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And the mods continue for my RF trailer pit...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

After a number of discussions with Dave and others with their builds here, I had come to the conclusion I needed to try a mod for my RF pit.  Mine is a fuel hog, I start my fires with 20#'s of charcoal in a coal basket I built, then start chunking splits on the coals once the top layer gets going good and it burnsw through some wood at comps and long smokes at the house.  Dave has mentioned a number of times about needing and having an upper air intake (at or above your fire) on the firebox to not only help with draft, but also for fuel consumption as well.  So I finally made the change this past week and got a smoke in Sunday. 

Here is the mod:


You can see my original intakes, I have one on either side of the firebox.  The new one is just above the opening to my basket, so it will be above or at the top of my fire.

Here is the basket with the lit coals on top starting to burn good:


At this point, I threw on 3 splits (12" long x 3" wide triangle shaped splits), 2 of oak and 1 of hickory.  Exhaust and intakes all fully open until I get above 225, then Ill start closing down the intakes, the lower ones to maybe only 1/8 open and the upper to 1/2 open. This was the quickest the pit has ever settled in at 250, Probably had it there within 30 minutes, usually it takes at least 45 to 60 minutes for it to settle in.  So far success...now as far as fuel consumption, I do feel like it gave me a better burn time, the charcoal I started with was Royal Oak briquettes, I have always been a Kingsford guy, mainly cause Lowes has the two 20# bags on sale a few times a year for less than $20, buit a few weeks ago a local store ran the Royal Oak 16# bags at $6.99 each, so I picked up 6 bags.  I used some at my last comp and this was my second cook with them, I hope I can find some more on sale soon.


Here are the splits I use, they are oak 4 x 4's I get from work (I run a pallet mill).  I split them at a diagonal and they work out great.  There are also a few pieces of Hickory on top there.  I show the axe to just give a point of reference of size:

Edited by bruno994 - 5/31/13 at 4:54pm
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 

Here is a shot of the thin blue, almost Ninja smoke right after I started shutting down the intakes to steady my temp:


My target temp for smokes on my pit is always somewhere between 225 and 250, here it is once I adjusted all the intakes and got the temps steadied.  The probes are on either end of the 4" long bottom grate on my pit.


Once I got everything leveled out and the meat on, I left for church.  I left at 10:00 AM and returned to see this on the Maverick at 12:45 PM:


Not too bad, nearly 3 hours later.  The food side probe was on the firebox end of the pit with the BBQ probe on the other side.  Threw a couple sticks of hickory on and let it ride.  This will really be nice at comps, get everything going around 2AM, then get into my tent and get 3 to 4 hours sleep, get up by 6, get the ribs on and make some breakfast!  Going to be nice.   

Here is a shot of the brisket point from this cook:


This was out of the fridge, cold last night when I got home from work.  Didn't feel like waiting on the oven to warm it up, so I sliced it and nuked it, I was hungry!


So I guess my conclusion on the mod was that it was a success.  I have always been able to control the temps pretty good since I built it last year, but it really seemed to settle in quickly this time.  I have also been able to get a good 2 hours or so after I started the cook without having to add any wood or worry about it, but I was still well above 225 on both ends of the pit, 2 hours and 45 minutes later, so I can only assume I would have had another hour or so if I had needed it.  Without the upper intake, when I added wood, depending on the fire, I would have to crack the door just a bit until the stick got burning good or I would get a heavier smoke, but with the mod, I just added wood and closed the door.  I would highly reccommend placing your intakes higher.

Thanks Dave for all your input.

post #3 of 6

Nice mod. I don't think Dave has given anybody bad advice and this is spot on.  I like the ninja thin blue smoke coming out of that stack.  Sweet ring on that point!

post #4 of 6

Bruno, morning.... Thanks for posting your results.... Many folks can now see the results...  Saved fuel, even temps makes for more great Q... Your faith in my recommendations is humbling....   Dave

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

After a few more comps and cooking on the go with my trailered RF pit, I have made a few more mods.  I have added flag holders on the front to proudly show fly the stars and bars along side the Texas flag while at events.  Here is a night shot from my last comp...sorry no close up pics of the holders, will post later... 


Basically I welded a couple pipe nipples to some flat bar right beyond the apex of the A-frame of the trailer, just shy of the hitch.  Added some thumb screws to tighten down the flag poles and there we go.

I also pulled off the old wooden shelf on the main chamber of the pit and added some steel and expanded metal to finish off the look of the entire trailer.  The shelf has always been for the most part useless anyway since I have slide out grates, so this change was more cosmetic than purposeful...


This is how it used to look...


I also took off the wooden handle, replaced it with 2 cool touch spring handles, took the 2 therms off either side and mounted the one dead center.  The therms are more for looks anyway, since I cook to what my temp is in the middle of the bottom grate using my Maverick 732 digital.  I also moved the door lock from the center to the far right side.  Down the line I will probably rework the handles, don't really care for the way they turned out, so that will be a future mod.

As for my firebox, I built and still use a charcoal basket for starting my fires with charcoal, while feeding wood to it during a cook.  I have been wanting to go straight wood and wanted a real wood fire grate, so I built this out of some steel catwalk grating we had at work, covered with some left over expanded metal to allow the coals to be smaller before falling into the ash pan below, it has the same dimensions as my charcoal basket so it just slides in place of the basket when I am cooking at home, while at comps, I will stay with the charcoal basket so that I can get those extra few hours of sleep...


Fire is now started with a chimney full of lit charcoal, then a boyscout stack of oak to get a good bed of coals.  Once the wood in this pic burns down a bit, almost to coals, I'll start feeding hickory, pecan or mesquite, whatever the wood of choice is for the day at a rate of about 3 small sticks (the sticks or mini logs Western Woods sells in the bags at Academy) an hour to maintain a target temp of 250. 

post #6 of 6

Old Glory always look good at a BBQ....... 2thumbs.gif ....

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