Getting the Barbecue Pit Ready for a Cookout

The other day a buddy called and asked if I wanted to bring my barbecue pit to a get-together he was planning.  The event will span two days and have around 100 people in attendance.

It had been awhile since I had got to use the barbecue pit to cook for a bunch of people, so of course I said yes.

Decades ago my parents had a camp house that used butane.  They eventually swapped the stove and hot water heat out for propane, so the 250 gallon butane tank was pulled out to a field.   In the late 2000s I asked dad whatever happened to that butane tank.  He told me it had been sitting in a field for the past 25 years.   I went out to the field, waded through the chest high grass, found the tank, and brought it home.

Barbecue pit on a trailer with a smoker

Over the course of several months my son and I, and sometimes one of my nephews put the pit together.  The flat bar and expanded metal were bought from a steel supply in Beaumont, Texas.  The fire box and smoker were made from a 250 gallon air tank.

When my buddy needed someone with a barbecue pit, who do you think he called?

However, there are a few things I want to do to the barbecue pit before the cookout.

Cleaning the Cooking Grills

What I got done today was buffing the grills off.  Doctors are advising people not to use wire brushes to clean grills.  This is because the wires work loose, fall out, stick to the meat and are eaten.

Since the grills on my pit are 30 inches across, I got my hand grinder an put a industrial grade wire wheel on it.  I can not remember the last time the grills had been cleaned, but there was a layer of grease on them that must have been an 1/8 inch thick in some places.

I took the grinder with a buffing wheel, buffed one side of the grill, turned the grill over, buffed the other side, then wiped the grill down with a paper towel before the grills went back in the pit.

Then the grills were taken out of the smoker and buffed clean.

Let’s just say I was very surprised at how everything looked.  The expanded metal is around a decade old, and looked almost new after it was buffed.  There were just a couple of places that had slight surface rust on them.

Changes to the Barbecue Pit

Before the big cookout there are a few things I want to do to the barbecue pit.

Some pits are designed to use weights to help lift the lid.  Rather than using counter weights, I used springs.  The springs are attached to the lid and pit using links of chain.  Currently each lid has one spring assisting it.  However, each lid was designed to have two springs.  For the past decade I have been putting off adding the second spring.  I would really like to get the second spring added before the big cookout.

The smoker door is held closed by a round tapered chisel.   I need to held a piece of chain to the chisel, and then weld it to the smoker.  This is so I do not lose the chisel while driving down the road.

Why is the Barbecue Pit so Big

For one, the 250 gallon tank is what I had to work with.

Second, I wanted something large enough to cook for several people.

Third, I wanted something big enough to cook a deer or pig in.

The barbecue pit is part of my overall prepping plan.  Let’s say some kind of collapse happens and one of the hunters gets a deer or wild pig.  The pit is large enough to cook the whole animal at one time.  We can quarter a wild pig, put it on the pit, and in a few hours have a feast.

This pit is one of my bug out location cooking solutions.  In an absolute worst case situation where my friends and family have to bug out to the farm, at the very least we have a way to cook for everyone.

Combine everything listed above with the fact deer stands are already on the back of the property.  If SHTF were to happen, put someone in the deer stand, and hopefully they will bring something home.  If they do, then the pit will be ready.

Final Thoughts

The few minor changes I want to do to the pit in no way affects its ability to cook.  Over the past decade I have no idea how many thousands of pounds of meat have been cooked on it.   Several years ago I did a fund raiser for a lady with cancer.  120 pounds of chicken was cooked on that one day.

Anyway, stay tuned and more updates will be posted.  For the cookout I am planning on around 25 pounds of meat one day, then around 50 pounds of meat the second day.  Having this pit fired up for two days and cooking for around 100 people sounds like a pretty awesome experience.