Fuel source for small portable hibachi grill??

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by lght, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. I made a small Hibachi grill to use while deep sea fishing when I want to quickly sear a piece of tuna, but having problems with the fuel source.

    The grill is about 10" tall and 10" at the top and about 5" at the bottom.  I made it from clay on a wheel and it works great, but because there are no air holes in the bottom or side coals seems to get smothered.  I can considered adding small holes, but if I do it has a greater chance of cracking under the high heat temps since it gets really hot really fast.

    Does anyone know of a wood or fuel source I could use outside of coals?  I tried the cowboy lump, but had the same problem as coals. 
  2. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I know you're out on the water with this -- probably hanging it off the stern, but oxygen is your friend here.  Can you set it on a platform that allows air intake under the bottom edge?  Is it closed underneath?  To sear, you want A LOT of O2 = high heat.  Pix would be a great help for ideas here...  Besides, I'd like to see the dang thing just outta curiosity!!
  3. Yeah I know air is very important, but he didn't want anything with holes in the bottom for obvious reasons.  It's a Boston Whaler so he made a mount in one of the rod holders in back.  It works, but doesn't get as hot as we would like it.  When we staggered the coals offset it worked a lot better, but no where near what we wanted.  I made 2 prototypes so I'll take pics if you like.  I used black mountain clay and did a simply ash glaze and  on the outside and left it bare clay on the inside.  These are pretty small and made to sear a single piece of fish at a time, but I may make one around 18" wide at the top and around 12" tall.  Almost like a minature green egg. 

    Do you think small air holes along the side would be enough or do you think I need a huge square cutout closer to the bottom to get it to work? 
  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Easy fix add another grate about 2" from the bottom and use a good lump for fuel
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  5. I tried adding a grate and using coal then cowboy lump and although the coals stay lit they don't really get too hot.  Is it a specific type of "lump" I should consider using?

    I was also reading that coconut shell briquettes can be used as they burn a lot hotter then regular coals.

  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would do some research on lump,

    you can start here

    Take a few photos and post

  7. Here are a couple of pics as requested. 



  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I would say an Air supply from the lower portion would make a difference.  This is a little Old School and Outside the Box but this reminds me of the Pu Pu Platters Hibachi's Chineses restaurants use, would a Jellied Alcohol based fuel meet your needs?...JJ
  9. Yeah I think air from the bottom and a little screen would help, but the problem is the more holes or cutouts the weaker the pot because and more prone to stress cranks because of the rapid temp changes.  That's why a lot of grills are not made out of ceramic or the ones that are never get fired beyond 1860 degrees like the green eggs.  Although they work because the temp is so low it's a weaker unit and will not last as long. 

    I think I might make a few more and put small square cut outs in one and then holes in another and see if either one cracks and crumbles under the heat stress or not.

  10. Now that would work, but talk about lighter fluid taste on your food!!!!! 
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't remember it having a Petroleum taste being made from alcohol...Those Five Spice Chicken Wings were pretty tasty...And the Wino's downtown never complained[​IMG]...JJ
  12. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great looking ceramic work there!  Gotta have some air vents, tho.  Can you make it more like a tube (open bottom) with very small holes to run some rods through to support a coal grate or directly support the coals?  Maybe that way it won't be so likely to crack?  (I know very little about ceramics -- as you probably can tell)  Nice grate build BTW!

    Never tried alcohol fuel for direct cooking -- be interested to find out how it works out... 
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  14. I can pretty much throw any shape on the wheel and add holes, but the problem is the capt. didn't want an open bottom with a fire source hanging over the boat and possibly risking an ember flying in the boat.  That's the reason I made it with a closed bottom.  

    If I put a bunch of tiny holes on the bottom and used my small coal grate do you think that would work?  Like I said I can try just about any setup I just don't want to make a bunch of various test if it won't make much of a difference anyway.

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