Pit Barrel Cooker Review

The pit barrel cooker has become a competitor for other types of barrel smokers like the Weber Smokey Mountain and UDS brands.

pit barrel cooker

Table of Contents (click ahead to jump ahead!) 1. Overview 2. How does the Pit Barrel Cooker Work 3. How is te PBC built 4. Cooking in a Pit Barrel Cooker 5. What is in the box 6. PBC temperature regulating 8. PBC versus WSM 9. My opinion about the Pit Barrel Cooker

Pit Barrel Cooker Review overview

It is a basic 18.5 inches in diameter and a variation of what some people call an Ugly Drum Smoker design.

Noah Glanville is the founder of this company and he came up with this design.

He also introduced the hook and hang method and uses stainless steel hooks that will help you keep your meat at a stable temperature when you cook it on low and slow.

The PBC (Pit Barrel Cooker) comes with 2 steel bars that are used to hang the 8 stainless steel hooks that hold your meat.

The removable grill grates can be used for if you like to grill on the Pit Barrel Cooker and this also answers the question I see a lot if you can grill on a pit barrel cooker.

Here is a video that explains everything about this product.

How does the Pit Barrel Cooker work

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You could compare the pit barrel cooker with a convection oven in the way it works.

The smoke that moves up will ensure an even heat just like a convection oven.

There is just one air inlet at the bottom and no chimney. That means that all the hot air rotates and some of the moisture will condensate and create a moisture environment in the cooker.

This is enough intro and now it is time do get started on the Pit Barrel cooker review.

Let’s begin with how the pit barrel cooker is built

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The size of the barrel is a 30-gallon steel drum that is made of 18 gauge steel with a ceramic coating like on the WMS.

This type of material can withstand high temperatures and since it has the shape of a cylinder the air will rotate evenly throughout the barrel.

Hanging the meat will make the juices fall down and then be vaporized and in that way, the meat will be kind of basted with its own juices.

The charcoal basket that is made out of wire sits just above the bottom of the barrel and this will help with the airflow that is needed for a consistent temperature throughout the whole cook.

What I like about the Pit Barrel Cooker

  • The stainless steel hooks will help you with smoking more meat since you hang it vertical and not on a grate like many other smokers.
  • You can leave the smoker basically alone after you become used to the setting and that means no more babysitting.
  • Since the construction is basically air thigh the temperature will stay steady all the time.
  • The lack of a water pan because of the closed set up makes it very easy to use the PBC.
  • The porcelain coating helps with insulating and keep the heat inside.
  • The packaged includes a fully assembled product. No assembly required.

Curious about the price? Click Here To Find It!

What is included with the Pit Barrel Cooker

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  • 30-gallon porcelain-coated drum (136 Liters) and lid
  • 2 stainless steel hanging rods
  • 8 stainless steel hooks
  • 1 grill grate
  • 1 charcoal basket
  • 3 point stand
  • 1 wooden hook remover

It also comes with an all-purpose rub and a beef and game rub to get started right away. All you have to buy is some meat.

Pit barrel cooker dimensions

The size of the barrel is 36 inches tall and 25 inches wide.

In centimeters, this is 91.5 cm tall and 63.5 cm wide.

The diameter of the grill grate is 17.5 inches

The hooks to hang your meat on are 4 inches long

I always like to know the distance from the grate to where the charcoal basket is and this case is about 22 inches.

The weight is 64 Lbs. and this is not too heavy to even take it with you on a tailgate session or even on a camping trip.

How easy it the pit barrel cooker to use

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One of the best benefits of the pit barrel cooker is that anyone can use it almost without any previous experience.

This makes it, in my opinion, one of the best beginners smokers and even a seasoned pit master will be able to enjoy the ease of use.

The hardest part of most UDS smokers is to light the charcoal. The Pit barrel cooker is no exception to this rule.

A UDS uses the minion method and this is nothing else than adding charcoal that is not lit yet and then adds lit charcoal that will slowly light the ones at the bottom.

Here is a video that shows the easy way to start the Pit Barrel cooker

How do you clean a pit barrel cooker

Let’s be honest. We all like to cook on the grill or smoke on our smoker but cleaning is not our (and especially mine) thing to do.

So, how easy is it to clean the Pit Barrel Cooker.

With the handle on the site and the relatively low weight, it is easy to pick it up and hold it upside down to remove the ashes.

Don’t forget to let it cool completely first.

You can also add a layer of aluminum foil at the bottom with a little edge that stands up and remove that after cooking.

The easiest way is to use their ash catcher that can be purchased as one of the many accessories.

pit barrel cooker ash catcher

A video might explain it better than I can describe it.

How to regulate the temperature in the Pit Barrel Smoker

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The good thing is that you do not have to regulate anything. The settings are ready to use and do not need any adjustments.

There is an airflow regulator at the side almost at the bottom of the barrel and this is all you need to regulate the temperature in the smoker.

It is set and forget and you do not have to change the setting unless you live on a higher altitude. Instruction for this is included in the package.

Pit barrel cooker recipes

Finding recipes for the PBS is very easy. Go to Google or their YouTube channel and you can find a ton of them with step by step descriptions. 

From burgers to Turkey and I have even seen recipes for Pizza on this smoker.

Pit Barrel Cooker versus Weber Smokey Mountain

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It is a fact that the Smokey Mountain from Weber is one of the well-known and most used smokers in this category. That is the reason that most of the other ones will be compared to the WSM.

I decide the same thing and came up with the following pros and cons of both.

The lid. One of the differences is that the PBS is flat at the tip and the WSM is round.

There is also the difference in price with the PBS being cheaper.

Opening while cooking. The Pit Barrel smoker cannot be opened anymore to add charcoal after you have started it unless you take out the meat.

The Weber Smokey Mountain can be opened and charcoal can be added easily.

Amount of meat it can hold. The PBS can cook for more people than the WSM with its hanging method for meat.

Dampers. The PBS has only one damper. The WMS has 4 and they can get pretty hot.

Quality. The quality of both is very good and when taken care of they both can be last for many years.

Tip: use a grill cover like this one for the PBS.

PBS grill cover

The main difference between PBS and WSM

Main differences. The main difference between the two is the cooking method.

Weber uses bottom and top grates for cooking. Pit Barrel cooker is a hanging type of cooker and there are discussions going on online between the two users what is the best way to smoke.

WMS or PBS what should you choose

The WMS is more for people who like to be in control over the temperature and settings. The PBC is more a set and forget type of smoker.

I think the best one of the two is the one who is on sale since they both can cook some great food.

My thoughts about the Pit Barrel Cooker

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After reading a lot of comments, reviews, tips, and ideas about this smoker it is time to give my personal impression.

I am a fervent user of my UDS and I use it for all my low and slow sessions.

A regular 30-gallon drum smoker grill grate cannot hold a lot of meat.

The Pit Barrel Cooker is advised to be used by hanging you meat vertically on hooks. This makes it possible to cook a lot more meat in one session.

The only problem might be ribs that are a little long and will almost touch the charcoal basket at the bottom. This can be solved by cutting them in half.

On the other hand, you can use the hanging rods and the grill rack at the same time to cook a truckload of meat at the same time.

I read that the handle on the lid, which is shaped like a horseshoe, can become pretty hot. Maybe the company can have a look at that in an upgrade.

It is advised to only use one type of charcoal on the PBC and that is charcoal briquettes. According to some users that was a limitation, but using other types of charcoal made the temperature jump up and down.

I always use briquettes (link to post) for my long sessions because of this same reason. That means that I do not see this as any disadvantage.

When I am recapping all the things I read and all the videos I watched I can probably say that the Pit Barrel cooker can be on the list of best smokers under 500 dollars.

You can to the end of my Pit barrel cooker review and now you might be curious about finding out more about the price.

Click Here! To find out the affordable price!

Happy grilling! Or in this case smoking!

Eddie Vandam

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