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The Morgan's Open-Grill - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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The Morgan's Open-Grill

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  • The Morgan's Open-Grill

    We decided to build an open-pit style grill for our yard. We are using a space next to our oven for a few reasons... It's a good safe place for an open fire and hot coals, it was a good use of the weird little space next to the oven, and the stucco finish will make it blend into our "oven complex".

    We had been researching traditional style Italian barbecues and had really liked the concept, but adding another chimney to a cooking "appliance" in our back yard just didn't suit us. We have been cooking a lot on open grills lately (an old Coleman unit and a fire pit in our patio table), and we feel just a simple open grill will suffice for our needs.

    The premise of the design is to use it from the front side of the oven where we just need to lean slightly forward over the bench that runs along the front of the oven.

    We began by pouring a small concrete slab to provide a level support and then dry-stacked concrete blocks. We inserted some rebar into the wet slab where the voids in the corners of the concrete blocks would go... Dry stack blocks and fill voids with concrete. We then made a form around the top and filled with concrete with rebar pieces inserted horizontally. This concrete protrusion will encompass the firebrick that will line the pit.



    Here's the forms removed...



    The open area in the back will serve two purposes; It will store an ash drawer and will have a louvered door in it to provide under-fire air. The angle-iron and rod structure in the next two photos support the bottom bricks. The bricks will be spaced 1/4" apart so air may "peculate"-up through and into the coal bed.





    We made this rack and set in place, then leveled the entire elevation with mortar so the bricks have a level surface to rest upon. After the bottom bricks are placed, the side bricks will set in an be retained by an upper angle-iron frame that will secure them in place. This frame will stabilize the bricks and provide a means for attaching accessory items for what ever grills, stands, spacers we will eventually develop. The entire structure will get covered with stucco like the oven.

    That's our plan (in motion)...We'll update soon!

    The Morgans

  • #2
    Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

    Last weekend I was pretty lazy and pretty much just loafed-around house. To make up for it, in the evenings of this last week I worked a little here, and a little there and made good progress.

    I added fire brick and made an angle iron frame to cap and captivate the brick. This is the view from the from where one would stand to fuss-over the food being grilled:




    Here's a shot of the back side. We applied some of the stucco to the bottom inside of that opening and created a ramp, from the front to the back for drainage. We plan to build an ash-removal drawer that will slide in there, and a door (perhaps integrated into the ash pan) that will close off this area, but allow air inside through either louvers or an adjustable (controllable) opening.




    Some years ago, our daughter gave us this nice little plaque. We never found a very good place to display it... Until now! We glued it onto the side of the concrete blocks before stucco-ing. Its a bunch a frogs in a neat little design...Good for a garden.




    This shot shows how the BBQ ties-in with the oven and the general outdoor area of our home. We hope to keep the fires burning!




    What's left to do is to make the ash drawer and door, a weather-minded lid/cover, pavers around the base area of the BBQ, and we need to develope racks, holders and accessories for various grilling needs. We plan to innaugurate the BBQ this weekend with some shashlik, so a little "R&D" will occur then.

    Ciao e presto!

    The Morgans

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    • #3
      Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

      Nice looking grill. How high and wide is the bench at the front? Looks to make cooking a bit difficult.
      Robert

      I love watching my crust rise and change colour in my WFO.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

        Yeah, it's about 34 inches high and 20 inches deep. It does make you lean over a tad. We're thinking that with BBQ tools and skewers it will be OK. We'll find out tonight as we plan on some marinated lamb for dinner. If I can remember, I'll try to get a photo or two showing someone working the grill for perspective.

        The Morgans

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

          Today we used the grill for the first time. We started a fire with scraps of small peices of wood from our stash. Right away it was apparent that it breathed well. One note - when a slight gust of wind would blow against the back side, ashes were blown upward and about.

          Initial wood fire;




          Olivia poses with the wood charcoal. We really like this stuff. It's easy to light, burns hot and even, and doesn't burn too long (as in hours after you're done cooking).




          Olivia's standing on my splitting stump, but I'm just standing on the ground. We wanted to post a pic that shows how the grill is effectively used from in front of the counter. You can see in cavity below the fire, that ashes are already accumlating. We need to build an ash drawer soon, and a louvered door to keep it in there and keep wind from blowing up through the coals.




          Here's what we had for dinner. Olivia had an adventure riding in our kubelwagen and going around town for charcoal, some garden plants, and lamb for the skewers. You can see the glow in this photo within the coal bed. Air is drawn through the bricks beautifully. In fact, it was just a little too hot for these peices of lamb.




          We need to make an adjustable rack system and ash drawer/ door, but we are very pleased with the performance of this grill. Tomorrow, it's steak, so I'll need to McGuiver some sort of rack adjustment, but this is all good R&D.

          Bon Appetit !

          The Morgans

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

            That bench doesn't seem too bad with you leaning slightly forward not as much of a stretch as i thought. Plenty of room to put your beer, food, tools etc.
            Last edited by robs; 07-01-2010, 05:34 AM.
            Robert

            I love watching my crust rise and change colour in my WFO.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

              We've used it quite a bit now, and it works just fine. We also build an open-fire in it during the evening after dark and it adds a nice ambiance to our patio area as a fire pit. It was a simple, easy addition to our patio area that has a dual-purpose and we are very pleased with it. Using it as a fire pit this winter should help lure us outdoors.

              The Morgans

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

                Excellent, very nice idea, functional, and looks good too!

                Rick

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

                  Originally posted by vintagemx0 View Post
                  We need to make an adjustable rack system and ash drawer/ door, but we are very pleased with the performance of this grill. Tomorrow, it's steak, so I'll need to McGuiver some sort of rack adjustment, but this is all good R&D.

                  Bon Appetit !

                  The Morgans
                  Vintage! that is a beautiful job, nice fire pit! Really, really nice.

                  I hope I am not hijacking your thread but I also need to make an adjustable rack system, so now I am asking all of you for some suggestions on how to build/design an adjustable grill or fire/coal support to finish my pit. I have included some photos of my fire pit during the construction stage that I would like to use for a couple of different purposes. It has already been used as a fire pit and I need to add some pieces (I can weld) to be able to use it as a BBQ pit during larger parties. I have a separate gas fired BBQ on the upper porch for daily family cooking and a separate WFO for pizzas, roasts and making little lambs delicious! In other words, the first use will be as a fire pit and the second use as a "overflow" BBQ.

                  Anyway you can see in the pics below how mine is put together, what you cant see is the floor of fire bricks that I have added, and there will be a bull nose brick counter top on the two lower portions of the fire pit and a concrete counter top on the upper bar section. I also have power available for a future rack for occasional cooking of whole lambs or pigs that will sit on the two side brick counter tops.



                  Last edited by EricU; 01-25-2011, 08:41 PM.
                  Thanks, Eric

                  My 42" dome build pics in Napa

                  My build thread part I

                  My build thread part II

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

                    Vintagemx

                    I like your grill. I'm planning a similar one. I'm looking for a large grill grate like you're using in the photos. Can you tell me what size it is and where you got it?

                    Thanks,
                    Paul

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

                      Really nice! I am thinking of doing the same and I am just starting to look into how to do it, my last one was made from house bricks dry stacked supporting half an oil drum.

                      Seeing as you are cooking on the embers is there any need for the fire bricks? Do you cook for much longer after the embers have died? I find my coals do not always last long enough to cook a variety of foods.

                      Would an ash draw and door cut down the air flow to any significance and finally...

                      ...do you now have a cover for when it rains? If not does the ash get wet and flow?

                      Cheers!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

                        Thanks!

                        We don't do much heavy cooking on it yet - mostly the occasional couple of steaks and various meats-on-a-sticks. My wife is urging me to build a rotisserie contraption so we can do some Brazillian-style steaks and roast some yummy birds.

                        I used firebrick simply because I didn't put a lot of thought into it. I just felt like it would be a good material, but I did make sure that they were easily to replace. I'm glad I did use them because quite often after we've cooked, we'll throw some firewood on there and use it as a firepit. We really enjoy the ambience it makes and love the dual purpose the simple little thing is providing for us. I would think the firebrick helps protect the cement and blocks from thermal stress.

                        I prefer to use mesquite wood coal, and I too find it burns fairly quickly. For the most part, it burns plenty long enough to cook for my wife and I, and I do kinda like the fact that they die-off fairly quickly after we're finished. I think if we were cooking a lot of food or doing a slow rotisserie roast, then care would have to be taken to slowly add fuel at a rate that basically keepd pace with what is expiring, but that's part of the fun right? Fussing with the fire with a beer in one hand...

                        I was going to build a door with some kind of air control, but have decided not to do it. I really don't think it is necassary and the best way to control the heat is to just move the food either closer or further from the coals. Right now, I'm just using some extra bricks to adjust the height of our grill, but plan to weld some little tubes to the metal frame we have going around the bricks to accomodate the insertion of some other metalwork that will offer a better way to make the height adjustments as required. Haven't really thought it through yet, but will incorporate the rotisserie idea and any other accessories that come to mind.

                        We don't have a cover for the weather (and it rains a lot here). It doesn't harm the grill, and the ash runs down into the cavity below and accumulates in a baking pan I have down there to help with ash disposal. It really doesn't make a mess. The only mess I can speak to is when you have to scrape out wet ashes from the top of the bricks so you can make a new fire - it can make a mess of whatever you're using to scrape it out with, but rinses easily.


                        Thanks for the interest, and be sure to post your project as well.

                        Regards,

                        Ken Morgan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

                          A rotisserie does sound good and firebricks would probably help to cook the food all the way through.

                          I would like to store firewood under my grill so I will probably have to work something out to keep the ashes and the wood seperate. I want to keep the idea of the ventilation through the bottom of the grill though, that sounds like a vast improvement over my old BBQ.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

                            Here's a picture of our grill working on some steaks for us.



                            And then a little later, after we've eaten and just want to relax, it doubles as a firepit



                            We highly recomend adding a little open-pit grill - you'll just love it.

                            -The Morgans

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

                              I like your height adjustment apparatus!

                              Well it looks like the next shipment of ovens will not get here in time for Christmas, apparently this wood fired oven thing is catching on. Anyway, I will be needing the fire pit now to replace the half oil drum BBQ which is more rust than metal.

                              Ours is quite close to the wooden fence and we have overhanging trees, it would be nice to have it in a more central location so that we could sit around it but as it is away from the main seating area we probably won't be able to see the fire, unless the fence catches of course.

                              Comment

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