Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fatboyz Firepits Pit Grilled Ribeyes

Open pit grilling is possibly the most challenging yet fun test of a pitmaster's skills.

An open pit is basically your camp site fire ring, a truck tire rim with a fire in it. It doesn't have the fancy vent controls or protection from the elements that modern cookers have. In fact, the only difference between an open pit and what cavemen used is the truck tire rim.

We received the final addition to our deck renovation today, a custom fire pit from Fatboyz Firepits. Like most fire pits, ours will be used primarily for warmth and socialization on our deck, but you know I had to use it for open pit grilling too!

The first order of business was simulating a camp fire. To do that, I used a chimney full of hickory wood chunks. Let them burn until you have glowing hot embers. If you are camping and already have a fire, let it die down to embers. This is a good time to enjoy a beer or 3.

Dump the hot coals into the fire pit and let the grill grate heat up. Rub it with an oil soaked rag and toss on some ribeyes seasoned with salt and pepper.

As you can see, there is not a lot to protect your food from wind and ambient air temps. It's up to the to move them over the heat as needed to cook.

Here's a tip from Adam Perry Lang's BBQ25 [Review upcoming]. Make an "herb brush" by tying fresh herbs onto a wooden spoon.

Start basting your meat with a mixture of butter, oil, and garlic after the first flip.

Even though you are cooking over coals, the baste will cause some flare ups. It's okay in moderation. I love the shot of the flame teasing the steak.

Because these are exposed to the elements, they took much longer than the 8 minutes I do them on a 450f Big Green Egg. They took right at 24 minutes with 6 minute flips to hit an internal temp of 125f.

The steaks lacked the grill marks of my usual Egg seared steaks and I was worried they might be more done than I like. But I was wrong. After a 10 minute rest, they were perfectly medium-rare. They were tender and juicy. This was different than my usual steaks but every bit as good. Part of that was cooking over pure wood embers and the herb brush basting added a little something too.

Because I only did I small fire, I ended up placing a grate with 8" risers in the fire ring. This got the steaks closer to the coals and also protected them a bit from the wind that was picking up. If I had a full sized fire I would have used the original grate.

Fatboyz Fire Pits
We stumbled across Fatboyz this spring at Pork Knox, a KCBS sanctioned BBQ contest. Danny custom makes these pits by hand (not CNC machined) which blows my mind considering the detail he gets. [NOTE: Original artwork was created by the talented Russ of Inner and Outer Demons.]

Danny can custom make pretty much whatever artwork or text you want. He is a true craftsman that is proud of his work.

These units are great for a fire pit, open pit grilling, or as a stand for dutch oven cooking. The cool evening temps are just around the corner and I look forward to spending nights out on the deck listening to a cracking fire.

We had him make one for my parents' 50th anniversary and now this one for us. Both were well made and about $100 cheaper than the store bought (and non-custom) fire pits we had priced. If you have any interest in a fire pit, we highly recommend you get in touch with Danny through his website. Shipping might be a bit for these hefty dudes but it's worth it.

[Standard Review Disclaimer] applies but we paid full price for these pits and Danny doesn't even know I'm posting this.


  1. I love the herb brush and that steak-teasing-flame shot, too. Very nice post - I'd love to taste one of your steaks!

  2. Nice addition. I believe too much is made of grill marks anyway. Good flavor, good texture, and correct doneness are all that matter to me. I don't believe your steaks good look any better - they made my mouth water. I'll have to try the herb brush.

  3. I see you're getting in touch with your inner caveman, chris. I like. It takes a real man to face the elements and prevail with this awesomely cooked steak. Bravo.

  4. Love your new little deck addition! You are about the most grill equiped family I know. Love that herb brush and the steaks look sooooo good. After reading this I'd normally be rushing out to get me a couple of steaks for dinner, but it's our tradition to have a big pot of Chili to cheer our Broncos into the first game of the season.

  5. This is just what I've been looking for! Double duty griller and Dutch oven stand, nice. I think I just found my birthday present.

  6. All these years I thought the fire that was burning my steaks was just that - who knew it was only being teased? First the BGE, then Alexis' BGE, now a fire do you have ROOM on your deck for people, let alone steaks?!? I grew up on something similar - a grate over a hole in the ground, but up here, where it rains 9 months of the year, a fire pit just won't work so I'll have to stick with teasing my steaks! Love the herb brush!!

  7. Oh my husband would LOVE this! That herb brush is awesome and a must try, very cool. Your steaks look and sound amazing! Thanks Chris

  8. I know you don't usually play the memes but those steaks sure would look great on my new Tailgating Time at Seaside Simplicity - I'm just sayin' :-)

  9. Chris? Is that you, Chris?

    Just an FYI - on Fatboy's website when you submit the form to "contact" him in regards to cost, it takes you to a "page not found" page. I know it's not your issue to fix, but thought I'd let you know in the event you are in contact with him.

  10. I feel the testerone on that deck. Your very own custom made fire pit. Seriously, it is a nice addition to the new deck. There is going to be a lot of good times that will be had on that deck.

    Although, the summer has been sweltering, fall is arriving. It's 90+ degrees outside but the leaves are starting to drop. Autumn will arrive sooner in Tenn,

  11. Ribeye is my favorite cut of beef... this post literally has my mouth watering.

  12. Wow Chris! Your deck is all decked out!!! Sounds like you and your family will really be enjoying the outdoors this coming fall.

    Congrats on all the new toys:)

  13. I love the firepit...and grilling steaks on it... genius! I am a camper and love to cook dinner over an open flame...this is the perfect way to bring it home! And the steaks...the steaks look fantastic!!!

  14. Thanks for another plug! I can imagine you grunting Tim Allen-style while cooking with this.

  15. P.S. Here is the post about the green egg toon:

  16. I love your fire pit!

    I'll have to try the herb brush next time we grill - that is a great idea.

  17. What a small and practical device that to grill those beautiful ribeyes - a must the buttery-garlicky mixture over them :)
    Enjoy your new addition!

    Have a great week,


  18. Nice pictures!The food looks pretty juicy- bring a good photographer sure helps. Like the idea of the spoon and herb. The fire pit design looks good and sturdy. Hope you have many more happy cooking ventures!

  19. The steaks look amazing, and I love your new firepit! Love the BGE cut-out design...perfect for you! I am in the market for a firepit, and will definately check out the Fatboyz Firepits. Thanks for sharing, Chris!

    Kim in MD

  20. I love the disclaimer.

    This post almost makes me wish I was on a low-carb diet instead of being a veg.

  21. What a cool firepit Chris! You couldn't of christened it any better than with some 'caveman' steaks. I like the herb brush too - great idea.


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