An opened plastic project box with electronics inside

Smoking Meat Finds Natural Home In The Cloud

Did you know that backyard barbecues now come with WiFi? It should be no surprise, given the pervasiveness of cloud-enabled appliances throughout the home. However [Carl] wasn’t ready to part with his reliable but oh-so-analog BBQ smoker, so instead he created an affordable WiFi-based temperature monitor that rivals its commercial counterparts.

Accurate temperature measurement is essential to smoking meat from both a taste and safety standpoint. In this project, two Maverick ET-732/733 thermistor probes take care of the actual temperature monitoring. One probe is skewered into meat itself, and the other measures the ambient ‘pit’ temperature. Combined, these two gauges ensure that the meat is smoked for exactly the right length of time. [Carl] mentions that adding an extra temperature sensor is trivial for larger setups, but he’s getting by just fine with two data points.

Naturally an ESP8266 does most of the heavy lifting in bridging the gap between smoke and cloud. At the core of this project is utility and practicality – temperature statistics can be viewed on any device with a web browser. Being able to study the temperature trends in this way also makes it easier to predict cooking times. Electronic alerts are also used to notify the chef if the temperature is too hot or cold (among other things). The entire contraption is housed in a smart looking project box that contains an LCD and rotary encoder for configuration.

If this has piqued your culinary interest, check out the extensive documentation recipe over on GitHub and the project Wiki.  We also recommend checking out this project that takes automated meat smoking to the next level.

Unorthodox Toolbox Switcheroo: Barbecue!

Despite all the progress in cooking methods over the past millennia, nothing can ever replace the primeval sensation of staring into the embers as your food slowly gets ready. Barbecues are the obvious choice to satisfy this cave nostalgia, and while size might matter in some cases, sometimes you just want the convenience of being able to take your grilling device to the beach, park, or just really anywhere but home. Other times you’re [Laura Kampf] and don’t want to use an old toolbox for storing tools.

It all started with one of those typical three-layer folded cantilever toolboxes that [Laura] really likes for their mechanical construction, but not so much from a usability point of view. Being someone with a knack for turning random stuff into barbecues, this was an intriguing enough device to take apart. After plenty of time spent grinding bolts and paint off, she cut out the tray bottoms to weld metal mesh pieces as grill grates in their place — but you can watch the whole progress in the video below then.

The folding mechanics play out really nicely here. Not only can you access the grill goods by moving them away from the burning coals that are placed in the center bottom part of the box, it also provides you with two different heat layers. The individual lids on each side add even more variety, and this might even work as portable little smoker.

We’ve seen [Laura]’s work a few times before already, and in case you haven’t, go check out her beer keg motorcycle side car, wheelbarrow bicycle trailer, or Zippo lighter turned drill bit storage box.

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Finally, A Piano BBQ Grill That You Can Drive Around The Workshop

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that sometimes a little music can add much to a nice afternoon picnic. It’s also well-known that meat cooked over hot coals should be turned regularly to allow for even cooking. This barbecue grille project from [Handy Geng] delivers on both counts.

The project uses a full 88 motors, activated by pressing keys on an electronic piano. The technique used is simple; rather than interface with the keyboard electronically or over MIDI, instead, a microswitch is installed under each individual key.

Thus, when the piano keys are pressed, the corresponding motors are switched on. Each motor turns a skewer loaded with meat, sitting above a box of hot coals. Thus, playing the piano turns the meat, allowing it to be cooked on all sides without burning.

As a further bonus, the entire piano barbecue grille is also motorized, allowing [Handy Geng] to do laps around his workshop while playing the piano and cooking up lunch. It’s a great way to cook up some grilled kebabs while simultaneously entertaining one’s guests.

We’ve seen some other fun grill hacks too – even robotic ones! Video after the break.

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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.

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This Rocket Cookstove Is Hot Stuff!

If you search the web, you will learn that humans began to cook their food with fire a long time ago. Indeed, you might expect that there would be nothing new in the world of  flame-based cookery. Fortunately [Bongodrummer] didn’t get that particular memo, because he’s created a rather unusual rocket stove griddle that is capable of cooking a significant quantity of food.

A rocket stove is designed to achieve as efficient use of energy as possible by achieving the most complete burn of high surface area fuel. It features a small combustion area and a chimney with supplementary air feed to ensure that exhaust gasses also burn. This one feeds all those hot gasses directly to the griddle, before taking them away up a pair of flues. As an added bonus there is a dome attachment for a pizza oven, made when a previous project had some left-over building material. Take a look at the comprehensive build video below the break.

Perhaps alarmingly the combustion chamber and chimney are made from a gas cylinder, but the use of a central heating radiator for the griddle is an extremely good idea. A vortex air inlet at the bottom and a secondary air injector further up the chimney complete the unit, making for a worthy replacement for a traditional barbecue.

It’s worth saying, this isn’t the first rocket stove we’ve seen, there was this simple design as well as this very well engineered space heater.

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Tricked-out Barbecue Will Make You Do A Spit Take

[Strn] and his friends love to barbecue no matter what it’s like outside. But something always seems to interrupt the fun: either it’s time to get up and turn the meat, or the music stops because somebody’s phone ran out of juice, or darkness falls and there aren’t enough flashlights or charged-up phones. He had the idea to build the Swiss Army knife of barbecues, a portable powerhouse that solves all of these problems and more (translated).

Most importantly, the E-Mangal rotates the skewers for even cooking. It does this with a 3D-printed worm gear system driven by the heater flap actuator from a car. After 25 minutes of slow rotation, a voice announces that it’s time to eat. [Strn] and friends will never hurt for music options between the pre-loaded tracks, Bluetooth audio, FM antenna, USB, and SD options running through a 3W amp. Two USB lights illuminate nighttime barbecuing, and the 10 Ah battery can do it all and keep everyone’s phone charged. For safety’s sake, [Strn] included a half-liter water tank to extinguish the coals via jet stream. Everything is run by a PIC18F, and it can be controlled at the box or through a simple web interface.

We love the look of this barbecue controller almost as much as the functionality. The sturdy stance of those short, angled legs give it a mid-century appliance feel, and seeing all the guts on display is always a plus. Grab a turkey leg and take the tour after the break.

The E-Mangal has a thermocouple in the coal box to measure the temperature, but there’s no direct control. If you’re more interested in temperature options than entertainment, here’s a project that micromanages everything on the grill.

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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.

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