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Unread 06-11-2013, 03:53 PM   #1
neuyawk
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Default Ideas on making a GIANT charcoal starter?

So I was cooking at this past weekend's big apple BBQ party and hit one of those "there has to be a better way" moments.

See we have to light lots and lots of charcoal on an ongoing basis to cook 6 180lb hogs at a time.

I was wondering if there was a way to design a propane powered box/burn barrel where we just use the propane to power thru and light a 100lbs of charcoal at a time.

Thoughts?
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Unread 06-11-2013, 04:20 PM   #2
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Cut a drum in 1/2 top to bottom so you have 2 troths and a Weed burner.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Wheel barrow and a Weed burner.
METAL Wheel barrow and Weed burner

Seriously, a small 15 gallon drum should fit on most outdoor gas friers, need to figure out how to shovel the lit charcoal.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 04:24 PM   #4
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my first thought is a sort of modified UDS, where you put a rack in the middle of the cooker, instead of the charcoal being on the bottom, size the rack so that chunks of lit charcoal can be shaken down into the bottom, where you can have a hole to shovel the coals that are lit into the cooker.

The other thought is an insulated fire box, like a firebox on a smoker, but, without the smoker. You can use a propane assist to fire the coals, then shovel them out when needed. Just a matter of a large enough door. The fireboxes I have seen have the gas jets firing in from the sides.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 04:27 PM   #5
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Thing is, how do you move the lit charcoal around out of the huge starter? With a shovel? Be hard to handle a huge and hot chimney starter to dump it. Maybe I missed something though.

I'd try a metal wheelbarrow maybe with the bottom cut out and replaced with heavy duty expanded metal.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 04:38 PM   #6
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One hundred pounds at once? That's alot. I was thinking of using a propane burner as used for a crawfish boil etc. There are many ways it could be attached or positioned to the coal container depending if you wanted it mobile of not.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 04:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
The other thought is an insulated fire box, like a firebox on a smoker, but, without the smoker. You can use a propane assist to fire the coals, then shovel them out when needed. Just a matter of a large enough door. The fireboxes I have seen have the gas jets firing in from the sides.

That was kinda my thoughts. The ideal would be

1) The propane assist just needs to be turned on i.e. no one needs to stand there watching a weed burner

2) The firing of hundreds of pounds of charcoal over a 2 day period doesn't just kill the contraption from all that heat

3) What would keep the propane assist from getting clogged by all that ash? Unless perhaps they come from top down?
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Unread 06-11-2013, 04:46 PM   #8
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Yes, a weed burner/Inferno or a propane shrinkwrapper torch work FAST and well...except can kick up a bit of ash when used. The weedburner has a lot longer handle so that you are further from flying ash debris....Burn on!
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Unread 06-11-2013, 04:48 PM   #9
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This is actually fun to think about. Building on Landarc's idea, what about a vertical firebox w/air flow vents that will hold the needed volume with a mechanical dump door in the bottom that empties into an equal volume container with a shovel chute. Close the dump door, load the unlit charcoal propane gas burner coming in from the perimeter (or a few openings to accomodate a weed burner), fire it up & when the charcoal is lit, dump it into the bottom chamber and shovel away.
How much at a time- up to 20 lbs?
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Unread 06-11-2013, 05:00 PM   #10
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Why charcoal, why not just use use splits?
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Unread 06-11-2013, 05:15 PM   #11
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I saw a guys on pitmasters (i think) who had 2 drums stacked on top of one another. Then he stuck some chanel or rebar or something through to form a grid pattern. He would load the top with stick and fire it up, then shovel hot coals out from a door at the bottom when they drop through.????
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Unread 06-11-2013, 06:42 PM   #12
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You see this sort of thing at giant pits, except with wood. They build firepits and burn the wood there, and when it is good and ashy, they shovel it into the actual cooker. This sounds like Landarcs idea, construct a nice firebox, a sideways 55 gallon drum on legs sounds good, and just keep a fire going in it, and shovel out as necessary.

A weed burner will probably be an essential piece of equipment no matter how you do this though.
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Unread 06-12-2013, 06:01 AM   #13
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Use a rosebud.
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Unread 06-12-2013, 08:09 AM   #14
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The only feasible way you'd be able to use some kind of propane burner assist would be if the charcoal was on some kind of pull out frame with holes in it that you can put over a bunch of burners when you need to light them. After they are lit, you'd slide that whole shelf back in fully lit. Think CharGriller side firebox only waaaay bigger and instead of the bottom of the tray being solid, have holes in it.

Or you can get TWO weed burners
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Unread 06-13-2013, 02:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grabnabber View Post
Why charcoal, why not just use use splits?
I use splits but for the Big Apple BBQ party we're sponsored by royal oak so we get that for free. I love wood but if someone's giving me free charcoal I'm using it.
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