but it definitely needs some minor mods before cooking. Namely- drill holes in the charcoal bowl, or get a different charcoal pan/box. It works great as a wood preburner too, and kiln!

          • HC in SC
            HC in SC commented
            Editing a comment
            Well, without the mod to the fire box one would have a hard time smoking a pack of hot dogs.

            Once that issue is solved with either drilling holes in the stock firepan or using a wok topper on top of the firepan (or both) and a few other minor mods, it is a decent smoker.

            The biggest drawback is what then ECB stands for: it's is cheap price wise because it is cheaply made with cheap materials. I could probably stab a puncture through the thin sheet metal with my pocket knife. If you put superior materials and superior engineering into the equation and you have a Backwoods Chubby - but those are 9 times the cost of the El Cheapo Brinkmann. They are decent enough with enough practice, but they are certainly not built to last, but definitely a good starter smoker for sure.

            Hey the overall taste on a butt IMHO done on the ECB was better than the PBC (not by much). However, once sauce is added to the pulled pork you can't tell any difference. A good smoky taste from both.



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        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

        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