Cooking grate/Charcoal basket
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  1. #1

    Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Getting materials together to build a BBQ smoker; trying to keep cost and weight down. I've used 3/8" round bar carbon steel to make a darn nice cooking grate to use over a campfire. It works and looks awesome, isn't super heavy, and cost next to nothing. Question is: would 3/8" be thick enough for a charcoal basket for my smoker, or should I jump up to 1/2" or even 5/8"?

  2. #2
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    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    It’s probably more than thick enough...

    You’re building a basket for hot coals, not a forge.

    1/8” rod would probably suffice from the standpoint of surviving the coals.
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  3. #3
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    Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Hate to disagree,
    But I think 3/8 will twist like a pretzel after a few hours of red hot coals.

    I used 5/16 round for my firebox grate and it warped to all hell... (leftover material from my sliding cooking /food grate)

    I think 3/8 will do the same.

    I'm gonna make another one this summer using 1/2 or larger.... whatever I can get at the steel depot.

    I use basically wood, but I don't think the heat difference is much charcoal briq. vs wood

    Last edited by John T; 04-13-2018 at 02:52 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Nov 2005
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    ca
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    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    I used heavy epanded metal. Worked fine for years.
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  5. #5
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    Nov 2014
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    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    I just put my wood straight on firebrick. U could do the same With briquettesName:  IMG_7916.jpg
Views: 677
Size:  96.9 KBName:  IMG_7551.jpg
Views: 681
Size:  153.7 KBwelcome to the forum
    Last edited by motolife313; 04-14-2018 at 12:40 AM.

  6. #6

    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    Hate to disagree,
    But I think 3/8 will twist like a pretzel after a few hours of red hot coals.

    I used 5/16 round for my firebox grate and it warped to all hell... (leftover material from my sliding cooking /food grate)

    I think 3/8 will do the same.

    I'm gonna make another one this summer using 1/2 or larger.... whatever I can get at the steel depot.

    I use basically wood, but I don't think the heat difference is much charcoal briq. vs wood

    I looked back at the camping grate I made and turns out it’s 1/4”. It’s done well being in the flames, but has always been pretty far from the hot embers. I’ve seen a rebar poker turn red hot stuck down in there. Steel supplier has solid round up to an inch pretty darn cheap. Maybe I’ll go for 1/2”?

    By the way, that’s an awesome rig you built. I’m just tryin to have some delicious meat, yours looks like you could feed a company of infantrymen!
    Last edited by laxphatty; 04-14-2018 at 03:20 AM.

  7. #7

    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Quote Originally Posted by Tbones View Post
    I used heavy epanded metal. Worked fine for years.
    My supplier has sheets of flat expanded. 4’x6’ (I think) with 3/4” gap for $54. It wasn’t labeled, but my thickness gauge put it at about to be 11g. It looked beefy enough, but not sure given the opinions against 3/8” solid rod here...

  8. #8

    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Quote Originally Posted by motolife313 View Post
    I just put my wood straight on firebrick. U could do the same With briquettesName:  IMG_7916.jpg
Views: 677
Size:  96.9 KBName:  IMG_7551.jpg
Views: 681
Size:  153.7 KBwelcome to the forum
    I’m making an Ugly Drum Smoker. Nowhere near as sophisticated as yous

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    32

    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    The expanded stands a better shot. I've made a few of fire baskets with different sizes expanded grate. The thicker the better of course, can frame it in with tube or weld it to itself. The expanded doesn't warp or sag as much as rod cause of the amount of support in many directions.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Had they day off today so I drug the smoker out of the woods...
    Got 3 racks of ribs on for about 3 hours now @ 250 ish

    Gettin ready to wrap em up for prolly and hour and half...


    Heres my grate..
    Probably wouldn’t have warped if I ran support down the middle

    But it gets the job done..







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  11. #11
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    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    Had they day off today so I drug the smoker out of the woods...
    Got 3 racks of ribs on for about 3 hours now @ 250 ish

    Gettin ready to wrap em up for prolly and hour and half...


    Heres my grate..
    Probably wouldn’t have warped if I ran support down the middle

    But it gets the job done..







    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Expansion. The ends are restrained. The bars need to get longer when heated. Plus they get softened in the centers when the fire is present.
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    4,440

    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Having built a few grates over the years for things like fire boxes on cookers and fire pits for standing around I've come to the conclusion that no matter how well you build them, if you use them enough they're eventually going to need replacing. In that regard their kind of a consumable item.

  13. #13
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    Re: Cooking grate/Charcoal basket

    Quote Originally Posted by HT2-4956 View Post
    Having built a few grates over the years for things like fire boxes on cookers and fire pits for standing around I've come to the conclusion that no matter how well you build them, if you use them enough they're eventually going to need replacing. In that regard their kind of a consumable item.
    yeah I kinda banged that together quick ... wanted to get the fire off the floor so air can get under/around it

    then slide it out and dump it..
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