Suggestions please!

Feel free to ask any questions, one of the experts will certainly respond, don't be afraid to ask anything, we were all beginners at some point.

Suggestions please!

Postby County4x4 » 04 Mar 2010, 10:58

Morning all,

My first post here, and looking for a little advice if anyone can help!

I'm a charcoal supplier up in Lancashire, and I've been approached by a customer who is in the process of converting an old mill building into a charcoal grill restaurant. This is all fairly new to him by all accounts, and he is building three cooking grill things - sorry there's probably a technical term for them - into the place. They are being built up using reclaimed bricks from the mill, but then he's thinking about lining the cooking pit - or whetever it's called - with something, and he's after advice about what he should use.

His thinking was that steel may end up burning through with almost constant use? I know that there are a hundred and one different grades of steel - though whether any are suitable for this application I honestly have no idea.

A thought that sprang to my mind was having an iron bed cast for him? One of my stove installer contacts has a relationship with a bespoke foundry near Leeds and they could probably knock something up.

Another idea was some sort of firebrick or other ceramic - a bit like the linings in a woodstove I guess.

If anyone has any ideas or knowledge of this sort of thing, and would be willing to share - I'd be very happy to listen!

Thanks everyone,

All the best for now,

Andy
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Re: Suggestions please!

Postby Steve » 04 Mar 2010, 12:34

Hi Andy,

I don't know a lot about building commercial cookers but I do have a bit of knowledge about metals.

Firstly your customer has to consider the design of his pits and their application, Everyone on here would need a bit more information before they could really give good comments. If your guy is building open grills to cook hot and fast food on then it's a different proposition to building a brick smoker.

What I can tell you is that reasonable gauge steel is not going to burn through, if it's mild steel it will be prone to faster oxidisation due to the heat and the corrosive stuff that is present in the ashes from charcoal. The same will apply for cast iron, however you can counteract this by seasoning metal, just as you would season a cast iron skillet. Several grades of stainless would be suitable for this application but your talking high cost.

From your post, I'm not sure why he wants to line it though, a sketch of his pit design would help so I could see what he's trying to achieve. In my head, I wouldn't build a brick pit and line it with metal, I'd more likely have it double walled with some kind of insulation and have removable ash pan, fire grate and cooking grill fabricated.

As an aside, I'm interested in you being a charcoal producer. Are you small or large scale? What woods are you producing your charcoal from? Whereabouts in Lancashire are you? A million more questions.... :lol: You should pop over to the Introduce yourself forum and post an intro.
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Re: Suggestions please!

Postby British BBQ Society » 04 Mar 2010, 12:49

Hi Andy,

Sounds like he is trying to recreate a fire pit that is used in alot of american restarants such as Charleys. If it is the same concept the dont have baskets of any sort in the bottom, they just burn (mostly wood) on the slab. There is approx 2ft between the fire and cooking surface and air vents around the pit. I made one for the Society social out of 9" hollow blocks and used 393Gauge steel to support the cooking grills. It was a temporary solution but its still out there holding together without any problems. You can see a few pictures from the social and the pit here http://www.bbbqs.com/gallery_sumsoc_09.html

Let me know if you would like more info.

Regards
Toby
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Re: Suggestions please!

Postby County4x4 » 04 Mar 2010, 13:00

Many thanks for the quick replies guys!

To be honest, I don't know too much about his specific plans just yet. I met the guy a few years back when he came to me for advice about building a racing lawnmower believe it or not, and here we are years later and he remembers that I "had something to do with good quality charcoal" - so he dropped me a line! Funny old world eh?

I'm having a meeting with him possibly this weekend so he can have a look at the options as far as fuel goes - so I'll see if I can get anything a bit more concrete about what he actually wants to achieve and then post some more information if that's okay.

Steve - I'll pop over and introduce myself as you suggested!

Thanks again guys - looks like I hit on the right place to come for advice!

All the best for now,

Andy
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