You Pit Barrel Cooker Guys?

BILLYBOBSTEXAS

Well-Known Member
I haven't smoked St. Louis style ribs for quite a few years. I'm a baby back ribs guy, too. Maybe I'll have to try the St. Louis style again, sometime.

Also, I've noticed that the membrane has already been removed on the last few baby backs I've bought (last few years I have smoked only a couple times a year). I always look for it, though. Am I to assume everyone does remove the membrane or is there anyone who leaves it on?

I have an older side heat smoker and use coals for heat and wood chunks. For wood chunks, I usually use a combination of three woods in any combination...apple, cherry, pecan, peach, (any fruit wood) and hickory. If I use mesquite, I use it sparingly.
There was a membrane on the two I smoked. I did remove them.
 

KCHawkeye

Well-Known Member
It's definitely a true smoker when you use wood chunks.

I used to have an offset which is the standard classic, but I find I get better smoke and better smoke rings using the barrel.

Whatever you do don't soak the chunks. My neighbor does that and it's the most acrid smelling (and tasting) thing ever. No idea why one would even think about doing that.
Remember, guys. It isn't the size of the smoker that counts...it's the taste of the meat. ;-)
 

MelroseHawkins

Well-Known Member
Well, I switched gears on the PBC and decided to sell that on Marketplace and shift to a pellet grill. I was debating between the two when I bought the PBC but went with it because I found it local in a ACE Hardware store. I tried it a handful of times but just think I'd enjoy the pellet grill more. Also, I should still get a pretty good price out of it since it is lightly used.

I actually found and picked up a Broil King Baron pellet grill at Menards on clearance for $445.00. It's online at multiple sites including ACME and Home Depot for $1,040.00. I think Menards had it for $800 before dropping it down. Pretty happy. It is very well made with thick steel and cast iron grates. It's a heavy beast. It should be on track with the Green Mountain pellet grills as far as quality and build.
 
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Fryowa

Administrator
Well, I switched gears on the PBC and decided to sell that on Marketplace and shift to a pellet grill. I was debating between the two when I bought the PBC but went with it because I found it local in a ACE Hardware store. I tried it a handful of times but just think I'd enjoy the pellet grill more. Also, I should still get a pretty good price out of it since it is lightly used.

I actually found and picked up a Broil King Baron pellet grill at Menards on clearance for $445.00. It's online at multiple sites including ACME and Home Depot for $1,040.00. I think Menards had it for $800 before dropping it down. Pretty happy. It is very well made with thick steel and cast iron grates. It's a heavy beast. It should be track with the Green Mountain pellet grills as far as quality and build.
If you like simplicity, you can't get simpler than a pellet grill.

I actually upgraded my Pit Barrel to be fully controllable by wifi. Thermoworks makes a product called "Bellows" which is a fan that attaches to the inlet. It's run by a 4 probe wifi thermometer that doubles as the controller.

You just tell it through the app what temp you want, and it does the rest. By turning the fan on and off it maintains a set temp and it's crazy accurate. I like that I don't have to stay home to monitor the thing. I can go wherever I want and see the meat temp and smoker temp, and adjust it if I want right from my phone.
 

MelroseHawkins

Well-Known Member
If you like simplicity, you can't get simpler than a pellet grill.

I actually upgraded my Pit Barrel to be fully controllable by wifi. Thermoworks makes a product called "Bellows" which is a fan that attaches to the inlet. It's run by a 4 probe wifi thermometer that doubles as the controller.

You just tell it through the app what temp you want, and it does the rest. By turning the fan on and off it maintains a set temp and it's crazy accurate. I like that I don't have to stay home to monitor the thing. I can go wherever I want and see the meat temp and smoker temp, and adjust it if I want right from my phone.
That's crazy that it can be adjusted using charcoal like that by adjusting the air, and having the consistency.

I've heard soooo many complaints from multiple companies about people having issues with connecting and the Bluetooth apps to grills. It doesn't bother me, as I just plan to set it and monitor it with my therm probe . I presume it isn't going to work very well so the 1 and 2* reviews from people bitching about the apps not working doesn't really bother me. I don't need to have my grill connect to my phone, especially as you point out, for a pellet grill which is pretty hard to screw up. I like the versatility of it and not messing with the charcoal. I've cooked a handful of times and each time I've taken the chicken or pork shoulder off it's not been done and well over the time I thought it would take. the last time it was getting like 8:00 p.m. and the wife was getting restless asking when it was going to be done. So, bring it in and try to shred the rubbery pork then finish in the microwave. That's when I said I was done. Then I noticed every meal would have the very same overbearing charcoal taste. It's a unique taste but every meal would taste the same as far as that unique aftertaste. Maybe that's just me, but was noticeable to me.

It's similar to having appliances like refrigerators connect to a phone. I could give a fuck and don't need that. I'm not going to monitor my kitchen appliances.

I was more interested in the build quality and temp consistency. The Broil King has a real heavy lid that seals pretty well.

But damn, your pics above look good.
 

okeefe4prez

Well-Known Member
If you like simplicity, you can't get simpler than a pellet grill.

I think you mean ease of use, not simplicity. The pit burl is the simplest smoker on the market. There's nothing that can go wrong on it until the sumnabitch rusts through. Pellet grills have all kinds of things that can and will go wrong. My neighbor was doing a bunch of crap for a big party and something broke on the auger on his Traeger and it wouldn't feed pellets. Luckily me and another dude were able to bail his ass out before the guests arrived with my pit burl and a weber smokey mountain.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
That's crazy that it can be adjusted using charcoal like that by adjusting the air, and having the consistency.

I've heard soooo many complaints from multiple companies about people having issues with connecting and the Bluetooth apps to grills. It doesn't bother me, as I just plan to set it and monitor it with my therm probe . I presume it isn't going to work very well so the 1 and 2* reviews from people bitching about the apps not working doesn't really bother me. I don't need to have my grill connect to my phone, especially as you point out, for a pellet grill which is pretty hard to screw up. I like the versatility of it and not messing with the charcoal. I've cooked a handful of times and each time I've taken the chicken or pork shoulder off it's not been done and well over the time I thought it would take. the last time it was getting like 8:00 p.m. and the wife was getting restless asking when it was going to be done. So, bring it in and try to shred the rubbery pork then finish in the microwave. That's when I said I was done. Then I noticed every meal would have the very same overbearing charcoal taste. It's a unique taste but every meal would taste the same as far as that unique aftertaste. Maybe that's just me, but was noticeable to me.

It's similar to having appliances like refrigerators connect to a phone. I could give a fuck and don't need that. I'm not going to monitor my kitchen appliances.

I was more interested in the build quality and temp consistency. The Broil King has a real heavy lid that seals pretty well.

But damn, your pics above look good.
Yeah with BBQ it's a temp and tenderness thing instead of time. I've had 3 pork shoulders within a few ounces of each other and bought at the same time that took over an hour difference between them. I've also had shoulders that were probe tender at 195 and ones that weren't probe tender till north of 205. It's more of an art type thing. People always ask me when stuff is going to be done and I always tell them, "When it's done."

I was a little skeptical of the fan unit but it works great. Basically it seals the bottom vent off, and let's say you set the temp at 250. When it goes below 250 it pulsates the fan until it's back up to temp and then shuts off. At 250 it'll ride between 245 and 255 for 12 plus hours.

What I like to do when shoulders or brisket hit the stall is crank up the heat to 325, and with this thing I just open the app on my phone and bump it up. Fan comes on until it gets there and then it holds it.

I will say they did a great job with the software algorithms. It has a feature that senses when you just open the lid for a few seconds to sauce or spritz, and it doesn't try to send the thing in turbo mode. I'm sure they did a ton of testing but whatever algorithm they finally settled on just rides nice and tight in a 10-15 degree window.
 

MelroseHawkins

Well-Known Member
I think you mean ease of use, not simplicity. The pit burl is the simplest smoker on the market. There's nothing that can go wrong on it until the sumnabitch rusts through. Pellet grills have all kinds of things that can and will go wrong. My neighbor was doing a bunch of crap for a big party and something broke on the auger on his Traeger and it wouldn't feed pellets. Luckily me and another dude were able to bail his ass out before the guests arrived with my pit burl and a weber smokey mountain.
This is true. There are many moving parts and some maintenance as far as making sure it is clean with no ash build-up.
 

okeefe4prez

Well-Known Member
Then I noticed every meal would have the very same overbearing charcoal taste. It's a unique taste but every meal would taste the same as far as that unique aftertaste. Maybe that's just me, but was noticeable to me.

I do all outdoor cooking on charcoal. I love it, but some people find it acrid. I'll admit after the first summer/fall I had it I couldn't eat BBQ for probably 9 months because I cooked so much shit on the pit burl. I find that diversity on the pit burl is real important. You need to run hickory, applewood or a combo thereof through it with most items. It significantly curtails the charcoal taste. Furthermore, I am a big fan of a wrap or finishing in the oven when warranted. Chicken doesn't need that, but things like shoulder or stl ribs really benefit from it.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
I do all outdoor cooking on charcoal. I love it, but some people find it acrid. I'll admit after the first summer/fall I had it I couldn't eat BBQ for probably 9 months because I cooked so much shit on the pit burl. I find that diversity on the pit burl is real important. You need to run hickory, applewood or a combo thereof through it with most items. It significantly curtails the charcoal taste. Furthermore, I am a big fan of a wrap or finishing in the oven when warranted. Chicken doesn't need that, but things like shoulder or stl ribs really benefit from it.
If I'm in no hurry and just doing a shoulder for pulled pork the next day, I don't wrap and just let 'er buck.

If I have a target time I wrap in butcher paper and finish in a 350 oven. At that point the meat isn't taking smoke anymore.

I've settled on either pecan or ash for wood, and I'm slowly merging to all ash.

Ash sounds like a goofy wood because it's not common commercially, but two years ago I went to Virginia to visit a buddy and we stopped at a well known pit joint that had been there for decades. The guy running the show told me Ash was his secret weapon, and he told me to try it. I had a TON of ash firewood right from my own backyard so I gave it a go and it's great. Our town and just about every grove around here are ash and I have a lifetime supply, especially now that the emerald ash borer is here and killing all the trees.
 

okeefe4prez

Well-Known Member
People always ask me when stuff is going to be done and I always tell them, "When it's done."

Whenever I have guests over for something on the pit burl, I start with the time they are coming and run a calculation of when the food "should" be done. Then, depending on what it is, I will add 60 minutes to 120 minutes to cooking time (for anything other than chicken, for which I add a mere 15 minutes) and make sure the meat is dropped and the blue smoke is rolling at exactly the extended time I calculate. It seems to me there is a universal law of smoking meats which is that the time it takes to finish is precisely correlated to the number of people who are going to eat the meats. If it's just me, it always finishes 10-15 minutes early. If I have 12 people coming over it runs 120 minutes long.
 

okeefe4prez

Well-Known Member
If I'm in no hurry and just doing a shoulder for pulled pork the next day, I don't wrap and just let 'er buck.

If I have a target time I wrap in butcher paper and finish in a 350 oven. At that point the meat isn't taking smoke anymore.

I've settled on either pecan or ash for wood, and I'm slowly merging to all ash.

Ash sounds like a goofy wood because it's not common commercially, but two years ago I went to Virginia to visit a buddy and we stopped at a well known pit joint that had been there for decades. The guy running the show told me Ash was his secret weapon, and he told me to try it. I had a TON of ash firewood right from my own backyard so I gave it a go and it's great. Our town and just about every grove around here are ash and I have a lifetime supply, especially now that the emerald ash borer is here and killing all the trees.

Ash sounds interesting. I just love hickory, though. It's all over the place down here and there's something magical about smelling hickory throwing off smoke in the Carolina foothills.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
Ash sounds interesting. I just love hickory, though. It's all over the place down here and there's something magical about smelling hickory throwing off smoke in the Carolina foothills.
Ash is super close. For all practical purposes they're the same to my nose. It's just that in Iowa the stuff is literally in everyone's front or back yard for the taking.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
Whenever I have guests over for something on the pit burl, I start with the time they are coming and run a calculation of when the food "should" be done. Then, depending on what it is, I will add 60 minutes to 120 minutes to cooking time (for anything other than chicken, for which I add a mere 15 minutes) and make sure the meat is dropped and the blue smoke is rolling at exactly the extended time I calculate. It seems to me there is a universal law of smoking meats which is that the time it takes to finish is precisely correlated to the number of people who are going to eat the meats. If it's just me, it always finishes 10-15 minutes early. If I have 12 people coming over it runs 120 minutes long.
That's one benefit to not being a drinker. I'm totally comfortable getting out of bed at 4:30 on Saturday morning to have a shoulder done for supper.
 

okeefe4prez

Well-Known Member
That's one benefit to not being a drinker. I'm totally comfortable getting out of bed at 4:30 on Saturday morning to have a shoulder done for supper.

I put a 10 beer a month limit on myself as a new year's reso. 0 in Jan and Feb. Drank 5 on Friday night to get to 9 for the month of July. Felt so awful at 2 AM it will probably be a month before I have another beer.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
I put a 10 beer a month limit on myself as a new year's reso. 0 in Jan and Feb. Drank 5 on Friday night to get to 9 for the month of July. Felt so awful at 2 AM it will probably be a month before I have another beer.
It's hell getting old.
 

KCHawkeye

Well-Known Member
Old Brinkmann Pitmaster Delux. Just spent two days getting ready for company for my daughter's wedding next month. Gave a few ours of smoke then finished in the oven. I aways use an even mix of three fruit woods. Usually apple, cherry and pecan.

I smoked two briskets, two shoulders and twelve racks of baby backs. It was a chore, but got it done. I should have added another day.

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