Hybrid Build

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by justthetipmx, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. justthetipmx

    justthetipmx Newbie

    Hey everyone, I thought I would share what I am doing here. Since in my neck of the woods we do things a bit different, this is sort of a hybrid design between a grill and a smoker. Santa Maria style tri tip is often referred to as the 4th type of BBQ, though growing it up, it was the only thing I really knew. 

    Since Santa Maria style tri-tip is cooked using direct and then indirect heat, I opted to do a custom build using a 500 liter propane tank. I figured for the capacity of the restaurant we are setting up, 10 square feet of cooking area ought to be enough as I should be able to cook ahead on tri-tip and hold it like you do brisket or any other bbq item--it certainly is not cook-to-order food.

    To get things started we went to pick up the tank and discovered it was still full of propane. That in mind, we headed to pick up a different tank of the same size, since my father in law happened to have several laying around. We got this tank, opened up the valves, then unscrewed anything we could, filled it with water and emptied it. As is standard practice, we ran truck exhaust into the tank for 30 minutes or so so that we could cut into it with a little less fear of ignition.

    A family friend with welding experience is handling the cuts and the welding, I am basically just the designer and gopher on the job. He cut in and it didnt pop.

    Next step was getting doors and drawers cut out. The drawers are where we will place the wood/charcoal. I have been happy to find Red Oak here (called Encino in Spanish) and that is the wood traditionally used in Santa Maria, though I may play with Pecan and mesquite since they are readily available down here.

    Based on what I read here, we decided to put hinges on before finishing the cuts so that things would line up nicely later. I am glad we did that. 

    Once the doors and drawers were cut, a hole for exhaust was added and a frame was built out of rectangular structural tubing (2x3 and 1/4" thick I believe). I want this thing to last. 

    As you can see in the picture above, we put hard shop wheels on this thing that are supposed to be able to take 100kg each. We also added the exhaust pipe and door handles made from 1/4" plate and a drilled out shovel handle. 

    I will have to go take some pictures of the grills and the shelving we have added, and will add more as we finish up the air intakes.
  2. Hello.  Looking good!  You have done your homework well!  As for your friend: I welded for almost 20 years.  I have also cut into propane tanks.  No matter the prep you do; the toes curl up and "other parts of the body" tighten up each time you make that first cut!  [​IMG]   GREAT! that you posted about the exhaust!  Another GREAT! welding trick!    The othe way is fill the tank with water and about 3 bottles of Dawn dish washing liquid.  The problem with that is that you get NASTY cuts with the torch.  Exhaust is the way to go!!  As I am sure you can tell the tank still REALLY smells like propane.  As I am sure you will do ; burn that sucker out well before cooking on it.  You seem to be headed in the right direction.  The hinge thing is something many folks miss.  Homework!  Great work so far.  Keep us posted!  Keep Smokin!

  3. justthetipmx

    justthetipmx Newbie

    Thanks, as soon as all the final welds are done and the last little polish/grind is done, we are going to use steam from a boiler used to pasteurize milk for cheesemaking to loosen everything up, hit it with a pressure washer to get anything that can be gotten loose, loose.

    Once that is done, we will burn it out a couple times, send it off for paint, and then add the thermometers and wood back to it and hopefully do a couple more burns to season it before we do an inaugural grill.

    I think with the pictures I have now I can get this thread up to date on where we are at on the build.

    The grill itself (oddly enough here in Mexico, the whole thing is referred to as an "asador", or griller, and the metal where the meat sits is called the parrilla, or grill, but I digress), so... the grill itself we did in an Argentine style using 1/8"x1" angle. There are four separate pieces that are all removable for a deep cleaning, which I hope isn't needed too often.

     We added retractable handles to the two main grills which are basically 25" wide by 24" deep.

    At the front of the grill (just below the door opening) sits angle acting as a drip channel.

    Hopefully, the fat/grease will find its way to that channel and make it to a drip pan we are adding, it should head out through this pipe on the side of the grill.

    It really is uncanny how ugly this thing is unpainted. For the fuel, I expect to do most of my direct cooking on the left side of the grill, and will likely not have fire on both sides most of the time, but for when I do, there are two drawers. Each drawer was made with 1/4" plate that we got from a scrapyard here in town. I'd guess they weigh 25 to 35 pounds each. After building the drawers, we decided to put holes in the sides to try to maximize airflow.

    The guy doing most of the real work decided that my smokestack should have a cool little handle for the cap/damper, so he set it up with an offset handle:

    And while working, I decided I wanted a counterweight on each of

    the doors because well, nobody likes broken fingers.

    We also added shelves below. I left a large space on the left so I can stack wood there, and on the right two shelves for things like bread or what ever else may need to be stored under the grill.

    And then today while picking up some extra angle for the shelves, I couldn't help myself and I decided to pick up nine of these, I don't know what they're called in either language, but they were labeled "samurai" and I just liked that they looked sharp. I'll get them welded on as silly accent pieces on the grill because its mine and I want it to look like the beast that it is. They were like... 65 cents each.

    Air intakes were being cut today, I'll add those and an update before it goes off to paint.
  4. fliptetlow

    fliptetlow Smoke Blower

    Nice build, I almost made my smoker that way for grilling but backed out at the last moment. Cutting wheel is the way to go for doors, etc... take a bit longer but much nicer cut and flat doors. 

    Keep us updated. 
  5. justthetipmx

    justthetipmx Newbie

    Burnt it out two days ago, one of the hinges seized and we had to replace it. Turns out Red Oak burns real hot once you get it going.

    I consulted with a couple of paint places and decided on a high temperature black powder coat job. Theyre doing the prep work and getting any old paint off, giving it a rinse and a phosphate bath and then baking it at about 360 later today. 

    Here is a picture during the burnout.

  6. justthetipmx

    justthetipmx Newbie

    Hey guys 'n gals. I just wanted to leave an update for you, this is the grill in all its glory.

  7. That came out really nice. Have you cooked in it yet?
  8. justthetipmx

    justthetipmx Newbie

    We have been cooking in the beast for a couple weeks now. The Red Oak we are using is giving a great flavor and I am really happy with the setup on the grill for fat drippings. As expected, business is starting out slow, but I cannot wait for the grill to be running full tilt like it deserves to be.

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