From: “Mike Smith” 
 Subject: My first run with my RK Drum BBQ Roaster

First off, I’m in no way connected to the production or manufacture of this fine product.   Although, I wish I were. What follows is a description of my experience setting up for  my first roast with my RK Drum, that I received…yesterday.

Upon opening the well packed box, I was impressed with the heft, and build quality of this  all stainless drum. Anyone that has worked with stainless steel, knows what a bear it is to  work with. All of the cuts are clean, no burrs, and all of the welds have been ground and  smoothed. A very well executed construction. The height of the stirring vanes kind of  surprised me. All of the other drum designs I had seen, as on my Alp, the vanes were a  fraction of an inch tall.

On this drum they are at least a full inch high. They stir a large load 2 pounds or more very well. For the grill, I purchased a I was having to look into the bottom of the grill from underneath to see the burner so that I  could adjust it down as low as possible to maintain 435, and still have a flame.  At 10 minutes  first crack started and I could tell by how ” all at once ” it was, that second was going to follow  very rapidly. I was right, by 11 minutes I was into one heck of a rolling  second crack. I cut the heat, grabbed the spit, and dumped and cooled the beans.

I had sort of mélange roast, with most of the beans a very full city, with slight oil showing, and some french, with about 10 % city. I had observed the good mixing action of the vanes, and knew that this unevenness was not due to poor bean movement. I surmised that it was a result of too rapid of a
bean temp rise.

I decided to load up a larger batch. I loaded up 1 and 1/2 pounds of La Manita, and started again. This time the temp recovery after drum insertion was much slower. I think that the larger load actually made the temp more stable, and a lot less ticklish. This time first crack started at about 14 minutes, and started much more gradually. Second crack followed after a little added heat at 17:30 and I pulled the roast immediately upon onset of second. I usually like LM right before second. Anyhow, this roast was MUCH more even, and easier to control. I really like a more mellow taste, hopefully this won’t be TOO mellow. 

 I am thoroughly pleased with the drum, and it will make my roasting much less involved than 6 or 7 Alpenrost roasts a week. I think I will look at putting a cast iron griddle in the bottom of my grill, to more evenly distribute the heat and flame, and to act as sort a thermal mass. I think that a load of about 1 pound is as small a roast as a beginner BBQ roaster should try. That 1/2 pound roast was just too hard to control. The larger batch tracked along a profile almost exactly like my Alpenrost. The drum is by far the best investment in my roasting that I have ever made, and I am grateful for such a quality product. The drum is easily worth the price of an Alpenrost.This thing is built as well as anything I’ve ever seen. I have fabricated a few gadgets in my life, as I have been a homebrewer. It is much like coffee roasting in that you have to build everything if you want a nice setup without spending thousands.

To replace my BBQ roaster would cost $6000 for a San Francisco sample roaster, and the end result is every bit as tasty. Until someone decides to sell a computer controlled, commercial style drum roaster for under $2000, I’ve got THE best setup out there for us that don’t like being tied to 3 hours of 8 oz roasts once a week.

Mike Smith
flyin’ hillbilly BBQ RK Drum roaster
just a satisfied customer