BBQ Pit Maintenance

An outdoor barbecue pit can be a great way to liven up your backyard or patio.  You can have a handyman or home improvement contractor build it for you, and then follow these steps to get it ready to make delicious food!

Tips on Use/Maintenance

Season your pit before using it the first time

Your pit has been painted with an 800° heat resistant paint. Keep in mind it does not take a big fire to create that temperature. Build a small fire, adding wood that has been soaked in water. Create all the smoke you can, keeping it going for about four to five hours. This will season the inside of your pit and “tighten” the paint.

Cooking for the first time

Any hard wood is suitable to cook with; every cook has a preference. Do not use pine, cedar or a wood with a lot of resin. Fire Pits does not recommend the use of “raw” or green wood; you simply get too much smoke. We recommend any good brand of briquettes. They are cleaner, hotter and last longer. They are also far less work. If you are using coals or briquettes and desire a little more smoke, simply lay a piece of water soaked wood on top of the coals.

Smoking meat requires temperatures at or below 225°F, and barbque requires temperatures from 250°F to 300°F. If you have been using a single chamber pit, chances are you are baking at a higher temperature than you would in an oven. All of our grills are designed to be used as smokers as well as grills. That’s because all of our units have a butterfly intake draft and smokestack dampers for smoke and heat control. If you choose, you can put charcoal under all the grill surfaces and cook with direct heat. By manipulating your damper, you will quickly learn how to maintain a constant temperature. Start off with both dampers open half way. Fire Pits highly recommends the use of a temperature gauge, it makes all the difference in the world. Most of our pits are equipped with a 1/2″ pipe coupling adapter for a temperature gauge. The smaller, camper grills are not equipped, but can be on request. Gauges are available from your dealer.

Your pit is equipped with a drain on the smokestack end. By keeping your pit slightly slanted in this direction, it will allow excess juices to drain away from the firebox. Place a receptacle under the drain to catch the drainage. The flat place on top of the firebox is a warming plate; it is excellent for heating tortillas, keeping your sauce warm, etc. The small grill in the firebox is perfect for grilling steaks, hamburgers or anything you want to cook in a hurry. The 20″ and 24″ models have an extra rack above the grill. This is excellent for roasting corn, potatoes or other vegetables while your meat is cooking.

If you have a pit with a smoker (the vertical pipe on the end) you will find a rack just below the door. This is for a pan of water. By placing water here the heat draws moisture up and helps keep the meat moist.

Take care of your pit

Your Fire Pits pit has been painted with a 800°F primer and paint to help prevent rust. However, with regular use, various cooking temperatures and all kinds of weather, there will be small amounts of rust. This is normal. To remedy this, periodically brush rusted spots with a wire brush and paint with a high-temp, “BBQ-Black” spray paint. We also recommend removing the ashes and closing the dampers when your grill is not in use in order to prevent moisture from accumulating and causing excessive rust to the inside.