Friday, August 24, 2007

The Oil Drum Barbeque:
This is a simple tale of a hungry man, a cunning plan, an old oil drum, a couple of friends … and a huge steak that would sate even Desperate Dan. You might wonder what we want with a BBQ with the weather we’re having but, if the Aussies are the experts in having a BBQ on the beach in the sun, then the English are world-beaters in putting on a BBQ in the pouring rain, under an umbrella or cover of a garage door, for example.

Even fairly modest-sized BBQs are on sale locally for around €200 (£140 / $270) a good enough motivation for permacultural thinking along reduce, reuse, recycle lines. I already had an idea that one could fabricate a BBQ from an oil drum, so where better to go searching, in our technological age, than the Internet. “oil drum bbq” brought up The Original Barrel Barbeque, which gave me enough of a steer to start the ball rolling. First I needed an oil drum, for which I say a big thank you (je te remercie) to Yves, a dairy-farming friend who gave me not one but two oil drums (the larger of which is going to be converted into a charcoal burner—yet another cunning plan).

I found some odds and ends of scrap metal—left lying around the place by the previous owner of our house—and sketched a design on the back of an envelope to explain to Eric how I wanted all these bits of metal welded together. Eric (who’s yet to supply a photo, hence the odd pic here) welded another of my wacky ideas together, the washing machine drum brazier and was happy to help again, adding a couple of his own improvements as he assembled it.

And it all works surprisingly well. First on the barbie, was a huge côte de boeuf (half a cow) with the intention of cooking the steak whole, then carving it into thick slices, char-grilled on the outside and still red in the middle but it turned out cooked right through (i.e., a bit too well done) by the time the outside was ready. This is contrary to many of my BBQ cooking experiences, where I’ve produced a charcoal crust surrounding undercooked meat. I’m very happy with the BBQ, I just need a bit more practice using it.

1 comment :

Christina said...

Wow. The BBQ looks great. If only it had a nice veggie kebab on it and not that huge bit of steak! Haha. xxx