Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Drop box pit

I've always prefered to cook on charcoal or a wood fire if I am cooking outdoors. Within the confines of The Frugal Outdoorsman, we agreed that we would only talk about open wood fires. I still agree that open fires is the legitimate venue of an e-zine like TFO.

However, I live in suburbia and barbeque pits are part and parcel of suburban living. I bought a barbeque pit shortly after we bought the house, and I enjoy cooking on it for friends and family.

I still haven't succumbed to the lure of the propane grill. My barbeque is done on charcoal or wood. When I purchased the pit over a year ago, I didn't have enough money for a drop box, but I bought a pit that had a drop box as an accessory. A drop box is nice when smoking or cooking slowly. The meat isn't sitting directly above the fire, instead it gets a natural convection that moves the heat from the box, across the meat, to the flue.

Today I bought the drop box and mounted it. This pit, by Char-Griller is available at Lowes, either as a unit, or you can purchase the pit one year and the box the next, like I did. Cost, you ask? I've got less than $200.00 tied up in this pit.



The pit, and the drop box is heavy gauge steel. This is not a lightweight barbeque. The grills are cast aluminum, the drop box is made of the same heavy steel as the pit. The instructions tell you that the metal is treated against shipping rust. You can easily see an oily waxy coating on the metal as you assemble the pit. It smells like cosmoline. The instructions also tell us to build a fire in the pit before using it, to burn off the protective coating. So, after adding the firebox, I lit a fire in the box.



The temperature gauge is holding steady at something over 250 degrees F, just like I like to cook. The draft controls are easy to use, easy to adjust, and I will probably learn to regulate the heat at 200 degrees and at 300 degrees when I get more practice using the box.

This weekend, I'm going to put a couple of racks of ribs on the pit, along with sausage and hot dogs for the kids. Yeah, ribs sound just fine.

3 comments:

Rivrdog said...

Don't expect it to stay all nice and black, like an indoor wood stove. That fire will start to eat away that stove black and replace it with rust.

Don't worry, the rust won't hurt anything, mine, exactly like yours, is rusty over about 60% of it's exterior, and it still smokes just fine.

BTW, these pits started out being built in New Braunfels, TX, but they must not have patented them properly, because now everyone and his cousin is making them.

ashley said...

You like that cast aluminum? I spent extra once for stainless, and that was a waste of time and money. I'm going back to cast iron.

Pawpaw said...

Dog.- Pits like this have been common in the Deep South for longer than I can remember. The first commercially made pit like this I can remember was one made by a guy named Hamilton, who produced them locally here in the Alexandria area back in the mid 60's.

That outfit out of New Braunfels makes good pits, but I doubt that the design or technology can be patented. It's just too old.

I'm not worried about the paint. A can of stove black once a year keeps the weather off of it.

Ashley - I'm not sure if the grill surface is cast aluminum. They might be iron. They're heavy enough,now that I think about it for a minute.