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.