It is official, and I’m late to the party of announcing this, but about three weeks ago it was announced that Barrel House Cooker Company has been acquired by Noah Glanville, creator of the Pit Barrel Cooker Company. I like to keep the readers of Grizzly BBQ in the ‘know’ of this type of news, especially since I’m an avid user of both the Barrel House Cooker 14D — which has unfortunately been discontinued — and the Barrel House Cooker 18C.
This was the announcement posted by Noah Glanville of PBC:
This is Noah Glanville, some of you may know my family for our popular Pit Barrel Cooker, and I’m excited to announce today that we have recently expanded our barbecue family with the acquisition of The Barrel House Cooker Company, LLC. As pioneers in the vertical cooker market, we’ve always strived to bring the best products to the consumer. Part of that winning formula is making our customers a big part of our decision-making process, especially when it comes to product and innovation. So, we’re excited to bring our industry knowledge together with your passion for the Barrel House Cooker to chart the future course for the company and the brand.
Welcome to our barbecue family, and expect to hear more from us in the coming weeks. In the meantime, stay safe in these uncertain times, and join us in sharing a great meal with family.
Owner of The Barrel House Cooker Company, LLC
Cofounder, President and CEO of Pit Barrel Cooker Co.
If you are interested in reading the press release which concerns the announcement of the acquisition, click here.
If you aren’t in the knowing of the swing of things, a legal battle was formed between Pit Barrel Cooker and Barrel House Cooker when the two were separate entities. PBC alleged that its design was duplicated as part of a contract dispute, with possible claims that BHC reneged on the contract in order to create its drum smoker. The result of the lawsuit featured PBC being paid payments (by BHC) and receiving royalties from future sales of the BHC, which was effective beginning around sometime in May 2018 (the time the lawsuit was resolved). From what I have heard, the original owner of Barrel House Cooker Co. chose to ‘hand over’ the company as a whole to Noah and Pit Barrel Cooker Co. as part of debt forgiveness.
As for what the future of Barrel House Cooker entails? This is a post by BHC on social media:
The Barrel House Cooker Company, LLC and Pit Barrel Cooker Co. are two separate companies and brands. We are always innovating and listening to our customer’s feedback. At this time there are no plans to consolidate nor combine the two cookers.
I am ecstatic to hear that Noah and PBC are going to continue to create Barrel House Cookers going forward. This is exceptional news. I have said it in multiple posts on Grizzly BBQ, but I can’t help but feel like the Barrel House is a superior cooker in comparison to the Pit Barrel. Sure, the PBC is more popular and was the first commercially successful pre-built drum smoker to practically take over the market in the realm of drum cookers, but the features of the BHC — thermometer on the lid, removable charcoal base, ability to use the aforementioned charcoal base as a hibachi by sitting the grates directly on top of it to sear things like tri-tip or thick cuts of steak — puts it over the top.
I have also stated time and time again that, if BHC were to quit producing cookers altogether and my two cookers were to wear out, I would have no problem purchasing a PBC because I am fully aware of how excellent they are. At the same rate, I would have been underwhelmed because the PBC simply has less features and is not as user accessible in comparison to the BHC, and that is an objective fact.
Ever since the beginning of 2019, I have been wary about the future of Barrel House.
I feel that I am safe to say this now, but in November 2018, a former employee of Barrel House — someone who I am friends with to this day — sent me a message telling me that he and a multitude of his colleagues had been laid off by BHC Co. He then told me that he had been told that the company was planning on selling the remainder of its cookers and was going to subsequently shut down. He had no information beyond that, as that was all the information he was told. He asked me for the conversation to remain between the two of us during that time. Now that Pit Barrel has acquired Barrel House, with granted permission I feel that such older news like that is now worth being mentioned, since the end of Barrel House did not reach fruition, thankfully.
Going forward, it is going to be interesting to see what Pit Barrel decides to do with Barrel House. I have my reservations and concerns. The two Barrel House Cooker models that I own, which I purchased in early 2018, are sturdy and have survived hundreds of cooks in the last two years, have proven to be sturdy and durable. However, I can’t help but wonder if Noah and PBC will begin using cheaper parts to produce them as time ensues. This is not me throwing any shade of Noah or PBC, but simply curiosity out of the prospect of wondering if that will happen in order to save money and overhead overall.
Furthermore, it was announced a while back that Barrel House has discontinued its original 14D model, and that is a crying shame. Speaking subjectively on behalf of my own opinion, the 14D model is superior to the 18C. While it holds less food given that it is a smaller cooker, I liked three of its features much better than the 18C: the 14D’s midsection can latch to the charcoal base which makes it more secure and airtight, the 14D has a lid hinge unlike the 18C and, finally, the 14D has intake vents on the lower side of the charcoal base which is different than the 18C as the 18C features the overall intake vent placed on the bottom of the cooker and is controlled by a ‘pull-in’/’pull-out’ handle. Asides from that, the tallness of the 14D is an advantage. With the 18C, it is shorter and things like ribs and big briskets can hang too close to the fire*.
* – A stainless steel extension kit for the Barrel House Cooker 18C was created in 2018. I received one and use it to this day. It works fantastically well in order to keep food further away from the fuel/heat source. However, for the time being, the extension kit has been discontinued and it is not being made, much to the chagrin of new users who are having to cut their ribs in half in order to hang them in the 18C cookers. Hopefully Noah and PBC will listen to all the collective requests being mentioned by users who do not have possession of the original extension kit, because it is a necessity to use one from where I stand.
I appreciate that Barrel House Cookers are still going to be produced going forward. They are exceptional cookers and I recommend them to everyone who is looking into buying a drum smoker. Perhaps now, PBC and BHC users can come together and enjoy the discussion of great barbecue rather than engaging in any types of pseudo-rivalries that could come about in a heated discussion over ‘which cooker is better’. It is all about sharing the love and creation of good grub, no matter how you see it.
You can currently purchase a Barrel House Cooker on Amazon.
Too bad the 14D was discontinued. It appears higher quality materials were used on the 14D (stainless steel) vs. the 18C and I like the hinged lid on the 14D convenience over removable. I am a newbie to food smoking. I spent months researching and was going to get the BHC, but I have been reading that rust can happen with the BHC 18C due to it being only ceramic enameled vs. stainless steel. Can you help a newbie out? I even thought about pellet smokers (Weber and Green Mountain Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone), but the drum smokers is what I am leaning toward for simplification. I think the pellet smokers, for me, is too much to deal with and not knowing what I am doing. Thanks! Mo
Hey Mo! First of all, thank you for stopping by and commenting.
Excuse my extreme ignorance on the materials used, but I thought the material used in the BHC was porcelain enameled vs. ceramic? I have to emphatically reiterate my ignorance here, because I have no idea about the similarities. In 2018, BHC (along with the extension kit that was previously available to buy before recently) released both a stainless steel charcoal base and ash pan. That was around June 2018, if my memory is serving me correctly. I’m not sure if this is now standard for Barrel House or what. I’ve been a little confused by the direction of the cooker ever since Pit Barrel acquired them. However, I will say that I’ve been using the stainless steel charcoal base/ash pan ever since that time two years ago.
I’ve used the heck out of my two BHCs and they have not broken down one bit. That is the most genuine testimonial I can give. The only slight inconveniences I’ve had has been — as far as the 18C model goes — is occasionally having to tighten up the screws on the handles alongside the main barrel base every 4-6 months when they loosen up, but that’s no big deal with a screwdriver. After consistent use, practically giving these cookers a beating, I haven’t been a witness to any rust. If photo evidence is requested of this, I can try to capture what they look like as of this moment if needed.
Owning the BHC 18C since April 2018, it has been an excellent cooker and continues to produce amazing grub as I pack it full of food even to this day. My only qualm is that, for you and other prospective buyers, you truly need the extension kit! It sits on the charcoal base to provide adequate space between the heat source and the food when you hang items like ribs and brisket. It still looks like the extension is unavailable, which is mind boggling to me. Then again, the original design of the 18C is flawed in that one specific way — it should have been made as tall as the 14D. I truly feel like the extension kit is essential and should come with the 18C itself.
Since you mentioned your interest in a drum smoker, I have to highly recommend a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker to you.
I own the 22.5″ WSM and love it. It was the first smoker I ever purchased. The reason you won’t find it featured in a ton of my posts on here is because I mainly use it for catering and for big family dinners, as it can hold a lot of food and the only drawback of the 22.5″ WSM is that it is a charcoal hog. I can hold 18-20 lbs. of charcoal in that baby, which is great for big cooks, but when you are only wanting to throw down a couple of items that don’t call for long smoke sessions, you are burning through a lot of charcoal.
But… that is for the 22.5″ WSM.
It sounds like you could be interested in the 14″ and 18″ WSM based on your interest in the BHC 18C, so I’ll definitely have to recommend those two models as well, preferably the 18″ WSM if you asked which. The 18″ WSM also seems to be the most popular model of the smokey mountain cookers, as well, and they don’t take as much charcoal as the 22″. Also, Weber is definitely a reputable grilling brand of course, and their customer service is wonderful.
If you want to hang meats, there are even sites that sell rings that you can add to your WSM to hang ’em in there! I haven’t tried this, but I know many who have (source: The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board forum). That is always an option.
You mentioned pellet grills — to this day, I have never tasted food from a pellet grill, which is infuriating to me. I’ve considered buying one for the convenience factor, but I’ve read a variety of detractors stating that there is a lack of smoke flavor in the food, and I’m pretty big on a rich smokey flavor when it comes to my BBQ. Also, the elements of the use of electricity and parts that could tear up keeps me away. I like to barbecue out in nature quite often, away from any plug-ins, so between all of that and the hefty price tag of most pellet grills, I don’t see myself picking up one anytime soon, so I’m limited in any advice that may pertain to them.
I wish you the best on your journey to picking up a smoker. Definitely let me know if you have any more questions as well as what you do decide to go with!