Once the weather gets above 40, it’s time to start spending the evenings outside instead of being cooped up all winter. This will be my first summer in my apartment which has a nice concrete patio out the back which I’m hoping to put to good use. I’m the typical male who’s cooking skills fall into three sets: Raw, Microwave, and Grill.
No mans castle is complete without at least one implement of grilling. Some people take the normal gas-grill approach and if you have to grill often and in high quantities that might be the best route to go. I’m only cooking for 2-4 people usually though, and I prefer the taste that wood or charcoal gives over gas; when the only flavor you can ascribe to the cooking method is “gas” it’s just not appealing.
So, here’s a few options I’m choosing between on what to make my grill out of.
This is an old one from Instructables, but it’s still one of the best guides and examples of what you can do with a steel 55Gallon drum, some extra parts, and a whole lot of extra time. This is definitely one of the larger grills, able to hold a full rack of ribs, a farm of chicken legs, or a miniature forest of asparagus spears. You also can easily modify it to allow for side vents, or even a side door to allow you to move around the coals while cooking. This doesn’t require welding skills or equipment, but does require that you have a grinder and a food grade barrel; fuel/oil barrels will make you sick to the point of death, and who wants that? (Click on the picture for the full Instructables article)
As I look at the giant grill above and realize that it would feed all the members of my family (and I really don’t want all of them over at once) so maybe something smaller is in order. There’s always the chance I could find a smaller drum but that’s rather unlikely (However, I an researching using empty propane tanks that you can purchase for $30 from Home Depot). If I just need to cook one or two burgers, or better yet kebabs, I think I might try my hand at making a flower-pot grill.
Seriously. Get a terracotta pot like the one above in a size that suits you, fill it about halfway with sand, and then dump hot charcoal one layer thick and start grilling. No cutting or other assembly required as long as you can find the appropriate grate for your pot. The only tip I would give would be to get two appropriate sized saucers; one for the bottom and another for the top to put the fire out. A more complete set of instructions are available here.
Grilling can take a while though so I’ll want some furniture to sit down and lounge upon. And, where I work in IT, I’m about as tan as the full moon so hopefully this summer I can sit out some and tan a bit. I’m still trying to determine what the best design will be; whether going with a captains chair design, a chaise lounge, or an Adirondack style. When I finally build it I’ll have an entire post on the style and what I decided on. In the meantime though, here’s some examples of what I’m using for inspiration. Click on the picture to get to where they’re for sale.
The final project on the list at the moment is one that I have yet to see an example that has exactly what I’m looking for in it. I want something beyond just simple utility shelving that would allow me to store backpacks and cleanly organize all the stoves, and cookware. If anyone has good examples of that kind of storage, please post it in the comments so I can try my hand at making some.
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