View Full Version : First cook on my new pit at my new house

06-06-2012, 12:15 AM
Also my first time cooking a pork butt. Can't wait for dinner tomorrow! :)


06-06-2012, 12:18 AM
nice. bought me a new cooker back in Feburary and i'm still tuning it in.

El Ropo
06-06-2012, 01:20 AM
Is that a Pitmaker Vault? Nice cooker whatever it is!

06-06-2012, 06:17 AM
Very nice pit!

06-06-2012, 08:13 AM
Ahhhh the Pitmaker Safe. Do post results, I am on the fence as to the Safe or the Vault.

06-06-2012, 09:35 AM
It is a Pitmaker safe I picked up on craigslist. I decided to got with Pitmaker & saw one on craigslist the next day (I got very lucky - didn't have to wait for one to be built & saved some money buying slightly used).

I went to bed last night around 11:30 after getting the fire to stabilize at 300 (I couldn't stop it at 220-250 like I wanted). When I got up at 6:00 to check on it, the butt was at 195 & the cooking chamber was at 175... All of my charcoal had burned to ash. The stories I've heard about burn time lead me to believe I did something wrong - I expected the fire to still be there at 6:00.

I'm not sure how hot the butt got, but I'm thinking it's a bit overcooked. The flavor is GREAT, but it's a bit rough around the edges. It's in a cooler now waiting for lunch time. I'll pull it around 11:00 (& hope for the best.

I'll need some practice, but as long as I can control the fire (or know to expect hot & fast) I'll be very happy with my Pitmaker.

I'm planning to cook a brisket this weekend, so I'll make some changes & see if I can cook at a lower temp. I'll end up with a guru, but I'd like to be able to manage the fire on my own first.

I've got a maverick thermometer on the way for my next cook. :)

06-06-2012, 01:18 PM
A feast was had by all. :)

Underneath that hard black exterior was tender, moist pork goodness. My wife's first time trying pulled pork (loved it), and her friend and I ate lots of bark + meat (great flavor, just too tough)... Even my dogs got in on the action.


06-06-2012, 01:23 PM
Great looking pit and pork!

06-07-2012, 12:03 AM
Great looking pit and pork!

Anyone have tips for building a charcooal fire at a lower temp? is it possible that my added wood (on top of the coals) was the reason for a higher temp? I won't place the chunks on the coals next time to see if that does it - this was my first time cooking on anything but an offset.

My guess is that the wood chunks caught fire & lit the unburnt charcoal prematurely... Either that or I didn't shut the vent down soon enough.

I'm thinking using the chimney to regulate the temp is a bad idea. I may try calling pitmaker for advice before cooking a brisket this weekend.

How about the rub? My rub for pork had a lot of sugar - could that be a part of the reason for the tough bark?

06-07-2012, 03:36 AM
Cool dogs! Good lookin pork and pit also!

big brother smoke
06-07-2012, 03:39 AM
Nice weapon!

06-07-2012, 04:42 AM
With that air vent, I 'm not sure why you couldn't dial it lower. How much coal did you use? Fist size chunks of wood, did you light all the coals at once? I'm thinking the minion method would work well in your pit. IMHO

06-07-2012, 05:57 AM
Lot of firsts for you! Looke like you nailed it.

06-07-2012, 08:18 AM

06-07-2012, 08:47 AM
With that air vent, I 'm not sure why you couldn't dial it lower. How much coal did you use? Fist size chunks of wood, did you light all the coals at once? I'm thinking the minion method would work well in your pit. IMHO

I filled the charcoal basket neatly until almost full, leaving an empty spot at the back of the basket (maybe 6-8lbs). I then lit 6-8 coals in a chimney & put them in the back right corner of the basket. I also had 5-6 chunks of wood (fist-sized) on top of the charcoal spread from front to back.

I'm wondering if the wood on top of the coals caused the fire to spread to the front of the basket quickly because of the wood igniting.

06-07-2012, 10:18 AM
I would like to think installing an IQ110, Guru ect would take care of any temp watching

06-07-2012, 10:28 AM
Congrats on both the new house and pit!

06-07-2012, 10:37 AM
Congrats on both the new house and pit!

I echo these thoughts...you are master of your domain

Those pictures made me very hungry!

06-07-2012, 03:41 PM
Congrats on both the new house and pit!

I echo these thoughts...you are master of your domain

Thanks! It's soooo nice to have a house again.
We lived in an apartment for 4 months after selling our last house - it seemed like the longest 4 months EVER! I was limited to cooking on a george foreman 'grill' while we were there.

We've been in the house 3 days & I've cooked on: my old gas grill, charcoal grill (weber craigslist score), and the smoker since we moved in.

06-08-2012, 05:12 AM
Hmmmm... for me, that's s lot of wood. It shouldn't have caught fire if your vents we,'re shut down, unless you have a leak somewhere else, Wichita I doubt.

06-08-2012, 06:38 AM
Thanks. I'll make a few changes and try a brisket tomorrow.

06-08-2012, 07:40 AM
my money is on the BIG dog!!!!.....congrats !!!:clap:

06-08-2012, 05:17 PM
Thanks for sharing.

I just received a new Safe myself, and will be doing pork shoulder on Sunday. All of your questions are ones I have myself. I figured that trial and error as well as a very forgiving piece of meat will be the way to go. I also had them make an "L" channel for me to be able to direct the charcoal, and wood, while avoiding it all catching at once.

I look forward to hearing how your brisket goes, and if you learn anything new, please share!

PNW Smoker
06-08-2012, 06:45 PM

Murray in N.Z.
06-09-2012, 07:27 AM
I smoke with wood more times than charcoal and made a few burnt offerings as well when I started, well quite a few to tell d truth. Yeah sugar burns black when directly over wood flames.. you are correct to try to cut down on the quantities of it, try adding different herbs to vary the rub flavour (even finely chopped fresh ones it you want to get creative). try a sweet brine injection if'n you must have sugar.. or even apple juice. I scatter my wood throughout the charcoal when using charcoal and like you i just light one side... maybe even try less coals to begin with if your wood is very dry. If'n you are in a hot place and the wood is real dry soak it for a day or so B4 you smoke.

I have seen a few blokes use metal divider things in the charcoal/wood to control the burn.... seems like a good idea too.

Mostly just get to know your woods, certain types burn hotter than other, some smoulders well and makes plenty of coldish smoke. They are all different. Just practice practice practice!

Muzza in N.Z.

06-09-2012, 07:47 AM
Great looking Pit.

06-09-2012, 09:51 PM
Thanks y'all. I cooked the brisket lastnight & had much better results.

Filling the water pan made it much easier to control temps. The only complaint I have now is that I'm only getting around 4 hours out of a full basket (used almost 16lbs this cook) ... Maybe that's because of the charcoal I'm using? (kingsford blue from the recent sales).

I didn't get any pics straight off the cooker, but here are my burnt ends... The brisket turned out awesome & was much less work than on my previous smoker (offset stick burner). Even at 4 hours/basket, I'm very happy with my pitmaker safe.