Hacking your grill for performance and features

Summer is winding down, which means that sales will be beginning on grills at stores all over the place. For those that enjoy the outdoor cooking experience, a nice new grill is always tempting. If you’re anything like me though, it can be hard to justify the expense. All you need is some fire right? Well, not if you want to smoke foods, or do long controlled jobs, basically anything but quickly searing something.

[Joe Brown] over at Gizmodo found himself wanting to upgrade from simple coals/wood to something fancier, but really didn’t want to shell out the $2,000 that he found would be necessary to get the mic features he wanted. So, he set out to find a good platform to mod and added the features he wanted separately. The end result was a nicely performing out door cooking appliance that only cost him $540.

This hack is on the simpler side, but his modification really did add some great features. Many of you could build the addons from scratch, which makes me wonder, how would you improve a grill, dear Hackaday Reader?


  1. Hack Man says:

    mic features?

  2. Bob says:

    No link?

  3. kwood94xj says:

    Please post a link to this build!!!

  4. bluel0g1c says:
  5. halfnormal says:


  6. Todd says:

    There are several other smoker controllers on the market.




    I have the auber unit, which has a 12Vdc connection for a computer fan, and a thermocouple. They also sell fans for $60, but a $5 computer fan, a plastic enclosure, and a tin can to keep it way from the coals works just fine for me.

    • Bob says:

      I was excited to see your post because I’ve just been thinking about how to do this mod for my BBQ grill. How did you do yours? I don’t know how to re-wire the computer fan somehow into a cord with a plug, so it could be easily plugged into an extension cord out by the grill. The soupcan idea is perfect, focusing the air right into the existing grill vent and keeping your plastic fan back away from the heat. I saw a photo of something like this once that was built into a tall wooden box to put the fan level with the vent opening. It looked kind of like a tall birdhouse, with a sloping roof to ward rain off the electrics, and a wire bail handle that made it easy to move around.

  7. kay says:

    We have the opposite problem – it’s soggy over here and charcoal takes forever to start burning. So we did these.

  8. spackodesign says:
  9. Willaim says:

    i got a good upgrade for a propane grill.. a thicker more durable burner say 1/4″block of milled stainless for durability

  10. uC says:

    Great article. I admit being little sceptical about a grilling article on HAD.

    Thanks for the link. Definitely a rabbit hole of info in there. PID Control for a BBQ… I’d never considered that at all…

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