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Pit Barrel Cooker Thoughts......


Joined Sep 17, 2020
After watching many YouTube videos using the PBC ive already been improvising some the suggested techniques on how to smoke Spare Ribs.

Many of the videos and my 3 cooks as a rookie have created results where the ribs are just too dang dark on the bark and while tender enough, a tad bit over cooked.

My “solution” is to reduce the number of coals in the basket. Half the amount will still get you to 275-300ish heat. 3.5-4 hour cook on the PBC seems to be a bit much. 2.5 without foil but with butcher paper has been my first experiment.

I couldn’t find a PBC thread so im putting this out there to get some feedback and maybe get directed to a proper PBC discussion.

Im used to 225-285 on my Weber Kettle.....

Spodie Odie

Fire Starter
Joined Apr 17, 2019
Batmon, I have cooked on the PBC a few times now. I actually I cooked my best pork butt on that thing. I have gotten mixed results with it. Hanging ribs is a challenge and if not done correctly you will lose a slab or two to the pit... happened on the first cook. If you hang the ribs you're able to fit a good amount of racks and feed a lot of people. With that said, I have had better results with using the grate but that limits you to 3-4 racks of ribs... I have been getting the best results on ribs using on the weber/ PBC using this method:
I trim my spares ST Louis Style- I'm sure there are threads on here on how to do that

Obviously you can't do the following if you hang the ribs- well maybe you can try it but keep in mind that hanging the ribs toward the fire may be too hot for this cook, and you can only fit 3-4 racks on the grate.

1- Keep temps around 275- I use lump charcoal B&B Hickory - green bag is my favorite and a few wood chunks (cherry or pecan are my go-to)
2- Smoke the ribs for 2.5 hours
3- Wrap in double HD foil with a combo of a good splash of apple juice along with a thin bbq sauce of your choice (vinegar-based is prefered as it will balance out the sweetness of the apple juice)
4- check at the 1.5 hour mark for good pull back and and IT of close to 195.
5- Once it is between 195-198 take out and put back on the pit and brush sauce and until it tacks on there about 10 minutes later.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Dec 1, 2019
Many people love the Pit Barrel, and one of the reasons is the fact the design (for the most part) eliminates vent settings. The lower vent is set per your altitude and the upper vents are the 4 holes where the rebar hangers are and is supposed to give you a pit temp of 275° to 310°. Another reason is the hanging option for meats. And finally the price is very attractive.

I've been cooking on drums for 10 or 12 years, Now, for the record.... mine are taller than a standard 55 gallon drum, and have X-large charcoal baskets, but the design is similar. The first modification I made was a hanging rack, which I thought would be great for jerky and sausages, but later found out it was wonderful for whole loins, pork ribs and briskets. All that said, if you are having trouble with color, or doneness, the first thing I would do is build a typical fire and measure pit temps, both at the grate level (in several locations) but also at different heights in the drum. If you temps are higher than 275°, experiment with the intake vent.


Joined Sep 17, 2020
Tried my first Duck in the PBC, and I didn't like the amount of smoke it produced from the fat drippings.
I'm used to having a drip pan under Duck in a Weber kettle.
I dont think I'll return to making a Duck in a Pit Barrel.

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