Pit Barrel Cooker Ribs Cook-off

This week I used my Pit Barrel Cooker (PBC) to smoke 3 racks of ribs and test out different rub and sauce combinations. The PBC is a porcelain coated 30 gallon barrel with a single vent opening.  Food is hung on stainless steel hooks (8 included) from rebar rods. The PBC runs between 275* and 325* with the lid on. There is a single vent that is set for elevation – I’ve smoked brisket, turkey, chicken and ribs in this PBC and in my experience no adjustment is needed other than cracking the lid in case of cold rain or weather.

Because of the ease of use I recommend the Pit Barrel Cooker as a first smoker but I love using mine even though I also cook on other larger pits from Yoder and The Good One.

The PBC is a very affordable high quality barrel smoker that’s made right here in the USA. BBQ Pit Stop carries the Pit Barrel Cooker at the Lehi and Layton locations.

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PREPARATION: After removing the membranes I gave each rack a light coating of yellow mustard before applying one of the following rubs:

Oakridge Dominator Sweet Rib Rub – The sweetness of this rub, developed by the artful blending of raw cane sugar, honey, Vietnamese cinnamon & select exotic spices, is intoxicating and balanced perfectly by deep savory and subtly spciy notes.

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Obie Cue Sweet n’ Heat – RIch brown sugar, classic spices and a bump of heat for breathtaking BBQ. LOW SODIUM!

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Plowboys Yardbird – Touch of sweetness is followed on the back of the tongue with just a little heat.   

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ADDING FLAVOR:

After 3 hours in the PBC these ribs are ready for finishing. They are pretty tender but not quite ready so I will return them to the smoker after applying the final rub or sauce. The rib spatula I am using is incredibly useful when working with hot racks of ribs. It’s made by Humphreys and can be ordered at BBQ Pit Stop.

Three LIttle Pig’s Kansas City Touch of Cherry – Sweet cherry flavor enhanced with a tasty combination of sugar, brown sugar, salt, garlic, onion, spices, and natural cherry and smoke flavor, helps create a sweet caramelized flavor on your favorite meats.

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Brady’s Sweet & Smoky Rich Thick KC Style –  This combination of BBQ is the sweetest and most sultry taste around. You’ll never forget your first bite! You’ll be back for more!

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The Slabs Amazing Glaze – A finishing sauce that is sweet, savory with a nice kick at the end! Just glaze your ‘que right before it comes off the pit and get ready to lick your lips!

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RESULTS:

Four other BBQ lovers (aka Lori, Corey, Allie and Savannah) joined me to taste the results. All the combos worked very well together. Here are my opinions and the notes from the group: 

Oakridge Dominator/Three Little Pig’s Cherry combo – Clint at BBQ Pit Stop recommended this one. It was my first experience cooking with the Dominator/Three Little Pig’s Cherry combo but I’ll use it again. The Three Little Pigs rub added a complexity to the flavor profile that was distinctly cherry but complimentary to the meat/smoke flavor. I have often used the cherry rub from Simply Marvelous and want to do a side by side comparision between these 2 cherry rubs. From the testers’ notes: “sweet, balanced,smoke/rub flavor, distinctive cherry flavor but not too sweet, very flavorful together.” (1 vote for favorite)

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Obie Cue Sweet n’ Heat/Brady’s Sweet n Smokey combo – Steve at BBQ Pit Stop introduced me to Sweet n’ Heat about a year ago and it’s now one of my “go-to” rubs for any pork. None of us had ever tried the Brady’s sauce but were all BLOWN AWAY! It wasn’t just the combination either – we tried the Brady’s with some other BBQ and it complemented everything From the testers’ notes: “Tangy, good sauce, great brown sugar flavor, Brady’s sauce is a sweet, mild but flavorful ‘appeal to all sauce”‘ very sweet combination of flavors.” (1 vote for favorite)

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Yardbird/Amazing Glaze combo – This combo was my personal favorite but I am a HUGE fan of Yardbird and Amazing Glaze. I use both all the time but I don’t think I’ve ever combined them before. From the testers’ notes: “There is a nice ‘kick in the mix’, flavorful, very tasty sauce, rustic BBQ flavor,” (2 votes for favorite)

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