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Offset Gator Pit

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  • Ground Chuck
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 146
    • Northern Kentucky

    Offset Gator Pit

    Well, I announced back in April that after more than a year of research, I was going to pull the trigger on an offset Gator Pit. We are well beyond the 14 week window that I was originally given, but I'm happy to announce that I just heard from Ritch, and the pit is shipping Wednesday!

    I'm super pumped that it is finally coming! It has been a long 30 week wait! It is 24x40, quarter-inch steel. I believe he said this bad boy weighs in at 650 lbs. I'm hoping to chronicle my journey to becoming a "pitmaster" here, so keep your eyes peeled for pictures, along with what I'm sure will be plenty of opportunities to laugh with me, and AT me!
  • Spinaker
    Moderator
    • Nov 2014
    • 10781
    • Land of Tonka
    • John "J R"
      Instagram: JRBowlsby
      Smokin' Hound Que
      Minnesota/ United States of America

      ********************************************
      Assistants
      Dexter (Beagle mix)
      Kinnick (American Foxhound)
      ************************

      Grills/Smokers/Fryers
      Big Green Egg (Large) X3
      Blackstone 36" Outdoor Griddle 4-Burner

      Karubeque C-60
      Kamado Joe Jr. (Black)
      Lodge L410 Hibachi
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Pit Barrel Cooker 2.0
      R&V Works FF2-R-ST 4-Gallon Fryer

      Weber Spirit Gasser
      ******************.
      Thermometers
      FireBoard (Base Package)
      Thermoworks ThermaPen (Red)
      Thermoworks MK4 (Orange)
      **************

      Accessories
      Big Green Egg Plate Setter
      Benzomatic TS4000 Torch X 2
      Benzomatic TS800 High Temp Torch X 2

      Bayou Classic 44 qt Stainless Stock Pot
      Bayou Classic 35K BTU Burner

      Digi Q DX2 (Medium Pit Viper Fan)
      Dragon VT 2-23 C Torch
      Eggspander Kit X2
      Field Skillet No. 8,10,12

      Finex Cat Iron Line
      FireBoard Drive
      Lots and Lots of Griswold Cast Iron
      Grill Grates
      Joule Water Circulator
      KBQ Fire Grate

      Kick Ash Basket (KAB) X4
      Lots of Lodge Cast Iron
      Husky 6 Drawer BBQ Equipment Cabinet
      Large Vortex
      Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum
      Marquette Castings No. 13 (First Run)
      Smithey No. 12
      Smokeware Chimney Cap X 3
      Stargazer No.10, 12
      Tool Wizard BBQ Tongs
      Univex Duro 10" Meat Slicer
      ********************************
      Fuel
      FOGO Priemium Lump Charcoal
      Kingsford Blue and White
      Rockwood Lump Charcoal
      Apple, Cherry & Oak Log splits for the C-60
      **************************

      Cutlery
      Buck 119 Special
      Cuda 7' Fillet Knife

      Dexter 12" Brisket Sword
      Global
      Shun
      Wusthof
      *******
      Next Major Purchase
      Lone Star Grillz 24 X 48 Offset

    #2
    I love it. I can't wait to see this pit. These are some amazing pieces of backyard hardware.

    Comment


    • Ground Chuck
      Ground Chuck commented
      Editing a comment
      I wonder how many days it takes to actually get here? I assume a couple guys are making the drive from Houston to Cincinnati.

    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, it should only be a few days. Have him forward the tracking information to you. My guess is it is a 3-day transit, depending on whether he went with economy or priority.
  • ofelles
    Club Member
    • Jun 2018
    • 2288
    • Brentwood CA
    • Yoder YS640 on Comp cart
      Klose 20x42 Charcoal Grill
      LSG Insulated Cabinet
      Jumbo Joe
      VacMaster Pro 380 sealer
      FireBoard and Pit Bull fan
      Thermoworks Signal
      Thermoworks Dot
      Thermopen Mk4

    #3
    Good. Congrats. I can live vicariously through you. I'm fighting getting a LSG smoker.

    Comment


    • Ground Chuck
      Ground Chuck commented
      Editing a comment
      You can only hang tough for so long!
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 13155
    • Near Richmond VA
    • Weber Performer Deluxe
      SNS
      Pizza insert
      Rotisserie
      Smokenator 1000
      Cookshack Smokette Elite
      2 Thermapens
      Chefalarm
      Dot
      lots of probes.
      CyberQ

    #4
    I'm lookin' forward to your adventure.

    Comment


    • Ground Chuck
      Ground Chuck commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you, sir!
  • scottranda
    Charter Member
    • May 2015
    • 1814
    • Charlotte, NC

    #5
    Congrats!! Gators are super nice!

    Comment


    • Ground Chuck
      Ground Chuck commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, man, I'm pumped!
  • Huskee
    Administrator
    • May 2014
    • 15331
    • central MI, USA
    • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

      Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

      Smokers / Grills
      • Yoder loaded Wichita offset smoker
      • PBC
      • Grilla Silverbac pellet grill
      • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (SnSK)
      • Dyna-Glo XL Premium dual chamber charcoal grill
      • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
      • Weber 26" Original Kettle Premium (black)
      • Weber Jumbo Joe Gold (18.5")
      • Weber Smokey Joe Silver (14.5")
      • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

      Thermometers
      • (3) Maverick XR-50: 4-probe Wireless Thermometers
      • (7) Maverick ET-732s
      • (1) Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth (in box)
      • (1) Smoke by ThermoWorks
      • (1) Signals by ThermoWorks
      • Thermapen MkII, orange
      • ThermoPop, yellow
      • ThermoWorks ChefAlarm
      • Morpilot 6-probe wireless
      • ThermoWorks Infrared IRK2
      • ThermoWorks fridge & freezer therms as well

      Accessories
      • Instant Pot 6qt
      • Anova Bluetooth SV
      • Kitchen Aide mixer & meat grinder attachment
      • Kindling Cracker King (XL)
      • BBQ Dragon
      • Weber full & half chimneys, Char-Broil Half Time chimney
      • Weber grill topper
      • Slow 'N Sear Original, XL, and SnS Charcoal Basket (for Jumbo Joe)
      • Drip 'N Griddle Pan, 22' Easy Spin Grate, and Elevated Cooking grate, by ABCbarbecue
      • Pittsburgh Digital Moisture Meter

      Beverages
      • Favorite summer beer: Leinenkugels Summer & Grapefruit Shandy, Hamm's, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
      • Fav other beer: DAB, Sam Adams regular, Third Shift amber or Coors Batch 19, Stella Artois
      • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
      • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
      • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
      • Whiskey: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Blanton's, Old Forester 1870, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden's. Neat please.
      • Scotch: Current favorite- The Arran (anything by them), Glenmorangie 12yr Lasanta, sherry cask finished. The Balvenie Double Wood, also like Oban 18yr, and The Glenlivet Nadurra (Oloroso sherry cask finished) among others. Neat please.

      About me
      Real name: Aaron
      Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

      Occupation:
      • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

    #6
    Congrats! Sounds like the same dimensions and weight as the one I have, different brand though. You can fill that baby up! I like their wrap-around shelving and large stack. Happy for you!

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      ofelles On the contrary, I am nobody, not worthy of a single orange bar. You, my friend, have all the color and life!

    • ofelles
      ofelles commented
      Editing a comment
      Huskee For a minute there I thought maybe you were Pure or something. Thanks for clearing that up!

    • Ground Chuck
      Ground Chuck commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, Huskee! Hopefully my food will be delicious like yours one day! I'm just shooting for edible at the moment.
  • Ground Chuck
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 146
    • Northern Kentucky

    #7
    Well, she is finally here, and man is she a tank! Gator shipped her up here from Houston to Northern Kentucky (Cincinnati) via Road Runner Transportation on Wednesday, October 30th. The pit was due to arrive on Tuesday, November 5th, but the company didn't have a correct phone number for me. Luckily, I kept checking the tracking information and saw that the notes said they were unable to reach me. With a big purchase like this, both Gator and Road Runner want you to be home to inspect it and I guess ensure that it is exactly what you ordered and in great condition. So I call, and since I have to be there, and work office hours, I painfully pushed the delivery back to Friday, November 8th. I was told the driver would call first, but would be between 2 and 3 which was perfect. I'm always down to sneak out of work early!

    So Friday rolls around, and the guy calls, and he is already at my house. So I ask him to wait 20 minutes, which he said was fine, while I rushed home. I get there and the pit is on a pallet, wrapped heavily in saran wrap on his truck. He loads it up on a pallet jack, and then uses the truck's lift to lower it to the street. I can see once he gets in down that some of the packing tape had been ripped through, and the paint was peeled off. Mostly on the firebox. Obviously, I was willing to live with that since I know the firebox needs touched up from time to time anyway. The guy asked where I wanted it, and asked if he would wheel it down the drive. He said he would although he insisted he was only a curbside guy. I'm thinking to myself, "Brother, you've got the thing on wheels. It is 650 pounds. Let's just get it to the garage." So he did wheel it to the garage which was nice, but I sadly expected him to help me get it off the pallet somehow. He kept insisting he was curbside only, but asked if I had tin snips because it was tightly secured to the pallet with metal straps. So I rush inside, and can't find them. I go back to the garage and the guy was gone. My wife came out and said, "He wasn't offering to help you. I don't know why he said to go get the snips. He said don't you guys have any friends and left." So I guess it wasn't his job to help me out. I wish I would have known curbside delivery was literally just that. I also wish I knew I was responsible for getting this tank off of a pallet! Needless to say, the guy left before I could tip him, and before I could offer to pay him to assist me.


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    I feel bummed Friday night because I know I'm going to need to call people to help me get this thing down before I can use it. Late Saturday afternoon, my wife asks if I want to try to get it down with her. I said, "babe, there is no way we can this down. 650 pounds." But, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this marriage thing after two months, so I tell her "but, yes, dear." I'll tell you though, she somehow masterminded a great gameplan! It was like I was married to a sexier Bill Belichick! She audibled to the big garden shears, and was able to clip the straps. She drops back, and then passes me the rock, and I was somehow able to actually lift my side of the pit into the air. Then, she sets up these flat skinny boards to act as ramps for this thing. I'm thinking there is no doggone way those are going to hold this thing. But I lift my side up and get it free. Then she gets her side up and gets it free. Now, the moment of truth! We are going for it on fourth down! She wants to pound the rock right at the defense. She snaps it, hands it to me, we are bulldozing our way toward the goal line..... Boom! I go helmet to helmet with the smokestack! Touchdown! We got the thing down, and I passed concussion protocol! (Sorry, just testing to see if anyone made it this far, lol).

    I forgot to take pics of the pallet since I was so excited, but I did manage to get a few. Mostly once I oiled her down for the seasoning process on Sunday. Glad I decided to do it Sunday, because it was about 60 degrees out. We are now sitting with a high in the 20s and about 2 inches of snow out there. Anyway, now for what any of us all care about.... Pictures!

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    One final note, my fire management skills are horrible! I tried starting it with about half a chimney of lump. The grate in the firebox, as you can see, has such big holes, that most of the coals fell through. So I then tried a half chimney of briquettes, and added a log and it smoldered. So then I loaded about 3/4 a chimney of briquettes, and a couple logs, and had it rolling good for a little bit, but then I think i was losing too much of my coal bed, and was filling up with quite a bit of ash. I tried putting a Weber grate on top of the firebox grate to shrink things, and it definitely helped I would say, but still wasn't perfect. Always open for suggestions!

    Comment

    • Spinaker
      Moderator
      • Nov 2014
      • 10781
      • Land of Tonka
      • John "J R"
        Instagram: JRBowlsby
        Smokin' Hound Que
        Minnesota/ United States of America

        ********************************************
        Assistants
        Dexter (Beagle mix)
        Kinnick (American Foxhound)
        ************************

        Grills/Smokers/Fryers
        Big Green Egg (Large) X3
        Blackstone 36" Outdoor Griddle 4-Burner

        Karubeque C-60
        Kamado Joe Jr. (Black)
        Lodge L410 Hibachi
        Pit Barrel Cooker
        Pit Barrel Cooker 2.0
        R&V Works FF2-R-ST 4-Gallon Fryer

        Weber Spirit Gasser
        ******************.
        Thermometers
        FireBoard (Base Package)
        Thermoworks ThermaPen (Red)
        Thermoworks MK4 (Orange)
        **************

        Accessories
        Big Green Egg Plate Setter
        Benzomatic TS4000 Torch X 2
        Benzomatic TS800 High Temp Torch X 2

        Bayou Classic 44 qt Stainless Stock Pot
        Bayou Classic 35K BTU Burner

        Digi Q DX2 (Medium Pit Viper Fan)
        Dragon VT 2-23 C Torch
        Eggspander Kit X2
        Field Skillet No. 8,10,12

        Finex Cat Iron Line
        FireBoard Drive
        Lots and Lots of Griswold Cast Iron
        Grill Grates
        Joule Water Circulator
        KBQ Fire Grate

        Kick Ash Basket (KAB) X4
        Lots of Lodge Cast Iron
        Husky 6 Drawer BBQ Equipment Cabinet
        Large Vortex
        Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum
        Marquette Castings No. 13 (First Run)
        Smithey No. 12
        Smokeware Chimney Cap X 3
        Stargazer No.10, 12
        Tool Wizard BBQ Tongs
        Univex Duro 10" Meat Slicer
        ********************************
        Fuel
        FOGO Priemium Lump Charcoal
        Kingsford Blue and White
        Rockwood Lump Charcoal
        Apple, Cherry & Oak Log splits for the C-60
        **************************

        Cutlery
        Buck 119 Special
        Cuda 7' Fillet Knife

        Dexter 12" Brisket Sword
        Global
        Shun
        Wusthof
        *******
        Next Major Purchase
        Lone Star Grillz 24 X 48 Offset

      #8
      Great write up and pictures.

      Fire management will take time. One thing that I would invest in would be a weed burner. Stack your wood in the fire box and hit it with the weed burner, that will get the wood going and allow for the coal bed to develop.

      Comment


      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        My man! Great idea, I will look into this ASAP! And thank you. I'm learning that our group loves pictures, and I've been inspired by some of the other great write-ups! Hope to be able to contribute more along the way!

      • Beefchop
        Beefchop commented
        Editing a comment
        Exactly what I did. Get the weed burner, forget the charcoal and just burn wood.
    • scottranda
      Charter Member
      • May 2015
      • 1814
      • Charlotte, NC

      #9
      Awesome! So, are you going to cover it? Bc I’m STRUGGLING with my offset. Not sure what to do without spending a bajillion dollars.

      Comment


      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        Right now I've got it in my garage, and the wife isn't too happy about scraping ice off her car every morning. Seems like I will keep it in the garage until at least the Spring, and then looking into a shed or a covered addition type of thing off of the garage. I will have to keep you posted . They are so expensive though I would hate to just let it sit uncovered.

      • cliffdw1
        cliffdw1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Go online to the Cover Store. They actually have covers for small offsets that may work on these.
    • tbob4
      Charter Member
      • Nov 2014
      • 2505
      • Chico, CA
      • BBQ's
        _____________________
        California Custom Smokers Intensive Cooking Unit
        California Custom Smokers Meat Locker
        Santa Maria Grill
        Vision Grill

        Beer
        _______________________
        Sierra Nevada IPA

        Wood
        _______________________
        Almond
        Oak
        Madrone
        Cherry
        Peach
        Apple

      #10
      Great ending but terrible start to the story. I would have been really mad about the delivery. I would reach out to the company and send some photos of the scratches. Love the cooker! It will take time getting to know it. Put thermometers front, back top and bottom during a 225 degree cook as measured by the thermometer on the unit. Oh - calibrate the thermometer first. Make note of how you can maintain 250 on the outside thermometer and take notes about temps inside. With more cooks, the seasoning will seal any gaps you notice at first. You don’t have to rely on the outside thermometer but it gives you an idea of what is going on inside at different parts of the cooker.

      Comment


      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        Great advice! Thank you, sir! Do you recommend some kind of cheap metal oven thermometers for that process?

      • tbob4
        tbob4 commented
        Editing a comment
        I used to use oven thermometers but when you open the lid they go down. I currently have the Fireboad. I really like it.
    • Dewesq55
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 2062
      • The Poconos, NEPA
      • Smoker:
        Landmann Smoke Master Series Heavy Duty Barrel Smoker (COS) - With mods including 2 level rack system with pull-out grates
        Masterbuilt 40.2" 1200W Electric Smoker
        Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL 40" Vertical Propane Smoker

        Gas Grill:
        BBQPro (cheap big box store model) Stainless steel 4 burnerswith aftermarket rotisserie.

        Charcoal Grill:
        Weber Smokey Joe Charcoal Grill 14"

        Thermometer:​​​​​​
        Fireboard 2 with Drive cable and 20 CFM fan and Competition Probe Package
        Fireboard 1st Generation
        ThermoWorks Mini Instant Read
        Lavaworks Thermowand Instant Read
        2 Maverick 733
        ThermoWorks IR-GUN-S Industrial Infrared Thermometer
        ThermoWorks ThermaPen Mk4 x 2
        Govee Bluetooth Thermometer with 6 probes

        Miscellaneous:
        Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator - 1st generation
        Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator - wifi/bluetooth connected

        Favorite Beer:
        Anything to the dark side and malty rather than hoppy. Currently liking Yuengling Porter and Newcastle Brown Ale. In a bar or pub I will often default to Guiness

        Favorite Spirit:
        Bourbon - Eagle Rare for "every day"; Angel's Envy for special occasions, Basil Hayden's, Larceny

        Favorite Wine:
        Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Super Tuscan Sangiovese (Including Chianti Classico Riserva) Brunello di Montalcino

        Favorite Meat(s):
        Pork - especially the darker meat. I love spare ribs and anything made from shoulder/butt meat
        Chicken - Mainly the dark meat and wings
        Beef Ribeye steak

        Favorite Cuisine to Cook:
        Can't list just one: Indian, Chinese, Thai, West Indian/Carribean, Hispanic/Latin American, Ethiopian, Italian, BBQ

        Favorite Cuisine to Eat:
        Indian, followed closely by BBQ.

        Disqus ID:
        David E. Waterbury

      #11
      Congrats on the awesome new pit! I'm curious about the food racks. They appear different from the ones I saw on the Gator site.

      Comment


      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        You're welcome! I leave this site up at work, lol. I see what you're saying now. Yes, so most of his custom pits would have "1” angle-framed sliding pull-out food tray." This Party Gator is like the upscale version of what I got http://www.gatorpit.net/2440-party-gator.html . You can actually read a little about the one I got here, http://www.gatorpit.net/traditional-pits.html . He runs occasional sales on the Traditional Pits, but never the Backyard Pits. So I actually saved over $300 (cont).

      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        Going the route I did. He was nice enough to upgrade me to four 6 inch wheels instead of two 5 inch wheels (including brakes) at no extra charge. So probably the roundabout answer to your question is I was likely too cheap to get the 1" angle framed, but I don't think that was an option on the pit I had built. Although, he did allow me to customize it a bit despite the web site saying Traditional Pits couldn't be customized.

      • Dewesq55
        Dewesq55 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks again! This was very helpful.
    • Steve B
      Club Member
      • Jun 2016
      • 3076
      • Rockland county New York
      • Lonestar Grillz 24x36 offset smoker, grill, w/ main chamber charcoal grate and 3 tel-tru thermometers - left, right and center
        Yoke Up custom charcoal basket and a Grill Wraps cover.

        22.5 copper kettle w/ SnS, DnG, BBQ vortex, gasket and stainless steel hinge kit.

        Napoleon gas grill (soon to go bye bye) rotting out.

        1 maverick et-733 digital thermometer - black
        1 maverick et-733 - gray
        1 new standard grilling remote digital thermometer
        1 thermoworks thermopen mk4 - red
        1 thermoworks thermopop - red

        Pre Miala flavor injector
        taylor digital scale
        TSM meat grinder
        chefs choice food slicer
        cuisinhart food processor
        food saver vacuum sealer
        TSM harvest food dehydrator

      #12
      Congrats on your new rig. As Spinaker said it will take some time to learn how to control the fire and your temps.
      Any questions we are here to help.

      Comment


      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you, Steve! How do you start your pit if you don't mind me asking? How many logs to start? I feel like I went through more than I needed to. Maybe not, could be bad fire building, lol.

      • Steve B
        Steve B commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey Ground Chuck I always start with a full chimney of KBB or leftover coals from previous cooks. Once those are fully light dump them in and place 3 splits on top. on yours I would close the top lid and leave the side door 3/4 open until the splits are burning nicely. That should get you going.

        Any more questions feel free to ask.
        Steve B

      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you, sir! Can't wait for it to warm up a bit so I can keep practicing!
    • Huskee
      Administrator
      • May 2014
      • 15331
      • central MI, USA
      • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

        Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

        Smokers / Grills
        • Yoder loaded Wichita offset smoker
        • PBC
        • Grilla Silverbac pellet grill
        • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (SnSK)
        • Dyna-Glo XL Premium dual chamber charcoal grill
        • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
        • Weber 26" Original Kettle Premium (black)
        • Weber Jumbo Joe Gold (18.5")
        • Weber Smokey Joe Silver (14.5")
        • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

        Thermometers
        • (3) Maverick XR-50: 4-probe Wireless Thermometers
        • (7) Maverick ET-732s
        • (1) Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth (in box)
        • (1) Smoke by ThermoWorks
        • (1) Signals by ThermoWorks
        • Thermapen MkII, orange
        • ThermoPop, yellow
        • ThermoWorks ChefAlarm
        • Morpilot 6-probe wireless
        • ThermoWorks Infrared IRK2
        • ThermoWorks fridge & freezer therms as well

        Accessories
        • Instant Pot 6qt
        • Anova Bluetooth SV
        • Kitchen Aide mixer & meat grinder attachment
        • Kindling Cracker King (XL)
        • BBQ Dragon
        • Weber full & half chimneys, Char-Broil Half Time chimney
        • Weber grill topper
        • Slow 'N Sear Original, XL, and SnS Charcoal Basket (for Jumbo Joe)
        • Drip 'N Griddle Pan, 22' Easy Spin Grate, and Elevated Cooking grate, by ABCbarbecue
        • Pittsburgh Digital Moisture Meter

        Beverages
        • Favorite summer beer: Leinenkugels Summer & Grapefruit Shandy, Hamm's, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
        • Fav other beer: DAB, Sam Adams regular, Third Shift amber or Coors Batch 19, Stella Artois
        • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
        • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
        • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
        • Whiskey: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Blanton's, Old Forester 1870, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden's. Neat please.
        • Scotch: Current favorite- The Arran (anything by them), Glenmorangie 12yr Lasanta, sherry cask finished. The Balvenie Double Wood, also like Oban 18yr, and The Glenlivet Nadurra (Oloroso sherry cask finished) among others. Neat please.

        About me
        Real name: Aaron
        Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

        Occupation:
        • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

      #13
      Congrats! I enjoyed reading this! Sorry about the scratches. I remember thinking the same thing when mine was delivered on a pallet, dang I wish this guy would help me.... But then I thought WWMD ('what would MacGyver do?") and tore the pallet apart if I remember correctly. Mine came on a cold snowy early March morning and my wife was busy inside with our kids who at the time were 1.5yr, 3yr, and 5.5yrs so no chance she was interested in helping me wrestle 660lbs of cold steel in the snow.

      I start my fires with ~half a chimney of briquets well-lit, lay them on the firebox grate and stack about 4 logs box-style on top of & around the coals. Then I don't have to stand there in the cold, or the bugs, or the rain, holding a torch. I cut my logs about 10-12" long (give or take) and at least 1/4 split if not 1/8 split. Season your wood asap, nothign more frustrating than hissing steaming wet wood. Find a good source for firewood if you haven't already. A Kindling Cracker XL, a 4-lb sledge hammer, and a cheap miter saw will be your best friends. And a covered area to stack firewood, or in my case a firewood tarp. I also like to us ea BBQ Dragon (with good rechargeable batteries) for the days when the wind is still and the extra airflow is needed.

      Remember- keep your fire small but HOT! Resist the urge to power a steamship across the Atlantic, you only need a fire big enough to get that cooking chamber to cooking temps, and after an hour-ish of preheating you'll quickly learn that it's pretty small really. Once a decent bed of coals is established you'll probably only need to add 1 log about every 20-30 mins, depending on weather. Rain is the single worst enemy, far worse than cold & snow. When it starts raining you can watch your temps drop faster than a fat guy falling off a low roof.

      Have fun and ask lots of questions when they come up!

      Comment


      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, Huskee! All great stuff! I definitely need to find a local wood source. I spent over $100 at Fruita and Carolina Cookwood (I think that is what it was called) and 80 pounds of wood doesn't seem like very much! Seems like my first problem was only trying to light one log on the charcoal bed instead of 3 or 4 logs. I will definitely look into the other tools of the trade you recommended!
    • Beefchop
      Charter Member
      • Oct 2014
      • 449
      • Lafayette, LA
      • XL Big Green Egg, Shirley Fabrication 24"x42" Patio Cooker

      #14
      Congratulations! I was down to Gator vs. Shirley and went with Shirley, but part of me wishes I'd just gotten a traditional offset. I'd love to hear about how it cooks, esp. without the tuning plates. Had a similar "Oh My God What Have I Done" moment when they unloaded my Shirley. I was like, how am I ever going to move this?!? Still need to develop a plan for getting it to my back porch. Mine is in my garage and I wheel it out when I want to cook on it.

      Comment


      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        I'll be sure to give you a fair assessment when I figure out how to do her justice lol. I actually was wanting a Shirley, but once Tyler told me 36 months, I continued my search. I think I'll be happy still. I hope so, anyway!
    • JakeT
      Club Member
      • Mar 2018
      • 500
      • Vacaville, CA
      • Lonestar Grillz 24x48
        Forno Bravo Casa 110
        Sunterra 60" Argentine Grill w/ Rear Brasero
        KBQ C-60
        Weber Kettle 22"
        Fire Magin a660i

        A-MAZE-N-TUBE 6", 10", maze
        BBQ Dragon
        BBQ Dragon Chimney
        iGrill
        Fireboard
        Bernzomatic w/ Mapp Gas

      #15
      Bummer on the slight damage but great looking smoker nonetheless!! I, like Beefchop was thinking of a Gator Pit, but I went with the LSG.

      Beefchop...I'm in the same boat, I may have to rent a 4wd forklift to get it down to the cook area!

      Comment


      • Ground Chuck
        Ground Chuck commented
        Editing a comment
        Strongly considered them as well. Love their pits. Ritch was running a special, so at the time, Gator was the cheapest way for me to get into a 24" pit. I'm sure you love your purchase

      • Beefchop
        Beefchop commented
        Editing a comment
        Lone Star was also on my short list. Especially with those warming cabinets!

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    Meat-Up in Memphis

    Spotlight

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    If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

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    masterbuilt gas smoker
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