Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The BBQ/fireplace

The woodfired BBQ has been a long time in the planning so it's really good to see it finally realised, although there are still a few finishing touches (and attachments) to add. There were several objectives I wanted to accomplish with it hence the need for some careful planning. 
I wanted to create not only a BBQ but a structure I could use as a fireplace, an incinerator (for burning all my tree trimmings), and an outdoor oven for cooking wood fired pizzas. I wanted it big enough to cook for a large crowd if necessary and to be able to cook large items on a rotisserie (ie. lamb, chicken or pork on a spit). Many of my mates are South Africans, some of whom like to hunt and fish, and who swear by the wood-fired method, so there'll be plenty of expertise available when it comes to doing the cooking.
The whole idea started when I acquired a load of recycled bricks from a mate. But before I could get started I had to chip off all the mortar from about 500 bricks.
The first thing I did was to establish the dimensions, which essentially is based on a standard NZ-BBQ Factory hotplate or grill which will be very easy to replace if needed later plus I can borrow them from mates or from my other gas BBQ when needed. I got an engineer to weld me up a frame out of 40mm angle iron which will house 4 hotplates or grills in any combination depending on what I'm cooking. 
Then based on that size I got him to build a steel grate – slightly smaller to allow for the brickwork. I designed it with skids so that if I needed to move it I can drag it with a hooked rod as it will be too heavy and at times too hot, to lift. 
Once these dimensions were established I set about laying the concrete pad on which the whole structure would sit. I set the first layer of bricks into the concrete, then built it up from there. Once I got it to the right height I cemented in 4 steel shelf brackets for the grill to sit on, all the while making sure everything was level (see pictures).
I left some spaces in the brickwork so I could attach a rotisserie setup later. I boxed up inside the fireplace to create a concrete shelf that the grate will sit on when being used as a BBQ so that everything's at the right height for cooking. When using as an oven, fireplace or incinerator the grate will simply turn 90 degrees and sit on the bottom. Next, using a curved piece of boxing I created a platform on which to build the chimney. I strengthened it with a piece of galvanised steel pipe to help support the weight of all the bricks going on top.
The chimney's still not as high as it needs to be. I concluded this when I tested it the first time. I was burning a lot of tinder and when it flared up the flames started leaping out the top of the chimney by at least a foot.
Needless to say I'm looking forward to using it for all its intended purposes. I'll post some pictures later when I do.


  1. Hi Dave, thanks for visiting my blog Bro. That's a mighty awesome barbie. We had a Maori family in our cong when we lived in Brisbane & we were invited once for a hungi. The meat was incredible. Boy did these Maori bros know how to cook

  2. Congratulations Tony, you're my very first visitor. I was beginning to get a bit of a complex.
    Yes a hangi can be an amazing occasion if it's done right. We did one in the back garden a few summers back and got the congregation around. The maori bro who did the cooking was a bit disappointed because some of the meat wasn't cooked properly. Anyway there was plenty of food left over so we just chucked it in the freezer and forgot about it... until the following winter when we cleaned out the freezer and found it again. We decided to finished it off in the oven as a normal roast.

    Man! What an amazing roast that was – with all the smokey flavours and it was sooo tender it just melted in the mouth. Next time we do a hangi I'll get the bros to half cook some of the meat on purpose and try that again.

    Anyway thanks for visiting my blog bro. Keep in touch.

  3. I found that to get more visitors you need to visit other blogs & leave comments, some don't return the favour but others become regulars. I find if I visit & comment on a blog that interests me a few times I subscribe to their RSS feed but if they don't visit mine after a couple of weeks I delete them from my Google Reader.
    A Hawaiian Brother I know via Facebook has just started a new blog too. You may like to drop in on him. His name is Antone & his blog url is

  4. Thanks for the tip Tony. I must do that. So far I've tried adding a link to my blog in various emails I've sent to friends. However none of them have commented so far, so I'm guessing they're not familiar with the concept of blogging.