Monday, August 4, 2008

Foodies...Chefs...Help Needed!

My dad moved into a new house last year...and one of the best things about the new place was the outdoor space. It's got a great covered patio, and although the interior of the house is smaller than our old house (the goal was to downsize!), the outdoor space gives him a lot more living space.

In addition to it being a cute little house, there was this fantastic brick grill/oven in the back yard!

When dad moved in last year, I was so excited to use this...but never got very motivated to clean it out.

Then one day last summer, when I was home for a visit, I decided to look online and research brick ovens a bit. I found a lot of cool images, companies selling the ovens, and even "how-to's" teaching you how to build your own. But none of the ones I saw looked quite like this one. I sent the photos around to a few friends to see if they had any tips. I got a few comments back, but nothing that gave me enough confidence to move forward and actually get cooking. And slowly, I lost my motivation.

Well, I was home this last weekend, and again, my dad, sister and I found ourselves sitting outside sharing in some wine and talking...and I found myself looking at that darn brick grill/oven again (what am I suppose to even call it?) I decided. I'm gonna try again to figure it out-this time using the power of the Internet to see if I can get any tips on how to use this!

It looks homemade, and although the grill portion is a little stiff, I think with some oil, it's totally useable.

Grill with a creaky crank on the right that moves the platform up and down

Then the rest starts to get a bit more confusing. Here's this portion, right below the grill:

I'd like to get it cleaned up and use it as a brick oven, but had a few questions. First, doesn't it need some type of ventilation? As far as I can tell, there is none. Second, if I were to put wood on one side of it and cook food on the other side, when I'm all done, will I be scooping up ashes forever? Is there any easier way to do this? And what’s with the circular cement block in there? Is that a raised surface so the food won’t get dirty with the ashes?

Then, there's this portion on the right hand side:

Right hand side section--with the lid on

Here with the lid off (It's a little dirty in there...but just needs to be cleaned)

This part really intrigued me. Probably because I have no idea what to do with it. Can you use it as a smoker? Line the bottom with some chips or something?

And lastly, the bottom left side:

Is this space just for wood? What was the person thinking when they built this?

So! You can see. The piece is beautiful, and I haven't completely given up. I'm still anxious to use it. I can't let the summer go by without having made any progress! And how great would it be to figure it out, and actually use it? Nothing says summer like cooking outside!

Tips? Ideas? Suggestions? Or better yet. Anyone want to come over and show me for yourself? I'm sure dad and I would welcome the in-person lesson (and yummy food of course!)

1 comment:

  1. Lots of great coversations started because of this.

    I'm thinking, until I really get some time to dedicate to this brick grill (or some serious help down there), I'm going to go with one of the tips/comments: Use the empty cement 'box' on the right hand side as a cooler for your beer and wine.