How's it going, fellow BBQ brethren? Just sayin "hi". I'll give you a brief (or not so brief) intro. My name is Scott. I live in a little town in Wisconsin called Algoma, right on lake Michigan. I am a project engineer by trade. My current inventory of outdoor cooking appliances include a Char Grill Pro w/sfb, (with the usuall mods, of course, and a homemade PID controlled stoker, I'll get to that), a 22.5 inch Weber, an old refridgerator waiting to get converted to a smoker and grand plans for a kick ass brick BBQ with a wood burning hearth.
I got the BBQ bug when I was traveling for work to Mason, Ohio. A co-worker had suggested a rib joint, actually the Mongomery Inn, which is not really a joint, but, in fact, a fine supper club. I told him that I am not a fan of ribs. Imagine the look on his face! The ribs I knew of were the kind of ribs that are served here in Wisconsin with these family style dinners with all you can eat chicken and ribs. These ribs are cooked fast in an oven and then slathered in a tangy, shitty sauce.......to sum it up.......absolutely terrible! Rubbery, tough.............shit! So he said, "No, you will like these." He was right. That one single event is what triggered the whole bbq "illness"/obsession!
So, I started with, and currently use, a CG Pro. Actually had it already, used it to grill on, so all I needed was the SFB. I slowly did all the modifications that are typical of the CG, extend the flue down, raise the fire basket, tuning baffles, blah, blah, blah. I took it one step further, though. I decided I needed a stoker. I rifled through the parts bin and threw together a closed loop, PID controlled blower/fan that stokes the coals (forced draft). Works great. I can set the temp. and it maintains that temp. consistantly steady. I recently made a baffle that fits inside coal basket so that the air can only go throught the charcoal from the bottom, like a forge. I did a test fire and it worked awesome. Also, the baffle plate was designed in SolidWorks, which I use at work. I designed it in 3D workspace, made templates, bolted it together and it fit perfectly the first time! Anyway, as soon as I have time, I will start a new thread with descriptions and pictures of the CG Pro and all the mods I made to it.
I recently purchased a 22.5" Weber platinum series. I got it on Craig's List. Snatched it up for $140, brand new, in-the-box! What a steal! I think they go for well over $225 new. I got the Weber because when I put the CG into grilling duty, all of the beautiful seasoning would burn off the grates and then they would rust. Piss me off.
About the refridgerator. I have an old Admeral. It came with the house I bought and it actually worked for several years. Over time it just stopped cooling and nobody is willing to repair it............freon! Damn tree huggers! Anyway, I wanted to give it a kick-ass, old school, fat metalflake, hot rod flame paint job and keep my beer cold in the workshop outside. But being it isn't working, it's sitting out on the driveway on a pallet waiting to get recycled..................UNTIL........I saw a post about converting a refridgerator into a smoker. I'm keeping it! It has an enameled steel interior, so it's just a matter of stripping the platic bits out and replacing that with stainless steel, adding a gasket to the door, AND a kick-ass, old school, fat metalflake, hot rod flame paint job! I am debating wether to go propane or PID controlled electric. That will be a topic for discussion; which is better, Electric or propane. I'll keep you posted on the progress, if my wife doesn't kill me. She says I'm obsessed...whatever! I never hear her complain when she is woofing down the ribs! Speaking of that, the first time I made ribs, the family went crazy over them. My oldest son, who will not eat anything unless it mac and cheese, said that those rib were probably the best tasting thing he's ever eaten and suggested I enter them in a contest. I will take that as a compliment.
My ultimate goal is to build a wood burning, brick bar-b-que. I designed a prototype in SolidWorks, using info and articles I found on the internet as inspiration. I would construct it with a fire brick interior and a Cream City brick exterior. Cream City brick is a type of brick commonly found in Milwaukee, used in the early 1900's. A lot of those buiding are being demo'd and reclaimed brick is easy to come by, and reasonably cheap. Last year on Craig's List, there was a reclaimer selling brick from the original Milwaukee city hall built at the turn of the century. That would have been cool to make my bbq out of that; what a conversation piece, huh?
Anyways, I will be posting new threads as time permits to tap into the knowledge database that has seemed to congregate at this great website.
Have a great day! I think I am going to go roll a fattie.......the delicious type that is!