Barbecue Pits

Smoke your food without an open fire

There's nothing like smoking your food on an open fire in the great outdoors, but this isn't always possible when it comes to the dry summer season because of fire restrictions. Log-burning barbecue pits offer a great alternative – you can still get that savory smoked flavor in your barbecued meat without the open fire. They're not actually pits at all – they look like big oil barrels turned on their sides.

Barbecue pits consist of a 'pit', which is really more like a drum, where you place your food that you want to smoke; a large metal firebox under the pit, where you will build your fire; and a water pan, which keeps your food from drying out. You can regulate the temperature and the amount of smoke by adjusting the vents on the side of the drum. For Barbecue Smokers, simply build a fire with your favorite flavor of wood, put your food in the drum and you're on your way to flavor country.

You can smoke a variety of meats and cheeses:

  • Any type of red meat - roast beef, beef sausage, venison, moose, or haggis. You can also make your own beef jerky.
  • Pork - bacon, ham, pulled pork, sausage, pork chops, pig's feet
  • Fish - salmon, cod, halibut, scallops, lobster, crab, mussels, caviar, calamari, rainbow trout
  • Most cheeses - especially cheddar, brie, Swiss, and mozzarella
  • Many vegetables - beets, leeks, onion, turnip, carrots, potatoes, beans
  • Poultry - chicken breasts, turkey, hen, goose, ostrich, duck

A good tip for smoking meat is to leave excess fat on the meat for moisture. After the smoking process is finished, any remaining fat can be trimmed off.

Barbecue pits come in all shapes and sizes. You can have one for personal use or custom-build one to be a permanent fixture in your yard. You can even feed huge parties with tailgate barbecue pits, but you probably won't need something that big unless you want to feed an army. A personal pit costs anywhere from $500-$6000, depending on quality, size and construction. Most pits are made out of cast-iron or stainless-steel.

You don't have to buy a barbecue pit if you don't want to spend the money. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, why not build your own? There are many designs online that show you how to safely and effectively build a working barbecue pit that will give you smoked meat for years to come.

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