Homepage Forums Grills, BBQ’s and Brick Ovens Specific grill suggestions for an 8lb drum?

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    Ridge Brannon

    So, I’m looking at a few different options and definitely want to go with the bang for the buck, but durability is important. You seem to be saying that spending more on a grill is a waste as long as it puts out the power, but it seems that efficiency is important too: grill size vs drum size, btu output, sheet metal mods added, secondary thermometer, etc. Do you have any specific recommendations? These are what I’m looking at from my local Lowes:

    Best way to protect the grill and drum for long term commercial roasting?
    If I invest in this set-up I want to make the best effort to maintain it. I hope to use it for the long haul one way or the other. How can I keep this pristine as long as possible while still being pragmatic in its usage? Thanks!


    Ridge Brannon

    Hi Matt, thanks for the email. I’ll try to address all the points in your question.

    First regarding grill choice. The only thing of primary importance is being able to fit the drum and of heat output. People use all kinds of closed boxes to heat the coffee. If it’s a closed space and can hold heat it will work. Some folks use adobe ovens, brick ovens, beer kegs, etc…so if it will hold heat then it will work. That’s why I say don’t spend lots of money on a grill for the sake of getting better coffee. The coffee really doesn’t care. Is that to say we should ignore aesthetics, efficiency, and durability? No… if you want to buy a grill with those features, then, by all means, feel free as you will see durability, aesthetic and efficiency benefits, but don’t expect the coffee to care one way or the other. Even were you to buy an inefficient grill, you can do sheet metal mods which are quick and simple to improve dramatically the efficiency.

    The important thing is that you have the heat output. I did look at your three selections, and it’s difficult for me to say without knowing what size drum you want. (Sorry just saw the 8LB drum choice in the subject line) It is strongly recommended the following heat outputs on the main burner for the following drums:
    12LB=45000 or 50000(preferred)

    You can buy a grill too hot, so I wouldn’t want any more than 60,000. Note that some grill mfg, will include the side burner in the BTU rating, so beware of that. You want the main burner BTU to meet or exceed the above. Is it possible to do it with less than the rating? yes, but you have to do the sheet metal mods and you won’t have much heat overhead when you need it. Therefore stay away if you can from the infrared grills as they usually are very underpowered, however delivering even heating. Still it’s not worth the trade since we can simply place sheet metal in the bottom of the grill if that were necessary.

    So for your 8LB drum, the only grill that appears to have sufficient BTU is this one:

    You suggested that grill size vs drum size was important. This is minorly true. If the grill is three times the size of the drum, then yes it won’t be quite as efficient, so best to choose a grill whose size is slightly larger than that of the drum, but don’t worry yourself too much with this, the savings are likely immeasurably small.

    As to the longevity of the system? If you make an effort to keep it out of the weather, you will get MANY years out of the system. To give my example, I roast on a 4LB and a 6LB system, two grills, both built in 2002 and 2003, $99 and $119 respectively, with sheet metal mods. They stay in the garage when not in use. So that’s like, what? 13-14 years? They are all original equipment, with no parts replacements in all these years save for the rubber spider grommet used to mesh the rod to the motor. Those tend to wear out once every year or two. But they are designed for replacement. We sell them here, free shipping for a 3 pack for $15. Give me a call and we can talk your scenario through and get all your questions covered in a bit more detail.

    Ridge Brannon


    Noticed a post on the 30k btu charbroil ir disregard that point.

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