UGH OUR BUSINESS HAS GONE TO THE PITS!!! Actually and thankfully it’s always been the pits.
Pictured above is someone that knows a lot more about our pit than I do. Darrell is an extraordinary Pit Master — he’s one of around 10 that we have the good fortune of working with. So what makes Country’s barbecue pretty ole good? It’s a combination of folks like Darrell (which we will visit at a different time) and the pits.
Our pit in each restaurant is like the one above. Barbecue is kinda like wine in France — it’s different in each region of the country. It’s all good but personally I think Columbus has some of the best to be found — I guess my personal favorite besides Country’s is Smokey Pig. Most folks in this area (but not all) use the open pit style like ours and most have stayed true to real Columbus, GA barbecue.
In some parts of the US they say their having a barbecue when they’re cookin hot dogs on a grill — folks I’m here to say “That ain’t no barbecue.” for me barbecue has to be either pork, beef or chicken — you can smoke or grill other stuff. There are two main ways to barbecue — indirect heat and open pit. Both have pluses and minuses. Barbecue has to be cooked slowly and has to be cooked 100% over wood or coals — got no use for pits that use gas for heat and just pump in smoke for flavor — yuck!
Indirect heat seems to give a lot of smoke flavor and less outside meat ( y’all do know what outside meat is don’t you). Also, with indirect, the flavor can be a little less complex. With an open pit you have to really control the heat or you get too much — happens to us occasionally. But to me the advantage of an open pit is the complex flavor. On an open pit the fat and juices drip down on the coals and create that incredible smell you get when you get out of your car or just have your window down — a mile away. I love barbecue cooked either way — open pit or indirect — but I think overall flavor is best from an open pit.
The pit pictured above was built 37 years ago and cooks incredibly when a great Pit Master is at the helm. It takes about 7 hours for our pork, 4 for ribs, 10 to 12 hours for brisket and about 2 for chicken. For me the best wood is Red Oak mixed with hickory.
We have a variety of pits we use for catering but each restaurant has one just like the above to carry the daily load of feeding lots of hungry folks. We’ll show some pictures and talk about the other pits in the near future. If you’ve seen an unusual pit somewhere I’d love to hear from you
Here’s another question — who knows why Boston Butts are so named?