Master the Art of Smoking Meat with a Pit Barrel Cooker

Master the Art of Smoking Meat with a Pit Barrel Cooker

Posted by Infusions4Chefs on 15th May 2024

BBQ season is here, and with National BBQ Week (June 3rd to 9th) approaching and Father's Day (Sunday, June 16th) on the horizon, it's the perfect time to explore the art of smoking meat and create unforgettable culinary experiences. In this post, we'll guide you through the process of using a Pit Barrel Cooker to smoke meat to perfection, ensuring you impress your guests and become a true pitmaster. Plus, we'll highlight essential tools like the Looft Lighter, and the perfect meat rub ingredients to elevate your BBQ game.

Pit Barrel Cooker and Smoker

Why Choose a Pit Barrel Cooker? 

The Pit Barrel Cooker is a game-changer for BBQ enthusiasts. Its unique design allows for consistent cooking temperatures and even smoke distribution, resulting in tender, flavourful meat every time. Whether you're a seasoned pitmaster or a beginner, the Pit Barrel Cooker simplifies the smoking process, making it accessible to everyone.

Before we dive into the smoking process, let's ensure you have everything you need: 


  • Pit Barrel Cooker: The star of the show, this cooker is designed for optimal smoking. There are three sizes available – Pit Barrel PBX 22.5”Pit Barrel Classic 18.5” and Pit Barrel Junior 14”
  • Meat Hooks: These are included with a Pit Barrel along with hanging rods, hook remover, grill grate, and charcoal basket. 
  • Looft Lighter & Chimney Starter: A fast and efficient way to light your charcoal
  • Spray Bottle: To spritz the meat with a flavour-enhancing mixture.
Pit Barrel Classic 18.5"Looft LighterBig K Restaurant Quality CHarcoal 15kg
23181 - Pit Barrel Classic 18.5"22126 - Looft Lighter22021 - Big K Charcoal 15kg


  • Meat of Choice: Beef brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, or chicken.
  • Rub Ingredients: Saltpepperturmeric, and paprika.
  • Smoking Log: Adds that rich, smoky flavour.
  • Beer and Apple Vinegar: For spritzing during the smoking process.
Suma Apple Cider Vinegar 5L
22259 - Maldon Sea Salt 570g13258 - Tumeric 1kg11442 - Suma Apple CIder Vinegar 5L

Looft Lighter lighting charcoal and brisket lowered into a Pit Barrel

Step-by-Step Guide to Smoking Meat 

1. Prepare the Meat 

Start by selecting your meat of choice. Popular options include beef brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, and chicken. Generously rub the meat with a blend of salt, pepper, turmeric, and paprika. This rub not only seasons the meat but also helps form a delicious crust during smoking

2. Light the Charcoal 

Use the Looft Lighter to ignite the charcoal quickly and safely in a chimney starter. Place the lit charcoal at the bottom of the Pit Barrel Cooker. This efficient tool ensures your cooker is ready to go in no time, minimising the wait and maximising your cooking time.

3. Set Up the Cooker 

Add a smoking log to the charcoal for that essential smoky flavour. Place a bowl of water inside the cooker to maintain moisture, ensuring your meat stays juicy and tender.

4. Hang the Meat 

Using the provided hooks, hang your prepared meat inside the Pit Barrel Cooker. The hanging method promotes even cooking and smoke circulation around the meat, enhancing the overall flavour.

5. Smoke the Meat 

Close the lid and let the Pit Barrel Cooker work its magic. Smoking times vary based on the type and size of the meat:

How long should you smoke meat?

  • Beef Brisket: Smoke for 10-12 hours at 107°C / 225°F
  • Pork Shoulder: Smoke for 8-10 hours at 107°C / 225°F
  • Ribs: Smoke for 5-6 hours at 107°C / 225°F
  • Chicken: Smoke for 3-4 hours at 121°C / 250°F

Spraying meat during the smoking process with apple cider vinegar and beer mixture

Throughout the smoking process, spritz the meat with a mixture of beer and apple vinegar every hour. This not only adds a delightful flavour but also keeps the meat moist.

6. Check for Doneness 

Use a meat thermometer to ensure your meat reaches the appropriate safe internal temperature. We recommend the Meater Plus wireless thermometer so you can track the temperature from your phone. 

Safe to consume internal temperatures should reach:

  • Beef Brisket: 90-96°C / 195-205°F
  • Pork Shoulder: 90-96°C / 195-205°F
  • Ribs: 88-95°C / 190-203°F
  • Chicken: 74°C / 165°F

7. Rest and Serve 

Once the meat reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the Pit Barrel Cooker and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in tender and flavourful meat. Slice and serve your smoked masterpiece to appreciative guests!

The Father's Day Platter at ICE restaurant with smoked meat

Celebrate National BBQ Week and Father’s Day 

National BBQ Week and Father's Day are the perfect occasions to showcase your smoking skills. Impress your family and friends with perfectly smoked meat, prepared using the Pit Barrel Cooker. Don’t forget to pair your delicious smoked meat with your favourite BBQ sides and sauces for a complete feast. 

By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of smoking meat, creating unforgettable meals, and making this National BBQ Week and Father’s Day truly special. 

Happy grilling!