Learn to cook on a pit barrel barbecue


| Tips & Tricks | Cooking low 'n slow on a Pit Barrel barbecue

Cooking low 'n slow on a Pit Barrel barbecue

The pit barrel cooker, often praised for its simplicity and efficiency, is making waves in the world of BBQ. It merges the best of both smoking and grilling worlds, leveraging the vertical space to hang meats over a controlled fire. This unique design leads to consistent temperatures and sublime flavours.


1. Understanding the Pit Barrel Cooker

Unlike traditional grills or smokers, a pit barrel cooker is a vertically oriented drum. The magic happens when meats are hung on hooks, allowing them to cook evenly in the circulating heat and smoke.

2. Prepping the Pit Barrel

Charcoal Basket: Begin by filling the cooker's charcoal basket. Using a chimney starter, light a portion of the charcoal until ashed over and then add it to the unlit coals in the basket. This method ensures a steady temperature for extended periods.

Adjusting Vents: Most pit barrel cookers come with a pre-set vent designed for optimal airflow at sea level. If you live at a higher altitude, you might need to adjust the vent to maintain the right temperature.


3. Choosing and Prepping Your Meat

From ribs and brisket to poultry, the pit barrel shines with a variety of meats. Once you've selected your cut:

  • Season or marinate: Depending on the meat, apply a dry rub or let it marinate. This can be done several hours before, or even the night before, for a richer flavour.
  • Hang or Grate?: While the pit barrel is famous for hanging meat, you can also use a grate for items that can't be hung, like certain vegetables or fish.

4. The Art of Hanging

Using Hooks: If you’re hanging meat, securely place hooks into the meat. For ribs, one hook is typically used, while larger cuts might require two.

Space Evenly: Make sure meats are spaced well apart to ensure even cooking and proper air circulation.


5. Let the Magic Happen

Cover Up: With your meat hung (or placed on the grate), secure the lid. The pit barrel does an excellent job maintaining a consistent temperature, often hovering around 275°F (135°C) – ideal for low and slow cooking.

Check Occasionally: While the pit barrel is designed to run efficiently without frequent monitoring, it's good to check occasionally. For longer cooks, you might want to baste or spritz the meat to keep it moist.

Temperature Check: Always gauge doneness by the meat's internal temperature. For instance, if you’re cooking a brisket, you’re aiming for an internal temp of around 200°F (93°C).

6. Rest, Serve, and Revel in the Compliments

After hours of patient cooking, remove your meat from the pit barrel cooker and let it rest. This ensures all those flavourful juices remain intact. Slice, serve, and watch your guests marvel at your BBQ prowess.

The pit barrel cooker simplifies the low and slow barbecue process without compromising on flavour. Its unique design, combined with the hanging method, guarantees a memorable culinary experience every time.

So, the next time you're aiming to impress with your barbecue skills, remember: the pit barrel has got your back.


Posted by Beef + Lamb New Zealand