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Unread 03-10-2013, 08:52 AM   #1
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Default Butts on the Barrel

I picked up a Pit Barrel a few months ago to see what all the hoopla was about. This is my forth cook on the Barrel and first pork butt. Previous cooks were chicken and a rack of baby back. I thought I would share.

I picked up a pair of 6.5# butts from a local grocery store. They were beautiful. Nice size, shape, dark colour, good fat cap. I didn't trim them at all. They were injected with a Chris Lilly 1/2 salt and sugar injection the night before. Then at 7:00 am, I seasoned them up. I used a light coat of Pit Barrel All Purpose, 10 minutes sweat, and then a medium to heavy coat of Pit Barrel Beef and Game (as recommended by Pit Barrel)

Here are the butts all seasoned up:


My last three cooks on the barrel, I've lit it the way Pit Barrel says using lighter fluid. I don't think I've been using enough (yes enough) lighter fluid, because when I light it, it doesn't all go up in flame. Just a small flame at the match. I've tried to throw more matches in etc. The two chicken cooks came out fantastic. But, I swear the babybacks had a strong lighter fluid taste on the first three bones closest to the fire. It was so bad I threw them away. The rest of the rack was good though. Anyway, this cook I decided to go back to using a chimney. I lit about 1/4 of a chimney, maybe 25 briquettes. This is more lit than the lighter fluid method after 20 mins. Here is what it looked like in the Barrel with three chunks of wood. I left the lid off for probably another 5 minutes. My thermometer said it was about 220* right after the lid went on and 20 minutes later it had leveled out 275* - 8:20am.



Here they are hanging. You can see where my Maverick probe is. BUT note, later in the cook I put a thermo on the middle of the grate and it was reading about the same.


Temps fluctuated and dropped down to around 255* for a lot of the cook. Here is after 5 hours. They were just hitting 150* to 160*. I wrapped in foil and put on the grate.


After 7:30 hours, the butts were hitting ~195*. I opened the foil up to firm up the bark a little, gave them another 30 minutes and then pulled them. They were around 200* when I pulled them. I let them sit on the counter for maybe 5 minutes and then wrapped and cooler. 2 hours in the cooler and here is what I had.




and after 8 hours in 30* weather, here is the charcoal left. Probably enough for 2 - 3 more hours.



The butts came out fantastic! Everyone loved it and couldn't stop. I poured the juice off into a jar and then added 1/2 back. That juice was amazing flavor. I really really enjoyed the flavor profile. It was very savory, not the typical sweet spicy that you get with other rubs. Kind of a mix of BBQ and pork roast. This might be one of my top favorite rubs (and I've tried LOTS). I normally don't foil. I somewhat missed the crunchier bark. I need to experiment a little more.



I'm not going to claim the Pit Barrel did anything special that other cookers can't. But, it is a simple easy to use smoker that worked really well. And well built. It is nice for me to have a smaller drum to add to my 55 gal UDS. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one.
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Unread 03-10-2013, 09:02 AM   #2
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That Pork Looks Fantastic !!
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Unread 03-10-2013, 09:05 AM   #3
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I love the color on those butts!

Did you use Kingsford and have you made any adjustments to the vent since getting it?
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Unread 03-10-2013, 09:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
I love the color on those butts!

Did you use Kingsford and have you made any adjustments to the vent since getting it?
This is a good question. I of course have one now and have OBLY made chicken but I was BLOWN away that the farking thing said two hours and at 2 hours precisely (if you saw the video), to the damn minute, the chickens were all 1t 160 Internal and with 4 out of the 6 halves being tender to the twist. The cooker nail the chicken in my opinion.

But as I was editing the video I noticed the smoker vent was set to half open. According to the instructions it needed to be adjusted to 1/4 because I am at 14 -30 feet above sea level.

I am wondering if I should even mess with it at all. I mean I normally like everything hot and fast. I would assume that adjusting to 1/4 open would slow things down... and frankly, I do not want that.

So far, only complaint is the ash at the bottom of the pit.

What's your vent adjusted to and have you farked with it?
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Unread 03-10-2013, 09:29 AM   #5
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I used Kingsford and haven't messed with the vent.

The termo is going to lie for a while due to the closeness to the meat. I also think the direct flame plays games with the thermo. But here is what I wrote down. No lid opening, no adjusting:

8:30 am - 280*
9:00 am - 240*
9:30 am - 268*
10:15 am - 304*
10:30 am - 288*
11:15 am - 297*
12:30 pm - 253*
2:30 pm - 248*
3:30 pm - 259*
4:15 pm - 270*

I was a little worried when it dropped down to 248* and kicked it and moved some stuff around on the patio to better block the wind. It seemed to be running fine. Wind! Time on the butts matched up, I think, to what I would expect from the temps.

I got plans to take a paint pen and mark the outline of the factor stock opening on the side, and then replace the stock nut with a wing nut so I can make adjustments. I just haven't got there yet and I want to really use this thing like it was made until I get a good handle on it. I'm also thinking about adding a thermo. I just haven't decided what the best location is yet though.
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Unread 03-10-2013, 09:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitmaster T View Post
But as I was editing the video I noticed the smoker vent was set to half open. According to the instructions it needed to be adjusted to 1/4 because I am at 14 -30 feet above sea level.
Did you actually get instructions that say what the vent should be set at? I didn't. I would love to see a printed table of the vent setting vs. elevation if it is publicly available. Mostly to satisfy my curiosity.

I haven't measured mine, but I'm guessing from memory that mine is set at about 1/4 open. At the current Chicagoland temps, it could probably be a hair wider. My chickens took closer to 2:20 to cook and didn't get the dark colour that Donnie's did.
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Unread 03-10-2013, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitmaster T View Post

What's your vent adjusted to and have you farked with it?
Mine is probably at about 2/3 open and I'm about 700 feet ASL. I haven't messed with it and it ran hot on my only cook (330 degrees) but I also used hardwood lump because I have half a pallet in the garage.

What temp did your run at for the chicken cook?
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Unread 03-10-2013, 09:42 AM   #8
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I didn't log my chicken temps. The baby backs were between 260* and 280*.

Ron, since we're at the same elevation, we're going to both have to post pictures of our vent and compare. I've wondered about the logistics of custom setting these vents. I'm sure they try hard, but that is crazy hard to achieve if you're selling lots. I'll post a pic of mine later today when I clean it out.

I must say, I do like my Pit Barrel. But, I don't like that there is no default way to shut it down and stop the heat. When the rain is coming, I would like to get it cleaned up and put away. That is hard when you use a full load of charcoal and have 3 - 4 hours left.
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Unread 03-10-2013, 09:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ---k--- View Post
I haven't measured mine, but I'm guessing from memory that mine is set at about 1/4 open. At the current Chicagoland temps, it could probably be a hair wider.
I read that they adjust the vent opening according to the shipping address, so if one guy lives just above sea level and another lives on a mountain, they'll receive cookers with different settings.

That said, mine usually sits around 270 or so, but I considered doing what the previous poster said and marking the current setting and just opening it a crack. But, then again, it might also go higher once the cold goes away and its not so windy.
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Unread 03-10-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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Delicious!
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Unread 03-10-2013, 11:38 AM   #11
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I'm a bit puzzled about the "suggested"(?) vent openings depending on elevation, if they are indeed suggesting the degree of vent opening depending on your altitude. I think the difference in atmospheric pressure is insignificant between sea level and say, 1000 feet, for instance. Of course, I'm only making this comment based on the posts made above.
I can see making air flow adjustments at significantly higher elevations.

Those butts, btw, look real fine!!
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Unread 03-10-2013, 11:45 AM   #12
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Those pork butts look great, sounds like you nailed the cook!

I too, did not recieve any instructions as to vent settings, would love to see that if available as my cooker seemed to run a bit hotter than advertised as well.

Thanks for the post ----k----

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Unread 03-10-2013, 11:54 AM   #13
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Those look amazing. Great job
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Unread 03-10-2013, 11:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbon View Post
I'm a bit puzzled about the "suggested"(?) vent openings depending on elevation, if they are indeed suggesting the degree of vent opening depending on your altitude. I think the difference in atmospheric pressure is insignificant between sea level and say, 1000 feet, for instance. Of course, I'm only making this comment based on the posts made above.
I can see making air flow adjustments at significantly higher elevations.

Those butts, btw, look real fine!!

Its not so much pressure, as oxygen level. Since oxygen is thinner the higher you go, the vent needs to be opened more, and the lower you go the vent is closed more.

I found this out on my...XXX from being in the mountains, using it to going to sea level using it. Drastic changes.

And also, i would eat that.
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Unread 03-10-2013, 12:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ---k--- View Post
Ron, since we're at the same elevation, we're going to both have to post pictures of our vent and compare. I've wondered about the logistics of custom setting these vents. I'm sure they try hard, but that is crazy hard to achieve if you're selling lots. I'll post a pic of mine later today when I clean it out.
Here's mine...




Trump, do you have a picture of yours?
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