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Old Country BBQ Pits Pecos Owners Thread

Smokin Okie

Smoking Fanatic
350
186
Joined Jun 27, 2018
Hi all,

Just wanted to share a few simple but effective mods....

1)Build the fire on the floor - Tried several different firebox setups, including one with "V" shaped grates to funnel coals, surrounded by firebrick. However, the simplest and most effective setup so far has been to build fire on the floor. Using ~12" L x 2" W splits of oak. Never going back to any other setup.

2) Add a chain drying hammock/brazerro - The rails at the top of the firebox that hold the direct cooking grate can be repurposed as a) an argentinian brazerro/burn box to produce coals for your grill and b) when chains pulled to the side, creates a 'drying hammock' for splits that you are warming/drying for the next one to put on the fire. Sometimes they catch, but rarely. Much more effective than setting on top of the firebox or in the cook chamber where they take up space. 6' of chain at your hardware store. Cheap. Grab some chicken wire or a carabiner to help secure it to or around the rails.

3) Top cooking rack - Went on Thumbtack (amazing app) and found a welder to make a custom top shelf. Doubled the cook space. $160, but worth it to me.

4) Lavalock/gasket - Nothing special, but works.

The problem I have is the STACK side getting hotter than the firebox side. Temp testing on upper and lower racks indicated strong flow (not weak, where hot air might get stuck in upper chamber). To remedy, and short of restricting airflow to the firebox or on the stack, there is a need to modify the baffle and airflow inside the chamber. I am working with the welder to come up with a solution (eg. a customizable baffle that can push air both UP and DOWN, depending on current conditions. She is also going to cut a water pan shelf for under the lower grate on the firebox side to open up more cook space.

It's a good amount of money, but not exorbitant, and is valuable to me for a better cooking experience and a better end product.

www.bscraftbbq.com
I just sold my Old Country Brazos that I cooked with for three years.

The Lone Star Grillz Fire Basket was the best thing I found for managing the fire. Building directly in the bottom of the firebox made it too hard to get new splits to ignite. Can't get air under the splits . I put the fire basket on fire brick, to create air space under the basket.

I like 8 to 10" splits , bout as round as a beer can.

In one of your pics, you have your fire built way too close to the cook chamber. You're getting a lot of direct heat into the cook chamber. The other benefit of the LSG Fire Basket, is it allowed me to keep the fire next to the firebox door, away from the cook chamber. That extra 6 to 8" made a difference . It effectively increased the length of my firebox.

I don't like your chains idea. I don't want my splits to dry out that much, you might as well be using kiln dried wood. Removes most of the moisture from the wood. I don't want green wood, but I don't want completely dry wood either. Warming on top of the firebox is plenty enough drying, really more than I like.

I did not use the upper grate in the Brazos. I don't like juices dripping down on meats on the lower grate. The upper grate is also just a drag on air flow.

I don't like loading up my smoker with a lot of meats. It changes air flow inside the cooker. Thus it changes how the smoker cooks. Capacity was not something I was looking for in a smoker.

Just cutting the baffle out , or reducing its size , is only gonna work if you open up the exhaust end with a collector or some way to improve the draw and get heat out of the cooker. The reason the stack end is hotter, is due to the baffle acting as a mild venturi effect and shooting heat to the stack end. Compare to putting thumb halfway over the end of the garden hose. Ya can't just open up one end , without opening the other. Heat will build on the stack end. It can't get out that 4.5" exhaust port fast enough. And likewise, if ya increase the draw by modifying the stack, ya also have to cut out the baffle.
 

BsCraftBBQ

Newbie
3
1
Joined Mar 3, 2021
I just sold my Old Country Brazos that I cooked with for three years.

The Lone Star Grillz Fire Basket was the best thing I found for managing the fire. Building directly in the bottom of the firebox made it too hard to get new splits to ignite. Can't get air under the splits . I put the fire basket on fire brick, to create air space under the basket.

I like 8 to 10" splits , bout as round as a beer can.

In one of your pics, you have your fire built way too close to the cook chamber. You're getting a lot of direct heat into the cook chamber. The other benefit of the LSG Fire Basket, is it allowed me to keep the fire next to the firebox door, away from the cook chamber. That extra 6 to 8" made a difference . It effectively increased the length of my firebox.

I don't like your chains idea. I don't want my splits to dry out that much, you might as well be using kiln dried wood. Removes most of the moisture from the wood. I don't want green wood, but I don't want completely dry wood either. Warming on top of the firebox is plenty enough drying, really more than I like.

I did not use the upper grate in the Brazos. I don't like juices dripping down on meats on the lower grate. The upper grate is also just a drag on air flow.

I don't like loading up my smoker with a lot of meats. It changes air flow inside the cooker. Thus it changes how the smoker cooks. Capacity was not something I was looking for in a smoker.

Just cutting the baffle out , or reducing its size , is only gonna work if you open up the exhaust end with a collector or some way to improve the draw and get heat out of the cooker. The reason the stack end is hotter, is due to the baffle acting as a mild venturi effect and shooting heat to the stack end. Compare to putting thumb halfway over the end of the garden hose. Ya can't just open up one end , without opening the other. Heat will build on the stack end. It can't get out that 4.5" exhaust port fast enough. And likewise, if ya increase the draw by modifying the stack, ya also have to cut out the baffle.
Sounds like you ha e a really nice set up, fine tuned for your style, preferences, and applications. This set up is the analog for me. Three years of R&D and produces the best results at the volume I need it to in my environment with the least amount of babysitting. Recall that it’s the stack end that gets too hot, not the firebox end. Will def keep an eye on the air flow post baffle mod.
 

TheBBQChef

Fire Starter
40
49
Joined Feb 16, 2021
I just sold my Old Country Brazos that I cooked with for three years.

The Lone Star Grillz Fire Basket was the best thing I found for managing the fire. Building directly in the bottom of the firebox made it too hard to get new splits to ignite. Can't get air under the splits . I put the fire basket on fire brick, to create air space under the basket.

I like 8 to 10" splits , bout as round as a beer can.

In one of your pics, you have your fire built way too close to the cook chamber. You're getting a lot of direct heat into the cook chamber. The other benefit of the LSG Fire Basket, is it allowed me to keep the fire next to the firebox door, away from the cook chamber. That extra 6 to 8" made a difference . It effectively increased the length of my firebox.

I don't like your chains idea. I don't want my splits to dry out that much, you might as well be using kiln dried wood. Removes most of the moisture from the wood. I don't want green wood, but I don't want completely dry wood either. Warming on top of the firebox is plenty enough drying, really more than I like.

I did not use the upper grate in the Brazos. I don't like juices dripping down on meats on the lower grate. The upper grate is also just a drag on air flow.

I don't like loading up my smoker with a lot of meats. It changes air flow inside the cooker. Thus it changes how the smoker cooks. Capacity was not something I was looking for in a smoker.

Just cutting the baffle out , or reducing its size , is only gonna work if you open up the exhaust end with a collector or some way to improve the draw and get heat out of the cooker. The reason the stack end is hotter, is due to the baffle acting as a mild venturi effect and shooting heat to the stack end. Compare to putting thumb halfway over the end of the garden hose. Ya can't just open up one end , without opening the other. Heat will build on the stack end. It can't get out that 4.5" exhaust port fast enough. And likewise, if ya increase the draw by modifying the stack, ya also have to cut out the baffle.
What did you end up going with since you sold your Brazos?!

I've done some additional experimentation and I think I've decided what I'm going to do to my Brazos. I ran it for a while with the cooking grate upside down in the FB and built fires on it toward the back side of the FB and built them relatively small. I only used the door damper for inlet air as I had added a 2 ft extension to the stack that slipped over the original stack. This worked ok. I more recently tried building the fire in the bottom close to the FB door and only used the door damper at about 1/2 open and this has worked the best, provided you use 12-14" long splits. They will sit above the coals and airflow is great. Because the fire is lower, you can add more fuel and not have to babysit as much.

I am going to cut off the original stack and design and add a collector and longer stack to match the height I currently have now. Stack diameter will be 5.5" ID. I'll continue to build fires and manage air in with the FB door damper.

I'd like to go ahead and build my own pit as well. Something in the 150 -250 gallon range would be perfect. Then I can build a longer FB to give me more control and better fire management. Until I can make that happen though, I believe the changes to my Brazos will serve me really well.
 

TheBBQChef

Fire Starter
40
49
Joined Feb 16, 2021
Well, I said I wasn't going to do it but after some Labor Day beers I decided I was going to cut out the baffle. No need to worry, I waited until Tuesday morning to do it so there was no beers influencing the angle grinder!

But I can tell you this, I am VERY glad that I did it. One thing I noticed from my biscuit test is that even with temps well under control, the bottoms were more done than the tops. I really wanted my Brazos to cook from the top down. I did a test burn that afternoon to see how she would handle. Last night I started a fire, trimmed and seasoned my brisket, and stayed up all night to cook it. I rested it all day long and just finished dinner. THESE are the kind of results that I wanted and how I wanted to get them. Hands down, the best brisket I've cooked in my life and I know I could repeat the process again tonight if I needed to.

I'm still going to cut off the existing stack and add a collector and new stack, but with my clamp-over 6", 2 ft extension this thing cooks like a true Texas offset. The risk was TOTALLY worth the reward. If anyone out there is considering it and you want to cook top-down, I'll be happy to answer any questions or help in any way that I can.
IMG_20210908_182431.jpg
IMG_20210908_182428.jpg
 

BsCraftBBQ

Newbie
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1
Joined Mar 3, 2021
Well, I said I wasn't going to do it but after some Labor Day beers I decided I was going to cut out the baffle. No need to worry, I waited until Tuesday morning to do it so there was no beers influencing the angle grinder!

But I can tell you this, I am VERY glad that I did it. One thing I noticed from my biscuit test is that even with temps well under control, the bottoms were more done than the tops. I really wanted my Brazos to cook from the top down. I did a test burn that afternoon to see how she would handle. Last night I started a fire, trimmed and seasoned my brisket, and stayed up all night to cook it. I rested it all day long and just finished dinner. THESE are the kind of results that I wanted and how I wanted to get them. Hands down, the best brisket I've cooked in my life and I know I could repeat the process again tonight if I needed to.

I'm still going to cut off the existing stack and add a collector and new stack, but with my clamp-over 6", 2 ft extension this thing cooks like a true Texas offset. The risk was TOTALLY worth the reward. If anyone out there is considering it and you want to cook top-down, I'll be happy to answer any questions or help in any way that I can. View attachment 510104 View attachment 510105
Love this! Do you have pics of your setup in action (oven and firebox)?
 

Smokin Okie

Smoking Fanatic
350
186
Joined Jun 27, 2018
Well, I said I wasn't going to do it but after some Labor Day beers I decided I was going to cut out the baffle. No need to worry, I waited until Tuesday morning to do it so there was no beers influencing the angle grinder!

But I can tell you this, I am VERY glad that I did it. One thing I noticed from my biscuit test is that even with temps well under control, the bottoms were more done than the tops. I really wanted my Brazos to cook from the top down. I did a test burn that afternoon to see how she would handle. Last night I started a fire, trimmed and seasoned my brisket, and stayed up all night to cook it. I rested it all day long and just finished dinner. THESE are the kind of results that I wanted and how I wanted to get them. Hands down, the best brisket I've cooked in my life and I know I could repeat the process again tonight if I needed to.

I'm still going to cut off the existing stack and add a collector and new stack, but with my clamp-over 6", 2 ft extension this thing cooks like a true Texas offset. The risk was TOTALLY worth the reward. If anyone out there is considering it and you want to cook top-down, I'll be happy to answer any questions or help in any way that I can. View attachment 510104 View attachment 510105
I came close to cutting out the baffle several times. The only downside I could think of was losing cooking grate space on the firebox end. But then, I never used the grate that was over the baffle , anyway.

How much grate do you think you lost ?

In fact, all I really wanted was the half of the cooking grate on the stack end. That's where the convection is best. And I don't load my smokers up with as much meat as I can fit on them.
 

TheBBQChef

Fire Starter
40
49
Joined Feb 16, 2021
I came close to cutting out the baffle several times. The only downside I could think of was losing cooking grate space on the firebox end. But then, I never used the grate that was over the baffle , anyway.

How much grate do you think you lost ?

In fact, all I really wanted was the half of the cooking grate on the stack end. That's where the convection is best. And I don't load my smokers up with as much meat as I can fit on them.
I only lost between a 1/4 and a 1/3 of the cooking grate on the firebox side. I never used that side either for the same reason you mentioned. I have never placed food much beyond the halfway point. I want food over by the stack end. And it would be the same for me with a larger cooker too. Most of the time I'd be cooking on the stack end. I did have a bread loaf pan that I use for a water pan right at the firebox side of the grate. This serves as a bit of a heat shunt and since humid air is more consistent than dry air, I believe it makes enough of a difference to continue to use it. I had no problems with bark either. The bark was nice and crunchy before I wrapped in butcher paper for the last two hours of the cook.

Other than the increased cooking capacity and easier fire management that I would gain from building a bigger cooker, once I add the collector and new stack I suspect I won't have as much desire for a new pit. There is definitely an attraction of making BBQ on something that you created though!

What did you end up going with after selling your Brazos?
 

Smokin Okie

Smoking Fanatic
350
186
Joined Jun 27, 2018
I only lost between a 1/4 and a 1/3 of the cooking grate on the firebox side. I never used that side either for the same reason you mentioned. I have never placed food much beyond the halfway point. I want food over by the stack end. And it would be the same for me with a larger cooker too. Most of the time I'd be cooking on the stack end. I did have a bread loaf pan that I use for a water pan right at the firebox side of the grate. This serves as a bit of a heat shunt and since humid air is more consistent than dry air, I believe it makes enough of a difference to continue to use it. I had no problems with bark either. The bark was nice and crunchy before I wrapped in butcher paper for the last two hours of the cook.

Other than the increased cooking capacity and easier fire management that I would gain from building a bigger cooker, once I add the collector and new stack I suspect I won't have as much desire for a new pit. There is definitely an attraction of making BBQ on something that you created though!

What did you end up going with after selling your Brazos?
I bought a Franklin
 

TheBBQChef

Fire Starter
40
49
Joined Feb 16, 2021
Love this! Do you have pics of your setup in action (oven and firebox)?
I haven't taken any pics since I cut the baffle out, but I'll get some that show how it's set up and will post them here. I've got a brisket flat that is in brine this week to make some pastrami, so that might happen this coming weekend. I might also just run another biscuit test this week, too. Those biscuits when smoked with post oak go really well with some butter, salami, and cheese for a tasty little sandwich!
 

Smokin Okie

Smoking Fanatic
350
186
Joined Jun 27, 2018
That's awesome. I don't think you'll be disappointed one bit! What was the lead time?
It was 2 or 3 years, I really don't recall. Franklin made a list of everyone who was interested and I put my email in , but I can't remember when that was.

I was in the process of making major mods to the Brazos when I got an email from Franklin. I posted here and got no germane replies. At that time, I'd not heard of anyone else doin these mods. They did not pop up on the Old Country Facebook group till this summer.

https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/a-major-brazos-modification-need-your-opinion.306795/

So I went with the Franklin. They delivered in four weeks.
 

TheBBQChef

Fire Starter
40
49
Joined Feb 16, 2021
It was 2 or 3 years, I really don't recall. Franklin made a list of everyone who was interested and I put my email in , but I can't remember when that was.

I was in the process of making major mods to the Brazos when I got an email from Franklin. I posted here and got no germane replies. At that time, I'd not heard of anyone else doin these mods. They did not pop up on the Old Country Facebook group till this summer.

https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/a-major-brazos-modification-need-your-opinion.306795/

So I went with the Franklin. They delivered in four weeks.
Gotcha. I signed up for the email notification for more info, but never signed up for the waiting list. That's excellent that order to shipment was about four weeks. Many builders are much longer. I'm sure that is because they aren't taking all orders at once, which makes sense.

That extra 11 inches of cook chamber will help and I think he's really made those cookers to almost be fool-proof. Thus the vents and logo in the firebox door. I also like that the firebox is longer, so you have more room to adjust coal bed placement. How's the cooking experience been?

After removing the baffle on the Brazos, I ran this cook with the firebox door closed and damper opened between 1/4 and 1/2. I would have one split above my coals on the bottom of the firebox. The draw was excellent - you could hear it whipping through the split and coals, which was awesome to see. I could load a big split and get 45 min of steady temps before needing to add wood and always had plenty of coals.

This weekend I'm going to move my Tel-tru from the original location to the stack side of the door. I've got another Tel-tru that I'll place on the FB side of the door. I used my Signals with two air probes this weekend to gauge the temps. The faster response is nice, but you have to be patient because 3-5 degrees of jumping around doesn't mean that you need to take action. The slower response of the dial thermometers don't feed into OCD as bad!

Soon I'll knock out the stack/collector mod. I'll be sure to post pics of the results when it's done.
 

TheBBQChef

Fire Starter
40
49
Joined Feb 16, 2021
Got some pics of my setup to share with everyone. Got a brisket flat on the Brazos today that's been brining for a week, so it will make some excellent pastrami. Burning seasoned post oak exclusively.

20210914_125441.jpg 20210914_125455.jpg 20210914_125514.jpg 20210914_125527.jpg 20210914_125649.jpg
 

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