Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .
Topic: What do I do to make a deep pit bbq?
From: Pamela J. Lockwood,
Subject: Re: Deep Pit Barbecues
I have a 4' by 4' by 6' hole in the ground. Now what do I do to make a deep pit bbq. Do you line the sides with brick and can you use some tin as a lid to keep the dirt out of the hole. Or can I line the hole with tin and fill the pit with fire, how thick are the bed of coals, lava rock, meat, lava rock, how thick are the lava rock beds, and than more coals, how thick, tin lid, dirt, how thick.
Your planning for a barbecue pit is equal to your observance of normal propriety in correspondence.
In making a request by correspondence, one normally offers a greeting, proposes the question, offers thanks and signs the correspondence.
In planning for a barbecue pit, one normally investigates first and considers the function of a pit, then digs it.
To answer your question, use the hole you have for a septic tank, the wedding gifts you hated, small vehicles, etc., anything that you want to dispose of; pesky small animals, perchance a mother-in-law.
Barbecue is best done with 2-3 feet between coals and meat. A 12" excavation and a 24" frame provide all the separation needed. A ground level firebed containment and a 3' frame for the meat grill raise the meat to a more convenient height. One need not bend over to tend the meat.
One of the verities of a pit is that, "What goes in must come out." -- Even though substantially reduced by burning. Wood ashes must be removed or the pit becomes, with water, a lye pit. Handy, perhaps, to remove the meat from the bones of small animals, severely burn large ones and kill all the vegetation in a 10' radius.
A pit for barbecuing ought never to be more than a foot deep. The bottom ought to be absolutely smooth to make shoveling out the coals easier. Packed earth works beautifully, but, if you decide to put a bottom in, use fire brick. Cement and regular brick absorb water into their pores and, when heated, will explode violently.
A foot deep pit, 30" wide, accessible from both sides, with a 24" high frame for the meat. and 6' long will all for a fire pit for burning down the coals to be shoveled under the 4' cooking length. With minimal planning and ordinary skills, one should be able to barbecue enough to feed a hungry Platoon, if not Company. Two of them, in tandem, could feed an Army.
For better pits and more polite correspondence,
P.S. Don't forget to have fun.