I made a UDS – it worked – and it worked really well. Never had BBQ like it. I thought, is there better? Then I started to lust after a kamado. BGE –> KamajoJoe –> Grill Dome –> Primo! I wanted a Primo.
The kamado attraction was reduced heat loss – – leading to reduced airflow.
Many people were using Oak Barrels as smokers. I loved the look – but there were problems. Some burst into flames, some had uncontrollable fires. Some people recommended that you fill the barrel with water every 3~6 months to keep the staves from drying out. – There is a beautiful thing – that could make beautiful things. All I had to do was solve the problems.
Ugly DucklingS –> Beautiful Kamado the BK
In making these – I thought how hard can it be to make a smoke, grill and oven kamado in a barrel.
Over time the wood has to be stopped from drying out and catching fire. Um.. What if the wood didn’t matter and I put a Big Green Egg on the inside.
After some searching, there is a thing called castable refractory. All I need do is line the barrel with this stuff and we’re done.
How do I create a mould for the barrel – and get the mould out again.
Lid: I have lined the lid all of a sudden this thing weighs 60~70Kgs. Holy crap this is not liftable.
Base: The base is lined , with some holes in to let the air in. The fire basket would not get very hot. The issue was the airflow. I needed loads more air than I was wanting.
There are now more problems than when I started.
Mould – getting the cast to stay where I want it.
- Lid weight – Not useable just too heavy.
- Internal air flow
In truth, these were just the start of my problems.
How was the air controlled? On the UDS I drilled holes into the side. Used a weber kettle lid which had a thin adjustable airflow thingy. Worked well.
The seals – I bought some replacement felt – that leaked more smoke than without it.
The yacht varnish was starting to bubble and discolour – that got to be changed with what?
We need to stop the refractory from cracking and falling apart?
I wanted the same functionality as a kamado with the looks of an old handcrafted wine barrel.
Gradually over time (4 years) the problems were being solved.
A counter-balance hinge was created with stainless springs and hinge components. This made the lid easily liftable.
Our moulds went through various iterations – with some not-so-funny-moments.
Insulation and where to put it.
Types of refractory were numerous and where do we get them.
The wood-finish has been formulated in-house and now works.
A catch for the lid – after what seemed to be a never-ending quest – has been found.
Top-vents – don’t get me started on top-vents. The design had to have certain things. Rain-proof, removable for the table, left-and-right control, adjustable with bear-hands, leak-proof(smoke), leak-proof liquid – no ugly streaks on the beautiful oak top. non-corrosive. Build-able by us. Can’t afford to buy 1000s of these things.
Seals: we tested various materials – what I don’t know about ‘Shore hardness’ which I never knew existed.
Rotisserie: had to have one of these.
Flexible cooking options – well have to have these too.
Now we have a beautiful kamado fit to grace any residence.
Something unique and beautiful.
“This is a piece of art”