Pit Barrel Cooker


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.



PBC 10

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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.

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The included grill grate allows you to use your PBC for grilling foods that can’t be hung like pizza, burgers, fish etc.

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The horseshoe handles on either side of the PBC make for a great place to hang the lid when needed.

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The separate horseshoe barrel stand is used to elevate your PBC to keep it from burning your grass or deck.

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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

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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.

PBC 17

After I made that adjustment it was time for my first cook on the PBC.

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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.)

PBC 19

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.)

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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.

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PBC 23

Once 15 minutes had passed it was time to put in both steel hanging rods and then hang the tri-tip.

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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.

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PBC 26

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

PBC Temp.

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.

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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.

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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!)

Final Thoughts

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.

For more information on the Pit Barrel Cooker please visit their FacebookTwitter and YouTube pages as well as their Website.


Make sure to check back soon for another BBQ Tools & Tech Review!

Jay Prince

BBQ Tools & Tech Reviewer @ BBQSauceReviews.com


  1. I like the fact that they have an ‘all weather powder coat’. This will prolong the life of the cooker. We used home made barrel pits at work and they are easy to use and produce great results but they would only last a season or two because of rust and burn out.
    I also like your pimped out thermapen.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment Paul! I know with the way the PBC is made I will get many years of great use out of it! Thanks again for leaving a comment!

      ~Jay Prince

  2. I too had an opportunity to cook on my PBC for the first time this past weekend and can say my reaction to the entire experience was nearly identical to yours. Good product, well-made, works exactly as promoted, easy-to-use and the food was spot on. While clearly any live fire product is never a “set it and forget it” the long clean burn time of the charcoal made for an exceptionally easy afternoon of tending to the garden while the PBC needed virtually no attention what-so-ever.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment Barry! Thanks also for the message on our Facebook Page! I am glad to hear you’re enjoying your new PBC. I really love how easy it is to use and clean. Plus I like the small footprint it takes up on our covered porch. I am up to 20 grills/smokers now and I need all the room I can get. 😉 Thanks again for leaving a comment!

      ~Jay Prince

  3. Nice job on the review! This thing has been making waves in the market in recent months. I’d actually love to try one of these out and do a video review of it but with the UDS I can’t justify spending the money. I cross-posted your review on the Man Cave Meals facebook page for my fans there to check out… good job!

    • Thanks so much John! I really appreciate it! I really enjoy all the great video reviews you have posted on your YouTube channel. I always make sure to watch every video you post on there. Keep up the awesome work you do man! Thanks again for sharing my review on your Man Cave Meals Facebook Page!

      ~Jay Prince

  4. Can you also use lump charcoal in this unit?

    • Hi Troy,

      I’m sure you could use lump charcoal in the PBC, but that would definitely make it run a lot hotter. The instructions that come with the PBC highly recommend using Original Kingsford Briquets for the best results. That is the great thing about the PBC, if you follow the instructions to a T, it will produce some delicious eats! Thanks for leaving a comment Troy!

      ~Jay Prince

  5. Thanks, last question I promise.. Can you smoke with this unit if you add a small smoker to the side of it? Well, I am sure you can, How long did the basket of charcoal last? I would love to use this for long slow cooks..

    • Yep, you should have no issues using this cooker with another cooker next to it. Also the charcoal basket holds 8lbs of charcoal, so you wouldn’t have any issues doing long cooks on it either. Here is a link to the contact info for the owner’s Noah & Amber Glanville: http://pitbarrelcooker.com/contact-us/

      You can contact Noah on his cell phone number which is listed on that page, any time of the day and night 24/7. That is one of the awesome things about this company is its great customer service! You can call Noah and ask him any questions you can think of and he will do what he can to make sure he answers them all for you. Let me know if you end up getting one of these cookers. They’re very affordable and very well made as well!

  6. Very cool!

  7. Craig Strid says

    I just got mine delivered today. I initially was looking into pellet smokers but found way too many malfunction and disappointment comments do to the outsourcing to China. I stumbled on positive comments on the Pit Barrel Cooker and decided to research reviews. I could not find a negative. I even searched flavor satisfaction. So with well made, easy to use, innovative idea that works with great results,burns for 7-8 hrs and made in America by a veteran I knew it was the right choice for me. My culinary curiosity got the best of me and I had to taste the rubs included in the box. Triggered by taste buds and they are outstanding. In todays market this outdoor cooker shines for the little guy. I’ve got baby back ribs on the menu for this Labor day weekend. I and my handicapped son are going to be in pig heaven on the patio. I even got Myron Mixons cookbooks so I will marinate the ribs in his use all marinate and use Pit Barrel Cooker rub. For the football season is one gift that will keep on giving.

  8. Will this thing sear a steak or a hamburger. Looks like the grate is too far above the coals to get any real grill marks.

  9. Thanks for the question Mike! I haven’t cooked steak or hamburgers on my PBC as of yet. If I had to make an educated guess I would say the charcoal would be too low below the grate to get any real grill marks. I’ve always used the included stainless steel hooks to hang the meat I’m cooking from the steel hanging rods. If you would like to find out for sure, feel free to go to the PBC contact page at the link below to either email or call the owner Noah. He would definitely be able to help you with that question and any others you may have. Thanks again for the question!


    ~Jay Prince

  10. I can’t quite “hear’ a comment regarding the “smoke” taste using briquettes. Does it get the meat a smoke taste”? I also see comments regarding using the PBC 10 or so time before changing anything – i.e. adding chips for wood flavor. Is it really necessary to cook that many times first? I really like wood (apple, cherry, etc) flavor, and I am not used to smoking on charcoal. Can you expound on this a little? Thanks, Laurence

    • Thanks for leaving a comment Laurence! You can add wood chips or chunks to give the meat some smoke flavor. You don’t have to cook in it 10 or so times first before you use wood chips or chunks. It’s all personal preference if you want to use them or not. The PBC is one of the easiest charcoal cookers I’ve ever used. There’s no vents to adjust and it’s just so super simple to use! Thanks again for leaving a comment!

      ~Jay Prince

      • Thanks. Everyone has seemed a little vague regarding using the PBC in any other manner than exactly stated. Well, I would like to be able to put “myself” into cooking on this cooker, so your comments have been helpful.

  11. I came across the PBC while crusing the internet over the holidays. My initial thought was, a complete drum smoker for $300.00(unit + cover), it’s too good to be true. I ordered one and it sat in my garage until last Sunday. I did a 10lb. pork shoulder to season the barrel. My one “mistake” was that I let the coals go 20 minutes. I blame my senior citizen brain for the time confusion. When I hung the shoulder, the temperature of the pit was 525 degrees !!!!! Over the course of the cook the pit settled in at 290 degrees. It took 6.75 hours to complete the cook. Compared to doing a similar weight shoulder in my Lil Tex Traeger @250, it took about half the time.
    I let the wrapped shoulder rest an hour before pulling it (It was still plenty hot). The meat was tender, juicy, and tasted good; but lacked the smoke flavor I’ve become used to from my Traeger and BGE. I’ll be adding wood chunks next time to the charcoal basket.
    One aspect of the PBC that is different from other grills/smokers is that there’s no way to extinguish the fire. You have to wait for the 8lb. of charcoal to self extinguish. In my case the barrel was still hot 4 hours after I removed the shoulder.

  12. I bought my PBC a few months ago and cannot praise it highly enough! You can see my full review (and others) on Amazon.com, but, in short, this cooker is incredibly easy to use (watch the videos on the PBC website and on YouTube) and produces smokey (yes, smokey!), tender, moist, meat with little or no tending. I always add a few blocks of wood (usually, apple) for extra smoke. I’ve received nothing but “raves” from my family for my ribs, chicken, etc. (Pretty good for a “nooby” BBQ’er!).

  13. Art Millington says

    I got mine the Friday before fathers day. First cook on PBC was 16 lbs full pork ribs. Fired up PBC prepped ribs, inserted hooks, and hung the ribs. The hardest part was not peeking. They were done to perfection. My oldest son (38) is a good chef, and told me they were the best he has ever had. To save charcoal (not really) I cooked a brisket, a pork tenderloin, and two chickens cut in half in one afternoon in about 4 hours.
    All said and done the PBC performed flawlessly.

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