In search of perfection – the grill

This is the first phase of creating a fully adjustable charcoal grillĀ  made of concrete, bricks and steel that is continuously fed with new embers. This is the ideation and planning post before actually doing it. I call it the elevator grill.


Somehow grilling is a very DIY kind of cooking method. The internet is full with studies on how to achieve perfection with various grills. An the battle between gas and charcoal keeps on raging. I myself enjoy the adjustability of gas and the taste of charcoal. If I have a choice, I almost always go to charcoal.

Now that I’m quite happy with my dry-aging setup and the results, I decided to look into the ways on how to cook it the best way. Besides, summer is here – is there anything better than doing outdoor crafts and cooking? Also, my bloomery is on hold until I manage to acquire some iron ore.

Most adjustable charcoal grills are of the Santa Maria style, or Argentinian style grill, where the grill or griddle is hung on chain or wire and attached to an axle, that can the be used to ratchet the griddle higher from the heat source. Temperature vise this is perfect! But my issue is that the working height is also being adjusted and that’s something I’d like to avoid.

Enter the adjustable fire bed.

The idea

My idea was to hang the fire bed on the chains and use the ratchet to adjust the distance from the grilled food. However, I started thinking, that a threaded rod and a gear would eliminate the need to lock system separately, thus providing me with more flexibility and a quicker way to adjust the temperature. So I’m basically looking to build a fire proof shelf on top of linear actuators.


Looking into adjustable charcoal grills, I mostly find products and article related either to the argentine grills or some methods on conrolling the airflow, and thus the temperature. The traditional spherical charcoal grill is great, but I can’t use wood to fire it up.

I found a product that has an adjustable pan for the charcoal, but it is not a integrated thing for my leftover bricks. The lonestar grillz is an awesome looking product, see for yourself in the yoube video below

The concept evolves

Adjustable charcoal grill
The first draft that I drew to explain my idea to a friend
adjustable charcoal grill
The second draft that should be more ash and grime proof
Adjustable charcoal grill
Changing the linear actuator into a threaded rod and gears
adjustable charcoal grill
Last hand drawn sketches of the adjustable charcoal grill to solve some stability issues
First scaled draft of the steel mechanics. The “brass” colour depicts the threaded rods, the yellow the fire resistant bricks and everything else is steel
adjustable charcoal grill
First scaled draft of the steel mechanics. The “brass” colour depicts the threaded rods and everything else is steel
The masonry in place
Latest version of the grill
The masonry and the fire resistant bricks in place

I still have some issues in the design on the support of the horizontal axels as well as the stability of the threaded rods. I haven’t even begun to plan the gears and strap required for the crank.

I’m also a bit worried about heat expansion. And things that I haven’t even started to properly consider are ash removal, maintenance and probably eventually the grills and lids.

Next steps

I’d like to hear some comments regarding the plan. What are the weak spots, what haven’t I thought about? I’m planning to find a metal shop whose willing to work with me in creating the “heart” of the grill and I’m especially looking forwards on hearing their comments.

Come July and I’ll most probably start preparing the concrete slab to work as a foundation for this.

If you have any thoughts, please leave a comment below!

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