Pit Barrel Cooker Reviews

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

pit barrel cooker with all accessories

Pit Barrel Cooker Reviews 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 you can grill on a pit barrel cooker that I found several times.

Although I have to mention that with the grill grate being deep in the barrel it might not be easy to flip your meat without the use of some very long tongs.

My opinion is that although you can grill on it I would mainly use it as a smoker and use a separate grill.

Here is a video that explains everything about this product.

You can find all the models and prices by clicking below.

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 to prevent the meat from drying out.

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

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.

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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.

There are 4 ways you can order this cooker.

  • Just the pit barrel cooker
  • Cooker + Select package
  • Cooker + Choice package
  • Cooker + Prime package

It would not add much value to this review to describe all the separate packages and they are just options to buy different accessories depending on what you will use the pit barrel smoker for.

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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

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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, ribs, pork buts 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. There are discussions going on online between the two users what is the best way to smoke.

Weber WMS uses air inlets and outlets at the top and bottom to regulate the temperature and the pit barrel cooker only has one regulator to do that.

WMS or PBS what should you choose

The WMS is more for people who like to be more 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 after the Pit Barrel Cooker reviews

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

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.

When I started this Pit Barrel cooker reviews article I had to realize that with only one way to regulate the temperature you are able to have a very even temperature in the barrel.

The even distribution of heat is one of the problems with many ugly drum smokers in my opinion.

I was not able to find many pit barrel cooker negative reviews and I can see why.

I thought at first that this whole hanging idea was not working too well, but after reading that there is no chimney and all the heat stays and rotates in the barrel I had to adjust my meaning about this.

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 is a limitation, but using other types of charcoal made the temperature jump up and down.

I always use briquettes 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.

I read the question is the pit barrel cooker any good and I think I can answer that with a big YES.

My only concern is that the air inlet at the bottom

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

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Happy grilling! Or in this case smoking!

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken AdministratorWPAutoTerms Legal pages editor
Eddie van Aken has many years of experience in the field of cooking. Starting out as a cook in some of the big chain restaurants and later in running his own full-service restaurant. With this experience and working with professional kitchen equipment, he is reviewing grills, smokers, and all other types of tools needed to cook some great meals. With his passion for outdoor cooking, he has used many grills and pellet smokers. You can more about him here.
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