Introduction: Keg BBQ
This is a different take on the popular KEG-gone-Barbie (BBQ) trick.
First of all kudos to the original makers:
What's so good about a Stainless Steel BBQ made out of a keg?
It doesn't rust. That's the main reason for me at least.
Kegs can be bought second hand for cheap. They make a good size BBQ.
Why a different take ?
I didn't like the flat cut in the middle.
I wanted to try some stainless steel welding.
I wanted to make the final BBQ portable.
So what's the challenge ?
There are many;
- Cutting the keg following a different line. Stainless is a tough material
- Welding. Welding stainless is tricky. It gets very hot very quick. And you need a good welder (I used stick, crazy me)
- Finishing. What do you want your to feel like ? I wanted mine with a nice handle, a reasonable grill and a mesh to keep the coals away from the keg wall. You can polish to infinity.
What else ?
- All stainless construction (aside from the mesh and the grill)
Step 1: Get a Keg, Trace a Line and Cut.
Note: Stainless steel kegs are private property of their manufacturers until they have been written off. You can buy them off certain companies that sell them refurbished or as is. You can not just go and grab one at the pub like that. It's obvious to me but certain people felt it was needed to be clarified, so there you have it. Try http://www.kegking.com.au/Kegs.html
First off, removing the valve. Mine was a tap coupler, of type A. There are tutorials out there but the gist of it was:
- push the centre down to release pressure (careful there)
- turn the center clockwise for a quarter turn, it should drop
- unscrew the valve normally. I used vice pliers with a big tube, didn't need a massive plumber vice grip
About the cut, my plan was to not have a flat line at the front but have a sort of recess that would allow the lid to close without moving sideways.
I also wanted to have some back wall and make the lid lighter and the base heavier for stability. That resulted in a 30-ish angle at the back. Bonus side effect: the lid doesn't open too far naturally.
My big issue was that the keg warped heavily during the cut. It had a nice round shape when I got it, but after cutting it it really went out of shape. Nothing I couldn't fix, but a bit annoying. Be careful when you cut yours.
I also decided to cut around, and not through, the round extremities, especially the valve. A bit of drilling and filing finished it.
Cleaned up the inside, went on step 2; hinges.
Step 2: Add Some Hinges
I got some stainless steel hinges and screws etc. Could have also riveted the lot but I didn't.
Thicker hinges might be in order if your keg has warped like mine. My hinges were a little bit too thin but still did the trick.
Step 3: Add a Handle and Some Bling
Make a handle out of whatever you wish. I made mine out of hardwood that I cut, planned, sanded and varnished a bit.
Also made some recessed hex holes to have a better finish than just screws and bolts. Again, you can finish and polish as much as you want.
Because I wanted this bbq to be portable, I added a latch to keep it closed. Also a temp gauge salvaged from another BBQ.
Step 4: Start Welding Some Legs
I made mine out of scrap stainless RHS. Was a bit thin, but it worked. My weleds were ugly. Seriously, if you can, tig weld !
After the legs (small form factor for portability) I marked the grill lines and welded some angle brackets there.
Step 5: Get a Grill, a Mesh and Put It Together
I got a an old and very bad looking set of grill and plate. A lot of wire brushing later, it looked much more usable.
You can cut yours to side if it's too big or add more angle brackets to support a smaller grill/plate.
Next I added some mesh at the bottom to prevent coals from being directly on the keg wall. The stainless gets hot very quickly, remember ?
It also allows for ash to drop below.
Step 6: Enjoy !
I polished a bit the lid. Sand paper of various grits and called it a day.
Gave it its first burn then proceeded to try it out with good coals and Brazilian style meat. Total success.
Next things I will do;
- Adjust the mesh under a bit
- Adapt a rotisserie (bought cheap at Aldi)
- Make a timber stand with wheels and side table
- Use this BBQ until I die and pass it on to my children