In certain parts of the world, cooking meat in a regionally-specific way is a critical part of the local culture. From barbeque in the American south to boerewors and braaivleis in South Africa to Montréal smoked meat in French Canada, almost every location has its cookout specialty. So much so that various manufacturers of the tools used for these foods include all kinds of gadgets to monitor the sometimes days-long process of cooking various cuts of meat. [megamarco833]’s smoker, though, includes some tools of his own design.
The smoker is made by a company called Pitboss and includes a rotary switch and control board for maintaining a precise temperature in the smoker. The switch works by changing the voltage value sent to a small microcontroller. By interfacing an ESP32 to this switch, [megamarco833] can remotely change the smoke level and temperature of the smoker. On the software side, it uses a combination of Node-RED and Domoticz to handle the automation and control.
For a cookout that can last hours (if not days) a remotely accessible smoker like this is an invaluable tool if you want to do something other than manually monitor the temperature of your meat for that much time. And, if your barbeque grill or smoker of choice doesn’t already have an embedded control board of some type, we’ve seen analog cooking tools adapted to much the same purpose as this one.
Thanks to [Peter] who sent in the tip and also helped [megamarco833] with the reverse-engineering of the control board!
A laser cutter bed has to be robust, fireproof, and capable of adequately supporting whatever piece of work is being done on the machine. For that reason they are typically a metal honeycomb, and can be surprisingly expensive. [David Tucker] has built a MultiBot CNC machine and is using it with a laser head, and his solution to the problem of a laser bed is to turn towards the kitchen ware store.
The answer lay in an Expert Grill Jerky Rack, a wire grille with a baking tray underneath it. Perfect lasering support but for its shininess, so it was painted matte back to reduce reflections and a handy set of clips were 3D printed to secure the grille to the tray.
We like this solution as it’s both effective and cheap, though we can’t help a little worry at the prospect of any laser cutter without adequate enclosure for safety. Having been involved in the unenviable task of cleaning an encrusted hackerspace laser cutter bed, we also like the idea that it could be disposed of and replaced without guilt. Do you have any tales of laser cutter bed cleaning, or have you found a cheap substitute of your own? Let us know in the comments!
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.
Continue reading “Finally, A Piano BBQ Grill That You Can Drive Around The Workshop”
Sometimes you’re hungry for two sausages, and not a sausage more. [Wesley] designed his Furter Burner to handle precisely these situations, and it looks to cook up a pair of wieners a treat. (Video, embedded below.)
The process starts with a couple of wooden stunt wieners, and some foam board, with which [Wesley] roughs out a design. From there, a CAD design is drawn up and parts routed out of compressed board to troubleshoot the assembly further. Later moving on to a plywood version, having a wooden prototype quickly reveals plenty of things to improve, from adding handles to the grill surface to air holes to allow combustion.
The design goes through a couple of further iterations in metal before completion. The final result is impressive—resulting in a twin-wiener cooker that burns coals, complete with skewers for easy sausage handling and bearing [Wesley’s] own logo.
The video shows off the benefits of the iterative design process. It also demonstrates why it often makes sense to rough out designs in cheaper materials before going to the heavy stuff, particularly in a case like [Wesley]’s where the metal parts can only be cut off-site. Refining the design in-house first saves a lot of mucking around.
We’ve seen [Wesley]’s work before, too – like this impressive workshop storage solution.
Continue reading “Furter Burner Cooks The Wieners Just So”
Conceptually, cooking on a grill is simple enough: just crank up the flames and leave the food on long enough for it to cook through, but not so long that it turns into an inedible ember. But when smoking, the goal is actually to prevent flames entirely; the food is cooked by the circulation of hot gasses generated by smoldering wood. If you want a well-cooked and flavorful meal, you’ll need the patience and dedication to manually keep the fuel and air balanced inside the smoker for hours on end.
Or in the case of the Smokey Mc Smokerson, you just let the electronics handle all the hard stuff while you go watch TV. Powered by the Raspberry Pi Zero and a custom control board, this open source smoker offers high-end capabilities on a DIY budget. Granted you’ll still need to add the fuel of your choice the old fashioned way, but with automatic air flow control and temperature monitoring, it greatly reduces the amount of fiddly work required to get that perfect smoke.
[HackersHub] has been working on Smokey Mc Smokerson for a few months now, and are getting very close to building the first complete prototype. The initial version of the software is complete, and the classy black PCBs have recently arrived. Some simulations have been performed to get an idea of how the smoke will circulate inside of the smoker itself, built from a 55 gallon drum, but technically the controller is a stand-alone device. If you’re willing to makes the tweaks necessary, the controller could certainly be retrofitted to commercially available smoker instead.
Ultimately, this project boils down to tossing a bunch of temperature sensors at the problem. The software developed by [HackersHub] takes the data collected by the five MAX6675 thermocouples and uses it to determine when to inject more air into the chamber using a PWM-controlled fan at the bottom of the smoker. As an added bonus, all those temperature sensors give the user plenty of pretty data points to look at in the companion smartphone application.
We’ve actually seen a fair number of technologically-augmented grills over the years. From this automotive-inspired “turbocharged” beast to a robotic steak flipper built out of PVC pipes, we can confidently say that not all hackers are living on a diet of microwaved ramen.
Have you ever been too busy to attend to the proper cooking of a steak? Well, lament no more, and warn your cardiologist. A trio of students from Cornell University have designed and built the steak-grilling BeefBot to make your delicious dinner dreams a reality.
[Jonah Mittler], [Kelsey Nedd], and [Martin Herrera] — electrical and computer engineering students — are the ones you should thank for this robot-chef. It works as follows: after skewering the steak onto the robot’s prongs, BeefBot lowers it onto the grill and monitors the internal temperature in a way that only the well-seasoned grillmaster can replicate. Once a set temperature is reached, the steak is flipped — sorry, no crosshatch grillmarks here — and cooked until a desired doneness. A small screen displays the temperature if you want to babysit BeefBot — some manual adjustment may be needed after the steak flip to ensure it is cooking evenly — but it is otherwise a hands-off affair. If you don’t mind salivating over your screen, check out the project demonstration after the break.
At first glance you might think this a YouTube stunt, but this is real science. The writeup is exquisite, from the design and fabrication, to the math behind temperature calibration and regulation. Kudos to the hungry Cornell students who slaved over a hot griddle bringing this one to life!
Continue reading “BeefBot: Your Robotic Grill Master”
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.
Continue reading “Here’s The Turbocharged BBQ Grill You’ve Been Waiting For”