Custom Pitmaker from Gator Pit who appeared on Discovery Channel | Grilling with Rich Custom Pitmaker from Gator Pit who appeared on Discovery Channel

Ritchey Robin of Gator Pit of Texas as seen on Discovery Channel’s “King of the Grill”

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Published: October 24, 2013

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Space Shuttle Cooker by Gator Pits

A Custom BBQ Pit built to look like a Space Shuttle – Photo from Gator Pits

The BBQ world is a vast and interesting place and as it grows we learn about people in the community in many ways.  I first learned about Ritchey Robins when Discovery Channel aired a special called King of the Grill and introduced Ritch to the world and showed us all that goes into making some of the world’s best custom cookers.  I was fortunate enough to talk to Ritch via email and get some insights behind the man.

WATCH: Ritch introduce the people he works with at Gator Pit of Texas, where quality is number one and barbequing is a way of life

Q:  When did your love of BBQ begin?

Ritch: As a teenager, I always enjoyed cooking over a fire. Whether it be an open camp fire or those little Old Smokeys you would buy at the local store. What everyone had in south Louisiana if you didn’t make your own grill.

Q: What is your favorite cut of meat to eat and cook?

Ritch: I love Pork Butt. Pulled Pork. Large cut of pork, dry rub, cook on the pit for 8 hours or so, pull in a foil pan, add little more dry rub and a hint of BBQ sauce.

Ritch's First Pit built at the age of 14

Ritch’s First Pit built at the age of 14

Q: You built your first pit back at the age of 14, do you still have and use that pit today? (if you have it can you share a picture of it.)

Ritch: My mother sold it way back when. Times were hard and we needed the money. I do have a photo of it taken right after I had just spray painted it in front of our home.

Q: What is the biggest advantage you would say of acquiringa custom pit?

Ritch: You get exactly what you want and don’t have to settle for less. It is your pit. And chances are, no one has one like it.

Q: You only use new pipe or rolled steel to build your pits, what advantage does this give over using old tanks or other materials?

Ritch: Being a Pit Designer and Fabricator, who wants to buy a “new” custom cooker that is constructed of old, used materials, be it an old tank or pipe or any other used material. You don’t know what was in that tank or pipe. The tank could have hazardous materials that were stored in it or the pipe could have had sewage running thru it, you don’t know. We only use new steel,  axles, tires, etc. Only way our customers can be assured they are investing their hard earned money into a QUALITY custom cooker, is to only use new materials from the ground up.  Gator Pit can’t claim building a new custom pit and having the quality Gator Pit is known for, if we are using used materials. Not going to happen with Gator Pit of Texas Custom BBQ Pits.

Q: What is the most popular type of bit you make, Trailer, Traditional, Tailgate, Walk-up or Custom?

Ritch: Our most popular backyard smoker/grill is our Party Gator model. Our trailers are spread across the board. We sell an
equal mix of our Gator Pit mobiles from the Budget Mobile and Bandit on up to the large catering mobile Predator model.

Q: When building a pit does the customers preference for wood or charcoal come into play during the design phase? Do you have a personal preference yourself when cooking?

There are a lot of factors that we consider when recommending and/or designing a Gator Pit for our customers: Is it used for residential or commercial? Based on the answer, we then get into how many people would you cook for at the most? What types of meat are you typically cooking? That gives us an idea of diameter and length required. What are you using for fuel? Wood, charcoal, gas. Are you cooking direct or indirect? And the lists goes on and on. But, by asking our customers these types of questions, it allows us to properly recommend a Gator Pit design that will ensure meeting their unique needs. That is one of the the benefits of ordering from a custom Designer and Fabricator of Pits.

Q: You have built a lot of custom pits, what would you say are your favorites? (If you have pictures of them please share for us to post)

The Texas Legend by Gator Pit was the first Pit we designed and built years back that drew a lot of attention and publicity. It has been recognized world-wide by magazines, websites, newspapers, and more around the globe. My second favorite is the Space Shuttle that was aired on Discovery Channel and Destination America’s King of the Grill episode. It is just a work of art.

NEXT PAGE: Custom Pits, Do it yourself trend and more >>

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