Secrets on the Grill

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Making a No-Cost Chimney Extension Filter

When the grill (superkalan) was still new, we didn’t clean or inspect it regularly. Hey, it always worked well and it was new! So imagine one day when the smoke coming out of the chimney extension didn’t look right. By this, I mean the smoke just sort of lingered and drooped downwards rather than the usual rapid upward billowing. There was also more smoke than usual seeping out from the plates and the fuel feeder. In other words, there was too much smoke but not enough fire.

Somehow I suspected that hot air just wasn’t pulling the smoke out of the chimney as easily and as quickly. We were just starting to cook for the grill and concluded there must be something blocking inside the chimney. With potholders and gloves in hand, I carefully detached the chimney extension from the chimney. Yup, there was so much soot clinging inside the walls of the chimney. Lo and behold, a leaf was resting inside the chimney all blackened and thick with soot. The inside was 80% blocked. No wonder there was smoke everywhere. There was nowhere else for the smoke to go.

How did that leaf (it’s a mango leaf) get in there? Well, I suppose it fell off the tree above and by sheer stroke of luck, managed to enter the chimney extension’s 4 inches by 1.5 inch opening. Ah, a design flaw, I supposed. And so I thought of some kind of a device to prevent something like this from recurring. In other words, the thought process was on how to SCREEN out rubbish like fallen leaves and other debris from falling inside the chimney. Hmmm.

Well, why not use a piece of screen? I only needed a small piece that would cover the 4” x 1 ½” opening. I cut a small piece around 5” x 2 ½” from leftover materials for a screen door. The screen used was aluminum and had a diamond-shaped pattern. To secure the filter on top of the chimney extension, the piece of screen should be formed like a cap with sides taut enough so they grip on to the sides of the extension.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get a pair of sturdy scissors – the kind used for cutting G.I. sheets would do nicely.
  2. Cut a 5” x 2 ½” rectangle piece from the scrap screen.

  3. Bend ½” from all edges of the scrap screen to one direction. Shown below, the sides were bent downwards.

  4. Weave the edges of the sides together to join them.

  5. With the scissors, trim out excess spikes that protrude. You don’t want to cut your fingers when putting this filter in place. The finished product should look something like the one below and ready to cap the chimney extension’s top.