I can't believe he did that...PBC Mod

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by tbrtt1, May 5, 2016.

  1. Yes, I did. Couldn't help myself. Call it a sickness, a disease. I don't care. I stopped fighting it long ago. 

    After only 1 cook on my brand spanking new Pit Barrel Cook I took a drill to it. I want the option of a water pan and/or heat deflector. The cook I did yesterday was very good, but it was difficult to detect wood smoke despite using a couple of healthy chunks of hickory. Much of the flavor is from the juices from the meat dripping on the coals. Again, the food was good and alas the chicken was the best ever, but I want to be able to get a charcoal and wood flavor too whenever I want. 

    I simply put 3 bolts and nuts about 3/4 of an inch above the charcoal handle to rest a grate on. Got a circular pan for water that is a great size. I found I could regulate the heat using the vent and the holes for the rebar, so all this should in theory give me options. It was a ~10 minute surgery. Warning, you need a drill bit to handle stainless steel, which I have. If not you will be pis*&#ng in the wind when you try to drill the holes. 

  2. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Awesome mod! You've now made it like a WSM and a PBC all rolled into one. My only concern is that the deflector might block the airflow to the coals since the PBC only had one vent on the bottom where the WSM has three that are adjustable. But I am a science dummy so I may be wrong haha. I can't wait to hear how this works out!
  3. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hope it works as planned!
  4. krj

    krj Fire Starter

    Love it, was considering doing the same with mine, as well as adding another set of bolts for a second cooking rack. Let us know how she cooks with you change.
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  5. I'll be smoking some more ribs and bird tomorrow. Not sure yet if I'll use it for tomorrows smoke. But I will definitely report back when I do use it.
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sounds like a great idea.

    Can't wait to see how it works.

  7. That was the idea, WSM or PBC in 10 seconds. Hmmm...what will it be today?? WSM style or PBC style. Flip a coin.

    The air flow is of course a question mark. If it doesn't work out I still have my original PBC completely in tact, albeit with 3 bolts in it. Or I can easily plug those holes with hight temp silicone. Remember, I am a serial modder. I have lots of supplies on hand to handle just such scenarios. 

    However, I did see some modded PBCs on another board that has an extensive PBC appreciation thread. I think more than one put a deflector shield (a baking stone or a shield from a BGE) in the same general area and they reported no issues. Plus my PBC ran particularly hot getting to 375* and I started closing the bottom vent more and even stuffed foil in a couple of the rebar holes. I am not a temp freak, but i want something a little closer to 275-300. Once it started coming down I unplugged the rebar holes and she ran at about 290-300* with the bottom vent partially closed off with a fridge magnet. In other words, I should be able to overcome the altered air flow issue since I seem to have a lot of head room on the upper end o the temp zone.

    BTW, a couple of PBCers on that board burn only lump and some burn Stubbs in the PBC with no problems at all. Just an FYI. Not that I have a problem with KBB. 
  8. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That's awesome! I want to be a serial modder but I can barely change a light bulb haha.  I know the board you speak of and am always jealous of all the crazy mods guys pull off.  One of the best and easiest ones I have found was to buy a cheap pizza pan and put it under the charcoal basket so you can just lift the pan and throw out the ash.  I have used lump a few times.  I used a combination of lump, 1 rebar out, and a cracked lid to get crispy smoked chicken.  When you follow the PBC timelines and procedures, the chicken is great, but the skin is still rubbery in my opinion.
  9. krj

    krj Fire Starter

    Just curious would anyone mind sharing that other board? I'd be interested in seeing some of the mods people have come up with for the PBC.
  10. Update. Update.

    Since is had been 2 whole days since I smoked anything I went ahead and tested the water pan mod today. I must say, not having the juices dripping on the coals makes a difference. I'm not necessarily saying one is better than the other just yet. I will need some more cooks with both methods and I will likely use both since I like a little variety. 

    And I just may take this in a slightly different direction and simply no put water in the pan and use it as a heat deflector and drip pan. I liked the color and texture I got using the stock method with no water pan. I may look to getting an actual heat shield/deflector. 

    A drawback is that I had to cut the rib racks in half as they were too long and would end up with the ends in the water pan. I may look at a rib rack and use the grate but I really like hanging the meat. 

    I also got a little over ambitious with equipment I have. I found a Weber 18" grate that hinges on both sides. So I thought I would do the ribs with the water pan and then wrap them for just half hour late in the cook but remove the water pan and hang the bird. The wife went wild about the bird a couple days ago so I wanted to do it with the grease fog method. I really needed the 1/2 open grate for this. The bird ended up falling as I was trying to pick it up to put a probe in the breast. It landed bone side down and I salvaged it and put it on the rack to cook it. I also tried to hang it breast side down. Can you tell I like to experiment? 

    There was an issue with temp control since this thing is not designed for a water pan. I ended up having to crack open the lid just a hair (I hung one one of the hooks off the side so the lid rested on that giving it a 1/8 inch crack in the lid). Without the crack in the lid you could see smoke occasionally come through the air intake hole. So air flow became a problem. However once I got the lid cracked and got it dialed in it held temps beautifully. 

    Believe it or not I will consider a UDS or perhaps a WSM in the future. I like the idea of a 55 gal UDS since I could likely hang meat and use a pan/deflector. This way I would use the PBC as it was intended for that grease fog smokiness with the juices dripping in the meat and the UDS for the more wood smoke flavor by using the pan. 

    Anyway, here are a couple of pics from today:

    I didn't cook the ribs on top of the rebar. Just there when I took the pics. 

    The meat stuck to the butcher paper and peeled off some bark. Never happened before. I think I know what happened; I spritzed with some apple juice in the spritz and the sugar stuck. 

  11. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You are an experimenting maniac and I love watching it! The ribs look great!

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