Saturday, September 9, 2017

Pit Barrel Cooker(PBC) tips

This is meant to be a short tips and tricks for working with a PBC. I'm assuming you have already followed the directions for lighting your PBC and are trying to troubleshoot some issues with temperatures. They don't discuss monitoring temperatures in their videos but it's something I started doing with my Weber kettle and I've continued that with my PBC. I'm glad I did because some of my early cook saw temperatures in my PBC spike to nearly 500 and temperatures settling in the upper 300s. I'd read about it running down in the 275-325 range and wanted to get mine to cool off a bit. I use Kingsford Professional which is not something they recommend but I prefer to use 100% natural charcoal and no lighter fluid as I spread the spent ashes on my yard to help my yard and reduce the amount of trash I create.

If you really want to learn a LOT about cooking with a PBC, join The Pit over at Amazing Ribs and checkout the dedicated PBC forum. There is also a lot of good info on the Amazing Ribs PBC Tips and Techniques page and over at the PBC moderated forum on Let's Talk BBQ.

  • At the start of your cook, spray cooking spray around the edge of the lid to help it develop a better stick/connection with the barrel. Some people also add weight on top of the lid to help ensure as tight of a seal as possible.
  • You do want the temp to ramp up into the 360-420 range at the start. It should then settle down in the 275-325 range for your cook. If you spike HIGHER than that range try the ideas listed below under “Temperature spikes at start”
  • The number of briquettes you light at the start is KEY. Start with too many and temps soar, start with too few and temps won’t come up high enough. This is pretty easy to recover from, see below under "How to raise temps".
  • Double hook meats if you are concerned about them potentially falling in the coals
  • The intake setting determines where your temperatures will be at the start of a cook and eventually settle. Adjusting this during a cook will make little to no difference in temps. Took me a while to understand this isn’t a Weber kettle!

Temperature spikes at start
  • Start with 30 vs 40 lit coals
  • Light coals and let them sit in the chimney for 12 vs 15 minutes
  • Put food in immediately after adding lit coals

How to get temps down when running too hot
  • Ensure both hanging rods are inserted
  • Ensure the lid has a good seal.
    • Push down to see if there are gaps.
    • Rotate to ensure the seal is good.
    • Might take a few cooks to get a good gunk built up around the edge of the lid to get it to stick.
    • Consider placing some weight(bricks, etc) on the lid to ensure a tight seal between lid and barrel
  • Plug hanging rod holes with foil

How to raise temps when they are running low Note: Opening the vent while the PBC is cooking has little to no effect on temperatures. The vent setting helps you get proper temps when starting a cook. Learn where to set it for cold days and warm days(if even that). Other than that, leave it alone.
  • Slide lid to side a little bit creating a ⅛” to ¼” opening to get temps back in the zone. Let temp rise to 20-30 degrees above target and reseat lid
  • Pull a hanging rod out

Cooking with less than a full basket

  • Push the coals to one side vs spread out across the basket

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Install psycopg2 on a Greenplum system

If you try to install psycopg2 on a Greenplum system using pip you may run into this error:

Error: pg_config executable not found.  
    Please add the directory containing pg_config to the PATH
    or specify the full executable path with the option:
        python build_ext --pg-config /path/to/pg_config build ...
    or with the pg_config option in 'setup.cfg'.

The solution is to add the path to the Greenplum bin directory to your environment PATH.

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/greenplum-db/bin/

Then run pip install psycopg2 and all should be good.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Google Fiber remote lag

The lag in my Google Fiber remote was driving me crazy. Figured out how to disable bluetooth & go back to IR only on the remote. Lag problem solved.