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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 01-27-2012, 09:09 AM   #1
razrbakcrzy
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Default Concrete block Pit

I'm thinking of building a permanent concrete block pit next to my back patio this spring.(see attchment) Anybody got any ideas..?

I'm going to line the interior half way up with fire brick and leave a 1" gap between outside block and fire brick for insulation, thinking of using sand to fill gap but worried about water and freezing making it expand and break the pit apart. I am going to build a shelter to enclose it with a roof.. but it will still be unheated during the winter....
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Unread 01-27-2012, 09:26 AM   #2
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Jeanie, Cowgirl, cooks on a concrete block pit that she built. Her take on your concept would be invaluable.
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Unread 01-27-2012, 09:33 AM   #3
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^+1... I was just checking out her blog the other day. She's got an awesome smokehouse as well.

ETA: Prob should include a link huh?

http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/...ck-pit_19.html
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Unread 01-27-2012, 09:34 AM   #4
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That looks solid to me! I agree with Jim though, Jeanie is the go to for brick pits on here... meaning she has one..

IMO I don't think you're going to need the 1" spacing especially if you're using the firebrick. But I'm not as experienced in brick pits.

Looking forward to seeing how it comes out!
Cheers.
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Unread 01-27-2012, 09:35 AM   #5
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Excellent work Razr. I have a brick patio/island at the back of my yard from where I'm guessing a shed was built at one time. After seeing and reading a lot about old school BBQ in the last few months I got the bug to build a concrete pit too. Now that the weather is on the upward swing it's time to get planning. I like the idea for the lid - simple yet effective (not trying to win any awards here). A fire-brick interior is an interesting idea although it seems like a lot of extra work and money to me. However I see some people stack firebricks 3/4s the way op to create a ledge for the grate to rest. The one thing that caught my eye about your plans that you should take a look at is the thin area in which you'll add and rake coals. Seems like it would be a pain to do anything through there.
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Unread 01-27-2012, 09:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brizz View Post
A fire-brick interior is an interesting idea although it seems like a lot of extra work and money to me. However I see some people stack firebricks 3/4s the way op to create a ledge for the grate to rest. The one thing that caught my eye about your plans that you should take a look at is the thin area in which you'll add and rake coals. Seems like it would be a pain to do anything through there.
The area would be the thickness of one block they measure 8"x8" and the ledge was exactly what I was thinking, I'm going to do an angle iron frame on the interion edge of the fire brick to protect the edge from the angle iron cooking grate and to provide more support to the fire brick...

I will check out the link for some hints...
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Unread 01-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #7
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My Dad had a simple pit when I was a kid.
He stacked blocks under an old Walnut tree in our back yard.
3-4 blocks high then a heavy wire grate across the blocks.
2 more layers of blocks gave room for 1/2 a hog to smoke.
(All night job)
The top was 2 old metal Piggly Wiggly signs that he could slide back and forth for access.
When he smoked there was enough leaks for smoke to escape easily.
The front of his pit had blocks he moved to build a fire and re-supply logs.
(Wood fire)
The bottom of our pit was dirt, that was scorched and burnt black,
it was baked like adobe clay.

You may have guessed that we were poor folks.
My Dad was a butcher and cook, so we still ate well.
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Unread 01-27-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
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If you'd like to build a test model first I could make space in my backyard for that.

Just trying to help.
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Unread 01-27-2012, 10:59 AM   #9
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thats a long ways form arkansas for a test model...!!!;-)
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Unread 01-27-2012, 11:09 AM   #10
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When I lived in N. Carolina I saw a pit very similar to yours. The best feature was a pull out rack at the bottom for coals. The owner used a burn barrel and shoveled them in as needed. To make life easier he used some angle for a track, more angle for a frame, and expanded metal for the fire grate. He just pulled it out, added coals with a shovel and slid it back in. A little shake was enough to clear ashes to allow the coals to breathe. Worked really well for him. The only problem he had was cooking on windy days. Depending on how big you are planning to go, two such racks might be easier to manage.
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Unread 01-27-2012, 12:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razrbakcrzy View Post
thats a long ways form arkansas for a test model...!!!;-)

Is LoUiSiAna close enough?
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Unread 01-27-2012, 02:04 PM   #12
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love the concept and the idea, only question wouldn't you be grilling instead of smoking? Thinking of this from a non whole hog persepective I assume you'd build your heat source at one end and cook that way, but what if it's full.... I guess it's the UDS theory of distance between meat and fire.... Sorry, way to much coffee today and trying to figure out how I can incorporate one of these into my back yard LOL
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Unread 01-27-2012, 04:06 PM   #13
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When I do a whole hog, I place the hot coals under the hams and shoulders on each end, adding a few hot coals at a time to keep the temp where I want it. There's enough heat in the pit to cook the rib section.

When I grill, I put the hot coals directly under the meat or what ever food I am grilling. A rake comes in handy.

Good luck with your build!
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Unread 01-27-2012, 05:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowgirl View Post
When I do a whole hog, I place the hot coals under the hams and shoulders on each end, adding a few hot coals at a time to keep the temp where I want it. There's enough heat in the pit to cook the rib section.
Sounds like a concrete pit is an interesting trade off of heat and smoke flow. Because your lid is a flat piece of metal the smoke will travel from the source up and out. In that case for smoke flow you are better off with a heat/smoke source in the center. Which could be okay when doing many smaller cuts. When doing a whole hog you want to make sure to not overcook the rib section so placing wood/heat at each end make sense but you'd have to think the smoke is going to travel straight up and out before giving some love to the midsection.
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Unread 01-27-2012, 05:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brizz View Post
Sounds like a concrete pit is an interesting trade off of heat and smoke flow. Because your lid is a flat piece of metal the smoke will travel from the source up and out. In that case for smoke flow you are better off with a heat/smoke source in the center. Which could be okay when doing many smaller cuts. When doing a whole hog you want to make sure to not overcook the rib section so placing wood/heat at each end make sense but you'd have to think the smoke is going to travel straight up and out before giving some love to the midsection.
Actually the chamber isn't that large and the exhaust isn't centered over the ends of the pit... the smoke is dispersed fairly evenly and whole hog gets a kiss of smoke before exiting.
The mid section gets more of an "indirect heat" smoke, but it's there.


Edited to add... I should mention, I'm talking about my cinderblock pit....and how it works.
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