Pit Barrel Cooker Mods (7 Modifications You Can Make)

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The Pit Barrel Cooker is a simple and effective innovative smoker!

The best BBQ comes from tradition and shouldn’t be complicated.

But having the freedom to make adjustments or mods is always a bonus.

I have made a complete review list of those handy mods to consider.

So check my review process and start preparing your cuts of meat!


The Best Pit Barrel Cooker Co. Mods – Easy Grilling!

From an air intake hole or accurately monitoring temperature spikes.

These product details will give you some food for thought about this superb smoker.

Temperature Gauge

Accurate temperature readings are vital for a successful cook.

So you don’t burn your delicious brisket or rack of ribs.

Or risk food poisoning from underdone turkey or pork butts.

Knowing the exact cooking temperature helps you calculate and make adjustments.

A Pit Barrel drum smoker does not have temperature control.

So my first recommendation is a simple magnetic temperature gauge.

This will give you an idea of the ambient temperature.

Installing the Temperature Gauge

– Attach the probe to the outside of the stainless steel drum in the middle.

– Do not put it on the lid as you will be removing it.

– Do not put it on the bottom near the coal basket.

Note: Use meat probes to monitor the internal temperature of your meat.


Ash Pan

An ash pan will help keep your yard and Pit Barrel Cooker clean.

It is cheap and very easy to install.

I found it handy because it saved me some time collecting ash after a cook.

It acts as a heat deflector to also help insulate.

And a guard against hot coals that might have fallen out of the coal basket.

Installing the Ash Pan

– Buy a Pit Barrel Cooker Original Ash Pan according to your charcoal basket size.

– Remove the lid, rods, and charcoal basket from your Pit Barrel while it is cold.

– Place the ash pan and do a balance test.

– Secure it in the groves of the 3-point stand.


Coal Chimney

Having a chimney to light your coals makes the perfect accessory.

It doesn’t cost much and even saves you money on lighter fluid or sticks.

You can also buy ones that you can leave in your cooking chamber.

It allows you to stack the coals and create a hot point.

This allows you to control and cook with indirect heat.

Air Vent Holes & Adjustable Dampers

Creating more airflow in your Pit Boss will help with controlling the temperature.

If it is too hot you can open the vents up.

Or if it’s too cold you can close them!

Buy the damper and then measure the size required for the air vent holes.

We will be drilling for this mod.

Drilling the Holes & Installing the Damper

– Measure the size of the holes you will need to drill from your damper.

– Buy the correct size drill bit.

– Stencil out the drill points on the lid of your Pit Barrel.

– Check that they match.

– Drill accurate holes through the lid.


Additional Grate & Hinged Grates

An additional grate can be brought to install in the middle of your smoker.

This allows more surface area for your food.

You also can install the additional grate nearer the bottom.

So you can get direct heat.

Think about cooking a steak on the lower level grate and some cobbs on the top!

A hinged grate allows you access without fully removing it.

This might apply to when you need to add more charcoal for a longer cook.

Installing the Additional Grates

– Buy the grates and brackets as per the measurements on your Pit Barrel.

– Install the brackets as per instructions at the height you want in the barrel.

– Lay in the grate and make sure it is secure before cooking.

– Install the damper on the holes and secure it with silicone glue.


What Pit Barrel Mods Are Included in the Standard Package?

Standard Grill Grates

Standard grill grates fix into brackets at the top of the barrel.

For your steaks and chicken wings!

Coal Basket

The coal basket is located at the bottom of the Pit Barrel and holds the hot coals.

It is customized so you can get even heat distribution up the barrel.

Cooking Rack With Meat Hooks

The standard Pit Barrel will come with 2 steel rods that form cooking racks.

4 meat hooks are attached in equal measure on each rod.

These are perfect for a holiday turkey or some racks of ribs!


How a Pit Barrel Cooker Works

This style of smoker uses airflow and insulation to adjust or maintain heat.

A gallon steel drum sits level on a 3-point stand.

With a removable charcoal basket at the bottom and a standard grill grate on top.

There is an adjustable air vent on the lower side with a sealable lid for the top.

The fuel is then lit and the heat travels up to your food.

Why Should I Add Mods to a Pit Barrel Cooker?

I hope to have given you a little insight into the function of each mod.

These affordable smokers aren’t as technical as say, a pellet smoker.

But do you want a little more customization to enhance your BBQ experience?

The choice is there!

At the end of the day, we want the best-tasting food.

And I think the availability of these mods will help you achieve that.

Temperature Control – Adjusting the Vent Settings

All Pit Barrel Cookers come with an adjustable air vent at the bottom of the gallon drum.

This only needs to be done once while you are setting up and adding mods.

As it controls airflow and achieves a consistent temperature.

It is simple to do and is based on your elevation level.

0-2000ft Above Sea Level

Adjust the vent to 1/4 open if you are below 2000ft.

2000-5000ft Above Sea Level

Adjust the vent to 1/2 open if you are between 2000-5000ft.

5000-8000ft Above Sea Level

Adjust the vent to 3/4 open if you are between 5000-8000ft.

Sea Level Above 8000ft

Have the vent open if you are above 8000ft.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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