There is some discussion on the metalworking newsgroup about BBQ's and I was wondering if anyoine here has ever decided to just weld your own BBQ or burner? What metal would you use? I though maybe a good spring project would be to weld a nice BBQ with an insulation layer to cut down on propane. I figure you could buy or find a cheap BBQ to steal the controls from. Most of all has anyone built their own burner. Did it last any loinger than the crappy ones I keep buying?
I built a pig cooker. It can cook a 125 pound pig and about 30 each ½ chickens. I used an old oil tank that measured 5 feet long and 40-inch in diameter for the body and a piece of one inch black iron pipe five feet long for a burner. and some expanded metal for a grill.
To make the burner I took some 1 inch wide masking tape and ran it the length of the pipe down one side. Next I marked a line every ½-inch except for 4 inches on each end. I took a port-a-band saw and made a cut at each mark. By using the tape as a guide and cutting to the edges each cut was about ½ way through the pipe. Next I capped one end and used a 2-inch to
1-in reducer on the other end. I bought a high pressure propane regulator for the local Pal's Hardware assorted hoses and fittings. I then took a
0.035 tip from a MIG welder and drilled a hole of the appropriate size and threaded it through a plug screwed into the end of a hose fitting. The MIG tip went into this for the gas to exit and go down the burner pipe.
You have to adjust the position of the MIG tip so the gas shoots into the pipe and draws air with it for it to burn right. Also you may have to use a different size MIG tip for the right flow of gas. Mine works great, it will easily heat the entire cooker to 250ºF and hold it there for 6 to 8 hours. They afterward when I want to clean it I can turn it full blast and take the whole thing up to 750ºF+ to burn everything off. These temperatures are with the lid closed and were checked with a thermometer used for melting lead to make bullets.
To clean everything the first time, removing paint flux and anything else that may be on the pipe or cooker I went to the hardware and got a gallon of Materric Acid (Hydrochloric acid) like used to clean swimming pools. When used on iron/steel it removes every thing,paint rust grease etc. but doesn't hurt the good metal. But the metal will rust quickly after you rinse the acid away. By quickly I mean like right now. I just sprayed everything with PAM cooking spray and then heated it all up as hot as it would go. It put a finish on everything a lot like cast iron frying pans get from cooking.
Later I added a small pipe to the burner that takes some of the gas to the side where a small hole in the pipe allows a small flame to heat a iron box that I put wood chips in for hickory smoke.
When I worked in the offshore oilfields in the 70s, there was always some extra oilwell casing. 18" and 24" were popular, and a short piece could be had for nothing. Guys would make barbecues out of them, and they were some great barbecues. BUT, they took some work, and when finished, you needed a forklift to move it around.
That being said, I have also made some smaller lighter ones out of 33 gallon barrels, and smaller vessels. Just depends on what you want, and how much time you want to spend, and what you think your time is worth.
I have seen some IIRC New Braunfels charcoal barbecues that look pretty good, and have a reasonable price on them. It's getting now that on a lot of things I used to build and weld, I'd just as soon drive down to the Borg, get one, and come home and fire it up. Building them is fun, but I just don't have the time any more.
Since I have retired, I'm busier than when I worked. At times, I wish (if only for a minute) I could go back to work and get some rest.
That's often the reason for Retirees to re-enter the job market - to have more time for their OWN projects!
FWIW, I once helped out on a BBQ team whose pit was enclosed within a fully air-conditioned 53' fifth-wheel trailer. The pit itself was about 30' long by 4' wide by 4' high - not including the 4'x4'x4' firebox.
We'd cook enough for a couple of thousand people at a time - charity events, mostly.
A local merchant carries several types/sizes of the ones you mentioned. Not bad units, at all!
I recently went to Fayeteville, Arkansas, to visit my daughter. At EVERY bank, there was a barbecue trailer parked in the parking lot. These people get into some serious tailgating, and it's a good time to put the bank's advertising out there. They loan them to local charities, sports teams, etc, etc, anywhere they will get exposure. Most are very high quality work. I saw one the other day that looked like a locomotive. All red except for the stainless steel boiler (cooking chamber) and the black rubber tires. It had gold paint or gold leaf lettering. It was one of the most distinctive I have seen.
Hey HotRod I went to a Grill repair shop and got a cast iron burner and 2 controls to convert a brick grill on a house I bought. They have most all you will need in the way of controls and they are new. You can use, used controls, but the burner is going to burn out. I ran 1/4 copper from the propane tank and welded the rest ( grate, hood and cows head ). The cast iron burner has lasted ok ( 3 years). Keep it dry. I am now using a SS burner with a 3 yr warranty from HD.
Not quite exactly related, but I am very happy that we went to an initial expense of putting a natural gas line to the grill. It is so great to not worry about propane tanks running out of gas, etc, not having to drive to exchange them, etc.
I have no idea... All I know is that there is enough BTU in the gas line so that the grill can get very hot (600+ degrees)
That's true. I am happy with where it is, I poured a concrete foundation for it and installed a 500W halogen light above the grill, so that I can cook when it is dark. I will try to smoke some beef brisket this weekend.
Brisket is best when cooked slowly. Don't turn it up too much, or you will have a piece of leather. I like my Brinkman smoker for cooking briskets slow and low. Plus, you have the water pan in there. Turkeys, ditto. Every kind of meat has to be cooked differently, and one BBQ does not fit all.