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Topic: President Johnson's Pit cooking on his ranch.
From: The Hilt's,
Subject: Re: Pit Cooking
About 29 year's ago my grandfather got an article on then President Johnson's Pit cooking on his ranch. I remember my grandfather and I digging the hole in the ground, getting prepared for the up coming Fourth of July family celebration with slabs of wood,wet newspapers, freezer paper and of course the meat which consisted of ham,red snapper and beef. We would put planks over the pit and then start a slab fire over the planks and keep fueling it for about 3 hrs. The planks would burn through and all the red hot coals would be in the pit.
The meat was seasoned,wrapped in wet newsprint,covered with freezer paper then tied shut with wire. All of this was lowered in the pit on top of the coals,covered with a metal top then we shovled dirt on top of the metal top. Cooking time as I remember was about 12 hrs. The meat cooked in it's own juices and everyone raved about the meal. We still have the pit on our property but memories have eroded somewhat on the details of the proceedure. We would like to recreate this tradition and we our now searching for information. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated.
Have you ever heard of the L.B.J. Deep Pit Cooking?
Thanks in advance for any insight,
I have heard of LBJ and others cooking in pits. I did it myself when LBJ was just a whippersnapper. I don't do it any more because is is a four letter word - 'work.' LBJ had lots of ranchhands to do the dirty work. Actually, it was a common way of cooking in primitive societies and pioneer situations.
I have covered the technique in FAQs in Luau and another couple of responses.
Aside from the work, the problems of different meats and different size chunks of the same meat getting done at different times make it somewhat tricky.
If I were to do it again, I would substitute two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil, crimped and sealed, covered with a couple of layers of wet burlap to protect it from punctures. It is essentially the same as meat cooked in a covered cast iron pot or a pressure cooker.
I'd take that pit, build a heavy duty rack for it, fill it with good wood and let it burn down to coals, put on the grill and throw the meat on the grill. Baste and turn as needed and replenish the coals from a separate fire pit. That's the way we did beef when I was a chap.