Home Up Join MVPA! Flag Code 45th/Thunderbirds A Major Mess Sgt. Mess Pvt. Mess General Mess Mini MB



I've always loved to cook, and our local mil-veh club loves it when I bring my "little" pit to air-shows and the like.  Recent 'rations' have included North American Bison (buffalo) sausage wraps, feral (wild) hog ribs, pork baby back ribs, hot dogs, grilled veggies, beans and steaks.  I've also been toying with how to build a trailer-type pit that I could tow behind the '53 M38A1 jeep or my truck that 1) looks good and 2) allows us to have some fun cooking for a sizeable group. The trailer pits made by Bates, Klose, Lyfe-Tyme, Gator Pit etc. are really nice but hover in the $1,900 and up range.  A bit too expensive for my taste buds...

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Temple Air Show chow on the Lyfe-Tyme trailer pit...

With that in mind, I came up with a concept of using a M416 and putting a decent sized pit in the bed area and adding several mermite cans as coolers and staging of hot and cold items, condiments etc.  I've also toyed with the addition of a .50cal or 20mm box of some type mounted on the front of the trailer sort of like the M100's for the cooking tools, tongs and other equipment.   There will also be room for wood storage and water in a few GI water cans hung off it somewhere.  Think of the additions as "fuzzy dice".

I've also decided to call this project "General Mess".  The name exudes stature (General), food (mess), and overall identification - "A General Mess"!  Besides, Grill Sergeants was way too popular and I'd rather be a General any day!  Below is the pit and some of the meals I've done in it or a friends pit.  Doesn't this just make you hungry?

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The pit...  An "Oklahoma Joes" 20" diameter & 1/4" thick with a 40" cooking chamber and 20x20 firebox.  Holds 225-275F VERY well and controllable... 5-1/2 hours over mesquite including ribs, feral hog, beef tenderloin and buffalo sausage. 12lb beef brisket cooked for 7-1/2 hours over hickory.  Very tender and moist. Half a kid goat at about 7lbs,  dusted with brisket rub, inserted fresh garlic and cooked 250-275 over Apple and hard chunk charcoal for 3 hours. Feral Hog backstraps and tenderloins.  Lightly seasoned and cooked over mesquite and hickory about 2 hours.

Other meals have included a Feral hog bone-in ham I shot earlier this year, generously dusted with brisket rub and 15 or so fresh garlic cloves inserted in cuts and slow cooked 4 hours at 225 over hickory.  Another 'cook' included five rib-eyes and custom-made sausages.  I really like this type of cooking and so does the family and club!

May 23, 2004 purchase day.

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Markings of 6B3462 or 683462 Dataplate and Maintenance plate intact HQ-T-70 DOD 05/66   S/N 4280
Stevens Manufacturing
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Non-standard hitch, no safety chains
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June 19th, 2004 activities included taping the reflectors and dataplates, loading the 20' trailer with the M416 and head to the sandblast guys.  For a one hour minimum they were done in 45 minutes!  I brought it back home, sandblasted some small missed areas, removed the wheels and started to prime it in LF-74 (replacement for DP-74 / lead based) which is a 2 part epoxy red-oxide primer.  Two coats of LF-74 were done with a wait time of 1 hour.  Temp was 92F and no wind.  Next, I painted it twice with #24087 (American Paint) from Brent Mullins.  Shot it in my 'quart-pot' at 40psi mixing 4oz Zylene and 28oz paint for a total of 32oz.   

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Prior to sandblasting During the blasting process Aftwrwards Note the original lead backed bolts for the reflectors...
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Duct tape still intact on bare metal Bare metal Bare metal Rims bare metal
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PPG's 2-part epoxy red primer Wheels primed Tub primed Nasty non-stock lunette area primed
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Bed primed OD #24087 on the wheels ...and in the bed
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Finished painting

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OK, people were asking the differences between paints.  The LEFT is fresh #24087 American Paint (Brent Mullins) The RIGHT is 5 year old #24087 Gillespie Coatings (RAPCO)

July 17th, 2004 activities included cleaning, prime and paint of the new chain set ends and lunette ring.  While those items were drying, I took both wheel drums off, cleaned and adjusted the brake system and repacked the wheel bearings.  Then, I installed the lunette ring and chains.  

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Added the correct pintle and safety chains
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Looking from rear to front Looking from front to rear

Now for the HARD PART...  I can't bring myself to cut a tailgate in it for the bbq pit!

September 11th, 2004 was clean it up and take pictures to sell to an individual who will enjoy it for what it is and NOT turn it into a bbq pit!  

Costs to date:

Item Amount
05/66 M416 1/4T Trailer, Stevens Mfg 600.00
Sandblast 120.00
PPG LF-74 Red Oxide 2 part epoxy primer 110.00
Paint 25.00
Lunette Ring, NOS 95.00
Safety Chains, NOS 36.00
Rear Composite light replacements, new 79.00

Costs to Date:


SOLD 09/17/2004 for $1,050.00 to "Major Mike" of San Antonio, Texas

Parts Sources:
Brent Mullins with Brent Mullins Jeep Parts - #24087 paint
John Bizal with Midwest Military - Lunette ring and chain sets.  


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