Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Review

Grilling and smoking are two of the oldest methods to cook food. 1.5 million years ago, humans discovered the use of fire and how it could be used to cook food. Cooking kills germs and prolongs the shelf life of food, making it an integral part of our daily lives.

While it may seem primitive to cook with coal or wood, it is the only way that flavors and juices can come out naturally. This is how the best-selling grills and smokers leverage their products, like the Pit Barrel Co. Cooker. Through this review, we will explain what makes this cooker the best for many users – home cooks and chefs alike.

18½ in Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Review

18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Pack

This cooker is very simple and does not use traditional grilling methods. You place the meat horizontally on the rack. After cooking, flip it over to cook another side. Experts in grilling say this method of cooking meat causes moisture loss and unevenness.

Pit Barrel Co. The vertical cooking method of the Cooker involves hanging the meat on a hook, and using convection heat to circulate from the bottom up. The juices from the meat can also drip down the pan, creating smoke that will cover the food just right to give it that smoky aroma.

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The brand does not deny the fact that a grate is a versatile way to cook. You can still use it for fish, shellfish or pizza, and foil-wrapped barbecue ribs if it is too tender to hang at the end of its cooking time.

The cooker is easy to set up and requires no tools. Simply mount the barrel on the three leg barrel stand and then fill the charcoal basket to make smoke. Mount the hanging hooks in the slots and arrange them as you need. This type of cooker allows you to smoke ribs for 8-12 people at once.

The Pit Barrel Co. brand guarantees its cooker’s durability. This porcelain steel drum is made from 18-gauge steel and holds a 30-gallon capacity. It is coated in porcelain enamel to increase strength and rust-proofing. It is 57 lbs in weight and comes with accessories. It’s almost fully assembled in the box. The steel can heat up outside, but it can circulate heat as high as 275 to 311, Fahrenheit inside.

It has a vent at its bottom that can be adjusted to adjust the temperature. You can’t add coal or briquettes to this smoker unlike other ones. If your food requires a longer smoking time, it is best to follow the instructions and recipe.

What’s in the Box?

  • 1 unit 30 Gallon Steel Drum/Lid
  • 8 pieces Stainless Steel Hooks
  • 2 pieces of Steel Hanging Rods
  • 1 unit Charcoal Basket
  • 1 unit Standard Grill Grate
  • 1 piece Wooden Hook Remover
  • 3 point Barrel Stand – 1 unit
  • 1 pack All Purpose Pit Rub
  • 1 pack Beef & Game Pit Rub
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What we like:

  • Convection style cooking
  • Two-way cooking method – hanging or grilling
  • Cover hook on the barrel
  • Porcelain enamel coating that lasts a lifetime
  • Hanging method does not mix the meat juices, unlike two-level grates.
  • Large charcoal basket

What We Don’t Like:

  • The barrel can get extremely hot outside
  • You cannot add coal once you’ve started cooking

The Pit Barrel Co.’s cooking method is not difficult, but it is a smarter and more efficient way to vertical smoke. With its porcelain coated steel body, the product is durable and will last a long time. It lives up to its promise of consistently delivering tender meat, poultry, and seafood via convection cooker. It is a must have for outdoor enthusiasts, novice cooks, and even experienced cooks. The only problem is the inability to access a charcoal chamber from the outside. This can be easily fixed by adding the right amount of coal to the coal basket or briquettes.

The Pit Barrel Cooker Really Is A “Set It & Forget It” Smoker

Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Vs. Weber Smokey Mountain

You’ve probably heard that the Pit Barrel Co. The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is up against the Cooker in the cooker/smoker section. To help you choose which smoker to buy, we will compare each one. For an in-depth review, please refer to the Weber Smokey Mountain Series 18” cooker review here:

First, let’s simplify the terms to make it easier for you to remember. In this comparison, we will refer to Pit Barrel Co. (PBC) and Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM).

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Both PBC as well as WSM measure 18.5 inches. Both are barrel type and barrel style smokers. PBC’s cover is flat while WSM’s is dome type. PBC only has one vent at the bottom, while WSM has four. One vent is on the top and remains open. WSM and PBC both have the same charcoal chamber size, with the exception that WSM has an adjustable ring.

The key difference between them is their cooking methods. WSM uses both top and bottom grates to cook. PBC sells theirs as a hanging-type smoker. However, the standard set also includes a grill, which is still the best method to smoke seafood, pizza, and vegetables. WSM may have forgotten to mention that vertical smoking can also be effective at times. The brand once offered a set hanging rods that fit right in the top grate slot. But it seems they have stopped making them.

Both products have strengths as well as weaknesses. Your decision-making will be influenced by the type of food you plan to cook in your cooker. Both will help you improve your cooking skills while enjoying the outdoors.

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