This week’s review is on the Pit Barrel Cooker from the Pit Barrel Cooker Co.
The Pit Barrel Cooker also known as the PBC, is a drum cooker made from a brand new 30 gallon steel drum that has a very durable high-heat all-weather powder coated finish that is rated for 1,000ºF. The PBC is an American Made product that’s extremely well-made and can be used for low and slow cooking as well as grilling.
The first thing I want to point out is how impressed I was with how well this product was packaged for shipping as shown in the pictures below.
As I opened the box the first thing I saw was the horseshoe handle of the PBC lid and the instructions.
I then continued to remove the rest of the parts of the PBC from inside the box. These parts included the 30 gallon steel drum, 8 stainless steel hooks, 2 steel hanging rods, charcoal basket, 17 1/2 inch grill grate, wooden hook remover, horseshoe barrel stand, 4.7oz bottle of All-Purpose Pit Rub and a 4.7oz bottle of Beef & Game Pit Rub.
Below is a picture of everything that is included with the PBC as mentioned above. I was very happy to see that the PBC comes ready to use right out of the box, which was very refreshing to see!
I also thought it was very cool that the Pit Barrel Cooker Co. included a bottle of their All-Purpose Pit Rub and a bottle of their Beef & Game Pit Rub. I always love to try out new rubs whenever possible.
Below are some more pictures of the PBC right before the first cook.
As you can see in the picture below, there are 2 sets of holes near the top of the barrel, one set on the front and one set on the back of the PBC. These holes hold the steel hanging rods which in turn hold the stainless steel hooks that hold the meat you hang to cook.
The wooden hook remover is a very handy tool. It is used to place and also remove the hooks from the steel hanging rods at the start and finish of your cook.
The included grill grate allows you to use your PBC for grilling foods that can’t be hung like pizza, burgers, fish etc.
The horseshoe handles on either side of the PBC make for a great place to hang the lid when needed.
The separate horseshoe barrel stand is used to elevate your PBC to keep it from burning your grass or deck.
The PBC is designed and built to be a set-it-and-forget-it style cooker. You don’t have to guess about how much charcoal to use, or worry about what to set your intake and exhaust dampers to for each cook. You load the same amount of charcoal each time into the pre-measured charcoal basket and once you make the initial adjustment to the bottom vent setting, you never have to adjust it again.
The bottom vent on the PBC is adjusted to half way open upon arrival. See the elevation chart below to figure out the proper vent setting for your elevation.
Sea level up to 2,000 feet – adjust the vent cap to 1/4 way open
2,000 to 5,000 feet – adjust the vent cap to 1/2 way open
5,000 to 8,000 feet – adjust the vent cap to 3/4 way open
8,000 feet and above – adjust the vent cap to make sure it is all the way open
I adjusted the vent on my PBC to 1/4 way open since the elevation of where I live is a little over 1,000 feet above sea level.
After I made that adjustment it was time for my first cook on the PBC.
As with every review I do, I made sure to follow the included instructions to a T. The instructions called for me to pour Original Kingsford Briquets into the pre-measured charcoal basket (8 pounds of charcoal) and then pour a good amount of lighter fluid onto the briquets. (A chimney can be used in lieu of lighter fluid. More information on that can be found on the Pit Barrel Cooker Co. FAQ’s page.)
Once that was done I placed the charcoal basket into the bottom of the PBC and lit the briquets leaving the lid off for exactly 15 minutes. I want to point out that it’s very important to allow the charcoal to heat up for exactly 15 minutes every cook so the coals are ready for cooking and the charcoal burns at a more consistent rate. (20 minutes for all other elevations above 2,000 feet.)
While I was waiting for the PBC to be ready, I rubbed a tri-tip down with the Beef & Game Pit Rub and then slid one of the stainless steel hooks through the meat.
Once 15 minutes had passed it was time to put in both steel hanging rods and then hang the tri-tip.
I used the wooden hook remover to place the stainless steel hook that was holding the tri-tip onto one of the steel hanging rods. I then put on the lid for the remainder of the cook.
After about 35 minutes of cook time, I checked the internal temperature of the trip-tip and my Thermapen showed it as 137º, which is perfect for a nice medium rare.
I then brought the tri-tip into the house and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing. The tri-tip turned out so delicious and was gone within minutes.
For the next cook I decided on a 5lb chicken. I repeated the same start-up steps for the PBC as I mentioned above. I then split the chicken in half and rubbed them down with the All-Purpose Pit Rub and slid one of the stainless steel hooks through each of the chicken halves.
Right at the 15 minute mark I placed both chicken halves onto the steel hanging rods and then put on the lid for the remainder of the cook.
I decided on checking the temperature of the PBC since this was a longer cook than the first. I stuck the probe of my Thermapen in the hole next to one of the rods. My Thermapen read a temperature of around 300º the 5 different times I checked. I was impressed with how well the PBC held an even temperature.
After about 1 hour and 35 minutes of cook time, I checked the temperature of the chickens at the thigh and they both had reached an internal temperature of a 170º.
I then removed the chicken halves from the PBC and brought them into the house to eat. The chicken turned out very moist and tasty. My family and I thought the chicken had an awesome flavor and was cooked perfectly.
The PBC is very easy to clean. After the barrel and charcoal basket have completely cooled you simply dump the ash out and you’re good to go for your next cook. It couldn’t be any easier than that! Please remember not to wash or rinse the inside of your PBC! (Per instructions!)
I have to say I am very impressed with how well the PBC worked! Both meats turned out perfectly and the cooker was extremely easy to use and clean.
Like I mentioned above the PBC is American Made which is always a big plus in my book. I also love the fact that the owner, Noah Glanville, puts his cell phone number on each and every PBC, so you can call him with any questions or comments you may have at any time of the day 24/7. That is what I call excellent customer service!
If you’re in the market for a very affordable set-it-and-forget-it style cooker, then be sure to look into purchasing the Pit Barrel Cooker.
You can purchase the Pit Barrel Cooker here.
Make sure to check back soon for another BBQ Tools & Tech Review!