View Full Version : How to use a Grilladier? (1960s)

05-25-2010, 03:25 PM
Hi everyone... I just joined looking for someone who knows this type of system:

The house I bought a few years ago had a built-in BBQ in the backyard. It's a "Grilladier" from the 1960s. It's basically an iron frame with two front doors and some kind of level brackets for iron grill racks and one flat grill. It sits in a brick structure with a clay flue that I imagine is supposed to act as a chimney.


On this frame are 3 of these "level brackets": 1 at the very top, one about a quarter way down the frame, then the last about at the middle of the frame.


The problem is I've never had a clue how to use it properly. I've used it a few times by burning coals on a lower "level" and grilling on the 1st or 2nd level. Grilling on the top level doesn't get hot enough and grilling on the 2nd level is ok but a bit too close.

I figure there's got to be another way it's meant to work. Maybe burning wood on the concrete? (Where the leaves are in the top picture.) The flue placement seems odd too since smoke just goes up, not back towards the flue and up the chimney.

Anyway, hope someone has an idea. Google does not help much here except for finding the (late) inventor of the thing (http://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/p/pulos_aj.htm).

05-25-2010, 03:39 PM
I have not seen this specific unit, but, I have seen similar. You can take some clues from the face of the unit. You will need a fire basket or log rack for the bottom concrete pad. You burn logs in the bottom where the vented doors are located. This is the source of the heat. The next two levels are for the grates, some of these units also came with a mix of plates and grates to allow for baking or use as a wood oven. The top needs to have a solid plate (either missing in you photo, or just not clear) that covers the top and forces the smoke up into the cooking chamber then into the flue and out the chimney, once the convection starts up the chimney, it will draft it back throughout the cook process.

That bottom door should have some form of baffle across those vents to allow control of air flow to the fire, this allows for low and slow to raging hot. The flue and chimeny arrangement is similar to old WPA pits that were commonly built during the depression to allow workers in rustic work camps to have the ability to cook on a 'appliance' instead of over a fire.

05-25-2010, 03:52 PM
Excellent! Rather as I suspected but very good information. Your terminology alone is helpful. Yes, I have one plate and 3 grates. Yes, the bottom door has a baffle to control the air flow.

I'm sure I can find a "fire basket" or a "log rack."

I'm not so sure how to close it, however. I assume the single "plate" is not meant to close it. There's only one and two would be needed, as it is half the width and even if there were two, there would be gap in the middle. Any suggestions?

Also, can you explain how the mix of plates and grates would allow use for baking or a wood oven? Thanks!

05-25-2010, 03:53 PM
I saw something like that once. From what I remember it was brick lined and the top was used for a grill and beside the grilling surface there was an oven. It was at my friends neighbors house in Grose Pt Michigan. I stop in occasionally and will check if they still have it or use it as the same family lives there. Must have been local to Michigan as any outdoor fireplaces I come across up here were all brick and cement with steel rods for grates.

05-26-2010, 11:06 AM
I suggest you look up images of "parrilla" on google. You will get specs and designs that look very much like what you're restoring. Generally what Landarc indicates is right on so the broader search might inform and give you other ideas.

05-26-2010, 02:07 PM
I am pretty sure you are missing parts, most specifically the top, which should be a large griddle looking thing made of cast iron that fits into that top frame. If you wanted to use the unit as a oven, you would put the bread onto the cast iron solid plate and not onto the grates. Three grates and one plate are what is inside, the top plate is missing. You could also use the solid plate for heating pots such as Dutch ovens and skillets that did not want to be over direct heat.

05-26-2010, 02:18 PM
Very cool, I would restore that sucker:-D

05-26-2010, 03:53 PM
cool y'all thanks. I picked up a log rack and got a piece of drop metal cut to size for the top. not exactly a snug fit but mostly covers it. as for restoring it, i already had the frame fixed up in parts that were rusted through. not sure what else i could do to restore it, I've been treating it with mineral oil. any other suggestions? after i get a chance to use it, i'll post back.

05-26-2010, 04:08 PM
Use it a lot, the more you use a built-in like this, the longer it will last. The oil and char from cooking actually prolongs the metal and inhibits rust, just keep ash cleaned out. If the top is too loose, a little foil will help seal it up some. Or some high temp fiberglass gasket. Best to keep top sealed.

Chef Jim
05-26-2010, 09:32 PM
If you need fiberglass sealer and adhesive this is what I posted a while back.

"Through much trial and error, mostly with the adhesive I have come up with this.

McMaster-Carr sells all of the item I have used. http://www.mcmaster.com/#

First the tape. I used a Woven Slotted Fiberglass Seal that is adhesive backed. You can forget about the adhesive backed part cause it doesn't stick except on the door and even then I would use something with it.

The tape is 1 in. wide and 1/8 thick. Comes in 25 ft. roll for $9.38 + tax
PN 8813K31. I used this on the door and also the fire box lid. You need to make sure you are applying to bare metal.

The adhesive that I finally found is Rutland Black, Fiberglass Stove Gasket Cement. Good to 2K temps. PN 7573A31, About $7.06 a tube.

I also used the cement to seal the fire brick mod I made to the fire box. So far this has worked very well.

Good luck!:thumb:"

Fatty Fatso
12-14-2011, 09:36 PM
Hi All, rocklobster and landarc in particular,
i recently purchased a house in southeastern MI which included this interesting "grill/oven"? that is setting in a brick fireplace in the enclosed sunroom/porch that appears the be built specifically for the Grilladier. The only problem(other than the fact the frame is in pretty rough shape because of rust) is that I am not finding much info on it, let alone recent info other than on here.
I ran across this post while Googling "Grilladier" and thought someone may be able to help me.

There is some real good info in this thread and I would like to know if rocklobster is still around, and what advice you could share with me on its operation. landarc seemed to have seen some type of Grilladier in his day, and i would like to know if this looks more like what you have seen?

I am sharing a few pics to see what y'all think about this, and if there is anymore info that you could pass along to help me figure this thing out.

Thanks and Great BBQ to all!