Introduction: Recirculating Gravy Fountain

Picture of Recirculating Gravy Fountain

thanksgiving 2k5 : what's more excessive than a giant pie? recirculating fountains of food seemed like the obvious escalation. a custom peristaltic pump design powered by an electric drill provided a gushing torrent of delicious, piping hot gravy.

Step 1: Pump Design

Picture of Pump Design

the key component of a gravy fountain is a gravy pump. while there are a wide variety of commonly available
pumps based on impellers, these would at best cut up the giblets or even jam on thick gravy. instead we
based our design on the peristaltic pump, used, for example, to move blood without damaging the blood
cells (blood cells being analogous to giblets and blood being analogous to gravy).

six plastic rollers arrayed in a hexagon (nature's polygon) roll against a large diameter flexible hose.
pockets of gravy trapped between two successive rollers are gently transported around the circumference
and squirted out the top.

the sheet metal backing plate (leftovers from the previous thanksgiving) was left intentionally springy to
assure a good seal without precise tolerances. the tubing was glued to the backing plate with construction
adhesive providing a strong but flexible bond.

to power the pump, we used a cheap electric drill from harbor freight. this is an incredibly easy way
to add a variable speed, high torque motor to any project which mates with a wide range of shaft diameters
thanks to the adjustable chuck. we added a dimmer switch to provide better control over the motor speed
but it was ultimately run at a considerable clip. like most ac motors, the drill had relatively little torque at low speeds and tended to stall out under the pressure of 10 gallons of delicious gravy.

Step 2: Fountain Plumbing

Picture of Fountain Plumbing

with the pump assembeled, the rest of the fountain was plumbed. a large stock pot
heated by an electric burner functioned as the resivoir. a hole was drilled in the side to
accept a sink drain fitting which was potted in with caulk. the spout was another item
from the plumbing isle. the tasteful, minimalist crome pipe was purposely chosen over
the obvious possiblities involving cupids (but only after much discussion). zip ties sealed
the hose to standard sink plubing. a plywood enclosure hid the resivour and hot plate and
provided structure to hold the silver bowls over which the gravy cascaded.

Step 3: Making 10 Gallons of Gravy

Picture of Making 10 Gallons of Gravy

step 1: make 10 gallons of stock

- 15-20 pounds chicken bones and backs
- 5 pounds yellow oneion, peeld and cut into 16ths
- 3 pounds carrots, scrubbed not peeld and cut into 1 inch lengths
- 1 head celery, washed and cut into large pieces
- handful of fresh thyme, half bunch of parsley, large pinch of black pepper and 2-3 bayleaves

toss bones and vegtables with vegetable oil and roast in a hot 450 degree oven until rich
dark brown color. place in a stock pot and cover with cold water. deglaze pan with white
wine, bring to boil then lower heat to simmer for 1.5 hours, skimming as you go. strain
stock, chill and reserve for gravy.

step 2: makin gravy

- 2.5 pounds butter
- 2.5 pounds flour

melt butter and add the flour, stirring constantly, until smooth. cook, watching like a
hawk until the mixture is aromatic and colored to your desire.

add cold stock to hot roux to make a smooth paste.

stir until smooth then add the rest of the stock to the pan. roux
does not work until the mixture comes to boil.

bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. add giblets as desired.
simmer for 10-15 minutes and season to taste. seasonings can
be added after the gravy is loaded in the fountain

Step 4: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

nothing quite like a gurgling stream of gravy. the final rate of flow was probably closer to gushing, perhaps that of two garden hoses. combined with the noise and steam, it made for quite a sight. the dog likely thought it had achieved nirvana.

Step 5: Bonus Fountains

Picture of Bonus Fountains

of course there are many other joyous foods deliverable via fountain. the gravy fountain was presented as part of a triumvirate of recirulated pleasures which included a singapore sling fountain and a hard sauce fountain. the latter two, while delicious, involved only fairly mundane application of existing consumer goods.


canida (author)2008-11-24

This Instructable was featured on NPR's Here & Now on November 24, 2008!

buskrat (author)2014-02-17

Was this made for honey boo boo lol but seriously the pump system is brilliant just brilliant and can be used for several applications

boomshakalacka12 (author)2013-11-19

HAHA this is hilarious!! I love it

mnmama (author)2013-11-19

You are having WAY TOO MUCH FUN!! I'm thinking your parties are the ones that get the most memorable votes from family and friends. Thanks for the smile.

KevinOKane (author)2013-08-28

This gravy fountain most certainly does not look that simple to build and I think it does require certain expertise and skillset too in order to be achieved. Plumbing skills are also crucial so as to ensure the gravy goes straight down to the bottom instead of towards all over the place because the gravy is hot and it might just hurt someone if not done up properly. I would consider doing this innovative and useful fountain should I have a party in the future. It would be great for fruit punch as well.

sethcim (author)2011-04-09

This is the most totally amazing thing ever!

shaun (author)2006-10-17

Jesus Christ on a moped, this person is a genius!

maker12 (author)shaun2007-12-19

i like mopeds

ilpug (author)maker122011-03-19

Apparently, so does Jesus.

adamvan2000 (author)2007-10-23

I know this'll sound gross, but would the addition of a spout like a squatting cupid facing the back of the fountain be too much? I mean, with gravy and all? (OK, I know I'm inviting hate mail for that one, or milk-through-the-nose laughs) ~adamvan2000

tristan993 (author)adamvan20002008-11-24

i like that idea

ilpug (author)tristan9932011-03-19

you people are sick, in the best sense of the word :D

Warlrosity (author)adamvan20002009-05-30

I loev that idea! Add lumps or a tiny loo ans shoot it out of that!

rickyd! (author)adamvan20002008-11-24

what a great idea

hammertong (author)adamvan20002008-11-24

The gravy fountain would be surprising enough, any sort of sculpture with gravy flowing from any orifice would just add to the presentation. Hand, bucket, weiner, butt, nose, who cares where it comes from, as long as it tastes good.

kenbob (author)2010-11-14

This is the next best thing to a bacon fountain;)

ilpug (author)kenbob2011-03-19

add bacon bits?

4n0n4mb16u05 (author)2010-12-22

Mmm, scalding!

mr.squeakers (author)2010-11-14

i asked my mom if i could build one for thanks giving and she said no its gross

wobbler (author)mr.squeakers2010-11-16

I'd have to say, in this case, mum knows best!

TANZMEISTER (author)wobbler2010-12-10

I say build one anyway. Then throw a party and put something else in it! Mums do not always know best!

wobbler (author)TANZMEISTER2010-12-12

Hmmm! Beer or wine might work better and my mum might approve, especially if I don't tell her. I think more might come to my party than to a gravy party.

TANZMEISTER (author)wobbler2010-12-13

I like the idea of attaching the fountain portion to a slushy machine. Blended Margaritas Here I Come!

MT-LB (author)2009-11-04

a cheese fountain would be nice

TANZMEISTER (author)MT-LB2010-12-10

all I can say is, NACHO BAR!

Dumbhead (author)2010-11-16

In the photo where we can see the spillway from above, there seems to be a fair amount of splash taking place.... in actual use, how much spillage is there really? There would be obvious health concerns if the wood could be soaked with gravy or other biomaterial

TANZMEISTER (author)Dumbhead2010-12-10

I hope your not planning on eating the wood! Just clean it when your done just like a cutting board

Arnoldofingo (author)2010-11-18

My God,
You've made a gravy Dialysis machine~!

TANZMEISTER (author)Arnoldofingo2010-12-10

I can't seem to find the "like" button, but i'd press it if I could!

seabee890 (author)2010-11-22

i am trying to decide if ironic is the corrrect word to be used for making a pump for something that will larwe require a pump for pumping blood? wonderful creativity

iLuxor (author)2010-11-21

Does this work with chocolate?

codongolev (author)iLuxor2010-11-22

it would, but you'd need a heat source. also, because there's nothing to damage in chocolate, you could probably create a much less bulky pump (I think the norm is an auger system).

Brother_Bear (author)2006-06-01

Hmmm slushie frosen marguritas come to mind instead of gravy :) Migtht be a project for later in the summer :D

turkey tek (author)Brother_Bear2006-06-16

the pump design would probably work pretty well if the slush was liquid enough to feed into the lower side. replacing the heating element with a cooling element might be a tad more difficult.

wingnuts (author)turkey tek2010-11-18

use a salt and ice bath to freeze it. Just like an ice cream maker.

Brother_Bear (author)turkey tek2006-06-17

Not if you use a peltier element.

mathieulj (author)2010-11-15

I cant decide whether to drool,... or vomit.

wingnuts (author)mathieulj2010-11-18

Do either, but not in the gravy please.

attosa (author)2010-11-18

That's amazing and uber cute :)

LemurX (author)2010-11-18

I... I just... I'm so happy. :,)

Thank you so much for this.

meritsetgo (author)2010-11-18

everything was fine with the concept made it recirculate!

BTW if you love chili and cheese dogs from 7-11 here in the US the dispensers for those delectable pastes use the same principle of spinning wheels againts a feeding tube to produce a vacuum to suck out the contents from the vaccum packed pouch

tswain4 (author)2010-11-18

This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I cried. Unbridled creativity.

ieso53 (author)2010-11-18

The idea of the "Pump design" is genius.

captain Jack (author)2010-11-16

abhorrently disgusting, yet somehow extremely creative...

codongolev (author)2010-11-16

thanksgiving 2010- uncle jim is forever banned from thanksgiving dinner when he was found facedown drinking the gravy and only coming up when he needed a breath. he had been there for at least ten minutes before aunt gertrude finally pulled him out.

KryptoTSD (author)2010-11-16

That ROCKS my SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OtisDrftwood (author)2010-11-16

Two girls one fountain?

Fzdowg (author)2010-11-15

why not create a new way to cook a roast? add some extra fittings and recirculate the drippings over the roast. Make with some au jus this is the best french dip EVER

harthoppy (author)2010-11-14

This is greatness!!!!!
My wife wont let me make one but this is Funny!!!

herbvee (author)2008-05-20

Would it be possible to have the gravy spewing from the turkey? I'm on it

About This Instructable




Bio: thanksgiving! ...and bringing technology to this traditional celebration of excess.
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