Pit Barrel Cooker Review | A Great Smoker

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Pit Barrel Cooker review. The pit barrel cooker package is sold by Amazon. It consists of a 30 gallon porcelain coated steel drum. The cooker is so simple but i have found some surprises when i checked it out. The pit barrel cooker package contains everything you will need except for a meat thermometer  and charcoal. You also might want to buy  a 7416 rapidfire chimney starter, charcoal chimney to go with it.

Pit Barrel Cooker Review A Great Smoker

Last week i was looking for a great charcoal grill that would make a huge difference in the way anyone will cook barbecue. What i found will amaze you. The Pit Barrel Cooker. There were many customer reviews on Amazon,most were 5 star. This pit barrel cooker article has opened my eyes to using simple barrel grills. The PBC package consists of 1-30 gallon porcelain coated steel drum.  8 Stainless steel hooks. 2 Steel hanging rods. 1 Charcoal basket. A barrel stand with horseshoes as feet. Also 1 wooden hook remover. You also receive two small bottles of rub,one for beef and pork,the other for chicken.

Pit Barrel Cooker Review A Great Smoker

Are you struggling to cook good barbecue? Could you benefit from using an easy,to use  steel  barrel cooker?  The PBC is so easy to operate. You can use the cooking grate or the meat hooks when you cook. Most people just starting out  need a cooker that holds the temperature constant. Hanging the meat to be smoked dates back to when farmers had smokehouses. They didn’t have very many ways to keep meat from spoiling.  And come to find out this way of hanging meat is perfect for smoking.

Best Features

The best thing i liked about the pit barrel cooker’s is the idea of getting the shipping box  and just opening it up. The cooker comes ready to smoke. The inside temperature should run  around 300 degrees. these cookers are  outdoor barbecue  perfection.   Prime rib  is easy to cook now using the cooking grate.

This style of cooker has been carefully designed to cook or smoke for 7 hours with Kingsford blue label charcoal. They advise not to use lump charcoal. They say lump charcoal burns much hotter causing cooking times to vary. Also you only use around 8 pounds of charcoal in the charcoal basket. Its designed to burn from the top to the bottom. The brisket or pork shoulder you are smoking will completely cook in 5 hours,or maybe a little more.

Can you see how cooking in a stainless steel drum, around 300 degrees make a huge  difference? If you buy a 7416 rapidfire chimney starter then your 30 gallon drum smoker will be so easy to get the charcoal started with no aftertaste  from charcoal lighter fluid.

What that means is…

The Pit Barrel Cooker is carefully engineered to deliver the same results everytime. It takes about 20 minutes to get the charcoal going. The cooker has written instructions on how to get the charcoal going with and without the chimney starter. It may take 2 or 3 times starting charcoal to get it right if you dont have a chimney starter. With a starter you dont have any problem getting the fire going.You should become a pro at using the pbc without a big learning curve.

Pit Barrel Cooker Review A Great Smoker

 The biggest problem you will face is getting the meat ready to hang in the cooker. There are videos showing how to put the stainless steel hooks in the meat. Also there is a tool to use to take the meat out after it is done.

 Other Features

1 30 Gallon Steel Drum
8 Stainless Steel Hooks
2 Steel Hanging Rods
1 Charcoal Basket
1 Grill Grate
1 Wooden Hook Remover
1 Horseshoe Barrel stand
1 4.7oz All-Purpose Pit Rub
1 4.7oz Beef & Game Pit Rub


What I Like the Most

What i liked the most about the Pit Barrel Cooker is that  it cooks about 7 hours with one load of Kingsford charcoal. Its really easy to setup. Ribs usually take 3.5 hours to cook. Steven Raichlen, one of the biggest names in barbecue has one.

 I cant find one person who has returned his pbc purchase for a refund. I did take a small survey to see if the expert grillers liked it. I found out most do. I found one who had used his 1 time. He didn’t like the pit barrel cooker because he liked using wood to cook with.

 What I Do Not Like (Or Wish to Improve)

What i didn’t like was the fact you cant Use anything else but charcoal. I wish we could use wood chips and chunks. I also wish the bottom of the pit barrel cooker had built in legs.


A good thing to remember is this product is made by a veteran who fought for our country. Its made here in the U.S.A.  Here is why the PBC is different. The meat hangs vertically. The meat is cooked better because it gets heat evenly on all sides. The juice of the meat  travels down the meat and baste’s the meat naturally. Also the juice will fall into the fire,causing smoke to be absorbed by the meat.

There isn’t a thermometer mounted on the Pit barrel cooker. You don’t need it. The cooker is designed to produce around 300 degrees.  Anyway all you need is an internal thermometer to check the temp inside the meat.

I found additional information. The cooker temp starts at around 400 degrees. Goes to 300 in half an hour. It stays around 250 to 290 the rest of the cooking time. You can expect around 7 hours or a little more with a full basket of Kingsford charcoal. Also on meat hung to smoke,expect a good bark on the meat.

You might have trouble getting company to go home after eating barbecue cooked on this grill. You wont need a water pan to add moisture. The grill has thin uninsulated  walls. The outside air interacting with the drum walls causes the metal in the walls to be  cooler than the inside air in the drum. Causing condensation. The meat is cooked just right.

Also there is a steel grate to cook hamburgers,steak. You can leave the cover off for steak,if you like.
Update: You can use the mesquite,or the apple and hickory charcoal in the pit barrel cooker. I asked the support staff and they said it would work great.
For more information on the Pit Barrel Cooker,Pit Barrel® Cooker – the biggest thing to hit Outdoor Cooking since beef!

2 comments for “Pit Barrel Cooker Review | A Great Smoker

  1. Reid

    You can use wood chunks to create smoke, not a full basket of chunks without charcoal but you can add smoke to the mix quite easily!

    • at

      You are right. I chatted with the owner of Pit Barrel Cooker and he agreed. Thanks for the information.

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