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Best first time smoked ribs/brisket recipe: https://amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/spice-rubs-and-pastes/big-bad-beef-rub-recipe

Chickens taste better when cooked whole. Pickles taste better cut. Sandwiches taste better cut and bitten from inside. Meat tastes better sliced against grain.


Definitely a smoker is a personal choice, and what is better depends on what you are looking for.  I say it's a balance of goals, between: (i) making good food, (ii) making authentic BBQ, (iii) having fun with the maaseh of smoking, and (iv) convenience.  Items (iii) and (iv) don't only conflict, they directly oppose each other.

I opted for items (i) and (iv) so went PBC.  I would say WSM is also mostly a (i) and (iv) choice, but it brings in extra elements of (ii) and (iii), at a slight cost to (iv).  Maybe WSM also better at (i)--I have no idea either way.

Further to the above:

If all you want is good food, get a sous vide.

If all you want is authentic BBQ, get a huge offset smoker that you feed with split logs.

If all you want is having fun with the maaseh of smoking, again, get a huge offset smoker.

If all you want is convenience, use your oven.


Henche's PBC review
https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=43018.msg1439199#msg1439199
« Last edited by jj1000 on June 04, 2020, 10:13:19 AM »

Author Topic: Smoking Meats  (Read 204837 times)

Offline henche

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #260 on: March 20, 2016, 03:42:46 PM »
In the winter the only way to get a brisket smoking for the necessary 12+ hrs is I put my brisket up a bit before  12 thursday night and go to sleep after a few hours and I'm confident the temp is stable. I need a wireless for that, I also set an alert for when the temp dips too low or spikes too high.

12 hours unwrapped?

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #261 on: March 20, 2016, 03:51:38 PM »

Offline ushdadude

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #262 on: March 20, 2016, 04:34:25 PM »
Yeah, about.

do you wake up to mop?
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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #263 on: March 20, 2016, 04:37:51 PM »
do you wake up to mop?
No, I never mop.

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #264 on: March 20, 2016, 04:40:12 PM »
No, I never mop.

and it doesn't dry out at all?
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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #265 on: March 20, 2016, 05:26:24 PM »
and it doesn't dry out at all?
No, guess I've been getting lucky.

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #266 on: March 20, 2016, 06:18:36 PM »
Have brisket on for 3.5 hours and it's up to 134. Think I can wrap it already?
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Offline henche

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #267 on: March 20, 2016, 09:50:37 PM »
Ok, Henche's Pit Barrel Cooker review.

What is it?
Not exactly a smoker, certainly not a grill, and not like anything else.  Best analogy is a smoker, which is why I post in this thread, but if you're set on authenticity, this isn't your thing.

The genre is called an Ugly Drum Smoker, and it consists of a oil drum (30 gallons in this case) with a small intake hole in the bottom, and holes to hang the rebar on which you hang the hooks on which you hang the meat on top, a fire basket in the bottom, and a cover on top. See https://www.fix.com/blog/building-an-ugly-drum-smoker/.

Why an ugly drum smoker?

Because it's set and forget, using charcoal, and relatively cheap.   The air intake and outflow holes are precisely made so that it holds its temperature for 8 or more hours at a steady ~295.   The meat hanging method means no direct heat, so all heat is from the hot air circulation, which circulates nicely because of the shape.

Because it's idiot proof.  There are no settings to get right, no variable amounts of fuel and different ways of doing, nothing.  You put the meat in, and close the lid, and monitor the meat temp with a thermometer stuck in the meat. You don't monitor smoker temp because there is no way to change it anyway.

And it's charcoal, so you get a nice (almost) real smoke flavor.

Why a Pit Barrel Cooker? Can't I make my own for a third the price?

Two reasons. 
1. They've gotten the tinkering down so that it works right as it should.

2. You know how to weld? You gonna do it? No. So go spend the 300 bucks.

Compare to other smokers

Ok, so before you buy a smoker, I recommend you go read a book called Franklin Barbecue, (link) Written by .  Then, no matter what you end up buying, you'll know you aren't being authentic because it isn't an offset wood burning smoker that you stoked with well seasoned wood (not that kiln dried garbage) and hovered over for 12 hours with a shovel in hand selecting the perfect next piece of wood that will keep the temp perfect and will set it up for the following piece of wood, etc.  Making sure that you never have a smoldering fire but also never too hot etc etc etc.  But, it helped me understand what I was trying to do.

Compared to pellet:
You can't afford a pellet.

Compared to gas:
With gas, even an expensive one, you'll be adding wood chips and refilling water pan, and having to run out in the middle of a cook for more propane. Also, you get a smokier flavor with charcoal, I think.  Also, temp control.

Compared to most charcoal (e.g. cabinet style):
Temp control.  You don't need to open and close dampers, etc.  Ok, I know the snake method works pretty good.

Compared to electric:
Don't need to be refilling chips and water pan.

Compared to the authentic thing, a wood fired offset smoker:
You aren't going to get one, and if you do, you're never going to use it. It's way too much work.

The cons:
Price $300 and unlikely to find on sale.  Steep for a started smoker, but if you're serious you'll end up spending that much eventually anyway.

Authenticity.  You will need to get over everything you've ever learned about smoking.  This does not cook "low and slow"; it's about 300 degrees. But it tastes good, so deal with it. You'll never tell your guests that you smoked this brisket for 12 hours, because you'll be done in 8.

Fun.  Adding wood chips and monitoring temps and adding water, etc, is all fun.  It isn't fun to just stick it in at 8PM, wrap at 12 and stick in oven at 225 set to turn off at 400AM.

I'm henche and I love my PBC. AMA


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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #268 on: March 20, 2016, 09:59:58 PM »
Ok, Henche's Pit Barrel Cooker review.

What is it?
Not exactly a smoker, certainly not a grill, and not like anything else.  Best analogy is a smoker, which is why I post in this thread, but if you're set on authenticity, this isn't your thing.

The genre is called an Ugly Drum Smoker, and it consists of a oil drum (30 gallons in this case) with a small intake hole in the bottom, and holes to hang the rebar on which you hang the hooks on which you hang the meat on top, a fire basket in the bottom, and a cover on top. See https://www.fix.com/blog/building-an-ugly-drum-smoker/.

Why an ugly drum smoker?

Because it's set and forget, using charcoal, and relatively cheap.   The air intake and outflow holes are precisely made so that it holds its temperature for 8 or more hours at a steady ~295.   The meat hanging method means no direct heat, so all heat is from the hot air circulation, which circulates nicely because of the shape.

Because it's idiot proof.  There are no settings to get right, no variable amounts of fuel and different ways of doing, nothing.  You put the meat in, and close the lid, and monitor the meat temp with a thermometer stuck in the meat. You don't monitor smoker temp because there is no way to change it anyway.

And it's charcoal, so you get a nice (almost) real smoke flavor.

Why a Pit Barrel Cooker? Can't I make my own for a third the price?

Two reasons. 
1. They've gotten the tinkering down so that it works right as it should.

2. You know how to weld? You gonna do it? No. So go spend the 300 bucks.

Compare to other smokers

Ok, so before you buy a smoker, I recommend you go read a book called Franklin Barbecue, (link) Written by .  Then, no matter what you end up buying, you'll know you aren't being authentic because it isn't an offset wood burning smoker that you stoked with well seasoned wood (not that kiln dried garbage) and hovered over for 12 hours with a shovel in hand selecting the perfect next piece of wood that will keep the temp perfect and will set it up for the following piece of wood, etc.  Making sure that you never have a smoldering fire but also never too hot etc etc etc.  But, it helped me understand what I was trying to do.

Compared to pellet:
You can't afford a pellet.

Compared to gas:
With gas, even an expensive one, you'll be adding wood chips and refilling water pan, and having to run out in the middle of a cook for more propane. Also, you get a smokier flavor with charcoal, I think.  Also, temp control.

Compared to most charcoal (e.g. cabinet style):
Temp control.  You don't need to open and close dampers, etc.  Ok, I know the snake method works pretty good.

Compared to electric:
Don't need to be refilling chips and water pan.

Compared to the authentic thing, a wood fired offset smoker:
You aren't going to get one, and if you do, you're never going to use it. It's way too much work.

The cons:
Price $300 and unlikely to find on sale.  Steep for a started smoker, but if you're serious you'll end up spending that much eventually anyway.

Authenticity.  You will need to get over everything you've ever learned about smoking.  This does not cook "low and slow"; it's about 300 degrees. But it tastes good, so deal with it. You'll never tell your guests that you smoked this brisket for 12 hours, because you'll be done in 8.

Fun.  Adding wood chips and monitoring temps and adding water, etc, is all fun.  It isn't fun to just stick it in at 8PM, wrap at 12 and stick in oven at 225 set to turn off at 400AM.

I'm henche and I love my PBC. AMA

Great review

You hang your meat?
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Offline benjie1305

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #269 on: March 20, 2016, 10:01:49 PM »
Great review! Thanks! Now, off to ordering one for the spring!
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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #270 on: March 20, 2016, 10:04:38 PM »
Great review

You hang your meat?

Yah yah, on hooks! there's also a grate for stuff that can't hang, like cedar plank salmon and chicken wings. 

Once my chicken fell because I hung it through the backbone, which dries out while it cooks.  Correct placement is through breast under bone.

Great review! Thanks! Now, off to ordering one for the spring!

No, no, you need to ask questions first. And read every single review on amazing ribs and amazon.

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #271 on: March 20, 2016, 10:08:27 PM »
No, no, you need to ask questions first. And read every single review on amazing ribs and amazon.

I have read some some reviews on Amazing Ribs and watched many youtube reviews by BBQers that are popular and compare this to their other ways of smoking meat. It would be my first venture into smoking meats and I like the fact that everyone says it is easy to use and won't make you "be lazy" due to its simple and quick set up and like that most people say how great the end product is.

For a starter, would you recommend something else as opposed to the PBC?
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Offline henche

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #272 on: March 20, 2016, 10:09:56 PM »
I have read some some reviews on Amazing Ribs and watched many youtube reviews by BBQers that are popular and compare this to their other ways of smoking meat. It would be my first venture into smoking meats and I like the fact that everyone says it is easy to use and won't make you "be lazy" due to its simple and quick set up and like that most people say how great the end product is.

For a starter, would you recommend something else as opposed to the PBC?

it was my starter.  I didn't want to buy something that I would end up never using because was too much hock. 

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #273 on: March 20, 2016, 10:12:14 PM »
it was my starter.  I didn't want to buy something that I would end up never using because was too much hock.

Precisely my point. I am not spending money on something where I know - if too complicated to set up or work - that it'll just end up getting dusty in a corner. That plus the fact that I have yet to read a bad review about the product or the finished meats (if done correctly).
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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #274 on: March 20, 2016, 10:12:52 PM »
I have read some some reviews on Amazing Ribs and watched many youtube reviews by BBQers that are popular and compare this to their other ways of smoking meat. It would be my first venture into smoking meats and I like the fact that everyone says it is easy to use and won't make you "be lazy" due to its simple and quick set up and like that most people say how great the end product is.

For a starter, would you recommend something else as opposed to the PBC?
Smoky mountain is supposed to be good too
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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #275 on: March 20, 2016, 10:13:25 PM »
Are you saying that people who can afford it go for pellet?
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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #276 on: March 20, 2016, 10:15:32 PM »
Smoky mountain is supposed to be good too

Yah, by pm I advised to also consider WSM

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #277 on: March 20, 2016, 10:16:04 PM »
Are you saying that people who can afford it go for pellet?

No, just saying that don't consider it because you can't afford a good one anyway.  At least so says my readings.

ETA: amazing ribs' reviews of pellet smokers. http://amazingribs.com/bbq_equipment_reviews_ratings/equipment-reviews?field_manufacturer_target_id=All&field_fuel_tid%5B%5D=3
I note there is a gold medal one for 349 but the review is tepid other than on price.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 10:19:05 PM by henche »

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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #278 on: March 20, 2016, 10:20:19 PM »
No, just saying that don't consider it because you can't afford a good one anyway.  At least so says my readings.

ETA: amazing ribs' reviews of pellet smokers. http://amazingribs.com/bbq_equipment_reviews_ratings/equipment-reviews?field_manufacturer_target_id=All&field_fuel_tid%5B%5D=3
I note there is a gold medal one for 349 but the review is tepid other than on price.

Pretty cool concept. When I'm on the market, I'll start doing more research
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Re: Smoking Meats
« Reply #279 on: March 20, 2016, 11:24:23 PM »

Smoky mountain is supposed to be good too
I've got the wsm. Not going to write such a detailed review but it's great. Pretty simple to use. Temp are fairly easy to regulate.
The biggest con for me is they have a rubber thermometer port in the side that always gets dislodge when threading my thermometer through and is a pain to put back on.