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Old 10-09-2009, 10:00 PM   #1
Mister Moo
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Default BBQ Grill Coffee Roaster

My four burner grill, topped with some quilted Nomex/batting as insulation (aluminized fiberglass would serve the same purpose), will take 2-pounds to a very even roast (city+ or more) in as little as 12-minutes. If I bothered to put a spill-resistant door on the drum it'd probably manage three- or more pounds. It's fast to set up, roast quality is excellent and control is fair - fair enough for me, anyhow. I can heat up beans fast enough to blow divits out of them or take temps up, down and up with adjustments on burners, flipping the insulation blanket on/off or simply lifting the lid for a few moments.

The thing with the BBQ grill is this. If you roast single origins for your drinking pleasure or, perhaps two-bean blends, it's great. The SO or modest two-bean blend which is fine for any coffee except espresso. But if you're roasting for espresso blends and plan on roasting three or four different beans independently you need to take a second look. I'm sure there are folks who love some kind of SO espresso 24/7 or they're happy with three-bean premixed greens, but I'm not him.

So the math. I don't like to roast more than two-pounds of any three- or four bean blend (I'm mostly a four-bean guy) because, after allowing for a couple of days of resting, I have a 10-14 day supply. If I roast more, it'll begin to stale. If I roast less it's like being a coffee slave. So, if I'm regularly roasting three or four batches of eight-to-12 ounces I think the SCCO does as good (or better) a job with a lot less hassle.

When roasting more than a pound/week of a SO or two-bean premix, typical for a press around the Moo household unit, I prefer the BBQ. The rocket ride for those who multi-task well and like multibean espresso blends is to put the biggest load in the grill and run the smaller lots simultaneously in an SCCO.

The nice auto-roasters that handle less than a pound fall on the exotic but functionally equivalent side of the SCCO in this scheme.
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: BBQ Grill Coffee Roaster

How is this bad boy constructed? This sounds like a good upgrade for me from heat gun / dog bowl roasting.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: BBQ Grill Coffee Roaster

Parts list:

1. a 4-burner grill
2. a square-rodded roasting drum with agitation fins inside. I used a perforated stainless wastebasket, some stainless sheet for the fins (pop-rivited inside) and a steel strap to locate the square rod. The square rod came from a rotisserie set.
3. a 30rpm AC motor (excellent speed - no scorching ; got the motor from McMaster Carr) mounted on a a couple of pieces of wood to achieve the right height for lining up with the rod/motor
4. some cheapie quick-release clamps to lock the motor to the grill when needed. CLamps eliminate drilling holes in your grill sidetable.
5. a Lovejoy spider coupler for a quick mate/release between square rod and motor. Very sweet little piece of hardware, the Lovejoy spider coupler. It'll give you +/- a few degrees of slack if your alignment is imperfect. You could probably do the same with a U-joint from a socket set.
6. a vac or blower system strong enough to cool and de-chaff a couple of pounds of beans. I use a 5-gallon shopvac, a 30-gallon cardboard drum and a bif, coarse-screened strainer from Target. Shopvac is nice for quick change between vac and blow; also good for cleaning the inside the grill after it cools off.

I already had everything laying around except the motor ($30 approx) so out of pocket was low. Old vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uNXxunsGKo

Many, many very neat ideas here, by the way:

http://www.sweetmarias.com/homemade-homeroasters.php
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: BBQ Grill Coffee Roaster

Dan thanks for the links. Some of those setups are awesome.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: BBQ Grill Coffee Roaster

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Originally Posted by leasingthisspace View Post
Dan thanks for the links. Some of those setups are awesome.
My deal is basic and functional, if unoriginal. Next roast I'll try cooling the beans tumbling in the drum after the heat is cut off. It's pretty robust - I doubt anything will crack.

The drum, below, in shinier days (in service for 7-8 years) gets a door to expand capacity. It will prevent beans from falling into the grill as they expand; the cone, left side in photo, limits the load to less than the capability of the gas grill; it was originally used with a 1650W tabletop electric.

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Old 10-13-2009, 02:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: BBQ Grill Coffee Roaster

That is a very spiffy roaster .

Not being a gas grill fan I don't know that much about them. I have this image of the big black rectangle in my head that I have seen a million times over. I really like the size or should I say lack of size your setup is.

It would be great to be able to do the cooling right in place, hope it works.
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:28 PM   #7
Mister Moo
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Default Re: BBQ Grill Coffee Roaster

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Originally Posted by germantown rob View Post
That is a very spiffy roaster .

Not being a gas grill fan I don't know that much about them. I have this image of the big black rectangle in my head that I have seen a million times over. I really like the size or should I say lack of size your setup is.

It would be great to be able to do the cooling right in place, hope it works.
Not a gas grill man, myself. G'rob. The current 4-burner is my first in 58 years, a gift from Mrs. Moo as a dedicated roaster. Needless to say it has seen plenty of ribs and chicken, too.

The electric diddle (above photo) wasn't too bad but it wasn't hot enough for more than 12-14 ounces without some insulation and, preferably, micro-nuked preheated green beans. I mighta been better with a smaller, lighter weight drum. I used it for years but the gas jobber is more better; I am also blessed with a 250-gal underground propane tank buried out back and a gas outlet at the deck. That gas outlet makes things much less hassle.
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