Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Vantage of a Pit Keeper: Pecan Smoked Bacon Cheese Burgers

FullSizeRender (17)Pecan smoke spiraled from the old pit damper whilst the lone drake floated serenely on the pond. The cool spring breeze caressed the cottonwood buds, and the sun, man, how divine it felt to sprawl at the terminus of one of it’s golden shafts. In a word, decadent! I was what you might say, “settled in” and pit-side, with a lovely beverage in hand and the game playing softly through the little speaker of the pit radio. The day was point blank glorious. Another vintage spring day in Minnesota. One to savor fondly from the vantage of a pit keeper.

I love to cook out-of-doors. It’s largely what I do. There are times when I actually wonder if my stove in the kitchen even works, for I use it so seldom. At certain times of the year, not unlike most grill jockeys hard into their game, a passerby of my open garage door may spy a pallet’s worth of charcoal stacked in there. Hundred of pounds of beautiful black briquettes awaiting my call. My bidding for the smoke. A pit keeper must be prepared don’t you know. Same unto the freezer adequately stocked with all matter of bits and bobs, from turf to surf. It’s all because I love to cook outside, and I for one do not wish to miss the opportunity should the impulse arise. Or, if by chance, guests come over keen with hunger pangs.


They did the other day, and I was ready. They all had cheeseburger shaped hollows in their stomachs, and the Pond Side Pit was the remedy! So I preheated the old Craycort cast iron grate, and freshly oiled it. ( See our review of this modular grate system here) I also deployed the cast iron griddle insert for this cook to assist in frying up a little bacon there. This was going to be fun!

IMG_1661Slow it Down Partner!

I stayed calm however. This is the hallmark of good pit keepers. The ability to exercise patience in the face of slobber-slopping expectation. You want with all your might to dive in and get after it, but then you know if you do, the fun will be only shortly lived at best. The trick then is to stretch it out. To make the moment linger if but only for the moment’s sake. It’s a game we pit jockeys play with ourselves. And those who do not love to cook outside just won’t get it. And that’s OK.

So I paused momentarily, like deep thinkers do, relieved myself of a certain pending gas, and I lit another fire in the chiminea. A blaze just for show, really, and patron I believe to higher levels of pit ambiance. Nothing is quite so fine as dual fires in a spring time cook out. The aromas surround. The crackle and pop do too, port and starboard. It works. It also slowed me down to better savor the day, which was the whole point. Then, whence a heady blaze was kindled there, I finally put meat to flame and grunted semi-appropriately in that golden light.


You don’t need to be told how to grill a cheeseburger. We’ve discoursed on that art enough in a hundred other posts. I will say, however, and  if possible, do your best to refrain from pressing the burger patty with your spatula or tong, like you see so many people do. The only thing this does is squirt flavor clear of your supper. I will also say, glory be to the pit jock who does up his bacon and onions also on the grill. These two ingredients truly made the feast. Bacon and onions done over the stove are good and all, but doing them over the grill, allowing the wood smoke to adhere to the greasy bacon and the fried onions, well, it’s enough to make a grown body weep. And top these comestibles on your pecan smoked cheddar cheese burger and toasted pretzel bun, and well, I don’t have to tell you that you have officially arrived. And all your supper guests will smile and burp aloud, with grease dripping off their chins, as they tarry there, plumply, from the vantage of a pit keeper. Amen.

14 responses

  1. Once again, simply beautiful!

    Springtime in Minnesota is perhaps as good as life gets and life is good always, so that is saying something. Have a great Spring, my friend!

    April 25, 2017 at 9:55 am

    • Thanks John! Yes, for about 10 days a year, I think I could honestly wager Minnesota has the best weather in the world. The other 355 days, however, well…Bad sledding as they say!

      Have a good one, and say hey to Mary!

      April 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

  2. Great advice on squashing the food. Madness to do it. I also loved “glory be to the pit jock”. I do this when I can too. Such additional flavour…..

    April 25, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    • Ah yes, thank you kindly, Mr Conor. Always a treat when you swing by, good sir. And likewise, glad to hear you don’t squish your patties. Leastwise when other folks are around!

      Take care, Mate!

      April 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm

  3. Point blank glorious. Another beautiful bit of imagery of smoke and fire. Our weather has continued to disappoint (except for the record-keepers who announced it has been the wettest Oct-April in 122 years), but I’m eager to follow your lead and grill up a mess o’ burgers for the masses. I just acquired a Lodge cast iron grill pan (flat, rectangle) that shall serve nicely in the bacon and onion department. Paradise is just around the corner. Cheers.

    April 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    • I like how you think. That’ll be much fun putting your new cast iron pan to use on the grill. Love doing that sort of thing. As to your weather, well, that’s what you signed up for I thought, living in the Seattle area. 122 year record you say? Wow! If any folks in the country can hand that record with a smile, it’s you folks out Seattle way.

      As always, thank you Todd for always chiming in. You’re one of the good guys!

      April 25, 2017 at 6:55 pm

  4. Mouthwatering as always. Hmmmm I need to look into that cast iron grate. It fits a Weber? That is what you use right? Burgers look fabulous!!!

    April 26, 2017 at 7:29 am

    • Hi Suzanne, yup, I use a Weber. You can check into the grates more at

      If you love cast iron, I highly recommend them. Maybe you could even contact them to do a review. Rolf, the owner there was good to us that way.

      Anyways, yeah them burgers kicked butt. Golly I love comfort food!

      Take care,

      April 26, 2017 at 9:46 am

      • I love the idea of a cast iron grate thank you will contact👍

        April 26, 2017 at 11:51 am

  5. Amen indeed PotP! I had never thought to do the Bacon and/or Onions on the grill with Cast Iron… I have my Great Grandmother’s 12 inch Lodge Skillet, that was passed down to me. I’m sure that would make a good substitute on a (gasp 😮 ) Gas Grill 😉 ALOHA!

    April 26, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    • Now you’re talking! Great gramma’s skillet is perfect. Ah the joys of cast iron, past down through the generations. Gotta love that stuff. And I will overlook your gas grill as I always have. Hey at least you use it!

      Aloha Auntiedoni!

      April 26, 2017 at 8:40 pm

  6. Pingback: Vantage of a Pit Keeper: Pecan Smoked Bacon Cheese Burgers | My Meals are on Wheels

  7. Liz

    On a toasted pretzel bun? They look great on the grill, but it just kept getting better 🙂 You must be excited to have spring on the horizon. Grill ahoy! Though the colder season doesn’t stop you, I know.

    May 2, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    • Grill ahoy indeed. Yeah as much as I tell myself I like to grill in the colder season, I cannot deny the glory of a nice Minnesota spring day. This is where its at. And it just keeps getting better.

      Great to see you around these digital parts again, Liz. Hope your winter was a good one, and a great summer to come.


      May 3, 2017 at 3:01 pm

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