Old Country BBQ Pits Pecos Owners Thread

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by thmoker, May 16, 2014.

  1. thmoker

    thmoker Fire Starter

    I searched for a Pecos owner's thread but found only one, and that was mostly about temp issues and other grills. Since I had a few folks at Academy Sports tell me that the Pecos is their number one seller by far, I thought I'd start a thread on them to see what mods other owners have done and usage tips, etc.

    I got mine about a month ago after about 10 years on an old, trusty Brinkmann Smoke'N'Pit Professional. That old thing had to be built in the USA because it was very stout. It would hold temp pretty well and I had her tuned to about 275 degrees every time (according to the lid mounted thermometer...more on that later) She developed a small hole in the firebox about 6 months ago and it just grew to the point of no return. Rather than weld over the hole, I started shopping for a new smoker. As most of you know, that can be a frustrating chore. My dilemma was that I wanted a better quality smoker, not made in China, not made from a propane tank (because my wife hated the way they look) and since I only smoke about once or twice a month...I wanted it to be affordable.

    So after about 6 months of shopping, research and loitering around here (a superb resource, BTW), I got my Pecos.

    I have smoked twice so far and here are some of my initial impressions:

    -It's very easy to get it up to temp with charcoal followed by splits...the hard part has been keeping the temp stable. I switched my old stick lid thermometer over from my Brinkmann and just torched my first racks of St Louis ribs. They tasted great, but they were way overdone. After I ordered the Maverick and tested the temp I found out why. At 200 degrees the lid thermo was 100% accurate. At 275 degrees, it was off by 50 degrees. So, I was making bony, charcoal tasting pork jerky. The second effort worked out much better after I tossed the old lid thermo and went with the Maverick.

    -I used the included firebox charcoal support shelf as a makeshift tuning plate and it seems to fit and work very well, but more testing is needed. I used an old grate from a weber hibachi as my new coal support. I decided to keep my upper grate just in case.

    -This grill leaks a bit around the lid, but I get the feeling that after a few more smokes, that won't be much of a problem...we'll see.

    -I don't ever clean my smoker because it just seems like it gets seasoned just right, despite recommendations from manufacturers like Lang. I would love to hear if everybody else cleans their smoker's grates while hot. I've heard arguments both ways on that.

    -Finally, when I bought mine I was allowed to step into the store warehouse to pick from several grills on pallets and got one that looked especially tight. If you go to buy one I would suggest you ask if they have any in the back, because the one on the floor was scratched up and bent.
  2. jburn244

    jburn244 Fire Starter

    You bring up some good questions, some of the ones I've been pondering as I'm looking at pulling the trigger on this. Never thought of using the charcoal/fire grate as a tuning plate. I'll have to try that. I've read many people just opting for an expanded steel/metal charcoal grate rather than the stock one.  

    I had also been wondering about preventing rust on the outside...I've read of people coating the firebox in Pam along with the inside.
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  3. have you gotten the fire management under control? i have the wrangler and I am still trying to keep my temps stable. I get them stable for about 30 mins but i have to babysit it. I might try to find some sheet metal for my tuning plates. and or find something to replace my coal support. 
  4. thmoker

    thmoker Fire Starter

    Yep, I coated the entire interior with pam before I seasoned it (no meat). Not the exterior. I keep a can of high temp black BBQ Rustolem spray paint if I see any issues on the outside of the grill.

    Fire management: working on it. I think the Maverick thermo will help, but I think it will take quite a few smokes before I will have a better grasp of it. I think the grill will seal itself over time, like my last one did.

    As Indy winds down, I'm heading out to smoke a couple of yardbirds...cold beer by the pool...Happyy Memorial Day to all :grilling_smilie:
  5. thmoker

    thmoker Fire Starter

    The chickens came out perfectly. One had dry rub jerk seasoning, and the other was a wet jerk seasoning from a jar. Both were juicy, spicy and wonderful. But the real star of the show was the tail end of a beef tenderloin that I had marinated overnight in that bottled teriaki sesame sauce with the white label. I smoked it to internal 135 degrees. To die for...I always wondered what to do with that skinny end piece of the tenderloin, and now I know.

    Still working on Pecos temp control. Kept it between 255 and 305 for the entire cook. I can live with that. If I wanted a "set it and forget it" smoker, I would've bought an electric model.
  6. thmoker

    thmoker Fire Starter

    Boston and St Louis
    The butt was on for about 7 hrs, foiled for 2, then wrapped in blanket and in cooler overnight. Pulled perfection.
    The ribs I did for 3-1-1 and they came out really nice.

    I think I have a better grasp of temp control now. I set the stack at about an inch or so open and leave it alone. I have been controlling the temp swings by opening and closing the firebox flue minimally. I only use the stack for backing the temp down drastically if it runs away on me. This is completely different than my old Brinkmann, that I controlled with the stack only.
  7. stubri

    stubri Newbie

    I'm not sure what you mean when you said you used the charcoal support as a tuning plate. can you explain? I am new owner of a Pecos smoker with not much experience. Thanks, Stubri
  8. glocksrock

    glocksrock Smoking Fanatic

    He means that he took the grate out of the firebox and is using it as a tuning plate/convection plate, and replaced the firebox grate with a grate from an old grill.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  9. That gray steel is from the firebox. Put it in the main chamber. I cut an old grill grate with a sawsall and put it in the firebox to keep the coals and wood up off the bottom of the firebox. I can also scoop underneath the grate to get ash out so the fire can have more access to oxygen
  10. Looks good! And I think I need to close my stack a little bit. I have been running it wide open. I think that because it is such a large diameter stack that it is causing more air to be sucked in at the inlet on the firebox. So I will play around with the stack and the inlet damper to see if I can load up the firebox with wood and keep a steady temp for a long period of time. If I load the firebox with wood and have the stack wide open, even with inlet damper almost completely closed, I get temps past 300.
  11. jburn244

    jburn244 Fire Starter

    Fisher and Thmoker,

    How has the stock charcoal grate worked as a tuning plate? Good enough? Has it gotten you reasonably even heat from end to end? 
    juancho likes this.
  12. It's pretty good. Better than nothing. I've noticed that u need to leave a little gap in between the deflector baffle and the deflector piece. Otherwise you get a hot spot where the support grate ends near the exhaust side. There just isn't enough holes in the support grate to release more heat before reaching the exhaust end.

    With figuring out that the support grate was causing me to have a hot spot near the exhaust I moved it over a little to create the gap between the grate and the deflector. This helped a little with letting more heat out and up near the firebox side. However I am still messing with it and will see for sure.

    I did find a company near me in Irving Texas that will make my tuning plates 1/4 inch 4 inch by 15.75 for 9 dollars a piece. Might give these a shot and I might try a whole sheet across the bottom with small holes near the fb and gradually getting bigger holes towards the exhaust.
  13. john0091

    john0091 Newbie

    Hey Fisher,
    What company in Irving did you have the plates made? I live in Grapevine Texas. Thank you
  14. Western sheet metal. Irving Texas
    [email protected]
    It's off loop12 and union bower.

    Ask for Scott. Tell him he just did some tuning plates for Asian Jason. He is a nice guy. He said he can do anything you need. Big or small. I'm thinking of making a custom smoker one of these days and he will probably be doing the welding and other metal works.
  15. How is the pecos as in holding the heat? My wrangler has smaller cooking surface. Thinking back I wish they made the pecos with the same thickness as the wrangler.
  16. john0091

    john0091 Newbie

    Hey thank you so much that's great info I will definitely call him.
  17. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    I have been cooking on mine for 3 maybe 4 years and made the same changes as you did for the same reasons. I use an old mesh grate instead of the factory supplied (not enough air flow) I use a digital therm. at grate level. This year I started putting a large foiling pan with water in it in the cooking chamber. I place it on an old grate I had (under the food grate) and push it up against the heat deflector . This not only adds moisture to your cooking environment but it seems to have really helped stabilize temp. and hot spot.

    I do clean mine like the Lang videos show about after every few smokes. Still plenty of flavor producing oils left.

    I also drape the cooking chamber with a moving blanket when using it in the winter. Really helps hold temp and conserve wood. Found it on ebay for $20.  
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
    austin buckeye likes this.
  18. john0091

    john0091 Newbie

    Hey Fisher6688,
    I called and Scott is out of town but Ike helped me. He's going to cut 5 plates for me today. Really nice guy. Thanks once again.

    I just finished my first round of seasoning with my new Wrangler yesterday. Fix box management will be my next thing to tackle.
  19. No worries. I'm still tinkering with my plates. Once I think I have it, it all changes on me!
  20. john0091

    john0091 Newbie

    Picked up my tuning plates from Western Sheet Metal today. Ready for seasoning round 3 and get this thing ready to smoke a brisket on Sunday. Thanks again Fisher for the head's up on the plates. How many plates are you using?


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