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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 02-05-2013, 01:16 PM   #1
jmoney7269
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Default Anyone use splits in their Pitmaker?

So last night I was just experimenting with the vault and came across something. I love using it with charcoal and wood chunks cooked dry. So last night I wanted to see what it would do if I filled the water pan with 5 gal of water. I opened all the vents and let er rip. the whole vault top to bottom was 218 with a roaring fire for around 6 hrs and it went dry and ran out of fuel. I know water is a governor in these things it really is, Becaise that would have been a 450+ fire that I built. I was wandering if anyone operated it as a stick burner adding a large stick about every hr to keep a nice fire in there. Charcoal doesn't have the btu's of a peice of post or live oak perfectly aged. At first when I was running it with water at night I thought I had crazy white bitter smoke goin, but I didn't and it soon evaporated after the exhaust pipe. Might have to try some experiments tonight on some cheap chicken. Got plenty of post oak and pecan to burn
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Unread 02-05-2013, 01:21 PM   #2
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Hummm, why not get a stick burner? I only ask because I don't think it would cook as well burning sticks since it wasn't designed for it.

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Unread 02-05-2013, 01:50 PM   #3
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True. It's just not very efficient IMO as a water smoker. Myron mixon says he cooks @300-350 with water smokers, but I do remember tuffy stone using one of Myron's pits at a cookoff feeding it some serious wood full of water and couldn't get it over like 220. From what I see if your gonna use water, you better like really low and slow!
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Unread 02-05-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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I have a pitmaker BBQ Safe. I always fill the water pan all the way up, fill the cahrcoal basket level with RO right out of the chimney, and throw a few sticks of seasoned post oak limbs on top of the coals. The limbs I use are about 1.5' long and about 2-3" in diameter bark on. It'll run around 250 to 275. I add more limbs every few hours. You cant beat that Texas oak flavor. Best of both worlds. Flavor of a stickburner, and the ease of a vault/safe.
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Unread 02-05-2013, 03:30 PM   #5
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I did a brisket this past weekend for the superbowl with just splits and a dry pan. After it got up to about 275 and stable, I put in one split about every hour and put a split on the other side of the basket just to heat up the next burning split. I was able to hold 275 easily without it getting too hot, but I could have taken it up higher with more air. I just wanted a minimum "fire" without smoldering. It worked well. I alternated oak and pecan on the splits until the internal temp on the brisket was about 160. I then wrapped, put lump in the basket, filled it up with water and let her go until probe tender while I napped. Worked great!

My vault settles in right at 250-275 and will not go higher without a really roaring fire with water in the pan. I can get it higher but the whole basket better be going to get above 275 with a pan full of water.
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Unread 02-05-2013, 04:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoney7269 View Post
So last night I was just experimenting with the vault and came across something. I love using it with charcoal and wood chunks cooked dry. So last night I wanted to see what it would do if I filled the water pan with 5 gal of water. I opened all the vents and let er rip. the whole vault top to bottom was 218 with a roaring fire for around 6 hrs and it went dry and ran out of fuel. I know water is a governor in these things it really is, Becaise that would have been a 450+ fire that I built. I was wandering if anyone operated it as a stick burner adding a large stick about every hr to keep a nice fire in there. Charcoal doesn't have the btu's of a peice of post or live oak perfectly aged. At first when I was running it with water at night I thought I had crazy white bitter smoke goin, but I didn't and it soon evaporated after the exhaust pipe. Might have to try some experiments tonight on some cheap chicken. Got plenty of post oak and pecan to burn
So Justin, get your initial / warming fire going with lump, then add a split.

Keep it dry, with an aluminum pan of water on stand by. If it starts running up too high, just set the pan into your water pan this will calm it down.

The firebox is big enough to do both and it's advertised as a wood or charcoal smoker.

@smokeass - there is no comparison between the vault and the safe.
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Unread 02-05-2013, 06:50 PM   #7
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@RangerJ- My apologies
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Unread 02-05-2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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I appreciate the advise guys. I just wanted to try it this way once because there is a guy that has a safe on YouTube and he fills the pan with water, gets a Hott bed of coals and just throws debarked splits in the whole time with a constant of 250-275. I dunno it just seems that the water governs it so much that it won't go above 218-220. I am by no means complaining. I can set this vault dead nose on 275 dry and cook no prob! Just bored trying to completely "know your pit". I know dry, @275 with the exhaust 100% open, 25% on the guru will make it draft perfect with the guru running about 10-25% which is perfect.
I have never had run a away temp spike in my vault. You can't chase temps on a insulated well sealed pit, just so happens I got it right the first burn. Here is a video last night after all the water burned off.

Some leftovers tonight.

Last edited by jmoney7269; 02-05-2013 at 07:24 PM..
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Unread 02-05-2013, 07:32 PM   #9
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RangerJ, smokeass, SDAR there is a difference that I forgot to mention to y'all. My door guage is calibrated for center grate temps. So when my guru temp is 275, 300, or 325 the door temp is exactly the same. Sitting in a 70 degree day, the door temp rests around 125. I'm sure y'all just used the door gauge as the only temp measurement. Remember, heat and airflow uses the path of least resistance and I this case, it's along the walls, not the grates, so the door temp on a boil calibrated guage will read somewhere around 50 degrees hotter than the actual grate temp. So its possible that when using water, your prob really only Cookin @218-220 also. Not tryin at all to beat down on your methods, but this is a temp variance between the door and the actual grate is 50 deg difference. And from what I read, it's common on almost every vault or safe. Even George warned me of this. He know from my YouTube videos I only cook with grate temps.

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Unread 02-06-2013, 01:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoney7269 View Post
RangerJ, smokeass, SDAR there is a difference that I forgot to mention to y'all. My door guage is calibrated for center grate temps. So when my guru temp is 275, 300, or 325 the door temp is exactly the same. Sitting in a 70 degree day, the door temp rests around 125. I'm sure y'all just used the door gauge as the only temp measurement. Remember, heat and airflow uses the path of least resistance and I this case, it's along the walls, not the grates, so the door temp on a boil calibrated guage will read somewhere around 50 degrees hotter than the actual grate temp. So its possible that when using water, your prob really only Cookin @218-220 also. Not tryin at all to beat down on your methods, but this is a temp variance between the door and the actual grate is 50 deg difference. And from what I read, it's common on almost every vault or safe. Even George warned me of this. He know from my YouTube videos I only cook with grate temps.
No, I don't use the door temp. I use a guru sometimes, but I always use an ET-732 and the temp regulates right at 250 with water in the pan on either of those probes. The door is usually about 10 degrees lower believe it or not. I set the guru pit probe and the ET-732 probe on each side of the food in the middle of whatever rack I am using for the big meat.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 01:32 PM   #11
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What does your therm rest on as far as ambient temps?
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Unread 02-06-2013, 01:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoney7269 View Post
What does your therm rest on as far as ambient temps?
I guess I don't know at ambient. I will have to look.
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