In general when it comes to cooking, I am a fan of a big production. Lots of fan fare, tradition, flamboyance and a bit of a “ta-da” factor. Like a sculptor removing a cover sheet from my creation to the “oohs” and “aahs” of my guests, I am admittedly guilty of the sin of pride. A heady smelling smoking pit or a roaring fire to grill on always attracts the guests to the center of attention – where the food (and of course, my bad self) is.
But fickle creature that I am, there are times when I prefer to be alone with my thoughts, a thin blue curl of smoke and a manly beverage – watching the pit slowly work it’s magic and thinking deep thoughts.
I am a complicated being so once in a while, I just want to smoke a ton of grub without thinking about, tinkering with or watching the pit. Enter the Pit Barrel Cooker from the pit barrel cooker company in Strassburg, Colorado (www.pitbarrelcooker.com). I bought one of these on a whim at the beginning of the year in order to keep my hovering over the pit to a minimum at deer camp. I brought it home after deer season, and found that it’s a hoot of a toy to have around the house. It truly is a set-it-and-forget-it pit. These run 289 dollars and shipping is free right from the company. There is no assembly required. It shows up and just works.
This weekend I did 6 racks (yes, 6) of ribs while watching football, and never even checked the pit. Here’s a foolproof step by step of what I did.
- Purchase 2 3 packs of baby back ribs from costco.
- Remove skin on the bone side (there are lots of videos on how to do this)
- Slather with ballpark mustard
- Coat with Sucklebusters “Hog Waller” rub
- Insert hooks into the racks
- Fill the charcoal basket in the bottom of the cooker with unlit coals
- Remove 40 briquettes to a chimney starter and light them
- When ashed over on top, pour these onto the remaining coals in the basket
- Wait 15 minutes
- Add hickory chunks, hang meat on the rods, cover barrel
- Walk away and do not look at the pit for 3 hours
- Open the pit and take out your ribs.
If your inner pitmaster has the need for a no frills, inexpensive pit that does exactly what it is supposed to do with no modifications, then look no further than a pit barrel cooker. And find something else to do while you cook. Save the big productions for the parties.