1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Grilling: open pit Vs kettle

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by vulcanus, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. vulcanus

    vulcanus Newbie

    Hello everyone

    I need your help for a problem:
    I want to make a grill, this grill must be used only for direct cooking.
    I want to adjust the grill height over the fire.
    I want to know if the Grill cover is essential to a better cooking.

    I like these Santa Maria Style Grill



    I want to know how is their cooking quality and how they really are

    ... and I like these



    I want to know the difference between wood and coal for the cooking quality, the taste and so on.

    I need to know if a charcoal grill like parrilla grill (adjustable charcoal grill with separate firebox) is better than a wood grill like Santa Maria Grill (adjustable wood grill).

    I can’t understand English well and sometimes I use Google Translate.

    Please try to use a simply speech when talk.

    Thanks to all.
    mesquitejason likes this.
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hello Vulcanus

    The difference is the flavor.  Many different types of wood can be used to give different flavors.  Charcoal may be limited

  3. It depends on what style of cooking you plan on doing... If you want good old fashiong "Low & Slow" which is good traditional American BBQ I think you would be able to obtain that easier w/ a side fire box style, but if you just want to grill some meat than go with the direct method...

    Why not just make a hybrid of both??? this way you will have more options when it comes to the different cuts of meat you are doing...

    Just a thought my friend... Good Luck & please show us pictures of your progress...
  4. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Vulcanus -Welcome to SMF, I think you are our first member from Italy.

    In answer to your question about "a direct cooking" method, I think that and Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) would best fit your need.

    You can build the UDS so that it has two height levels for you to cook on or you can use both levels at the same time using two racks.  The UDS does have a lid. You will need to modify the orginal lid that come on the drum. For extra height, you can use the domed lid that is used on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

    If you do not not want to build a smoker, I would suggest going with the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.


    Vulcanus -Benvenuti in SMF, penso che tu sei il nostro primo membro da Italia.

    In risposta alla vostra domanda su "una diretta cottura" metodo, credo che e Ugly Smoker Drum (UDS) sarebbe meglio si adattano al vostro bisogno.

    È possibile costruire la UDS in modo che esso ha due livelli di altezza per voi per cucinare o è possibile utilizzare entrambi i livelli contemporaneamente con due rastrelliere. L'UDS ha un coperchio. Sarà necessario modificare il coperchio originale che vengono sul tamburo. Per la notevole altezza, è possibile utilizzare il coperchio a cupola che viene utilizzato sulla Smokey Mountain Cooker Weber.  

    Se non si vuole costruire non un fumatore, vorrei suggerire di andare con la Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.  


    Smokey Mountain Cooker

    Vi piace il sapore e il gusto degli alimenti affumicati ?

    Il nostro affumicatoio Smokey Mountain Cooker vi garantisce un'eccezionale cottura della carne e del pesce.  
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Vulcanus - the main differance between grilling and barbequeing is the temperatures.
    • Grilling - is cooking meat quickly with direct heat at high temperatures. 500° F / 260° C.
    • BBQ - is cooking meat slowly with indirect heat at lower temperatures 200°-250° F / 93°-121° C.
    Most of the grills you showed in your post are for high heat grilling. They can be used with either wood, charcoal, or a mix of wood and charcoal. You can produce some really good food off of grills like that, but you do have to tend to them a lot more often to maintain a fire and keep the meat from burning.

    The low and slow BBQ that most of us do is accomplished with a smoker that cookes at lower temps. A good smoker will run for several hours without having to tend the fire, or do anything with the meat.

    Hope that helps give you a better understanding between the two types of cooking. Both are really good and you can always have more than one grill or smoker.  [​IMG]
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Man oh Man they are really proud of their grill now. You could do just about the same thing with a handful of nuts and bolts and a UDS.
  7. vulcanus

    vulcanus Newbie

    Hello everyone
    But I add on a good bed of hot charcoal many wood chunks to increase the smoke flavour
    Can you explain me please?
    I want to use this grill with 15 or 25 friends, I cook about 20 steak, 20 sausages and 20 bread slice;  probably the UDS is too little.
    How can I do?

    I have 22.5"Weber Kettle,  it's beautifull
    I thought: grilling (cooking over direct heat at high temperatures) as opposed to barbecue (cooking either direct or indirect for longer period of time using low temperature)

    The problem of any open pit grill is:
    1) keep the temperature (charcoal burn down to embers soon)
    2) keep  the meat away from burning

    With a adjustable grill and a separate firebox, solve I this problem?

    Probably I would like to build a Grill only for direct cooking and a BBQ for Low&Slow but I'm not sure!!!
    I often gril many little piece of meat for 20 friends (like beef steak, sausages, pork ribs, chicken legs, spatchcock chicken etc) rarely a spit roast. Probably the UDS is too little.

    Question for all:
    With a open pit grill the meat go down quickly to dry than a kettle?

    Thanks to all.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  8. Vulcanus,

    I like the grill in picture #1. When building a cooker, you could make something like that one. Larger if you like. Both a grill and barbecue smoker. Charcoal and wood could  both be used.

    If it were me, I would add a firebox to one end if it does not have one. A sliding ash pan in the bottom on tracks that goes out a small door so that you can take out for simple cleaning. You could make a charcoal basket that sets on top. A pipe big enough could be cut in half for the top of the the cooker. Or, making one bent that is like a shell. The bottom could be like this also. For more cooking area, you could have three or four tracks for cooking grates to slide into. The grate that moves up and down could be narrower to slide past tracks when you wanted to use the moving grate. You could even use both the charcoal basket and firebox at the same time cooking. On the bottom be sure to have a drain valve. 

    When you build, it is important to use good thickness of metal. And to make sure you have plenty vents for air flow in and out of the cooker.You would have to have venting that you can shut off on the top as well as a pipe on the side you can change air flow for barbecuing. It has to have a door that seals well to hold in the heat and smoke. If you chose to add a firebox, make sure that it is large enough for the area of the cooker you are making. It is better to have one that is a little bit to big than one too small.

    There are a lot of ways you can make a grill or barbecue. Making one on your own is sort of special to have and something I have wanted to do. Have fun! And keep visiting us as you progress or have questions. There are a lot of people here that will help you through building something that you would like no matter what you decide.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  9. vulcanus

    vulcanus Newbie

    Can you explain me?
    Do you have any photos or project to expalin this?

    Is there any manufacturer/builder?

    I thought well my necessity and...
    I Would like to build two different unit; the first is a rotisserie grill, the second is a vertical smoker.
    Talk about the first unit.

    I want to build an open grill similar to this photo


    My hypotetical grill is a charcoal grill large approximately  2x4 feet (max 2x5 feet)
    The cooking griddle is covered on three sides (like the photo) but is open on the top and on the front. It hasn't a top lid.
    The grill has a adjustable cooking griddle and in the future i add a rotisserie engine.

    With this grill I only grilling, I want to cook with charcoal ad I use the wood chunks to add the smoke flavour.
    To burn a dry wood down to hot coal I would make a little brazier (approximately 30x20 inchs)

    I have many doubts!!!!
    With a open pit grill the meat go down quickly to dry than a kettle?
    The open pit grill is a good choise or the top lid is the best choise?

    The all in one solution (grill, bbq and a smoker) is a good choise?
    I think I prefer to build two different unit.

    What is the best solution for grilling?

    Peoria Round Open Pit Grill


    Peoria 24x48 Grill


    Remember that I only grilling

    Thanks to all
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011