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Old Country BBQ Pits Pecos Owners Thread

Smokin Okie

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I would like to update this. A few months ago i loaded my smoker up with 5 butts totaling roughly 38lbs. Though this method above seemed effective running dry i discovered its not as effective running loaded with meat. i struggled to get temps above 200 so i pulled this plate out and installed the diverter back in. I believe the more meat you put in it the closer the temps seem to get from end to end. Nothing burned, everything cooked at the exact same rate, & everything got the exact same color. Pretty impressed with it. There is only one thing that i have now changed since this cook and thats the exhaust. where it connects to the cook chamber there is a noticable lip. i cut that out so the exhaust opening was the full 5" and the air flow is unbelievably better, not only that during a dry run the temps got even closer.

View attachment 444925
View attachment 444926
This diagram is how it ran for me loaded with butts with no mods. Cutting the lip out on the exhaust flattend that curve of heat. I was able to determine this diagram by moving probes around. I was getting so caught up on temps at the grate that i wasnt thinking about whats flowing around the meat. I only rotated the butt in the middle all the other ones stayed the same.
That's interesting. My Brazos has the same exhaust port opening as the Pecos, but my stack is 6" . I've thought about trying to cut that " lip " out also. IDK why Old Country would put a 6" stack on the cooker and then restrict the exhaust. Maybe there's more to the air flow dynamics there, than meets the eye.

And I agree with your diagram about air flow inside the cook chamber. I was trying to regulate end to end by using the FB door. That increased air flow which threw heat to the stack end .......... but it caused the heat to be bottom up on the stack half of the cooking grate. I had a couple cooks with some bad bottom burn, ribs and pork butt. The ribs weren't anywhere near done, but the bottom of the rack was burned badly. And I think the heat was more direct heat , than radiant convective heat.

I finally gave up on running it with the FB door partly open. Just run it as Old Country designed it to run.
 

daveman92789

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Joined Feb 12, 2015
Yeah i tried the door thing as well. I was able to move my hot spot from the fire box side to the exhaust side just by changing how much the door was open. I also gave up on that. Now i leave the smoke stack wide open and control the heat with the damper on the door. The biggest thing i noticed with the lip being cut out is my fire doesn't die down when I reduce the intake. It keeps burning good but it does cool the cook chamber down some. I do feel very confident that i can manage the temp with just how big the fire is now and leave the dampers wide open. The increased air flow made a huge difference and i don't believe that its going to change how the meat cooks i just think its going to take that hot spot and spread it out over the cook grate. After putting that much meat on my smoker i don't think there is anything wrong with the design. The meat in the middle will need to be rotated to keep it from burning but that's it. When its not loaded with a bunch of meat i put everything between the center of cook chamber and the exhaust. My next test will be to load it up with racks of ribs from end to end just to see what kind of impacts ribs will have on it and will they get burned. I was able to use the fat cap on the butts to my advantage.
 

Smokin Okie

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I just smoked three butts yesterday and put them fat cap down to take the bottom up heat. Worked out well. And I rotated the butts every hour. I'd rather keep the chamber door shut, but on this size cooker I have to rotate.

I'm running with the FB door closed and the damper all the way open. When I try to cut the damper down to half open, I start getting gray or even white smoke.

My Brazos wanst to run between 250 and 275, with 7 to 8" splits, maybe 2" X 2" . I can deal with that.
 

daveman92789

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Joined Feb 12, 2015
I just smoked three butts yesterday and put them fat cap down to take the bottom up heat. Worked out well. And I rotated the butts every hour. I'd rather keep the chamber door shut, but on this size cooker I have to rotate.

I'm running with the FB door closed and the damper all the way open. When I try to cut the damper down to half open, I start getting gray or even white smoke.

My Brazos wanst to run between 250 and 275, with 7 to 8" splits, maybe 2" X 2" . I can deal with that.
Yeah i was running into that issue with closing the damper. Getting nasty smoke however since i removed that lip i dont have that issue no more. I shoot for 275 on all my cooks. I think its the easiest temp to maintain on this grill and keep clean smoke plus coals that hot make a fresh log start easily.

For the cook in the pic with all those butts i left the door shut for 4hrs before i even opened it that 1st time. After the 4hr mark I will start opening every hour for spritz or mop. I try to time it for when i throw a new log on. By the time i get done spritzing and rotating the log is lite and no dirty smoke.

Another thing i did which i did this to a cheap smoker i owned 6 years ago was i installed a temp gauge on the firebox. I have noticed not only on that old cheap one i had but also this Pecos that the firebox temp will start to drop before the cook chamber reflects the temp drop. so as soon as i see the firebox drop 50 degrees ill add a new log if its needed and the cook chamber doesn't fluctuate as much.
 

MightyMike1

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I have owned a Pecos smoker since 2015 and I love it. It cooks well and held up really well to the outdoors. I live in Houston, Tx where it get miserably hot & humid... My favorite things to smoke is brisket, beef ribs, and spare ribs.

I’m always looking to better my smoking skills, and like many others on this thread I have had some trouble maintaining temps. With a lot of trial an error I think I figured everything out and would like to share with everyone my experience.

First thing I did is cut my wood no longer than 10in long which is the size of the door. Next I cut the wood into 3rds and sometimes quarters. Doing this help tremendously with fire management. I like to cook with my stack wide open, and the firebox wide open to ensure clean fire. I just added some fire brick to the inside of my firebox to retain heat. Lastly I extended my smoke stack about 2ft for better draw.

I tried to get even temps across the entire grate, and surprisingly enough I found that with the extended stack and firebrick I had a fairly even heat, but the temps didn’t show an even heating. At times I was 40-50 degrees difference. So I took the metal plate that goes in the bottom of the fire box and used it as a tuning plate. After some adjustments I found that the metal plate is best right in the middle of the smoker. After doing this I was staying 5-9 degrees difference in the entire pit. I was also able to figure the difference in temperature from grate level to the door thermometer was about 25 degrees difference. So if the door says 225 then the grate is at 250.

Im going to include some pics of everything. Hope this info will help someone out. Thanks for your time.
 

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MightyMike1

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Why did you reduce the diameter of the stack with the extension ?
Yeah that was a tough decision. I didn’t wanna reduce the diameter but I also didn’t wanna take my smoker to a welder to tack on a piece. So I measured the pipe and found out the pipe is 5in on the inside circumference and 5 1/4 on the outside circumference. Went to the hardware store and they don’t sell any 5in pipe. The 6in pipe they had was to big... After searching for an alternative I found some sleeves that was a reducer from 5in to 4in, they also had a 6in to to 4in. Thinking the 6in would be to big i went ahead and got the 5in to 4in. That piece is also galvanized so I was really trying hard to find something else but just couldn’t. I found a 4in aluminum pipe and it fit perfectly in the reducer. When I got home the reducer fit perfectly into the inside of my stack. So I attached the 4in pipe to the reducer with some screws painted it black and it went in perfectly.

It’s not what I wanted to do, but for now I think it’s a good start. Eventually I will order me a 5in b vent gas tube for a chimney and see if that fits, but I’m one of these guys that don’t like to return stuff so I try to make sure what I get works. Also a side note I didn’t attach the extension to the stack so I can Easily remove it whenever. That’s good cuz when I’m done with the smoker, the cover won’t fit over the extension, I just remove the extension and sit aside til next time.
 

Smokin Okie

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Here's what I did with my Brazos, which has a 6 " stack. I found a 6"
Yeah that was a tough decision. I didn’t wanna reduce the diameter but I also didn’t wanna take my smoker to a welder to tack on a piece. So I measured the pipe and found out the pipe is 5in on the inside circumference and 5 1/4 on the outside circumference. Went to the hardware store and they don’t sell any 5in pipe. The 6in pipe they had was to big... After searching for an alternative I found some sleeves that was a reducer from 5in to 4in, they also had a 6in to to 4in. Thinking the 6in would be to big i went ahead and got the 5in to 4in. That piece is also galvanized so I was really trying hard to find something else but just couldn’t. I found a 4in aluminum pipe and it fit perfectly in the reducer. When I got home the reducer fit perfectly into the inside of my stack. So I attached the 4in pipe to the reducer with some screws painted it black and it went in perfectly.

It’s not what I wanted to do, but for now I think it’s a good start. Eventually I will order me a 5in b vent gas tube for a chimney and see if that fits, but I’m one of these guys that don’t like to return stuff so I try to make sure what I get works. Also a side note I didn’t attach the extension to the stack so I can Easily remove it whenever. That’s good cuz when I’m done with the smoker, the cover won’t fit over the extension, I just remove the extension and sit aside til next time.
Here's what I did with my Brazos. The first duct pipe I purchased, the 5" , was too small for the 6" stack on the Brazos. I bet it would fit a Pecos.

 

MightyMike1

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Here's what I did with my Brazos, which has a 6 " stack. I found a 6"


Here's what I did with my Brazos. The first duct pipe I purchased, the 5" , was too small for the 6" stack on the Brazos. I bet it would fit a Pecos.

How has that worked out for you? I’m finding definitely more even heat throughout the cooker. I’m not constantly messing with the fire anymore.
 

Smokin Okie

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Joined Jun 27, 2018
I'm sure I'm getting more air flow, but the only way to know that is by watching the flame as the wood burns. Its pulling the flame to the cook chamber in a greater way than without the extension.

As far as impacting temps end to end, I can't tell much. I quit worrying about keeping temps even. I just rotate meats.

I'd found before, that too much air flow can cause bottom burn on meats. Not sure how that happens, I think maybe it moves direct radiant heat into the cook chamber, IDK for sure. But I was cooking with the Firebox door open 2 or 3 " to increase air flow and get a cleaner burn. That also threw higher temps to the stack end and I was using the door to try to keep temps even end to end.

I don't do that anymore. As long as I'm within 25* degrees end to end, I'm good with it. I cook with the door shut and the damper 3/4 to wide open. Opening the FB door just created another variable that muddied the water. I've come full circle .
 

MightyMike1

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I'm sure I'm getting more air flow, but the only way to know that is by watching the flame as the wood burns. Its pulling the flame to the cook chamber in a greater way than without the extension.

As far as impacting temps end to end, I can't tell much. I quit worrying about keeping temps even. I just rotate meats.

I'd found before, that too much air flow can cause bottom burn on meats. Not sure how that happens, I think maybe it moves direct radiant heat into the cook chamber, IDK for sure. But I was cooking with the Firebox door open 2 or 3 " to increase air flow and get a cleaner burn. That also threw higher temps to the stack end and I was using the door to try to keep temps even end to end.

I don't do that anymore. As long as I'm within 25* degrees end to end, I'm good with it. I cook with the door shut and the damper 3/4 to wide open. Opening the FB door just created another variable that muddied the water. I've come full circle .
I noticed that my cooker cooked pretty evenly before I put in the metal plate in. I did the biscuit test and all the biscuits were pretty consistent for the most part. Still though some of the biscuits were cooked more than others. The temps were actually pretty far apart about 50-60 degrees difference. When I got the metal plate in there and got more consistent temps i did the biscuit tests again, all the biscuits were cooked exactly the same this time. Im try this out for a while and see how it goes
 

Smokin Okie

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Joined Jun 27, 2018
How has that worked out for you? I’m finding definitely more even heat throughout the cooker. I’m not constantly messing with the fire anymore.
Just ran a small fire on my Brazos this morning to look at leaking. I took my stack extension off , so I could choke off the stack and create more smoke.

And I also got the smoker balanced out end-to-end by using damper on the FB to control air intake. Both ends right at 180*.

I put the stack extension on. Stack end of smoker rose to 200, FB end steady at 180 to 185.

I took stack extension off. Stack end dropped in temp. FB end steady.

Put it back on, stack end rose.

Sooo , does a taller stack = greater draw and air flow ?

Yes, that is a fact jack.
 

EL BBQ

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Man this is a pretty good thread, I read it from the beginning back in 2014. I just bought a Brazos off the market place a couple months ago. It was a little sun baked and rusted here and there but I sanded it down and repainted the outside and its back to looking showroom new! I've probably done 3 or 4 empty burns to try and get a good feel of the pit and so far I've done about 7 or 8 cooks and I really like it. I also added two analog temp guages on each end of the cook chamber at grate level. Tel-tru bq 300s little pricey but I like em so far. I ordered the lava lock heat convection plate and should be receiving it this week so I'll post in here and let yall know that goes. So far I've done pork ribs, beef ribs, pork butt and a couple briskets all very successful. I love it so far, got some more ideas for some mods ill post once I get em done.
20200719_172823.jpg
 

Amos_Moses

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I joined after reading this thread to thank you fellows (and gals!) for all of the excellent information posted here! I bought a Pecos last week and I love it! I seasoned the inside of mine with filtered bacon drippings Ms. Moses had been saving and it's beautiful. I can't wait for my parts to come in so I can make it better.

Thanks for having me and I can't wait to share my experiences with y'all.

-Amos
 

TheBBQChef

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Joined Feb 16, 2021
Very interesting thread here on the Pecos. I've got the Brazos and I've noticed the consistent theme with airflow and temp consistency issues. I have also experienced the same and will highlight my thoughts, experiences, and theories here as well.

As others have noted, these cooker get almost too much airflow. If you try and run it like an open offset, the baffle and draw of the stack pull all the heat underneath your food and you get bad bottom burn. If you manage by temp at grate level and run at the temp you want to cook at, food takes a long time to cook through. If you close it down you get a dirty fire using the supplied coal grate. Not only that, with the stack wide open the stack pulls heat out of the cook chamber faster than the firebox can replace it.

I've noted that by using an alternate coal grate you start to move in the right direction. That gets heat a little closer to the cook chamber. A well designed open offset should create some backpressure in the cook chamber. I'm beginning to believe that is why Old Country left the oriface going to the stack at 4.5". They know that too much heat leaves the cook chamber too quickly. What I don't understand is why they haven't just fixed it completely.

I haven't done any math, but I would venture an educated guess that the stack should really be 3.5" to 4" in diameter, and should be 2 ft taller. I have tested this by running the FB with the door closed and using only the damper on the door, while closing down the stack damper to about the same relative ~ 3.5" size. This creates some backpressure in the CC and allows the temps to even out and still provides ample airflow for a clean fire. I can leave the FB door damper open and adjust my temps with the fire if needed. I prefer to cook in the 250 - 275F range most of the time. I'm toying with the idea of cutting out the heat deflector to run this way as well. It impedes the heat's ability to rise up in the CC quickly and then move across your food and out the stack. If we wanted heat under our food we would have all bought a reverse flow setup!

Of course, smaller offsets are harder to run than big offsets, but there is a significant price gap unless you build your own. The trade-off in running this way might mean running at 225 F to 250 F as the heat will be around the meat longer as the air will not be moving as quick.

I've done some dry testing this week and this so far seems to work well, but it will need more experimentation. In theory, it makes perfect sense and I think I'll see more improvements if I cut out the deflector when running the cooker this way. I'm half tempted to cut off the stack and build a new stack with a collector as well, as when you have back pressure you get a hot spot near the stack. I'm also half-tempted to just set out to build my own, but we shall see if that materializes. I have some friends that could make it happen, so one never knows.

I'll post my further findings here and hopefully it will help!
 

daveomak

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A mod that seems to even out temps and reduce fuel consumption is....

Close of the upper half of the pie opening with sheet metal...
Add upper air inlets to move heat into the CC.....



2021-02-26.png
 

Smokin Okie

Meat Mopper
274
132
Joined Jun 27, 2018
Very interesting thread here on the Pecos. I've got the Brazos and I've noticed the consistent theme with airflow and temp consistency issues. I have also experienced the same and will highlight my thoughts, experiences, and theories here as well.

As others have noted, these cooker get almost too much airflow. If you try and run it like an open offset, the baffle and draw of the stack pull all the heat underneath your food and you get bad bottom burn. If you manage by temp at grate level and run at the temp you want to cook at, food takes a long time to cook through. If you close it down you get a dirty fire using the supplied coal grate. Not only that, with the stack wide open the stack pulls heat out of the cook chamber faster than the firebox can replace it.

I've noted that by using an alternate coal grate you start to move in the right direction. That gets heat a little closer to the cook chamber. A well designed open offset should create some backpressure in the cook chamber. I'm beginning to believe that is why Old Country left the oriface going to the stack at 4.5". They know that too much heat leaves the cook chamber too quickly. What I don't understand is why they haven't just fixed it completely.

I haven't done any math, but I would venture an educated guess that the stack should really be 3.5" to 4" in diameter, and should be 2 ft taller. I have tested this by running the FB with the door closed and using only the damper on the door, while closing down the stack damper to about the same relative ~ 3.5" size. This creates some backpressure in the CC and allows the temps to even out and still provides ample airflow for a clean fire. I can leave the FB door damper open and adjust my temps with the fire if needed. I prefer to cook in the 250 - 275F range most of the time. I'm toying with the idea of cutting out the heat deflector to run this way as well. It impedes the heat's ability to rise up in the CC quickly and then move across your food and out the stack. If we wanted heat under our food we would have all bought a reverse flow setup!

Of course, smaller offsets are harder to run than big offsets, but there is a significant price gap unless you build your own. The trade-off in running this way might mean running at 225 F to 250 F as the heat will be around the meat longer as the air will not be moving as quick.

I've done some dry testing this week and this so far seems to work well, but it will need more experimentation. In theory, it makes perfect sense and I think I'll see more improvements if I cut out the deflector when running the cooker this way. I'm half tempted to cut off the stack and build a new stack with a collector as well, as when you have back pressure you get a hot spot near the stack. I'm also half-tempted to just set out to build my own, but we shall see if that materializes. I have some friends that could make it happen, so one never knows.

I'll post my further findings here and hopefully it will help!
I own a Brazos. I agree with some of your statements, and disagree with others.

I think the baffle in the cook chamber ..... is baffling. It restricts air flow. I think it creates a mild venturi effect, in that it slightly increases speed of air flow into the cook chamber, which amplifies the loss of cooking grate on the FB end.

IMO, air flow has to be balanced through the cooker, the same amount of air entering , has to leave at the same rate. We can control air flow entering by using the FB door and/or the damper in the FB door. But the baffle is not adjustable. Its only gonna allow so much air through the cooker.

I have a theory, but not enough confidence in my theory to act on it . I think cutting the baffle in half and putting a Franklin style collector/stack on the other end, would improve the air flow through the cooker and create better temp balance. Increase air flow creates better convection , which creates better cooking.

The baffle makes the use of tuning plates difficult. I've done multiple biscuit tests with tuning plates in diff configs and without tuning plates. And because of the baffle, plates create a whole nother set of variables, and we aleady have enough variables to deal with.

And I gotta cut this short, my wife needs this laptop for a Zoom meeting, but I got more to add.
 

Smokin Okie

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Joined Jun 27, 2018
I'm back.

On the air flow issue. I've put a stack extension on my Brazos and it does increase air flow. But I'm having huge questions on whether I should even be trying to increase air flow.

I can also increase air flow by cooking with the FB door open, to varying degrees.

But when I increase air flow, I think it increases the venturi effect that the baffle creates. Heat shoots further into the cook chamber. That's my theory , anyway.

I look at a stream for a comparison. Water flows through a pool and then hits a rapid. The water speed increases in the rapid because of shallower water ( somewhat of a venturi effect ) . Then it hits the next pool. The water will shoot into the pool. The more water coming down the stream, the faster it flows and the further it shoots into the next pool.

And I think a dam on a river is another analogy for the stack end of the cook chamber. Its like a dam with floodgates in the middle that are wide open. What that creates in the corners where the dam meets the bank, is a lot of flotsom from dead water. In the Brazos, what i found with my biscuit tests, is heat building in the back corner, away from the door. The door side is always a bit cooler.

Bottom line, I'm cooking with the FB door closed and the damper about 1/2 open. That's about all the air flow it can handle. I'm thinking about removing the stack extension. It does create better draw through the cooker, but in the end, its limited by the baffle and the size of the exhaust.

The amount of air coming in needs to be equal to the amount that can be exhausted. That keeps temps balanced.

As much as I'd like to improve this smoker, I think its best to just cook with it as Old Country designed it.
 

TheBBQChef

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43
Joined Feb 16, 2021
Thanks for your input and feedback. I think we are in agreement on most things, and were saying the same things in different ways. The large stack on the Brazos creates a low-pressure situation in the CC - really too low IMO. Instead of being able to fill that void with the heat from the firebox and having that heat flow over the cooking crate, the low-pressure situation is exacerbated by the baffle which forces heat under the grate and right up to the exhaust.

That said, this is why I believe that having a smaller diameter stack that is extended up another 2 feet (and preferably with a collector) and removing the baffle will help solve the issue. What I am thinking of doing at this point is just cutting out the baffle and then increasing pressure with the stack damper to mimic a smaller diameter stack.

The more I think about it, the more I'm ready to head out to the Brazos with my angle grinder and do some testing this weekend!
 

Smokin Okie

Meat Mopper
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Joined Jun 27, 2018
I would not reduce the size of the stack. A collector with a 6" stack and some additional height would be my choice. I want it to handle a lot of air. I want to increase the stack and then open up the FB end by cutting out half of the baffle. It needs some baffle to protect the FB end of cooking grate from direct heat.

Workhorse makes a pit just about the size of the Brazos, its 20 X 42 , collector with big tall stack

https://www.workhorsepits.com/product-page/1969-1

On another note about direct heat, early on with my Brazos, I was trying to cook with FB door open. I got some bottom burn on ribs. I'll never prove it, but I really think the air flow was so strong under that baffle, that it moved direct heat sideways into the ribs.
 

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