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Thread: BBQ Drum roaster - learning so far

  1. #1
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    BBQ Drum roaster - learning so far

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    All,

    For those out there who have one, and for any who might be contemplating one, I thought I would give a short diatribe on some stuff Ive learnt so far.

    My setup has been described before in other posts, but here are the basics:
    SS mesh drum - made by a friend of gwdcoffee
    4 burner gas BBQ with hood
    Multi part rotisserrie - BBQ galore
    Windscreen wiper motor - friend gave me one
    12v battery charger - KMart
    Sieve for cooling
    Gloves, scales, bowls, spoons and anything else I manage to bring out whilst roasting.

    The hood of our BBQ has a thermometer in it. The thermometer is in the LEFT side of the hood.
    This is not as accurate as a thermocouple, but has done me well so far (with one exception I will discuss soon).
    I start by lighting all 4 burners, closing the hood and waiting for temp to get to 240c+
    Whislt waiting, I fill the drum with around 700g of green beans (4 Imex roaster cups)
    When the temp is right, I place the roaster (on rotisserrie) in the BBQ, close the hood, connect to motor and begin roast.
    I roast over the 2 right burners. I remove the grill when doing this and just have the hot rocks between the flame and the drum.
    Now to the learning part.
    I have until recently, been fiddling about a LOT with the various burners. I would usually cut the flame completely to the 2 left burners and keep an eye on the temp. Trying to stay around 230c or 240c (according to my thermometer) I would then tweak the 2 right burners accordingly.
    Usually 1st crack would happen between 14 and 18 minutes.
    At this stage, I would cut back on all burners and get to 2nd crack on the heat of the bean mass and what was still in the hood. This has not failed me yet.... EXCEPT

    I was experimenting the other week. I had some Columbian beans that had been around for a while, and since I have ordered some more Columbian in Jan poll, I thought Id try and use them up.
    I sometimes get a non-uniform roast. I thought it might have been due to flame contact with some of the drum but not all. I did a roast using the LEFT burners to generate the heat and kept the flame from the right to a minimum. This did not work at all. I failed to get to 1st crack. At 24 minute mark, I decided to pull the roast and see what they looked like.
    They looked like I had baked them.
    I grumbled and muttered and thought "I wonder if it was the beans?" Green beans dont last forever. These had not come from CS, so I really had no idea how old they might have been.
    Next day, tried the reverse. Using beans from the same stock, relied mostly on RIGHT burners and didnt worry if there was flame contact.
    Result - perfect roast - 1st crack in 14min - 2nd crack in 18 min - rolling 2nd at 19:30 - Dump to sieve at 20:00 - fan cooled in about 30 seconds.

    The other thing with this method - no trace of chaff - it was all burnt off by the flame. Other roasts have had quite a bit of chaff when I did the bean dump. I do recall Graeme mentioning that the chaff gets burned away during rosting in the drum, so chaces are he was already doing what Ive just figured out.

    I have come to the conclusion that the uneven roasts were caused by 2 things
    1 - drum was not perfectly lined up with 2 right burners
    2 - I wasnt letting enough heat through from the burners below.

    As for the chaff, some beans simply produce less, so I will have to see if my next few roasts return the same kind of results.

    All this roasting talk... Im off to do some Peru Grace Estate.

    Whee.

    Hope this helps someone.

  2. #2
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    Re: BBQ Drum roaster - learning so far

    Brett, I believe I have just been down a similar path. After a period of very consistent results, I started to get uneven roasts where some beans were pale and others very shiny. In my case it was carelessness arising in changing the BBQ configuration to cook food and coffee. I have a 3 burner jobbie. To roast coffee I remove the grill and hot-plate and centre the diffuser plate under the drum over the centre and right burners. Previously I have kept the left burner going after the initial heat-up but turner right down. My problems were caused by not repositioning the difusser and having too much heat from the left burner. Fix and it was back to even roasts.

    Keep the bulletins going. Hopefully it will get more people realising BBQ roasting is relatively easy and produces great results when you have it nailed.

    Cheers,

    Graeme

  3. #3
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: BBQ Drum roaster - learning so far

    Thanks Graeme. Will do.
    I completed my roasting @ about 6pm.
    I dont leave anything set up for roasting, so each time I get all components from the shed and start from scratch. Even with all that, I get a roast completed in about 40 minutes. Pretty happy with that.

    My Peru Garce Estate roast today:
    Quite nice and even. ended up with just over 500g roasted. Still a bit of chaff present at bean dump stage, but the fan I use to cool the beans blew it clear without any drama.

    I actually took some pictures and MPG of the process today. Im looking for some free web space to host it at present. Ill keep you informed.
    If I get a decent site that allows movies (some wont because it could be used for porn), I will look at documenting a first crack, second crack and rolling 2nd crack to give others an idea of the BBQ roaster experience.

  4. #4
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    Re: BBQ Drum roaster - learning so far

    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy link=1106979515/0#2 date=1106985102
    I actually took some pictures and MPG of the process today. Im looking for some free web space to host it at present. Ill keep you informed.
    If I get a decent site that allows movies (some wont because it could be used for porn), I will look at documenting a first crack, second crack and rolling 2nd crack to give others an idea of the BBQ roaster experience.
    Ive got some spare space on a couple of domains I look after, pm me with space required and I can set up a subdomain you can upload to. If it gets too much traffic Id have to pull the pin though, could probably spare a gig or so of traffic and 100mb of space.

    cheers

    Maurice

  5. #5
    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: BBQ Drum roaster - learning so far

    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Maurice,

    Thanks for the offer. I have a couple of sites to try, but if they dont work out, I will certainly drop you a line.



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