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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 07-16-2015, 03:16 PM   #796
Devil_Inside
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Two questions for you, PBC gurus:

1. I would like to add a thermometer so that I can monitor the temperature of the smoker throughout the cooks. If I was to go with an analog thermometer, how long should the stem be and what is a good placement for it? I am hoping to get a fairly accurate reading, but I don't want it to interfere with anything (hanging meat, grill grate, charcoal basket, etc)

2. What is a good, and most importantly, less smoky substitute for the Kingsford Original briquettes? I love BBQ, but I noticed that when I smoke meat in the PBC, especially poultry, the smoke flavor is at times way too much. I still like it, but the rest of the family is not a fan... Should I switch to Kingsford Competition or maybe some kind of Lump charcoal?
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Old 07-16-2015, 03:31 PM   #797
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devil_Inside View Post
Two questions for you, PBC gurus:

1. I would like to add a thermometer so that I can monitor the temperature of the smoker throughout the cooks. If I was to go with an analog thermometer, how long should the stem be and what is a good placement for it? I am hoping to get a fairly accurate reading, but I don't want it to interfere with anything (hanging meat, grill grate, charcoal basket, etc)

2. What is a good, and most importantly, less smoky substitute for the Kingsford Original briquettes? I love BBQ, but I noticed that when I smoke meat in the PBC, especially poultry, the smoke flavor is at times way too much. I still like it, but the rest of the family is not a fan... Should I switch to Kingsford Competition or maybe some kind of Lump charcoal?
Not a PBC owner but I will tell you this...You are NOT getting too much smoke flavor if you aren't using wood chunks. Charcoal doesn't produce smoke flavor but rather you're not getting a clean enough burn in your basket....incomplete combustion. Hotter fire with better exhaust solves that.


Therm, if it were me i'd go right dead center with a 2-3" stem
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Old 07-16-2015, 03:50 PM   #798
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devil_Inside View Post
Two questions for you, PBC gurus:

1. I would like to add a thermometer so that I can monitor the temperature of the smoker throughout the cooks. If I was to go with an analog thermometer, how long should the stem be and what is a good placement for it? I am hoping to get a fairly accurate reading, but I don't want it to interfere with anything (hanging meat, grill grate, charcoal basket, etc)

2. What is a good, and most importantly, less smoky substitute for the Kingsford Original briquettes? I love BBQ, but I noticed that when I smoke meat in the PBC, especially poultry, the smoke flavor is at times way too much. I still like it, but the rest of the family is not a fan... Should I switch to Kingsford Competition or maybe some kind of Lump charcoal?
I wouldn't add a permanent thermometer but if you just want too what fwismoker suggested is good. If you did i would position it right in the middle of the cooking grate and the rebar. So basically about 3" under the rebar.. Personally I use a digital thermometer and run the wires through one of the rebar holes. I use the Maverick ET-733.

As far as smoke flavor, if KBB alone is too smokey 1 or 2 things is happening. 1, it could be from your fire management issues....too low of a fire will give you bad smoke but it seems you would need some wood mixed in for that. The other could be you aren't liking the smoke flavor produced from the juices hitting the coals. I'm wondering if that is your issue because you mentioned it being worse with the butt. You may wanna try rigging up a diffuser which you could make from a pizza pan or rig up a drip pan. Those aren't typically used in the PBC but they could help you with the over smoked flavor you are talking about.
Get your temp issues under control first and see what you think. If still too smokey try a diffuser or drip pan.

Edit: I doubt it's the Kingsford causing your problems but some people prefer Stubbs charcoal or a good lump coal. Some will even mix those.
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Old 07-16-2015, 04:10 PM   #799
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AClarke44 View Post
I wouldn't add a permanent thermometer but if you just want too what fwismoker suggested is good. If you did i would position it right in the middle of the cooking grate and the rebar. So basically about 3" under the rebar.. Personally I use a digital thermometer and run the wires through one of the rebar holes. I use the Maverick ET-733.

As far as smoke flavor, if KBB alone is too smokey 1 or 2 things is happening. 1, it could be from your fire management issues....too low of a fire will give you bad smoke but it seems you would need some wood mixed in for that. The other could be you aren't liking the smoke flavor produced from the juices hitting the coals. I'm wondering if that is your issue because you mentioned it being worse with the butt. You may wanna try rigging up a diffuser which you could make from a pizza pan or rig up a drip pan. Those aren't typically used in the PBC but they could help you with the over smoked flavor you are talking about.
Get your temp issues under control first and see what you think. If still too smokey try a diffuser or drip pan.

Edit: I doubt it's the Kingsford causing your problems but some people prefer Stubbs charcoal or a good lump coal. Some will even mix those.
The worst is with poultry - chicken or turkey. The butt tasted great and everybody liked it actually.

And that's one of the reasons I want to mount a thermometer so that I can monitor the inside temperature and this might give us a clue about how the charcoal is burning.
I have a Thermoworks DOT which I use for the meat, but unfortunately it has a single input so I can't monitor the temperature inside the smoker. So either I need to buy a second one or get an inexpensive analog thermometer...
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Old 07-16-2015, 04:17 PM   #800
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Originally Posted by Devil_Inside View Post
The worst is with poultry - chicken or turkey. The butt tasted great and everybody liked it actually.

And that's one of the reasons I want to mount a thermometer so that I can monitor the inside temperature and this might give us a clue about how the charcoal is burning.
I have a Thermoworks DOT which I use for the meat, but unfortunately it has a single input so I can't monitor the temperature inside the smoker. So either I need to buy a second one or get an inexpensive analog thermometer...

OK yeah with birds you definitely need a hotter fire.....your low Temps and the juices burning on the coals probably gave you the unpleasant flavor.
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:24 PM   #801
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Default information about low temps from Noah

OK guys this is for those of you at sea level (or very close) with the temp drop issue. I spoke with Noah today (he is every bit as friendly and easy to talk to as you've heard).....I explained it seems that there were folks in humid areas that had issues with temps dropping in the PBC. Assuming you are following the lighting procedures correctly he said to try opening your vent cap (intake) to 1/2 open. He also said he thinks the temps dropping could be due to the humidity getting to the charcoal you are using and it may be obsorbing some of the moisture (my words). If your temps still drop he said to crack your lid 3/4" and let it stay that for for at least 20 minutes. That will help the fire get going better. He thinks those two procudures will help with the issue. He said it seems that people in humid areas buy a bag of coal open it and cook with little or no issues but run into the temp issues when they cook again with the remaining coal (that was left in the bag not in the coal basket after a cook). That's why he thinks the humidity may be getting to the charcoal.

Now he didn't say this but I believe cracking the lid for 20 minutes may help "dry out" your coals so to speak. If the humidity is getting to the charcoal, that along with the juices dripping on the coals would help us understand the temp drop. Your coals don't have to look or feel wet either. But don't forget charcoal will absorb moisture and unless they are soaked you probably won't know. I didn't even think about that when I mentioned the temp drop issue seem to only be in humid areas. I would also recommend putting your charcoal in an air tight container after opening to keep humidity out.

Hopefully this will help you guys.....
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:43 PM   #802
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I found that when the lower vent is facing into the wind, the temps will drop. I turned mine out of the wind a few weeks ago and the temp rose back to around 280* within minutes.

I had not considered "moist" charcoal, but I will keep an eye on my pork butt cook this weekend to see what happens as I will be using KBB from an open bag.
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:10 PM   #803
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HooBQ View Post
I found that when the lower vent is facing into the wind, the temps will drop. I turned mine out of the wind a few weeks ago and the temp rose back to around 280* within minutes.

I had not considered "moist" charcoal, but I will keep an eye on my pork butt cook this weekend to see what happens as I will be using KBB from an open bag.
That's odd, I would have thought the wind would make it hotter.....good information to know.

As far as the charcoal goes I've even noticed the open bags seem to take longer to light. Matter of fact one of the reasons I started using a propane turkey fryer burner to light my chimney is because some of the charcoal seemed to take forever to light. Even though humidity is pretty low in Oklahoma I bet it was still getting to my coals based on where I store them. Especially if it rains the storage area gets humid! Never put the two together though....duh!
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:16 PM   #804
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AClarke44 View Post
That's odd, I would have thought the wind would make it hotter.....good information to know.

As far as the charcoal goes I've even noticed the open bags seem to take longer to light. Matter of fact one of the reasons I started using a propane turkey fryer burner to light my chimney is because some of the charcoal seemed to take forever to light. Even though humidity is pretty low in Oklahoma I bet it was still getting to my coals based on where I store them. Especially if it rains the storage area gets humid! Never put the two together though....duh!
Humidity does make a difference and to a degree the charcoal does absorb some but not as much as you think.

With humidity it's important to have a small hot fire established then it's not as big of a factor. Too often people start cooking when the fire isn't established then is when humidity can drag the fire down...Kinda of like a load on it.

When you see a good section of coals really red hot glowing it will power through it no problem. So it doesn't matter how much humidity you have if you have the proper ratio of lit coals...each one produces so much BTU's

Remember what you have to have to make a fire....Triangle of fuel, oxygen and heat. Opening that vent and allowing more oxygen is the accelerant it needs to get the fire hotter so the humidity doesn't cool it down as much. Humidity is taking away heat
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:29 AM   #805
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Thanks. I started a Google spreadsheet for it, and added a couple fields based on yours. Do you do any fun stuff like charts, graphs, pivot tables etc?
I have graphed out some things using a pareto chart, but nothing too fancy yet. Google docs isn't as comprehensive as excel is. I may just use excel & share it to my other devices via my home network.


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Originally Posted by Blcarney View Post
To make sure I'm reading you correctly, you pulled & wrapped the butts (never thought I'd type those words in that order) at 6:04, then back in the PBC for 2 hours, then rested for 2 hours? Total time = 10 hours? Or did you pull / wrap at 6 hours, then rest for 2 hours?

I took it off the PBC(sorry for the term pulled, seems confusing for pork or chicken lol) at 6hrs to wrap it & put it back in the PBC for another ~2hrs until the bone was wiggling. Then I took it out of the PBC& let it rest still wrapped in foil on my counter for 2 hrs. so yep, total time of 10 hrs.

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Old 07-17-2015, 07:59 AM   #806
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I know I'll get flamed for this but I have found using the lighter fluid method (and using plenty of it) works the best for me. It provides a good, even burn that lasts. I light it outside the barrel and then place the basket in the barrel with a heavy rake when it's nice and hot.
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:02 AM   #807
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AClarke44 View Post
That's odd, I would have thought the wind would make it hotter.....good information to know.

As far as the charcoal goes I've even noticed the open bags seem to take longer to light. Matter of fact one of the reasons I started using a propane turkey fryer burner to light my chimney is because some of the charcoal seemed to take forever to light. Even though humidity is pretty low in Oklahoma I bet it was still getting to my coals based on where I store them. Especially if it rains the storage area gets humid! Never put the two together though....duh!
Put a gamma seal lid onto a bucket and you've got an airtight seal for outdoor storage.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:00 AM   #808
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjess50 View Post
I know I'll get flamed for this but I have found using the lighter fluid method (and using plenty of it) works the best for me. It provides a good, even burn that lasts. I light it outside the barrel and then place the basket in the barrel with a heavy rake when it's nice and hot.
No flames from me. I have used the lighter fluid method and I agree that it is the most fool-proof method of lighting the coal basket. Most of us try to use the chimney method because we are used to using it and don't want the added expense of buying lighter fluid. Some claim to be able to taste the difference on the food, but I have not found that personally.

I do believe that lighting the coal basket effectively is the key to consistent results on the PBC. It is the only variable factor in the cooker's design. It takes a number of cooks to settle in to a repeatable lighting routine and it is truly the only critical part of the cook up until the time you pull your food. Many of us don't give this 15-20 minute process the attention it requires (too busy with food prep) and the results will always be inconsistent until we do.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:46 AM   #809
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I do believe that lighting the coal basket effectively is the key to consistent results on the PBC. It is the only variable factor in the cooker's design. It takes a number of cooks to settle in to a repeatable lighting routine and it is truly the only critical part of the cook up until the time you pull your food. Many of us don't give this 15-20 minute process the attention it requires (too busy with food prep) and the results will always be inconsistent until we do.
Nice! 100% agree.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:49 AM   #810
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I keep up on this thread plus there's a Facebook page for PBC lovers and there are always so many people worried about temp. monitoring, and making modifications. I guess it's not in my nature to concentrate on these things. I bought my PBC because I thought it was a set it-and-forget it cooker. For the most part it is, I know it a lot better now. I know how long the butts, ribs, chickens take. And I have no clue what temperature the PBC is running at.
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