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Cruisingsail

Ceramic Grill Store Rig

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2 hours ago, fafrd said:

 

Interesting reading that old thread on the history of CGS for PB24.

 

Also makes me feel like I'm living through GroundHog Day - gapot a response from Tom

 

And making me feel like it's Groundhog Day - just heard back from Tom who confirmed CGS has no spider that will fit my 18" ID fire bowl (17-3/4" ID 1-1/2" below the rim where the legs bend in).

 

So I am interested in your advice on modifying either the PB24/LG24 spider or the vision XL Spider to fit my LG24.

 

Cutting the stainless rod is no issue, it's primarily how to unbend the legs before rebending.  Did you straighten a leg before rebending it?  If so, how?

 

One thought I had was to just bend all 3 legs clockwise aroubd the circle a bit - this will reduce the ID.

 

The LG24/PB24 spider drops down 1-3/4" (below the notches) while the XL Vision Spider drops 2-1/4" (probably because the XL Vision firebowl has no notches) so I'm also interested in your opinions as to which drop would be better for my application.

 

The only uses I am interested in a spider for are primarily one and possibly a second:

 

High-temp searing - I'll probably try using the webber fire grate on the spider to raise the charcoal bed and if that fails, get a 16" cooking grate and do it your way - for both of these scenarios, the deeper drop-down seems better.

 

Positioning Heat Deflector below the AR - I'm still struggling to see a scenario where I'll need to do this, but the spider makes it possible (and higher is probably better for this scenario).

 

If I can fit ribs on the 20" top grid and the 18" grid positioned in the middle, it look like I'll be able to position my 5/8" thick x 16" diameter heat deflector and an 16" drip pan in the lowest position, but if that doesn't work or blocks too much smoke flow, I'll need to move the heat deflector into the firebowl.  Higher is better only because it means more space for fuel, but since this will only be for ribs, fuel capacity shouldn't be a concern.

 

So I'm thinking deeper woukd be better and perhaps I should try to rebend an XLV Spider like you did rather than a PB24/LG24 Spider...

 

Thoughts?

 

UPDATE:  Tom at CGS finally called me back and as we discussed my sub-standard LG24 firebowl.  My firebowl has an ID of 18” even at the rim rather than 18-1/4” which is the size the LG24/PB24 Spider is designed for - mine is apparently the first bowl of this slightly smaller size they’ve heard of, so I double-checked my measurements.

 

Tom said they could make me a customized Spider with legs which are 1/8” shorter than standard and vertical bends positioned 1/8” closer to the center ring than standard, so problem solved and my order has been placed!

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Interesting.  I think my PB spider will fit in an 18" bowl like yours judging by how it fits in my just under 18.25" replacement bowl with space to spare.  My custom Vision one probably would not since the inside is almost exactly the same, but the Vision XL one was made with thicker wire.  

 

As for bending the leg, yes, I straightened it and then re-bent.  Tools used were a propane/MAP torch, a heavy bench vise, and a 4 lb hammer.  Cut and weld would be easier if you have a stainless capable welding setup handy, but much more expensive if you don't.  

 

The weber charcoal grate is 17" and just fits in my spiders.  If it doesn't fit yours, just notch out a section of the outer ring to make room for one leg.  Or get a 16" grate for searing.      

 

For sub 300 degree cooks, you will have plenty of fuel for 12+ hour cooks with a lowered deflector.  I run the deflector in the spider, 1/4" of spacer and then the drip pan (spacer keeps drippings from smoking).  You need some airspace above that or your first grate will be cooler without much airflow, so the first usable grate isn't the firebowl level, but one notch up in the AR.  For two shelves you have over 4" for large meats between notch 1 and the top.  If you have the deflector at the top of the firebowl, the first usable notch is 2, and you only have 3" or so between levels.  Plenty for ribs and chicken parts, but not brisket or pork butts.    For real thin stuff, you can do three grates in the notches and a 4th on top. 

 

BTW, if you keep doing 900+ degree cooks your firebowl with "self upgrade" to a Kamado Joe like multi piece firebowl (aka crack into a half dozen pieces) and the diameter will expand.  My original 18.25" bowl is now 18.5-18.75".  I got a replacement bowl, but once it cracked apart the original is holding up great so I am still using it.  

 

Also, I don't think your plan to raise the charcoal bed will work well.  One of the keys to getting high heat out of a charcoal fire is a deep bed of coals.  The air gets heated more as it rises past more and more hot charcoal.  Better to mostly fill the bowl and put the searing grate just over the fire.  

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11 minutes ago, m-fine said:
Quote

 

Interesting.  I think my PB spider will fit in an 18" bowl like yours judging by how it fits in my just under 18.25" replacement bowl with space to spare.  My custom Vision one probably would not since the inside is almost exactly the same, but the Vision XL one was made with thicker wire.  

 

As for bending the leg, yes, I straightened it and then re-bent.  Tools used were a propane/MAP torch, a heavy bench vise, and a 4 lb hammer.  Cut and weld would be easier if you have a stainless capable welding setup handy, but much more expensive if you don't.  

 

 

Oh, so you heat before straghtening - good idea.  Looks like I'll be avoiding the hasstle of customizing a spider but good to know how to rebend stainless if ever needed...

 

I can cut, drill, heat, bend and silver solder stainless, but welding is outside my current capability (needed primarily for customizing beer brewing equupment).

 

11 minutes ago, m-fine said:
Quote

 

The weber charcoal grate is 17" and just fits in my spiders.  If it doesn't fit yours, just notch out a section of the outer ring to make room for one leg.  Or get a 16" grate for searing.      


 

 

 

Yeah, my webber charcoal grate is 17" OD as well.  Tom and I discussed taking 1/8" off of the bend point, which means reducing the nominal spider ID from 17-1/4" to 17" even If he goes overboard or the 3/32" tolerance works against me, I'll need notch or bend the outer ring of the webber grate to squeeze it in, as you suggest.

 

11 minutes ago, m-fine said:

 

Quote

 

For sub 300 degree cooks, you will have plenty of fuel for 12+ hour cooks with a lowered deflector.  I run the deflector in the spider, 1/4" of spacer and then the drip pan (spacer keeps drippings from smoking).  You need some airspace above that or your first grate will be cooler without much airflow, so the first usable grate isn't the firebowl level, but one notch up in the AR.  For two shelves you have over 4" for large meats between notch 1 and the top.  If you have the deflector at the top of the firebowl, the first usable notch is 2, and you only have 3" or so between levels.  Plenty for ribs and chicken parts, but not brisket or pork butts.    For real thin stuff, you can do three grates in the notches and a 4th on top. 


 

 

 

Yeah, I'm thinking the only situation where I'll want the deflector down low will be for ribs (and only when smoking two grill's-worth at that).  After speaking with Tom, I went ahead and got an 18" drip pan.  So the plan is:

 

-2 layers of ribs on 20" top grate and 18" grate in middle pisition, 16" heat deflector on spider either protected with foil as a low-volume drip catcher or 18" drip pan in lowesr AR position if it doesn't interfere too much with airflow

 

-Full-packer brisket on 20" grill with 16" head deflector on lowest AR position (or on one of the LG24 grates under the AR) supporting 18" drip pan (which is where any real volume to catch drippings is needed) on spacers, as you suggest.

 

-Turkey can be smoked like ribs but with the bird sitting on it's throne on the 18" cooking grate at lowest position.

 

My days of huge cooks are pretty much behind me and I've still got my Backwoods Smoker Fatboy if the need ever arises.  I smoked 16 pork butts (as well as a piglit-on-a-spit) for my brother's wedding a decade ago but huge cooks are no longer a priority.

 

In fact, we've become so spoiled with the brisket and ribs we smoke on the Fatboy, that the immediate objective is to see how the Kamado measures up (if they are too dry, unevenly-cooked, too tough or don't have the right amount of bark and smoke flavor, I'll hear about it and the Kamado will be limited to puzza and grill-duty).

 

 

11 minutes ago, m-fine said:
Quote

BTW, if you keep doing 900+ degree cooks your firebowl with "self upgrade" to a Kamado Joe like multi piece firebowl (aka crack into a half dozen pieces) and the diameter will expand.  My original 18.25" bowl is now 18.5-18.75".  I got a replacement bowl, but once it cracked apart the original is holding up great so I am still using it.  

 

Everyone states that but I'm not understanding why it's a certainty if I heat up and cool down slowly enough.  Cooling down is pretty much guaranteed, so I've been heating up to 900F slower than 'as fast as possible' purposely to reduce thermal stress on the firebowl.

 

My first pizza run I took 2 hours to go from cold to 900F, didn't open the input vents to full until pizza stone was at 800F, and never had more than a 300F delta between the inside of the dome and the thermometer/air.

 

My second pizza cook I took the approach a bit too far - over 4 hours to heat up to 750F and by then the lump was spent. but inside of the dome was within 200F of thermometer/air after 3 hours when I finally opened the outvent to full and the invent to 75% (4 out of 5 with a minimum of 1) and in that last hour when pizza stone increased from 450F to 750F before stalling there, thermometer/air increased by 275F (to 750F) while pizza stone and dome were within 50F the whole way...

 

At least in theory, if the firebowl is heated up slowly enough, there is no reason it should crack.

 

11 minutes ago, m-fine said:

Also, I don't think your plan to raise the charcoal bed will work well.  One of the keys to getting high heat out of a charcoal fire is a deep bed of coals.  The air gets heated more as it rises past more and more hot charcoal.  Better to mostly fill the bowl and put the searing grate just over the fire.  

 

You could be right, but I'm going to give it a try tonight.  I found a way to prop tje webber's firegrate up on some bricks to get it within 4" of the firebowl-supported cooking grate.

 

Going to fire up a chimney's worth of briquettes, pour them into the center of the grate, place rhe cooking grate on top and let it heat up, and then sear the sous-vide rack of lamb we're cooking,

 

This is pretty much the way I've been searing on the webber, and as soon as I know I can do everything onthe Kamado as well or better than I can on the webber, the webber will be going to charity.

 

I may very well have been searing at lower than ideal temps and so another configuration such as the one your suggesting may eventually take things to the next level.  But for tonight, the objective is to see whether the Kamado can sear as well as the webber...

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