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18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
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- Includes 8 stainless steel hooks to hook-n-hang your meal and a standard grate for grilling and searing
- Included coal basket is sized for the ideal amount of charcoal for the perfect cook
- Unique design makes the PBC simple to operate, producing consistently impressive results with minimal hassle compared to other cooker options
- Minimal assembly required to get cooking
- Package includes everything you will need to get started: 2 Hanging Rods, 8 Stainless Steel Hooks, Standard Grill Grate, Charcoal Basket, and Hook Remover Tool (Seasonings Not Included)
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The PBC Package includes the following: 1-30 Gallon Porcelain Coated Steel Drum, 8-Stainless Steel Hooks, 2-Steel Hanging Rods, 1-Charcoal Basket, 1-Grill Grate, 1-Wooden Hook Remover, and 1- 3 Point Barrel stand (Seasonings Not Included). The Pit Barrel Cooker combines the best qualities of smokers and slow cookers to create a unique "vertical cooking experience" that produces perfectly cooked meat every time. It is designed to allow shorter cooking times without the need to regulate temperature or smoke. It is simple to use, portable and built to last. The PBC has received rave reviews from some of the biggest names in BBQ. AmazingRibs.com declares Pit Barrel to be the "best bargain on a smoker in the world", and gave it their top Best Value Gold Medal Award. Famed writer and TV host, Steven Raichlen, added Pit Barrel to the lineup of grills and smokers at his Barbecue University where it stands alongside cookers with five figure price tags. We believe that every outdoors man and woman that enjoys cooking will want a Pit Barrel Cooker because everyone who tries one is simply amazed by the flavor it produces and ease of use.
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Here are some tips for those just starting out:
1. The way the PBC (or any smoker) maintains a low, consistent heat inside the unit for extended periods of time is totally dependent on the so-called "Minon Method". Jim Minon came up with this method so there would be a low temp that would last a long time inside his smoker. Instead of lighting all the coals at once, which resulted in things getting way too hot and the coals burning out too soon, he lit only a small amount of the charcoal and poured it on top of the rest of the unlit coals. Using this method, a small amount of coals would stay lit and burn down, lighting the unlit coals, maintaining a low, consistent temperature over the cook. How much you light and how long you allow the bunch to get going before you close the lid can make a huge difference in the inside temp and how long the coals last.
The instructions for the PBC say to light your coals and wait 20 minutes and then close the lid. Do not waver from the 20 minute time. If you do, the coals will get too hot and STAY too hot for the duration of your cook. However, there is a world of variability in how you do this which can have significant impact on your cook. How many briquettes you load in your chimney starter and when place on the rest in the charcoal basket will make a big difference in how hot your PBC gets and stays that way. You can load it full, or only a third and this will result in different temps throughout your cook. If you leave the briquettes in the chimney until the last few minutes of the suggested 20 minutes before you pour them on the rest in the charcoal basket, this will result in a lower temp in your PBC throughout the cook. Or you can pour the briquettes from the chimney onto the rest in the basket as soon as they are started, allowing the entire bunch to get going for that 20 minutes.
If you're looking to really slow things down, then fill the chimney only 1/3rd full and pour it on the rest of the charcoal only a couple minutes before you put your food on and close the lid. This will result in a nice, low temperature throughout your cook that will last eight or more hours. If you want to cook hotter (and subsequently faster), then fill your chimney full and pour it on as soon as it's lit well and allow the rest of the coals in the basket to get going good until the 20 minute mark. Low and slow is what makes the BBQ flavorful and tender, so I'd suggest you fill it 1/3rd and pour it on the rest just a couple minutes before you close the lid.
2. The vent at the bottom is important, but it won't have as much impact on the barbeque temperature as varying things as I described above. You can vary things about 50 degrees using the vent, but if the coals get too hot before you put the lid on, it will stay hot no matter what you do (short of spraying water on the coals). The key is how hot the coals get before you put the lid on.
3. Leaving out one or both of the rebar hanger bars can have a HUGE impact on the internal temp. The bars control the flow of air between the vent and the top of the smoker. So even if you're using the grate, make sure you leave those bars in if you can to have a consistent, low temp throughout your cook. They are an integral part of the flow system of the PBC.
4. Taking the lid off for a short time is fine, but leaving it off for extended times can raise the temp inside significantly, and it'll stay that way when you put the lid back on. The temp will come down after you put the lid on, but it may never come down to where you want if you leave it off too long.
5. It's a very good idea to purchase both a good quality, fast-read thermometer (like the ThermoPop) and a leave-in thermometer (like the Maverick Et-732 Remote Bbq Smoker Thermometer). The Maverick is a charm to use and it cuts down on babysitting the food tremendously. You stick one probe in the meat and one near it to monitor the temp of your smoker and it constantly feeds those two temps to your unit in the house (or wherever you are). It will alert you when you've reached your goal temp. Then you can use the ThermoPop to check in more places to see if it's consistently the temp you want. Having those two things will make your life much easier and help you get consistent, repeatable results. Don't listen to people who whine about the probes on the Maverick. If you're careful and you don't get the probes wet, they'll last a long time (I know, because I use it myself).
Also, get some grill gloves, preferably some that come very high up the arm (to the elbow, is best). You'll need these for pulling off your meat, or pulling the rebar to put the grate on (for example, cooking a pork shoulder that is hung for half the time, then wrapped in aluminum foil and put on the grate for the remainder of the time). Some silicone BBQ gloves are great too, for when you cut the meat or pull it (as in pulled pork). You could buy one pair for both uses, but I found it best to get one pair for each task. I wanted grill gloves that came high on my arm, but I didn't want to use these to handle the meat (as they are cloth). Smaller, silicone gloves are better for handling the meat for pulling or slicing. When you cut a just-cooked chicken, brisket, ribs or tri-tip, having the silicone gloves makes things so much easier. You can use dishwashing gloves, but it's not very appetizing for your guests to see you using these to handle the meat they're about to eat.
6. Lastly, make good use of the many videos the PBC people have made, teaching you how to cook just about everything you can think of (located on their website, or YouTube). They show where to place the hooks in many different kinds of meat, and how to prep that meat for maximum results. I bought a book on smoking meat that has helped a lot. You can find two or three of the best here on Amazon by searching for "Smoking meat book". Pick the one you think is best. I bought Smoking Meat by Jeff Phillips.
Follow the instructions that come with your PBC and you'll be making excellent BBQ in no time. It's very easy to use, easy to maintain and lots of fun to use.
1) Meat hangs vertically
a. Surface crisps/crusts/barks more evenly and interior meat heats more evenly as there are no hot conduction points caused by meat lying on a grate
b. Meat is basted by juices that are sweat out of the meat. These juices have to flow down the meat and naturally baste it. Because the meat is vertical, the juice has more distance to travel before dropping off the meat and hence vertical does a better job of basting.
2) Burnt offerings
a. The juices that drop off of the meat and onto the coals provide smoke and flavor... a LOT of smoke and flavor
3) Cooker temp starts at 400 then dies down below to 300 within a half hour and then to 250 to 290 within 60 to 80 minutes (typical)
a. This initial high heat flash evaporates liquid on and in the surface of the meat. This causes any skin on the meat to crisp and skinless meat to form bark. This may reduce the amount of stall time the meat experiences if not crutched due to reduction in surface moisture.
b. It caramelizes rubs with sugar... but!... the PBC doesn't stay hot enough long enough to burn the sugar in the rub.. The PBC likes its caramel brown, not black=)
4) Cooker is made of thin uninsulated metal
a. The outside air interacting with the drum causes the drum metal to be cooler than the air inside the drum. Guess what? Air in the drum that contacts the interior metal surface is cooled... causing condensation! The liquid water then evaporates again inside the drum as it builds up on the surface of the drum, becomes an insulator, and heats up... This basically "builds up" moisture in the drum over time (Think of the glass door of a sauna / steam room and how water condensates on them as an example). This condensation in my opinion is the #1 reason the cooker stays so humid and the PBC does not need or benefit from a water pan.
5) Cooker is a 30 gallon drum with 4 airflow exit holes close to evenly distributed around the drum upper edge... and the lid seals air tight
a. The PBC is the perfect height and width and the holes for exit airflow are spaced on either side of the PBC in such a way that air heated at the bottom convects to the top with little turbulence. This practically eliminates any coldspot draft effect and causes even airflow throughout the drum, causing even heating / cooking.
You might see one or more of these features in other grills and smokers, but you won't find ALL of them. This is why the PBC is awesome.