Season the Pit

I have a four year who does not mind very well.  The fire box gets gets so hot it will burn your fingerprints off.  So I call the pit the "smoke monster" to instill a little fear in my daughter to not go behind the garage.  The trick or treat jack-o-lantern is to catch the drippings but it also adds spookiness for a certain 4 yrd old an hopefully add to its namesake.

Not sure of the purpose, but Lfye Tyme and others recommend you "season" the pit.  Seasoning the pit is just smoking it without cooking anything.

I took it a step further.  I love cast iron cook ware and very familiar with coating with a little cooking oil to preserve the cast iron and prevent rust.  I did the same.  I coated every square inch inside the pit and fire box.

After it soaked in for a day or two, I fired up the pit for the first time.  I have a remote control thermometer.  Being the Aggie engineer nerd that I am, I of course tracked the rise in temperature.

Stack was half closed and Fire Box vent was half closed. With a full chimney of charcoal it reached 223 degrees in 30 minutes.  Temp rose to 248 after another 15 minutes and stalled at 258.  Added a piece of mesquite to start smoke.  Temperature remained above 229 for the first two hours!  Very efficient design.  With very little effort and fuel, this pit holds a temp around 250F which is perfect for some low and slow BBQ action!

The pit came with a Lyfe Tyme temp gage.  I noticed on the gage the zone marked "Bar-B-Q" is from 250F to 350F.  Most competitors smoke at 225. This pit is a 250F pit.  It takes little effort or fuel to hit that temp.  It takes little effort to maitain range of 240 to 260.  Not quite the magic 225F but I have a life and nobody wants barbeque at 10:00pm.

Put on a 1/2 chimney of charcoal after 2.5 hours and more mesquite.  Temp rose to 281 in 20 minutes and stayed that hot for an hour.  As expected real wood fire really heats up the pit.

Charcoal was completely gone over the next hour.  Added a large piece of Mesquite to cook down for solid wood coals.  Temp in smoker got up to 286.

Once burned down, I put those mesquite coals to good use.  The pit comes with a grill that fits in the fire box.  I cooked two 1 inch thick NY strips over those bad boys for some serious mesquite smoke flavored steaks.  The wife was very happy.