Smoke'em if you got'em

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rayvic98
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Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by rayvic98 » April 10th, 2019, 10:55 am

Hello All,

Thanks for welcoming me to the conversation. I am a ninth generation Texan so I am firmly planted in the "beef is barbecue" and everything else is sides debate. With that said I love to eat pork and can appreciate everything you folks up north are doing. I live in New Braunfels and office in San Marcos. Work takes me to Lockhart often and I am a frequent diner at each of their fine establishments (don't ask for my favorite, because unlike my kids its hard to pick just one). I often find myself standing in line at Smitty's at 11am hoping to score some prime rib. As I not so patiently wait behind first timers in line realizing its cash only I find myself staring longingly at their brick pit.

So I have decided to build my own. I have zero welding or mason experience. I do however have my father in law who is a retired mason who though he cant physically do the work anymore loves to give me "direction" and my cousin who is welder has agreed to create custom parts (doors, racks, and whatever else I can think of) in trade with me. In terms of design while I would love to make an exact replica of the pits you see in Lockhart I sadly do not have the space. What I am thinking of right now is an open fire pit (like Smittys) that feeds into a vertical chamber for all my smoking needs. The pit I want to utilize for all my open fire needs. I come from a long line of vaquero cooks and have my grandfathers disco and tripod with most of the implements ready to use on a spot that wont ruin my lawn.

So I have come to this site to get some advice, tips, and most importantly dos and dont's of pit design. Any tips specifically geared towards the unique issues of masonry pits is greatly appreciated. I am still in the planning stages but want to get to work soon. I look forward to learning from you.



Chromeski
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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by Chromeski » April 10th, 2019, 1:06 pm

I can't wait to see what you build. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the pits you are wanting to clone. Any chance you have a pic of theirs? A food sample next day shipped over would probably be helpful as well



rayvic98
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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by rayvic98 » April 10th, 2019, 2:11 pm

For those of you who have yet to visit.
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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by JKalchik » April 10th, 2019, 4:22 pm

Chromeski wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 1:06 pm
I can't wait to see what you build. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the pits you are wanting to clone. Any chance you have a pic of theirs? A food sample next day shipped over would probably be helpful as well
<chuckle> I'm with @Chromeski on his one.

From what I've seen in videos, the Lockhart style pits are a direct fired & exposure style pit, almost more of a grill. Built out of block, with steel lids (counterweighted,) still long, low & slow cooking.


"Measure with micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with fireaxe." Ted M., USCG (ret)
"Smoked pork. It belongs in me." Giles L

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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by Big T » April 10th, 2019, 6:04 pm

Welcome aboard!! I'm afraid that I'm not much help in the brick pits either but I look forward to seeing your build progress.


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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by Dirtytires » April 10th, 2019, 9:24 pm

I’ve never seen one in operation so please correct me if I’m wrong. I was under the impression that the small fire on the floor was just maintained to keep new coals ready to be added to the bottom of the block in ‘smokehouse.’ The coals create different heat zones and the meat needs to be moved around pretty frequently.

How big are you thinking? If my above assumption is correct, you would always need a fairly large surface area with hot coals in order to maintain heat zones. It seems this would make it less than ideal to fire up for a few racks of ribs for the family.

Interested to know more about your build ideas. Not sure this has come up here before so we can all learn a bit ourselves as we follow you thru the project.



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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by rayvic98 » April 11th, 2019, 9:05 am

Dirtytires wrote:
April 10th, 2019, 9:24 pm
I’ve never seen one in operation so please correct me if I’m wrong. I was under the impression that the small fire on the floor was just maintained to keep new coals ready to be added to the bottom of the block in ‘smokehouse.’ The coals create different heat zones and the meat needs to be moved around pretty frequently.

How big are you thinking? If my above assumption is correct, you would always need a fairly large surface area with hot coals in order to maintain heat zones. It seems this would make it less than ideal to fire up for a few racks of ribs for the family.

Interested to know more about your build ideas. Not sure this has come up here before so we can all learn a bit ourselves as we follow you thru the project.
Granted I have not been privy to a full on inspection of the pits (not for want of asking) but best I can tell the fire is the source of heat and smoke. You are correct though as there are other places in town even that cook directly over the coals. But their burn areas are not connected to the pits at all. I have considered doing just a traditional vertical smoker design but feel the build and maintenance on that would be more complicated in terms of having to include a drip pan, water pan, clean out door, dampers and so on. In terms of size I am limited to about a 2x4x2 fire pit area so based on Feldons I was going to do a 2x4x6 chamber. Though factoring in the chimney height I may down size the pit so as to shorten the chamber. I am not sure Feldons still applies though given I will have an open pit.

Heres a pic of what I am going for. Image
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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by ajfoxy » April 11th, 2019, 5:27 pm

OK, so you are sort of cooking in chimney so to speak. Interesting.
A sort of different version of a basic rocket stove? How would you regulate the heat? One log on or one log off type of thing?


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Dirtytires
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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by Dirtytires » April 11th, 2019, 5:43 pm

Very interesting idea. I definately like the look of it.

I’m pretty sure you are on your own. Neither Pete’s pit calculator or Feldons is going to do you much good in my opinion. It would appear to be a large open ended ‘cook chamber’ but absolutely no chimney. Also figure exact opening sizes are not as critical since it is not designed to be air-tight and efficiency is not a concern.



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Re: Smoke'em if you got'em

Post by Chromeski » April 13th, 2019, 1:01 am

Definitely not a conventional setup. It looks great and if you can make it work correctly then it will be a hit for sure. I would see if I could find one that works and get a hold look at it. Pictures and exact measurements if possible because rebuilding it won't be fun. Unfortunately the calculators wont work for this.



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