When the temperature gauge says 250 degrees, that’s the grate temp for the center third of the pit, Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper says, based on three months of test cooks.

The left third of the cooking chamber, away from the firebox, is 10 degrees cooler, and the right third, nearest the firebox, is 25 degrees warmer, perfect for chicken and pork butt.

Cooper fired the pit at 6:30 p.m. with three 22-inch hickory logs and has added a log an hour. It’s 2:30 a.m. and the gauge is a steady 250.

“This cook is going damn good,” Cooper said, sitting pitside and sipping Maker’s Mark under a nearly full moon. “Jamie Geer knows what he’s doing.”

Geer, a Texas legend, engineered and built the pit.

Photos by Chris Wilkins

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