I have wanted to build this BBQ Pit for a long time now. I have been smoking meat for about 4 years… Sometimes unsuccessfully, but certainly have come a long way. I discovered this YouTube video… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPSAQLIUCmo , which describes the cooking process for this style of BBQ. Thankfully, this is a great video because there just aren’t any more out there. I found it very difficult to find much information on the ways and hows of open pit.
The pit consists of 25 cinder block, a sheet of expanded metal, and a couple pieces of plywood. It probably cost me about $200 in material, but I bought everything new… Some of you will have these materials just lying around. The cooking surface on this pit worked out to be 3’x4’… enough space for 12 pork butts. This pit is much bigger than I need on a regular basis, but my girlfriend and I are hosting a big party next weekend and need the extra space. I’m planning on 3 butts and 10 chicken halves… Maybe a couple racks of ribs for good measure.
I finally found a use for that “ECB” (El Cheapo Brinkmann)… GIANT charcoal chimney! Because I have found myself without a decent supply of proper hardwood, I need to use natural lump charcoal. This seems to work out well, but is buy no means, the cheapest way to do this. I built a separate fire off to the side, and shoveled coals into the pit as needed to maintain temperature. This size pit required about (1) 15 lb bag of charcoal to bring the pit up to a steady temperature (not all at once), and another bag to maintain temperature for about 7 hours. Once the pit is up to temperature, it requires only a half shovelful of coals to bring up the pit 50 degrees. During this cook, I was using 1 shovelful to bring it up 100 degrees. I would let the pit reduce in temperature too 200 before I added the 1 shovel… then the temp would go to 300… Let it fall to 200 and repeat. The next time I do this, I’m going to try “indirect”… Coals on one side… meat on the other… This should have less extreme temperature fluctuations, and create a much better “low and slow” result. Then I will cook the chicken over the hot coals for a nice crispy skin… Low and slow is not good for skin!
I love this part the best… This is where I like to take my time with the trimming and rubbing. I have watched a lot of videos on competition BBQ, and I always try to do my best with my presentation. These probably aren’t up to competition standards, but i have managed to trim them up nicely… Removing excess fat and flesh that would otherwise burn up in the cooking process. BTW, these Old Hickory knives are great! Thanks to The BBQ Pit Boys (search them on YouTube) for introducing the to me! I also have a nice cleaver that I never knew I’d use so much.
After much care and love, I wrap them in plastic and put them in the refrigerator for the night. I don’t proclaim to use any “secret” ingredients in my rub… just basic ingredients like black pepper, salt, garlic powder, paprika, chilli powder, and some cayenne…. There are other ingredients and processes which I won’t go into detail… They add additional layers of flavor and sweetness to the ribs… Again, nothing super secret, and found openly on the web, but some things I just like to keep to myself.
After much blood, sweat, and time… You’ll end up (hopefully) with something that resembles these… A bit crispy (burnt) for my liking, but again… this is a different style then I’m used to. The crispy, burnt flavor, I attribute to cooking directly over the coals, and the extreme temperature fluctuations. Cooking indirectly next time should eliminate this… They were delicious and juicy however…:) Give it a try… It’s fun, and far more fun than mowing the grass!