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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 07-01-2012, 12:08 AM   #1
stepandfetch
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Default Second attempt at traditional North Carolina pit firing

So I bought a 9 pound pork shoulder at one of the few butcher shops around here yesterday. I used a rub mainly consisting of paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and no sugar (to avoid bitter bark.) I rubbed the rub in at about 5:00 AM and it took about two hours for the pit to heat up. I used about 90% Shagbark Hickory that I split about 6 months ago. The wood has been seasoned for about a year. The other 10% was mostly red oak. The shoulder went on at 6:45, and it came off after about 8.5 hours. I kept the temperatures bobbing around the 210-220 mark, and often let it fall below 200, just to increase the amount of smokiness in the meat. I used a Lexington-style finishing sauce, which was mostly pepper flakes, brown sugar, a little ketchup, and a lot of cider vinegar. Anyway, the meat was terrific- not too smoky, very juicy, and far more flavorful than my first attempt.
I do not pull pork... in North Carolina, we beat the tar out of our barbecue with a cleaver, and I much prefer the coarse chop over "pulled pork." Not to say that one is better than the other, its just what I prefer.



oh yea, one more thing- thanks for the help Bludog! I will use that rub again for sure.

Without further ado, here are the pictures:
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Last edited by stepandfetch; 07-01-2012 at 12:32 AM..
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Unread 07-01-2012, 12:12 AM   #2
gtr
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Well I'd hit that! I've been wanting to do a brick or cinderblock pit.

Are you burning down to coals and shoveling into the cooker or are you feeding logs directly into the cooker?
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Unread 07-01-2012, 12:18 AM   #3
stepandfetch
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You ought to try it! The cinderblocks cost about 45 bucks, the expanded metal and wood were both free! I used play sand for foundation and to keep the heat in by dumping it in the blocks.

One warning- use a level and make sure the first row is as perfectly level as possible. If it isn't you will certainly notice later on. If I did this all over again, I would also probably use gravel rather than sand for the foundation.

I used that shovel to move fresh coals from the fire to the pit. Its a pain when it is so hot outside but its more than worth it. When the logs burn down, many impurities burn off in puffs of white smoke, leaving coals that only produce thin blue smoke (or no smoke at all.)

Oh and if you can't tell, we ate the que with baked beans, corn bread, and watermelon. What is in the metal dish was my serving.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 12:32 AM   #4
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Oh - just noticed the pic of the burndown pit - I should have known!

There's a space in our yard where my sons have a fort. I've got my eye on that spot for when they get too old for it. I'm sure my lovely wife has her eye on it too. It'll be an interesting conversation when the time comes.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 12:38 AM   #5
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Way cool! Cooking in a pit is fun and produces some great food. I cooked a suckling pig in mine and had a great time doing it. Keep at it.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 12:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
Oh - just noticed the pic of the burndown pit - I should have known!

There's a space in our yard where my sons have a fort. I've got my eye on that spot for when they get too old for it. I'm sure my lovely wife has her eye on it too. It'll be an interesting conversation when the time comes.
haha yea enjoy that. I wanted to build this pit right next to the house, so I wouldn't have to walk far at night to re-fire the pit every 45 minutes, yet after many "negotiations" here it sits at the farthest corner of the property, next to the woods, yellowjackets, copperheads, etc.

That reminds me- with this traditional technique, you must add a shovelful of coals every half hour or so. The beauty of having coals right under the meat is that when the fat, collagen, connective tissues, etc burns off, it drips down into the coals, and then steam/ smoke drifts back up to the meat- this adds great flavor which you would miss with drip pans.

Last edited by stepandfetch; 07-01-2012 at 01:11 AM..
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Unread 07-01-2012, 07:30 AM   #7
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So is that a cardboard tent over the meat??
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Unread 07-01-2012, 08:30 AM   #8
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Looks great,
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Unread 07-01-2012, 08:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
Oh - just noticed the pic of the burndown pit - I should have known!

There's a space in our yard where my sons have a fort. I've got my eye on that spot for when they get too old for it. I'm sure my lovely wife has her eye on it too. It'll be an interesting conversation when the time comes.
Be prepared to lose that battle.

Just sayin'
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Unread 07-01-2012, 08:44 AM   #10
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Great lookin' pork there & very informative about your cinderblock pit.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 09:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enkidu View Post
Be prepared to lose that battle.

Just sayin'
She has negotiating powers I am unable to resist, and nor would I care to resist.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 09:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
She has negotiating powers I am unable to resist, and nor would I care to resist.
you don't have a chance. Beware, some may view a cinder block pit as an eyesore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeWatcher View Post
So is that a cardboard tent over the meat??
Yep- it helps keep the ashes away from the bark. When you move the coals around or add coals, if it is done too hastily, you will stir up a lot of ash.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 09:27 AM   #13
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Stepandfetch I'm glad it all worked out. I like your pit area and it proves what I have always said it "aint the pit it is the pitmaster"! You don't need a high dollar pit to make awesome eats. You went and made me hungry I need to break into my food saver stash for lunch.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 09:33 AM   #14
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A high dollar pit wouldn't exactly be following tradition. I believe every single restaurant pit in the state is either brick or block.
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