[Homeroast] building a propane drum roaster

Bruce Harrington bruceh54 at msn.com
Tue May 6 14:15:36 CDT 2014

I've been using an RK for nearly 10 years.  As you will likely hear from other RK users, I highly recommend their products. They are well made. Not cheap, but good value.
RK is gone but his company remains. Current offerings are improved and expanded over the originals.  Their site has the best compilation of gas grill drum roasting info to be found.
Beyond the parts obtained from RK, my rig is:
Char-Broil grill (forget the model), ~ $120 at Home Depot back then. Has two gas controls to the ubiquitous oval burner.Rotisserie rod from a Char-Broil kit. I've just ordered a replacement kit from RK. I expect it will be much higher quality.Thermocouple thermometer as sold by Sweet Marias, K type thermocouple with SS sheath and bare bead, and custom plumbing to position the bead nicely close to the rotating drum.Sheet of plain 14 (or 16) gauge steel used for flame deflection.None of the grill mods to improve efficiency, as outlined on the RK Drums site.18 inch SS baker's sieve, with cheap 20 inch box fan for cooling.
To summarize some tips, and engineering pitfalls to avoid:
Be sure there's enough clearance in the grill top and bottom for the mounted drum.Older 6 RPM motors provided with rotisserie kits may sort-of work, but may be torque limited.  Current 1 RPM motors are to be avoided: way to slow rotation, not enough torque.  The 50 - 60 RPM, high torque motors, similar to what RK sells will give best results.Try to avoid grills that have had the maximum gas output (and hence heat output) restricted. Walmart seems to be the major culprit, but other suppliers may follow suit. The RK site has good guidelines on BTU output needed vs batch size.Use a dedicated (new) grill. Don't try to share one you use for cooking food.A good thermometer, properly positioned, will save much frustration.A decent kitchen timer is very handy.Shelter from the wind is nice, especially in winter, but good ventilation is critical.
Good luck!

Taking a trim on the trail of previous posts ...

> Date: Tue, 6 May 2014 12:39:27 -0500
> From: bkamnetz at gmail.com
> To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] building a propane drum roaster
> Mike,
> I hope others with actual experience pipe up, but what I recall from the
> list discussions is that, as you suggest, the people who had the best luck
> used dedicated gas grills, that were insulated, and also had some way of
> being sheltered from wind. This would have been something like 2007, but it
> seems like they were using specific grills that weren't expensive,
> something like $100 at that time. But my memory could be playing tricks on
> me.
> Brian
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