I’ve been the proud owner of a Pit Barrel Cooker for almost two years now. This cooker is exceptionally simple to use. It is the Ronco equivalent of grills. You load your charcoal basket, add some pre-lit briquettes, season and hang your meat, and bam – you’re on the bus to flavor town. Of all the simple meals you can make on your Pit Barrel Cooker, none is simpler than chicken.
The Pit Barrel Cooker (PBC) is a very basic cooker. Some may say it is the more attractive cousin to the Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS). The major difference is that rather than placing the meat on a grill grate (although the PBC does come with that option) the meat is hung from hooks on rebar over the charcoal. As well, the PBC does not have any vents that need to be opened and closed. This grill is a true set it and forget it style of cooker.
Because there is no vent to open and close, this also means that you have no way to regulate your temperature. In my experiences, the PBC runs a little hotter than I would typically cook. This also usually makes for shorter cook times. After some trial and error in the beginning, I found that the best way to cook on the PBC was to fill my charcoal basket with briquettes and light exactly 16 briquettes (not 15, not 17) in my Charcoal Chimney and add to the unlit briquettes.
Anyway, on to this cook.
I started by cutting the spine out of my whole chicken with a sharp pair of kitchen shears.
From here, I cut through the center of the breast; resulting in two halfs. I then inserted my meat hooks just under the wing on each half and then seasoned with some of the Pit Barrel Cooker All Purpose Rub.
While my chicken is marinating in the rub, I load my charcoal basket, light my 16 briquettes, and when they are ashed over dump evenly on my unlit briquettes.
I then hang my chicken inside the PBC (I also hung some chicken leg quarters I had in the fridge). Since this is a relatively quick cooker, the chickens are usually ready after 2 hours.
When I was nearing the end of my cook I whipped up a delicious barbecue sauce/glaze using Sweet Baby Rays and a Hot Pepper Jelly. I simply poured about 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce into a microwave proof bowl and added 1 tbsp of the pepper jelly. Then I heated it in the microwave for 45 seconds.
At the 1 hour 45 minute mark I removed my chicken and ensured that the temp in the both the breast and the thigh was 165°, I then added my glaze and placed back on the cooker for another 15 minutes to get sticky. From here I removed the chicken and served.
The chicken was fantastic. The meat was very moist with an excellent smoke flavor even though I hadn’t added any extra hard wood. The glaze was awesome, but wasn’t overpowered by the hot pepper jelly.
This is an excellent example of the types of simple meals that could be prepared on the awesome Pit Barrel Cooker. Please comment below if you would like to see more recipes for the PBC. I’ve cooked everything from Brisket to Pork Shoulder to even Bologna on this all purpose cooker.