Well, I wanted a bbq pit and I wanted to learn how to lay brick, so, without ever having laid a brick in my life, I started on a gigantic masonry pit. As of now, all it is missing is some chimney caps and a thermometer. My brickwork isn't as nice as a professional's, but I did have fun even though I had nobody to teach me. I did not build a hearth next to it due to the location (I wanted it to be protected from the weather,) but I will use a chiminea until I get around to building a brick oven that I can also use to build up some coals. In stead of the hearth, I put an area where I can grill right next to it. In the meantime, I'll just use charcoal. I'm also going to set it up so that I can use propane, even though I hate the stuff. They tend to enact statewide fire restrictions here in the summer which often nixes even charcoal. I'll take propane over nothing, even if I do have to call all my neighbors and tell them that it's just me and that the smell doesn't mean that the Bosque is burning.
I also set it up so that the coals go on a rack that I can adjust the height, as well as having racks where the food goes adjustable.
I don't have a lot of experience with bbq, but I have plenty experience of cooking over open wood fires. People say gas is convenient. I say charcoal is convenient. It doesn't require an axe. I do like cooking, fire and bbq, so this is right up my alley. I'm just going to have to figure out how to meld traditional New Mexican flavors with the new pit.
I did try cooking a green chile bacon cheeseburger in the thing yesterday using an oven thermometer that I had to open the door to get a reading on. Yes, I'm that tired of being patient. While it was a bit on the overdone side, it was still very good. I used apple for the smoke because I have an apple tree that needs pruning every spring, not to mention the peach, pear, cherry and plum trees. I just need a good supply of mesquite and hickory. Too bad the huge pile of sycamore that I have is not ideal. It's typically fine for cooking over open flames, but that smoke can become overpowering real quick, even out in the open.