Pit Barrel Cooker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by wood river bbq, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. wood river bbq

    wood river bbq Smoke Blower

    I cook most stuff on a Lang. My wife prefers to cook chicken on a Weber 22.5 kettle. There are 3 products (Buffalo Wing’s, St. Louis Ribs and Salmon) that I’ve cooked on the Lang that have not done so well. They came out OK but I was dissatisfied with the results. A couple of weeks ago, while looking for a smoker I could store in my motor home, I stumbled onto the PIT BARREL COOKER. I was a bit skeptical but after checking several reviews and not finding any negative reviews I decided to purchase one.

    So far I’ve cooked Buffalo Wing’s, St. Louis Ribs and yesterday cooked Salmon on my Pit Barrel Cooker. I pretty much followed the recipe Pit Barrel Cookers suggest – I did change a few things with the meat preparation but not much.  I was skeptical about what the results would be because the PBC seemed too easy. The cook result was beyond what I expected. In fact, it was great!!

    The PBC is as close to “set it & forget it” as you can get. I don’t mind tending the fire on the Lang. Tending the fire is one reason “lounge chairs and beer” were invented and part of the gig when you own an offset smoker. Before I stumbled onto the PBC I was looking at a small Weber Smokey Mountain, which would have done the job for me. I was also thinking about building a UDS but a 55 gal drum would be too big for my motor home. The 33 gal drum PBC is a perfect fit

    The PBC is made in the US and the customer service is way above average. It turned out there was a 2 day delay in the promised shipping time and owner’s wife called me to explain the situation!! PBC will even add a logo with your branch of the military and the owner includes his cell phone number on the label.

    My son’s idea of smoking is firing up the propane grill and slapping on the meat. He thinks I’m crazy messing with the Lang. I’m going to buy him a Pit Barrel Cooker to see if I can hook him on smoking. 
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    O.K., Wood river, if you're dissatisfied with your Lang, I'll be there to pick it up as soon as I can be there. No use having that big old thing sitting around , right [​IMG]  [​IMG]

    Your PBC will be good for trips , if you would permit me , I have an article that may help with the Lang  : darn ,I can't bring the link , but search "Sticburning 101"
  3. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The PBC is one nice smoker!  I debated long and hard whether to get the WSM or the PBC.  I'm such a fumble fingers nowadays that's what tipped the scales for me to the WSM.  Heck, my wife won't let me unload the dishwasher because I keep dropping and breaking things.  I had visions of meat laying in the fire.   

    The PBC is a great smoker to get your son hooked. 
  4. wood river bbq

    wood river bbq Smoke Blower

    Noboundries: I also had visions of meat laying in the fire but that's not the case. Check out their video's, which speak for themselves. The owners of PBC (Noah/Amber) developed and tested a great product and before they put it on the market they made sure it worked plus they stand behind their product. I admire these folks because of the business this veteran created from scratch and how they created it. It's what's lacking today in the USA -- most of what we buy is crap made in China.

    Oldschoolbbq: I know you're joking and for the money the Lang is a good cooker but quality control & customer service is lacking. It's like buying a used Mercedes Benz -- you like the ride and feel of the car but the body work and the paint job suck. Knowing what I now know about cookers, after modifying 2 cheapo cookers and having to re-weld gaps in Lang fire box door that you could see through, I should have purchased a Peoria Custom Cooker. If you've got $1500 in loose change hanging around you can have the Lang and I'll put it towards a Peoria Custom Cooker, which I should have purchased in the first place.

    Let me know when you can pick up the Lang and I'll keep the light on for you!!
  5. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I am looking at getting one as well.  While I enjoy a day feeding and monitoring my stick burner and my electric just does not hold much meat.  I am looking for something for those days when I need to be a bit more free from my smoker or need something more portable.  I simply cannot find a single negative review on the web.  

    Plus for $299 it is a low investment if I hate it,  Anyone regret buying?

    Thanks in advance.

    Smoke ON!

    - Jason
  6. krj

    krj Fire Starter

    I finally pulled the trigger and bought a PBC at like 10pm last Wednesday(11th). Fedex dropped it off Saturday(16th), and within roughly 30 minutes I had coals burning in the bottom and a rack of babybacks hanging. I didn't tinker, I didn't toil, I did have to hook both ends of my ribs because my slab was to long. Kind of a weird meat U thing I had going on. This was a quick easy fix because I had my hands full and no good way of stopping. Next pass this will be fixed by cutting the slab in half and hanging. Popped the lid on, and save for a few times I checked just to make sure I was still lit I let her go unattended for 2 hours. I cooked with just charcoal this pass. The reason I checked on it was because I wasn't getting much in the way of smoke being vented through the rod holes.

    After two hours I foiled my ribs, pulled the rods, swapped to the grate, threw the ribs back on with some chicken thighs, and closed it up again. I kinda lost track of time at that point, best estimate says I left it somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours. Probed the chicken, which blew past 165 and had me worried. Pulled everything, tore off a couple ribs for my plate and a couple thighs. Everything was perfect. Chicken, despite going above 165, was juicy and tender. Ribs weren't fall of the bone, but gave super easy while still having a little bite, which is how I like them.

    All said and done, I'm completely happy with my purchase. Outside of needing to half my ribs, for a rushed job it went great. I have a 3lb butt in the fridge that will probably get hung today if I go get more charcoal. I will be ordering the grate they offer that hinges so you can hang ribs and have grate space at the same time. I'll probably also modify the drum, adding three more tabs(bolts probably) to hold a second rack. After this pass with the butt, I'll probably cook up some food for my folks and their hired hands for lunch one day this week.
  7. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member


    Glad to hear you are happy.

    To my surprise I came home to find a PBC at my house, my wonderful wife had heard me talking about it and decided to surprise me with it as a belated birthday gift.  Can't wait to fire it up this weekend.  Now....what to start with???  Maybe a side by side competition with my stick burner?  Or is it too early for that?

    Smoke ON!

    - Jason
  8. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have been using the PBC for about a year and I love it.  I just really enjoy the flavor the meat gets from dripping directly onto the coals.  I have not made anything on it that I didn't like.   I will say my only complaint is when cooking chicken on it (according to Noah's instructions) the skin is still not crispy.  It comes out great but the skin needs higher temps,  But there are ways to make that happen with a little tinkering.
  9. krj

    krj Fire Starter

    Fired my PBC up for the second time this morning to cook lunch for friends. Hung two slabs of ribs that had been halved because of the length issue, smoked them with a handful of hickory chips for about an hour forty, wrapped and threw them back in with some ABTs I made up, and went another hour twenty. Ribs were fall apart tender, had just the right amount of smoke, and were well received by the guys. ABTs were pretty crisp, way more done than I would have liked. I think next pass at them I'll give them a good check at forty minutes and then an hour. I'm thinking an hour will be spot on.

    Adding to the modification list is a pan/tray of some sort to catch ash. PBC sells one, not sure if it's worth the 30 dollars. Also I need to figure out a better way of lowering the charcoal basket into the bottom. My first pass I had the basket already in the barrel and I haphazardly poured my coals from my chimney over the top. This caused in losing a few lit coals, and was a pain because there isn't much for space to maneuver a chimney in a barrel that size. This morning I left the basket out, poured in my hot coals, and with a grillinator glove lowered it in. That worked decent, except for the singed hairs on my arm and a warm hand even through the glove. I might just weld a loop on the handle and have a hook tool to keep my digits further away.

    Next meal on is either a butt or a bacon wrapped loin. The guys all sounded interested in either, so I think I'll do a test pass for "quality control", before I serve it up to them.
  10. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    As far as a tray for the ashes, I started by simply layering the bottom of the PBC with heavy duty foil but then I just got a pizza pan for about 6 bucks. Works great! 16 inch pan will do the job. Also, for pouring the hot coals, it's worth it to invest in the weber mini chimney. Makes it so much easier to maneuver.

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