Here’s the Turbocharged BBQ Grill You’ve Been Waiting For

We’re not actually sure that it’s a good idea at all, but it’s got a heck of a lot of style; [Morgan]’s barbecue grill is turbocharged. Literally.

Keeping with the automotive theme, a serve-motor-driven throttle from a Ford Mustang serves as a (naturally-aspirated) air intake, and a Honda Civic manifold delivers it to the grill. But when he really needs to turn up the heat, a 360 watt fan can force-feed the fire.

The reason this is on Hackaday, however, is that the fan and the throttle are all under the control of an ESP8266 buried underneath it all. [Morgan] has even written a web app to control it all from a cell phone, and included presets with absurd automotive names or accelerometer control over the turbo. Check out the functionality in the videos below.

If it were us, we’d take on the problem of automating the grill next, although we’re not sure how we’d keep up the grill’s fantastic automotive aesthetic. But cars are basically robots these days, anyway, right? Why not add some temperature sensors to the “ECU”? After that, it’s a simple matter of engineering to tweak grilling and roasting temperatures to achieve optimal results. It’s what VW would do!

How hot does your grill need to be? Are you also forging steaks? Chime in with your culinary comments!


71 thoughts on “Here’s the Turbocharged BBQ Grill You’ve Been Waiting For

      1. Forgive my ignorance but by looking at the picture it appears to simply be a high powered fan. It does not resemble any supercharger or turbo charger I’ve ever seen. Also, “Forced induction” in reference to ICE requires something to compress the air. This fan doesn’t look capable of doing any such thing.

        1. Any old fan compresses the air, which is why the air then moves away. I think “forced induction” is better to describe this setup than “turbo/super-charged”, even if pro-level forced induction forges are at a whole other level.

    1. @0xfred and @Jonathan: Mea culpa! Despite having owned a turbo (car, not grill) for years, I didn’t know that it had to be exhaust-gas powered.

      That said, the OP has a “rolling coal” (tee-hee) mode that puts the fan on super-low for use while actually cooking stuff.

          1. Hmm ed, that raises the consideration that the corpse in such crematorium scenario might be consumed far more quickly ie With far better thermal & oxygenation distribution for a faster burn if it were tossed, batted, poked, prodded & rotated rather than (at first) seared… Eek – think I prefer to give my bio energy back to worms which someone can use for fishing bait :shrug:
            For the barbiecue maybe a thermoelectric stack under the fire box to produce electricity to keep the (tossed)
            salad cool in readiness for the visitors, nice place to chill the Chardonnay too…

          2. That is absolutely true, world famous steak houses broil their steaks at very high temps for very little time, the actual cooking is finished when the steak gets pulled out and put on a plate. Kind of like a burn continues in your body even after you have taken the heat source out. Peter Luger steak house broils all their steaks. For $75bux for a low end steak you taste the meat not the heat. :)

  1. > The reason this is on Hackaday, however, is that the fan and the throttle are all under the control of an ESP8266 buried underneath it all.

    Seriously? This (the fan + manifold + BBQ) is a really cool hack on its own. I wouldn’t have realised it had to have a microcontroller to qualify for HaD inclusion.

    1. Anyone who has burnt their fingers on a log stove would probably appreciate how useful one of these could be for indoor heating- I’d certainly like the ability to stoke up a log fire by twiddling my phone rather than having to kneel down on a tiled hearth and get soot all over myself.

    2. Yah, I was thinking the same thing. I’m not putting down the ESP8266 but this would still be just as interesting of a hack if he controled it some other way. What was the author trying to say there? It just sounds like a validation of all the “it’s only here because they used an Arduino” complaints only now ESP is the new AVR.

  2. If you have a spare Scuba tank you can always set up an Inducer Air Motion Transformer but, with 230Bar that might be a bit too much unless you have a sturdy pressure regulator. Easier would be a cheap acetylene regulator with a regular 90psi cheapie home compressor, still pretty effective for all sorts of chemical engineering flow/reaction sub-systems…

      1. Because its best left as part of the compressor as in many workshops its a regulated tool not meant to be savaged
        for parts but, you can buy an ex acetyline regulator for the lower pressure you need just fine without stepping on regs…

  3. Very cool. Our barbecue is a kitchen sink with a bunch of holes in it – hook a hair dryer (with heater removed so it can run off 12V) up to a pipe and blow air through the plug hole. Ready to cook in no time. Not nearly as aesthetic as this version though

    1. Yours is even cooler. I would recommend putting a fan blade on a garbage disposal underneath so as not to loose any aesthetics. You should write it up and submit it to HaD. Did you use an aluminum or porcelain covered cast iron sink. To make the holes did you use: A) a drill. B) a rifle. or C) a shotgun. If a rifle was used you could explain how you calculated the proper angle of trajectory so as not to ricochet off the sink and flatten a tire on any nearby homes. And do not forget the obligatory Arduino, toss one under a rib, wing or hoof and when it s nothing but pins and traces “supper is served”.You could title it “The best BBQ two states east of Texas”.

  4. Ok, Ok, so it says Turbo. Nobody complains about the advertising industry when they slap Turbo on everything. Turbo Mouthwash. Turbo Dish Soap, Turbo Bill Pay, Turbo Colon Cleanse. Other words to watch for are ‘extreme’, ‘Signature’. and ‘Inspired’. At least there was no confusion on wether it blows or sucks, this one blows. Blows air that is.

      1. Hmm & here was I thinking such causal relation was perfectly well designed in re gaseous emissions (whether a god, ID,
        evolution, FSM etc) – even if occasionally accompanied by minor suspended delitrium even whether soilds or fine liquid
        drops – all subject to Hepa filters built into modern underwear – have we checked that recently, ie Lets make sure all
        underwear is Hepa regulated – especially to suburbs whos demographic indicates high spice/chilli ingestion… :D

  5. Love it , it looks more like a turbo charger than a super charger.

    Super chargers as others have mentioned are traditionally mechanically driven from the crank
    Turbos are driven by exhaust

    This one is electric driven so maybe it’s ELECTROcharged

        1. What about just painting the meat black on the surface using a propane torch? Thinnest skin of char and icy cold center. My wife objected to a shop torch in the kitchen until she saw famous chef “Ming” using the same kind in a recipe :p

  6. Actually, the device commonly called a turbocharger is a turbo-supercharger, but that fell out of common usage a long time ago. (supercharger = device for shoving more air into the intake, turbo indicating that it’s driven by a turbine.)

  7. Hi Everyone.
    Firstly i’m sorry if my english is not perfect. Thank you for your comments, it’s the first time one of my creations is published on hackaday and I’m very happy. When I read the comments, I can see some interrogations.

    It is “turbocharged”, “supercharged” or other thing? For sure, it’s not the kind of turbo we can find in a car, the shape is different and is not designed for it. But finally, it is a turbine, so I think we can if we want call that a turbocharged device. Not agreed? I respect but it’s just my opinion :)

    Then, why it can be considered like a hack? Because a water tank is built to contain water (and now it contain fire), the exhaust manifold did the opposite of its original function… The ESP8266 is just one piece of that :)

    To conclude, I’ve seen the video of Collin some years ago. I love this guy because he is crazy and very talented. His BBQ its totally fancy but the meat is totally horrible… He is british and I’m french so please trust me about food :) The boost is perfect to make coal from oak wood that I cut. It’s funny but from there, when the coals are perfect, I simply use the throttle.

    Thank you again!

  8. Someone’s having fun in the editor’s chair today with three posts in a row:
    “The Internet of Meat”
    “Here’s the Turbocharged BBQ You’ve Been Waiting For”
    and finally
    “Arduino Detects Pants on Fire”

    I’m waiting for the ESP8266-linked fire extinguisher article:

    “Fire Extinguisher Tweets Your Friends When The Party Finally Gets Out of Hand”

  9. I just wanted to comment to say how amazing this project is: It looks great (I really admire who can create a great hack, by also focusing on the aesthetics of the final result), has a touch of madness (come on, it has a fan from the turbo of a car engine, and a real throttle and manifold: how cool is that?), is controlled by custom electronics and a custom app. The project page features some pretty nice photography. And you can probably cook some nice steaks on it, since the “supercharged” fan is only needed to speed up the initial ignition. So wtf is wrong with you guys showing your enormous wisdom by repeating the bloody definition of turbocharger instead of praising the skills of this hacker? Great hack, Morgan, I’d really like to see it in action ;) Do not care about these boring commenters! Cheers

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