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Hi Cheese
05-29-2013, 09:11 AM
I've been smoking/BBQ for 6 years or so and have collected 7 or 8 grills/smokers. lol All have different functions. Building a cooker out of brick is something I've been wanting to do for a while now. I finally acquired the materials to build it and read alot from this forum. So I'd figure I'd share my experience.

Typically, everyone was saying if you wrap the meat in (burlap/foil/banana leaves, etc) you won't get any smoke flavor. That was something I wanted to figure out. After days of thinking about it, I decided to combine a typical indoor roast with an outdoor cook by utilizing a hotel tray.

So, since I am new to this form of cooking, the pit I built is just stacked brick. The size may actually work out good so I'm going to mortar the brick to make it more permanent. The pit is about 24" square and about 15" deep. BTW - I removed a huge tree stump to put the pit there, my back was feeling it.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5643.jpg

I started the fire around 7am, I used 3 wheelbarrows of wood. At just around noon, I had about 4 inches of coals. Articles I read said to have 10-12" which turned out, would have been way too much.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5645.jpg

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5651.jpg

For the 8# butt, I made a guajillo chili sauce:

12 or so guajillo chiles, toasted stems removed
4-6 cloves garlic
6 roma tomatoes, halved
2 fresno chiles, halved, stems removed
1 T cumin
1 t ground clove
salt
pepper
2 cups water

Add all the ingredients to a sauce pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend until smooth and taste for seasoning.

I marinated the pork with the sauce and placed it in a hotel pan on a bed of: carrot, celery, onion, garlic and jalapenos. I also added about 6 cups of water. You want about an inch or so of water in the pan.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5649.jpg

Now that the coals were ready, I moved the to either side with a shovel and placed two brick in the center to keep the pan away from direct heat. This is where I discovered a slight issue: getting near the pit. It's friggin HAWT! Make sure you have gloves and something like a fireplace poker. lol

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5652.jpg

I set the pan on top of the 2 bricks and lightly covered in foil so smoke would still get to the meat.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5654.jpg

The original plan was to add a lid (corrugated steel roof panels) and cover with dirt for insulation. I decided against covering with dirt in case I need to add wood or water, etc. Again, it was all new to me. I did use my remote thermometer though.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5655.jpg

I had no idea what temp the pit was, so right around 3 hours the meat was 190. I was pretty shocked. It was cooking a little faster than if I was using my oven so I was a bit worried about the final texture. At the 3:45 mark the meat was 218. I quickly removed the pan from the pit and let it sit. A peak inside revealed a little liquid still in the pan (Yes!) and nothing was burned or anything.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5656.jpg

After 30 minutes of resting, I dug into the meat with a pair of tongs. Thinking the meat was going to be tough from the quick cooking time, I pulled out a nice chunk of tender, moist pork.

http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n248/Jeekinz/My%20Recipes/IMG_5657.jpg

For dinner, we sat by the pit toasting tortillas for tacos.

Besides making the pit more permanent, I want to add one of those hanging grills that uses something that looks like a plant hanger.

Big George's BBQ
05-29-2013, 09:15 AM
Very nice Hope you post more with that pit

Garrett
05-29-2013, 09:25 AM
Nice job.

SmokeDiddy
05-29-2013, 09:32 AM
Awesome pit mate! It looks like your cook went great. 3-4 hours for an 8lb butt, now that is is fast.

angryfish01
05-29-2013, 09:37 AM
Thats great! I've been thinking about doing the same thing. Although, "She who must be obeyed" probably won't allow for it.
Please show future cooks.

K-JUN
05-29-2013, 09:46 AM
That is very cool and the butt looks great.

Hi Cheese
05-29-2013, 10:06 AM
Thanks everyone! Yeah, the cooking time was a little short but I think the water helped out. The meat was pullable so I really dodged a bullet on that. The next one I do I'm going to use less wood and try to get at least a 5 hour cooking time. Even around 7pm the pit was still ready too cook.

I also need to get a butt from a butcher. All the supermarkets around here trim off the fat!

K-JUN
05-29-2013, 10:13 AM
The next one I do I'm going to use less wood and try to get at least a 5 hour cooking time.

You could start with less coals and use a chimney starter or a spare grill to burn down some extra wood to add as you go. That way you could keep the heat lower but consistent for a longer cook.

PaPaQ
05-29-2013, 10:21 AM
Nice job on the pit! Butt looks great!

Subzerogriller
05-29-2013, 10:27 AM
Awesome cook, can't wait to see what else you do with that pit!

Mark Warren
05-29-2013, 10:33 AM
Great experiment, only issue I see is - seems like a LOT of wood for only 8 pounds of meat. Next time 2 pans = 4 butts then vacuum pack and freeze afterward for quick and convenient access anytime.

Hi Cheese
05-29-2013, 10:38 AM
Great experiment, only issue I see is - seems like a LOT of wood for only 8 pounds of meat. Next time 2 pans = 4 butts then vacuum pack and freeze afterward for quick and convenient access anytime.

Ha! Yeah, no doubt it was alot of wood! I watched my wood pile dwindle down before my eyes! lol

Good idea with 2 butts! They should fit great in that pan too.

We always freeze leftover pork. It's great for after work tacos, etc since it defrosts very quick.

Hi Cheese
05-29-2013, 10:41 AM
You could start with less coals and use a chimney starter or a spare grill to burn down some extra wood to add as you go. That way you could keep the heat lower but consistent for a longer cook.

I know what temps I can get in any of my smokers using any type of fuel (wood, lump, briquettes) but I had no idea how much the brick itself would come into play. It really does retain a ton of heat, not to mention being insulated by the earth.

By the way, the brick I used was from an ad on Craigslist from someone who had their fireplace/chimney removed. The floor of my pit is fire brick and the walls are standard, solid red brick. I had to chip away old mortar on 75% of them.

oifmarine2003
05-29-2013, 10:50 AM
Nice job. I will be curious to see some future cooks out of your pit!

N8man
05-29-2013, 10:58 AM
OutStanding!!! Thanks for sharing your Pit with us!!!

gtr
05-29-2013, 11:04 AM
Great post bro! :clap2:

Once my young 'uns grow up and move away I have an eye on a part of our backyard for a pit. Should be an interesting conversation with the missus. :heh:

fingerlickin'
05-29-2013, 12:37 PM
Nice man, that looks like fun. :thumb:

Pyrotech
05-29-2013, 04:10 PM
Is the bottom of the pit lined with brick as well?

Looks great, I am going to have to try cooking in a pit like this.

Hi Cheese
05-29-2013, 04:32 PM
Is the bottom of the pit lined with brick as well?

Looks great, I am going to have to try cooking in a pit like this.

Yes, the bottom is all fire brick. The walls are regular brick. It's all from a torn down fireplace/chimney.

grantw
05-29-2013, 10:08 PM
when i was a kid thats how my dad did it, your lid wasnt sealed enough by the picture anyway. cover it all up with dirt you dont want oxygen sneaking in.

Pyrotech
05-29-2013, 10:58 PM
when i was a kid thats how my dad did it, your lid wasnt sealed enough by the picture anyway. cover it all up with dirt you dont want oxygen sneaking in.


Would the dirt on top have slowed the cook time down? I would guess that it would since the fire would not have enough Oxygen to burn hot, but act more like banking a bed of coals overnight for the campfire.

grantw
05-29-2013, 11:46 PM
yes, get it hot like you did then bury it, wrap the meat nice and tight with some thing- burlap or butcher paper or foil or banana leaves or brown paper bags. no matter what you wrap it with you dont want the coals to breath

Hi Cheese
05-30-2013, 10:16 AM
yes, get it hot like you did then bury it, wrap the meat nice and tight with some thing- burlap or butcher paper or foil or banana leaves or brown paper bags. no matter what you wrap it with you dont want the coals to breath

That was the original idea, but everything I read said the meat had no smoke flavor, which is what I wanted. That's when I came up with the idea to use a pan lightly tented with foil, which snowballed into using veg and water. I got the moist environment of using an oven with smoke flavor from the wood.

I'm going to do 2 butts next time, Cuban style, with less coals. Even in the short cook time, the blade pulled right out of the meat, just like a 6.5 hour cook in an oven. But I think this was a stroke of luck. I want to try to get a minimum of 6 hours next time.

Wrench_H
05-30-2013, 10:57 AM
Looks like a fun cook that turned out great. I love seeing people experiment with new ways to get stuff done. Nice work.

boiler93
05-30-2013, 12:23 PM
Great experiment. Keep us posted, I have 5 acres and plenty of room to hide it from the boss.

va_connoisseur
05-30-2013, 01:28 PM
I like that pit. Simple, direct and to the point. Good job!

Texas.Eggineer
05-30-2013, 01:39 PM
You should check out Tim Byres new book, SMOKE New Firewood Cooking. He has tips and recipies for cooking with that type of pit.

Carbon
05-30-2013, 01:45 PM
Nice pit, nice cook!
Are you the same Hi Cheese from the DC forum a few years back?

Hi Cheese
05-30-2013, 02:01 PM
Nice pit, nice cook!
Are you the same Hi Cheese from the DC forum a few years back?

Thanks!

Yeah, I haven't been on that forum since 08/09. I'm on NCT forum once in a while.