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Boys and their Toys: The Bar-B-Chef Texas Charcoal Grill and P.

Dommy Oct 27, 2006 12:28 AM

I asked SO to write this post a few weeks ago, but he’s been too busy playing with his new grill. You see, I got him The Bar-B-Chef Texas Charcoal Grill for our anniversary.

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/PlayThing.jpg

Needless to say, all subsequent anniversary gifts I give him will probably be a disappointment...

First thing, as with every good toy, we also got all sorts of accessories. So we picked up a HUGE Webber Chimney Starter, a set of BBQ tools (OXO is was the brand of choice), a remote probe thermometer (SO was afraid our regular probe was burn out on such a hot grill), a set of neoprene lined oven mits and gloves (From BB&B), a hand broom (To clean the grill meticulously after each use) and most importantly a whole bunch of lump charcoal (We like B&Bs) and a shovel for said charcoal.

Once we got all ‘outfitted’, it was time to season. Our neighbors (We live in 2 4-plex units with a shared court yard) must have thought we were crazy because when we finally took out big monster (Some had curiously peeked into our garage as SO was building it), our first meal seemed to consist of a tub of crisco...

And so with a GOOD season, we finally were set to start our BBQ parties... first up, the peace offering. We held a cook out for all the neighbors to officially introduce ourselves and feed them before we started to have other people over and then get an angry call from our landlord about big fires and loud parties.

And first we started with lots of grilled veggies and caramelized onions on a cast iron pan.

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Grillin.jpg

As you can see from the picture, the BBQ got SO hot at first it actually got the Cast Iron pan and grates WHITE hot... Here’s a close-up of the onions in the pan... these were the BEST...

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Oniony.jpg

And a close up of the peppers (The Jalapenos were MONSTERS in size, but sadly not as spicy as I’d hoped) and the amount of coals that we had under them...

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Peppy.jpg

And our main course were sausages from Bob’s Market in Santa Monica (We actually got in trouble with the sausage maker because we bought so much without calling him first. :P). Pictured here are Bratwursts and Chicken Apple Sausages.

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Brauts.jpg

And as I posted before, I made Ice Cream Sandwiches for Dessert.

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/ADab.jpg

We set a table up with Potato Salad, Green Salad, Guacamole and Taqueria Chips. We prepared Penzey’s Green Goddess Dressing, but kept most condiments very approachable and ‘brand name’ for our timid neighbors and I rang the dinner bell...

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Da_Spread.jpg

Our cookout started at around 1pm... we were still cooking up sausages till about 10pm... needless to say the cookout and our big boy was a hit and the chances of the neighbors ever calling the cops on us were now SLIM... :

)

And so, with the offering complete, we started to invite friends. The first group featured a real deal BBQ master who was ready to test out how HOT our big boy could get... he decided to make pizzas on the grill...

First, he brought several balls of VERY wet dough... He filled up the bbq with FRESH coals and slapped a thinly pulled piece of dough on it and he waited all of three seconds before he proclaimed it not hot enough...

He said, within SECONDS, the dough should cook and bubble. He added more coal. A few minutes later, he tried again... still no good... FINALLY after a bit more coal in the chamber... he slapped another one down quickly... and the bubbling began almost instantly...

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Doughy.jpg

He flipped over the dough and we saw the beautiful sight of charring... And right there on the grill he added a delicate topping of grilled Choritzo, and Heirloom tomatoes.

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Topped.jpg

We made several other pizzas back to back with all manner of toppings, Buffalo Mozz, Mushrooms, Roasted Peppers, Churico, Sundried Tomatoes, Bruchetta... They were all the best home made pizzas I’ve ever had...

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Cut.jpg

And finally, a food porn shot (I’m finally getting used to my camera... sorta) for dessert after all these pizzas, we had grilled Peaches with a bit of crème friache and a drizzle of honey and a twig of Thyme...

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhoun...

And so if you are in the neighborhood on a weekend, feel free to stop by... all you gotta do is look for the courtyard with a happy Irishman and his big grill...

--Dommy!

  1. r
    roadfix Sep 25, 2008 04:42 PM

    Here's the new temp gauge. It's 3" across and I can read my grill temp from 50 yards away! No kidding.

    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c36...

    1. r
      roadfix Sep 6, 2008 10:06 AM

      My new grill will be put to its initial test this evening. I'm starting off with something simple......Italian hot sausages, hot wings, and some country style ribs..

      Yes, I will take pictures.......of the grill, food, friends, beer, and cigars...

      3 Replies
      1. re: roadfix
        r
        roadfix Sep 7, 2008 10:17 AM

        Initial overall impression of this grill after first use:

        I like it.

        I especially liked the fact that I was able to do indirect cooking simply by cranking the charcoal grate all the way down which saved time and a lot of precious grill space. I loaded the grill with a bunch of chicken wings so I did not have to shove each piece to the cool zone after searing them. Nice...

        But I did not like the cheap temp gauge mounted on the hood. The numbers are tiny, with dual F* and C* scales.....very difficult to read with my tired eyes. And not to mention the inaccuracy of the thing. I intend to just leave that there and mount a better gauge by drilling a new mounting hole in the hood closer to grill level.

        That's all for now...

        George

        1. re: roadfix
          Moose Sep 7, 2008 07:14 PM

          George,

          I've had this grill for just over two years now and I love it. It functions equally well as a smoker as it does a grill, which is the main reason I bought it. I always let it sit in the sun for a few hours so it warms up and doesn't need so much fuel to heat up. If you are grilling only and plan to use the entire grill surface, you'll need two large chimney starters full of coals.

          For smoking purposes, I use one large chimney starter of coals and place the coals on opposite ends, and place my meat in the middle. I like to keep my temp in the 225-250 range.

          I couldn't agree more about the temp gauge - it's pretty much useless, so I removed it and installed a heavy duty one I got from BBQG that also is made by BarB Chef. I had to use a metal drillbit to install it, but it works great. See pic below...

          1. re: Moose
            r
            roadfix Sep 8, 2008 09:43 AM

            Thanks for your reply, Moose!
            I intend to do some smoking with it as well and thanks for the tips. Do you simply keep adding unlit coals to keep the heat going? I've always used my large gas grill with foiled wood chunks for long cooking times.

            Perhaps, like what you did, I'll simply replace the temp gauge with a better unit. I couldn't see the pic you posted, btw.

            George

      2. r
        roadfix Sep 5, 2008 09:33 AM

        Anyway, here are photos of the completed grill. It's sitting on top of cement blocks for now. I seasoned it last night and it's ready for use this weekend.
        I like the full range of motion of the charcoal grate as you can bring the coals up to within an inch of the cooking grate and all the way down about a foot below. You can also compartmentalize the charcoal as you can see.
        It has a fully removable ash pan and a very large firebox access door.

        http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c362/jojisan/P1020794.jpg

        http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c362/jojisan/P1020789.jpg

        http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c36...

        But there is one major design flaw (in my opinion) with this grill. The cast iron grates cannot be lifted up from the front as they are tucked underneath a lip which runs all the way across the front. Each section of the grate can only be removed by lifting the rear of each grate. I will see if this is an inconvenience under actual use.

        George

        1. r
          roadfix Sep 5, 2008 09:24 AM

          So I went to BBQ Galore yesterday and looked at their Bar-B-Chef Texas charcoal grill. The fire box and hood are not cast iron as I suspected, otherwise the thing would have weighed a ton. They are made of heavy gauge rolled steel. Overall, I liked the way the thing was built so I decided to buy it. I got the built-in unit instead of the one with a cart. I will decide later how and where I'm going to mount this thing. Meanwhile, I could temporarily place this thing on cement blocks and operate the grill for the time being.

          The grill came in two large cartons, one for the fire box and the other for the hood.
          I had to 'fix' a couple of things on this grill during assembly as these things were poorly packaged with virtually no protection. I took a photo of one 'damage' although I was able to bring it back into its original shape. I give a grade of D- on packaging. Anyway, I was able to put this thing together and season it last night.

          Here's a photo of one repair job. The fire box is sitting on its back. I had to straighten out the front panel of the grill using a jack.
          (It was more of a hassle for me to haul this thing back and exchange it for another unit......although they will hear from me about this)

          http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c36...

          George

          1. r
            roadfix Sep 2, 2008 01:53 PM

            Hello Dommy,

            How do you like the grill now that you've had it for a couple of years? I'm thinking of getting the same exact grill.
            Hope to hear from you as there are not too many reviews on this particular grill. Thank you!

            George

            10 Replies
            1. re: roadfix
              d
              Dee S Sep 2, 2008 03:40 PM

              I'm not Dommy but we've had this grill for a couple years now. It's wonderful and has held up nicely while stored outside (covered). It's huge and heavy, being constructed from cast iron. Seasoning is probably the most important step before using it. After using, be prepared for a long cool down period. There's nothing you can't cook on this thing. It was expensive but well worth it.

              We also have an Electrolux 57" natrual gas grill (E57NK60ESS) and a Brinkman vertical charcoal smoker. We like outdoor cooking!

              1. re: Dee S
                r
                roadfix Sep 2, 2008 04:21 PM

                Hello Dee,

                Thanks so much for your reply. I have actually not seen this grill in person yet although I plan to go to my local BBQ Galore store this week to take a look and decide for sure. My other choice, which I have not seen in person also, is the Hasty Bake Legacy which has a much smaller grill area, but more expensive. Besides being well made with CI grates, I like their features where the charcoal grates can be adjusted easily, and also the general ease of cleaning with removable ash pans.

                I have a large Kenmore gas grill and have been using a very small Char Griller charcoal grill as well but I decided I need a larger, quality built charcoal grill.

                George

                1. re: roadfix
                  d
                  Dee S Sep 2, 2008 04:31 PM

                  Hi George! You won't regret the purchase. Before you go check out the beast, go to one of your local box handy man stores and look for the Brinkman version. The features are similar but it is not nearly as well made. It is stamped metal with heat resistant paint and not cast iron with powder coated finish. It also has the fuel door and elevator but when you pick up the lid, there's no heft to it. It will open your eyes to how well constructed the beast is and will convince you to make the investment. We did not have anything remotely close to compare to when we purchased ours and did not get to see the beast before taking delivery. I think we've had it for four or five years now.

                  Dee

                  1. re: Dee S
                    r
                    roadfix Sep 2, 2008 04:49 PM

                    Thanks again Dee.
                    I've looked at grills with similar features at Lowe's (Grillware/Perfect Flame brand) but did not like the way they were built as you mentioned. I just love things that are heavy and over built, especially anything made out of cast iron.
                    I'm actually thinking of getting their built-in unit as I will be building my own portable table around this unit out of heavy lumber and brick.
                    I will be checking out their stainless steel model as well and see which one I like better.

                    George

              2. re: roadfix
                Will Owen Sep 2, 2008 04:30 PM

                I'm not Dommy, either, but she and Patrick rolled that grill over to a nearby park a month or two ago, and P. proceeded to grill several hundred sausages that a bunch of us had brought. Lost track of how many kinds there were, but all were good and some were amazing. That's a damn serious grill, too, nothing remotely flimsy about it. It's not perfect - as I recall, adding fuel while it's operating requires removing the grilling grid - but the way it's built it'll probably outlive all of us.

                1. re: Will Owen
                  r
                  roadfix Sep 2, 2008 04:56 PM

                  Hi Will,

                  Thanks for your reply as well. Good to hear your friends are still enjoying their grill! These positive reviews are very encouraging. Thanks!

                  George

                  1. re: roadfix
                    m
                    mar52 Sep 2, 2008 09:15 PM

                    Hi,

                    Excellent grill!!!

                    but PLEASE if you're buying from Barbeques Galore make sure they have the product. Take it home yourself if possible.

                    They are in Chapter 11 and a lot of customers are getting burned.

                    I stocked up on hardwoods last week because they are a good source.

                    1. re: mar52
                      r
                      roadfix Sep 3, 2008 08:59 AM

                      Yes, thank you. I realize they are under Chapter 11.
                      I'm in LA and I've called 2 local locations and they both have them on the showroom floors and in stock. If I decide to purchase I will definitely pick up in person. I'm just hoping they could cut me a good deal while they are re-organizing or wait for their next big sale.
                      I've never purchased from Bbq Galore so I'm not sure if they run a sale often.

                      George

                      1. re: roadfix
                        d
                        Dee S Sep 3, 2008 04:01 PM

                        Bring a truck and a couple of friends. It's big, bulky and heavy so a car is out of the question. Both my husband and I are pretty strong people and we had trouble with, more for size/bulk than overall weight.

                        We ordered ours and it was pallet shipped but they couldn't find our house. We picked it up at the freight company, broke it down and put into the back of our full size van for transport.

                        1. re: Dee S
                          r
                          roadfix Sep 3, 2008 05:54 PM

                          I'm trying to visualize 770 sq in of grill space but I believe that also includes the warming rack.
                          It's strange that Barbeques Galore does not publish detailed specs on these grills. America's Test Kitchen rates highly of this grill and states the grill space as 31' x 19'. Does that sound about right?
                          One way or another, I'll find out for myself tomorrow anyway.

                          George

              3. Davwud Oct 28, 2006 03:14 AM

                You're not kidding "Food Porn." I may have to go see what my wife is doing!!!
                ;-0

                All that said, sounds like a great day. I love it when you just get to cookin' and don't stop. Bit of this. Bit of that. Eat, eat, eat. Ain't nothin' better.

                DT

                BTW Dommy, the tri tip was my great discovery of the summer. Possibly the best piece of cow to be had.

                1. adamclyde Oct 27, 2006 03:55 PM

                  feel blessed you live in an area where tri tip is readily available.

                  how are the cast iron grates holding up, in terms of seasoning, maintenance, etc?

                  1. adamclyde Oct 27, 2006 12:30 PM

                    very cool. and good to see that grill being put to good use. I was beginning to wonder what ever happened...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: adamclyde
                      Dommy Oct 27, 2006 03:53 PM

                      Yeah, this post was going to be dedicated to you Adam... :) Believe me, we've been using that baby even beyond what I've mentioned. We've fallen in love with Santa Maria Tri Tip as well... it's just PERFECT for it because it gets SO hot that it sears BEAUTIFULLY and then on the side without coals it just comes to temp wonderfully so we get the ULTIMATE medium rare roast... Sadly I haven't taken any pictures of that since I get too excitied about eatting it! :)

                      --Dommy!

                    2. g
                      gordon wing Oct 27, 2006 06:52 AM

                      thanks for sharing your stories and your photos.....nice one of the peach!

                      1. Will Owen Oct 27, 2006 05:53 AM

                        We're pushing the Food Porn envelope here, kids...and frankly I think those peaches pushed it a tad over the limit, but I ain't complaining.

                        I guess grills is just bustin' out all over - I recently got a pretty swell gas one; though I'd like another good charcoal grill like the kettle I left in Tennessee, I'm having a good bit of fun with this one. Looks like you guys are doing likewise; nice pics, too!

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