If you've ever hungered for the lipsmackin' taste of real barbecue (as opposed to the charred chops most weekend chefs whip up on their grills), perhaps it's time you considered building your own backyard barbecue pit. The back-to-basics cookers are much easier to construct than you might think, and require no fancy equipment or utensils. In fact, I actually dug my family's pit myself in the hard, rocky soil of New Hampshire!

Pit barbecuing is nothing more than the slow cooking (and wet smoking) of meat, poultry, or fish—in an airless hole—for about 16 to 20 hours until the viands are tender, juicy, and flavorful. The simplicity of this method of preparation—as well as the low cost of the basic construction—makes it an ideal, inexpensive way to feed a large crowd with truly delicious eats!

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