ABOUT THE COMPANY
When Noah Glanville returned in 2003 from a tour of duty in Iraq, he recalls the greeting he and his unit received from a group of veterans who were hosting a barbecue to welcome the returning troops home. He specifically remembers the smell of charcoal briquets wafting in the breeze as the food was prepared. “Older veterans greeted us with a barbecue, and I remember the smell of Kingsford, hot dogs and hamburgers,” Glanville says. “It’s a good, familiar smell, and I knew that I was finally home.”
Glanville was a Navy corpsman attached to a Marine Corp unit. He later spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of an American security services company. Time spent overseas took its toll. Upon returning, Glanville suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “PTSD is something a lot of guys don’t want to talk about,” Glanville says. He decided to cope with the after effects of his military experiences by starting his own company and putting his time and energy towards something he enjoyed. That was the genesis for the Pit Barrel Cooker Company. Today, barbecue and smoked cooking are Glanville’s livelihood.
In 2010, he and his wife, Amber, started the Pit Barrel Cooker Company, and the company has gone on to become a huge success. “We’re extremely passionate about this business and our customers are just as passionate,” he says. “The Pit Barrel Cooker is unique because it combines the best qualities of smokers, slow cookers and grills into a single product,“ Glanville says. He adds that while barrel cooking is nothing new, never before has a cooker been brought to the mass market in a form that is both affordable and extremely easy to use. The meat-hanging method eliminates all the guesswork and has shocked many, including industry experts.
The road from Glanville’s departure from the military to the launch of his company was a long one. He knew he wanted to follow his entrepreneurial spirit but understood that there would be obstacles to starting a company. For example, after many deployments and holidays spent overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan saving every dollar he could, Glanville was still concerned he wouldn’t be able to fund the startup. He and his wife spent all of their savings and exhausted their credit to bankroll the company. “There are a lot of start up costs and a ton of risk to starting a business from scratch. We knew we had a special product on our hands that would turn the BBQ industry upside down over time. With faith, hard work and people we could trust along the way, we knew we could follow our hearts and make our passion a reality,” he says. Product development was another challenge. Glanville created 29 prototypes of the cooker over a one-year period before developing one he believed was ready for market. Glanville continually adjusted the airflow and charcoal basket until he was satisfied. “We worked with different types and sizes of drums,” he recalls. “We wanted to get this thing right.”
Based on the rave reviews from customers and critics, there’s little question they did just that.
Today Pit Barrel Cooker Co. remains a family-run business, now headquartered in Prospect, KY.
Read the featured article in April 2016’s Global Trade magazine, detailing the challenges faced and lessons learned by Pit Barrel Cooker Co. Founder Noah Glanville and four other veterans in the export business.