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Deep Pit Barbecued Beef

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***** NONE *****

Meat Preparation: Meat clots/roasts should be around 15-18 lbs. Plan on 1 lb. per person plus waste. PIT MATH: Variations authorized, deviations expected - 100 people, - 7 to 8 roasts, - a 2' X 5' pit. (10 sq. ft.) - 300 people, - 21 to 24 roasts, - a 4' X 7' pit. (30 sq. ft.) - 1000 people, -70 to 80 roasts, 3 pits - 4' X 8', and help from ‘a friend' We used boned and rolled front shoulder roast. As the roasts are rolled, we painted them with garlic marinade, sliced onions and bell peppers. They were then tied and double wrapped in aluminum foil to hold in the juices (VERY important). Then, we fashioned some bailing wire around the outside so that a wire hoop on the top could be used to pick up the whole roast. Meat should get a couple days to marinate. Prepare pit. Pit Preparation: Dig a hard soil pit, as rectangular and true as possible about 5' deep. A backhoe does wonders. The size of your pit depends on how many people you plan on feeding, and the supplies you will need. The location of the pit should be reachable by a water hose. You will also need a shovel and a long pole with a hook on the end, something like a gaff or a shepherds crook. Fill the bottom 12” of the pit with football size stones. We used red granite. (It needs to be able to absorb the heat from the fire without turning to sand.) Collect and set off to the side enough sheet metal (tin roof panels from old barns work very well) to cover the stones in the bottom of the pit, and to completely cover the top of the pit with at least a 6” margin. Also set off to the side enough sand or fine soil to cover your “tin lid” about 2” to 3” deep. This is what you are going to use to ‘seal' your pit. Important, but not exactly obvious is also the need for support beams (angle iron) to hold your tin and sand above your pit. The irons should be long enough to span the pit, and numerous and big enough to hold the weight of the tins and the sand WHEN WET. You will see why soon. 3” or 4” angle iron is my recollection. After the stones, fill the pit to the top with good firewood, the type that makes good long lasting embers. I have heard that citrus works well; we used eucalyptus. Your pit is now prepared. Get some rest, because you start to cook at 12:01 am the day of the BBQ. Let's cook: Start your fire just after midnight, and be sure to have your bonfire permit if you are in an area that needs one. (Ha ha, do I have a story for that!) Watch your fire with a dependable friend. Stir the fire late into the burn; get it to burn evenly and level. You want to get it evenly down to bright orange embers, the point just where the flames are going out. The rock below and the walls around are absorbing a lot of heat. Cover the embers with the tins that fit over the rock earlier. The bottom tins will serve as a plate. Lower the meat down into the pit with your pole. BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL IN! The pit may only be 2 feet deep now, but it is hotter then hell. Have a special friend watch (and learn!). Arrange the meat so that it is equally distributed within the pit. Lay your support beams across the pit then cover the entire pit with the remaining barn tins. Now, cover the tins and beams with the sand. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! YOU WILL BE FORMING AN AIRTIGHT CAP OVER THE PIT. The sand must completely cover, with good margin, the tins and the beams. This will prevent anything that is in the pit that can burn (i.e. fat) from burning. Watch for rising smoke. Gently spray water over the sand on the pit to complete the seal. Remember, don't put more weight on that cap than it can stand. It should be about 4-5 AM by now. You have just created a giant slow cooker. Your job for the next 7-8 hours is to be sure that that seal stays good (add water), and that no one walks over the pit. And, to be modest about doing something that damn few people will ever get the opportunity to appreciate. About noon (the last hour or two are not as important in the cooking process as the first six or seven) uncover a corner of the pit, stick your pole in and pull out a roast. {BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL IN!} BEWARE FOR CURIOUS PEOPLE TRYING TO GET TOO CLOSE TO THE PIT.) Unwrap. Slice generously. Reap praise. Eat with beans, potato salad, and tortillas. Bite your tongue when they ask you how it is done. Speaking of biting your tongue… Twice, I have been to one of these events where the head was cooked. I was very young and the only part of it that I remember was the use of a hatchet to split the skull. After which I was served brains on French Bread. At the other, I actually got one of the eyeballs. If your bored, adventurous, and experienced at the consumption of offal, I would love to hear what conclusions you come to. Submitted to the BBQ Mailing List by Lloyd on Jan 07, 1999. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Yield: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 0:00


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