BBQ Burners Built From Scratch

Building a barbecue is a common DIY pursuit, and one that comes with a tasty payoff at completion. While many projects focus on charcoal or wood-fired designs, [Andrew] is more of a gas man. Not one to simply buy off the shelf, he designed his own burners from scratch.

This quest wasn’t just unnecessary yak shaving; burners to suit [Andrew]’s desired size and power simply weren’t available. The burner is designed around the Venturi effect, wherein the propane gas is passed through a small orifice, creating a jet and pulling air along with it as it enters the burner tube. This causes the gases to mix, and they can then be ignited when passing through the outlet holes of the burner. Get the orifice and outlet holes sized just right, and you’ll have a burner that produces a hot, blue flame, perfect for efficient cooking.

The orifice was produced with brass plumbing components, and hooked up to a valve rated for use with gas lines. The burner tube itself was created from stainless steel tube, with slots cut to act as outlet holes and with the end crimped and welded shut. A black iron pipe reducer was then used as the air inlet and orifice mount.

The final result is a powerful barbecue burner that is perfectly sized to [Andrew]’s needs. If you’re keen to build your own custom rig, you may find this a useful and cheap way to go versus sourcing parts off the shelf. We’ve seen [Andrew]’s work before, too. Video after the break.

23 thoughts on “BBQ Burners Built From Scratch

          1. Beyond that. People weld galvanized all the time. We do at work. There is an OSHA limit to the amount of fumes you should be exposed to, but burning Zinc really isn’t that big of a deal. It might make you nauseous.

    1. BEEP BEEP, here comes the safety police.
      HONK HONK, This is the “did you watch the video before making some safety comments that are totally unfounded department”, this is our jurisdiction now.

    2. Useful tricks for welding: many toilet bowl cleaners like lysol are 10% hydrochloric acid (usually labeled muriatic on the side of the container) and if you stick a piece of galvanized steel in this for twenty minutes it removes all the zinc vastly more quickly than it touches the steel. I use a glass jar with about 2cm of toilet bowl cleaner in the bottom and stick the end of, say, EMT in there for twenty minutes, then rinse it off, and no more zinc fumes. (TIG welder: the HAZ is less than the area where the zinc is stripped off.) If you try this make sure your container is more than 4x as high as the fluid level. It bubbles up like you wouldn’t believe. Also no open flames near this: that’s a big pile of hydrogen gas in bubbles.

      1. In Ontario, Canadian Tire and Home Hardware always used to have hydrochloric acid available on the shelf, around the paint dept or plumbing dept. I say always used to, because I haven’t checked in a year or so and you know how all the useful crap like this disappears as soon as there’s a new meth cooking process.

    3. Even if he were welding galvanized, that’s not really a big deal as long as you’re aware of the hazard. Don’t breathe the fumes, ventilate the area as best you can, and wear a respirator and you’ll be fine.

      Not that I recommend it, but I’ve even done a few small welds on galvanized without the respirator and managed to avoid fume fever. Just gotta be smart about airflow management so you’re not breathing in that poison. It’s dangerous but it’s not magic.

    4. “Step 1: Materials and Tools
      This is what I used but other materials could be used as well depending on the application:

      1″ x 1/16″ stainless steel tubing (could substitute this with regular steel but stainless will last longer)
      3/4″ to 1 1/2″ black iron reducer fitting
      1/8″ brass NPT pipe nipple
      1/8″ brass NPT end cap
      1/8″ ball valve rated for gas
      3/4″ steel bar stock
      Low pressure BBQ regulator and hose (depending on how many burners you hook up you will need to increase the capacity of the regulator)
      Flare fitting to go from the propane hose to 1/8″ NPT thread
      Propane Tank
      PTFE tape or pipe dope”

      I don’t see “galvanized” in there anywhere.

  1. Could’ve bought a burner setup like that from the Charles A. Hones company, which has been in the industrial gas burner business since 1911. Their website used to be but at some point they changed to using the full charles instead of just the c, for obvious reasons.

  2. The gas jet mounting plate at 3/4 width is blocking enough air to not get enough pulled in into the venturi, the drilled holes aren’t in the right place to draw air in but are at right angles to the flow. The venturi (reducer) could have smoother curves and work better particularly at the narrowing taper. It’s kinda like a little airplane flying well at a butterfly’s speed.

    1. I’ve built a lot of venturi burners for foundrywork. If you do all those things you get too much air and have to block up the entrance (or increase the fuel ejector hole size but then he has to increase all the burner hole sizes and has too much flame.) Based on the flame color, he has a near-stoichiometric f/a ratio with what he’s done. Improving the airflow is just going to mess things up.

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