Help me design a BBQ - What features do you want from yours?

Hi everyone

I’m working on a prototype BBQ/Firepit which will be avauilable for sale in the next few weeks, I tested v1 out today and I’m happy with it, it needs some tweaks and modifications but basically excellent progress.

I’m wondering what other features I should consider for v2.

Here’s a few photos of what I have so far. Features currently include;

Thick steel contruction, going a little thicker for the next one though. (this ine is actuall =y stainless steel but I reckon I’ll move to mild steel due to cost)

Insulated with refractory bricks.

Multiple grill/plancha configurations

Adjustable height towers x2

Temp guage

Air vents to control temp/assist with lighting

Handles on the sides (maybe better front and back)

What am I missing?

I was impressed with this BBQ

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We use ours for smoking things when we can’t be bothered to fire up the smoker…and also for pizzas (just plonk the pizza stone on a grill). So some form of hood that you can pop over a tray. And I would have temp gauge where food is cooking…I know the coals are hot!

How do you get the ash out?

I would suggest a few features:

  1. A rotisserie mount with space for a motor
  2. Led lights - could just be mounts for the lights
  3. A hood /lid to cover one of the grills so that one can roast items - this hood should have a temperature gauge.

Good luck!

That rig in s/s would indeed be megabucks.

A set of wheels at the right end. I see a sturdy handle at the left end.

A steady supply of sausages and chops from Sue Jarvis’s rampant sangliers.

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I’d agree, about the smoker and pizza stone, but, for the formerperhaps more a chimney than simply a lid.

For the latter, a metal lid probably won’t generate the sort of even all round heat that you get from a brick oven - most of the heat will be underneath. If you haven’t got a nearby artisan baker an oven might be good idea. Our problem’s the reverse, we’re surrounded by wonderful artisan bakers, but the local pizzas are dreadful - Cantal is not a substitute for mozzarella. Ou r nearest decent pizza is in Rodez, about 45 minutes away - the resto’s closed due to Covid and it’s too far for a takeaway.

Lastly, if you want to do more than one pizza at a time, you might find it difficult to get a pizza stone the right size cos they’re usually circular, however for many years I usedthe square tiles that line ceramic kilns - they can take phenomenally high temps. Certainly, ceramics are an interesting alternative to metal when one wants serious heat. - plancha, oven, whatever.

that looks fab! I’m guessing by the size you could easily use wood rather than coals (which I find insanely expensive)? We have a gas one now as I refuse to (can’t justify financially!) €5 / BBQ for coals.

If you need a tester I’ll put my hand up :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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Stainless grill grids are good , have you thought of making them using angle as in a “v”, and at a sight angle so that any fat can collect and drain away, rather than flaring on the coals (lot more work though)

@james - could you make it adaptable to be able to cook pizzas also?

If just for the two of us we do pizzas in/on our kettle barbecue as no point in getting pizza oven up to temperature. Perhaps not perfect, but we find works pretty well! But have to have the pizza stone as otherwise you are right, you get a crisp biscuit.

Same with smoking…proper smoker best, but if you keep an eye on temperature then bbq will work just fine. My bbq smoked haddock is pretty good!

Want it now!

Wanting naturally’ smoked haddock was my original reason forbuying a smoker, the second was wanting to make classic South African smoked farm (free range) chicken and avo (and I do mean properly ripened avo) salad. In SA even the cheapest places do this so well!

I 've previpusly tried to figure out why the French don’t seem concerned about naturally smoked fish (and I do miss a breakfast of Arbroath smokies on toast with scrambled eggs). Perhaps despite Paris’s Viking history, smoked fish now seem too ‘northern European’.

On the other hand, what about kedgeree ? (swoon - if men are allowed to do that) . Perhaps its too Britishly imperial (Donald Trump’s contribution to grammar) Certainly within my experience the French do have problems with most dishes from the sub-continent. Nevertheless, I’ll spare you the story of our English friends who invited their French neighbours around for a curry!

Do you need to incorporate one of these signs near the bbq?


A french couple who we have served kedgeree to (with home smoked haddock and eggs) absolutely loved it, and now make it themselves… french tastes are changing too.

What I’m working on now is smoked eel now (but hard to find sustainably sourced eels). Jane Williamson gave me a source of proper and delicious smocked haddock in St Gengoux le National, but it’s a bit far to go specially hence resorting to buying a smoker…

men only no way
our clients have made some blunders using the b b q and they were Men not women.
It would be especially good if you could design a great outdoor cooking unit so that all
our paying guests can enjoy cooking outdoors …
Please let me know about your progress if this is appealing.

I miss A’ Smokies too and Buckling and undyed smoked haddock all, from a travelling fish monger who went to Northallerton market…BUT to our amazement our local Super U in Plestin les Greves had proper fresh kippers
over Xmas, they were either imports or the French smoke house had trained staff from Northern England. We can get nice Bouffis locally but they can be a tad salty.

James, lot of interesting replies with additions…but they could make it expensive and commercially unviable. What is your target sale price, maybe an economy model and de luxe.
A BBQ etc is on our list for this summer !

may I suggest a small sink or similar for chef to wash hands or ingredients

And an attached dishwasher would be helpful, maybe a toaster attachment for the burger buns too… :wink:


I am not sure you are taking this seriously!

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Well, I was thinking, while doing the plumbing for Barbara’s sink …