Friday, March 23, 2007

Progress on the BBQ pit

Last June I finally pulled the trigger on the construction of my first large BBQ pit. The smart thing to do would have been to start out small and just make something larger than I currently have with my New Braunsfel smoker. But then again that's not me. When I do something I usually try to go all out. That's why my new pit will have a rotisserie and dual cooking chambers.

Fast forward to today and I've spent about $2500 in materials and I'm still not there yet... Yesterday I picked up about 800lbs of steel to make all the shelves and rotisserie as well as a big hunk of steel to act as a counter weight for the barrel pit door. So here it is currently:

I've got to add the exhaust stacks (which I picked up in yesterday's steel run) and build all the shelves and the rotisserie. No small task but it's definitely come a long way.

Last night and a good part of this morning I spent trying to figure out the motor situation. Unfortunately I bit off more than I could chew when I decided I wanted to cook between 70 and 100 racks of baby back ribs at once. The torque load on the rotisserie is somewhere between 1500 - 2000 in. lbs when loaded. So my inexpensive $300 motor turned out to be too weak. Fortunately Barry at Electric Motor Warehouse helped me to find just the right 1/2hp motor that I could gear down to 6RPM and nicely exceed the 2000 in. lb. requirement. The only problem, $500 ouch! But it's all in the name of BBQ.

So now I have this motor on it's way to me, actually it's at the factory where they are assembling the gears. Now I need to order the sprockets and chain. Oh oh! I found the drive sprocket at Graingers but they don't sell to the public. So Google to the rescue! I've found a manufacturing company in Indiana called B & B Manufacturing. Their website claims that they can modify the sprockets they manufacture. Hopefully they can modify the sprockets I need without breaking the bank. I'm waiting on a response to my email.

Sounds like I've almost got it all together. Well except for the bearings. I'd like to use food grade bearings even though the Q will probably never come close to touching that part of the pit. I've got a request out to a company who has told me they can handle an order as small as 4 bearings but so far I haven't heard back from them. There are some 4 bolt flange bearings in an e-bay store that I'm looking at as well. Hopefully I can come up with something in the bearing department soon.

One cool thing I managed to pick up while searching on ebay was a pair of triple burner cast iron stoves. I haven't figured out where I'm going to mount them just yet but they will definitely come in handy. I may try to find a piece of stainless steel to make a griddle to fit over one of them.

Work continues, and the motorcycle riding is on the back burner until it's finished.

Pictures are available at

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