We try not to post too much snark here on Toolmonger, as that’s not really our style. But sometimes you just can’t help it. I caught this unremarkable BBQ grill over on Uncrate recently, and I almost dropped a brick in my shop chair: It’s probably the single best representation I’ve seen of the “manly men” craze and just how much some people will pay to pretend to be the kind of people most Toolmongers naturally are.
Let me explain.
The barrel BBQ is a classic tradition among people who aren’t loaded with cash but do have access to a source of junk barrels, various scrap metal, and a welder. It’s not a gourmet solution; it’s a solution of simplicity. You want to grill. You have stuff lying around and a way to put it together, so you fire up the tools, cut the barrel in half, weld in a few tabs to hold a grill, tack together a stand for it, and then promptly dump in some charcoal, start eating steaks, and stop thinking about the assembly.
Barrels, you see, don’t really make excellent grills. The volume is often too big to cook for small-to-medium parties, so you have to use an imperial assload of charcoal to get the thing hot enough to sear steak. They do make reasonable smokers, though a good smoker will incorporate other features, like a way to stoke the fire without removing the grill and all the food along with it. If you were going to actually design a grill, you’d start with something shaped a lot differently than a barrel.
So what do you get for $950? Special coatings? A stand made of lacewood and unobtainium? Nope. You get a painted barrel on a stand with a mahogany handle (ooh!) and a thermometer. Oh yeah, and you get to believe that your neighbors will think you’re the hard-core DIY type.
Here’s a thought: Go get a nice new (or re-conditioned) steel barrel for $50-$75. Pick up a grill from the local big box. Weld in a few tabs. Pick up $30 worth of 1″ square tube and tack together a stand. Make a handle out of scrap wood — or whatever you’ve got lying around. Grill. Enjoy. Spend the other $700 on, I don’t know, food. For $950, I could build a grill out of stuff literally lying around the shop right now and buy steaks and beers for everyone I know locally.
Ok, I’m done ranting. But seriously — really? It’s fascinating to me that these things sell.
BBQ for Men [lkooq design]