Got an itch to grill, but don't have a BBQ handy? Here's an awesome little hack, to satisfy your meaty cravings one bratwurst at a time!
Step 1: Watch the Video!
WARNING: Cutting aluminum cans will give the metal very sharp edges. Sharp edges cut skin. You may want to use gloves to mitigate any risk. Hot coals also pose a number of risks. Never use around flammable materials or on tabletops sensitive to heat. This project should not be attempted without adult supervision and adequate training. Use of this video content is at your own risk.
Step 2: Introducing the Bitty-Q - (Itty Bitty BBQ)
At some point this summer, you may find yourself somewhere your grill isn't, with an itch to cook up something tasty. So in this project let's hack an empty drink can, into an itty bitty BBQ, that will help get you the fix you need, and put some sizzle on those links one glorious dog at a time.
Step 3: Split Down the Middle
I just made a Bitty-Q that grilled the largest garlic and onion bratwurst I could find at the grocery store, so there's a good chance it'll handle your hot dogs as well.
For this project I chose to use a large 23.5 fl oz drink can.
You'll need to cut the can completely in half, which you could do with a pair of scissors, but whatever you use, the goal here is to split the can cleanly in two.
If you make some small angled cuts about half an inch from the edges, you'll be able to bend the aluminum over, forming a small ledge.
I was able to get a nice clean crease with the help of a popsicle stick.
Do the other side the exact same way, then trim down the pointy parts so they're not quite as sharp.
Now let's focus on making an awesome, and removable, cooking grill.
Step 4: Removable Grill
I made my grill with a wire coat hanger, and I'll give you the template for free.
Use something like a pair of wire dikes to cut a wire coat hanger at the neck, then find a way to remove the protective coating.
I used a piece of 60 grit sandpaper, and got the film removed, in under a minute.
Now go ahead and use the template to measure, and carefully bend the wire to shape.
You should end up with a removable grill that spring loads into position when you're ready to start cooking.
Alright, you're ready to add the legs.
Step 5: Adding Legs for a Half Barrel Grill
I picked up a couple of 4" U-bolts from the hardware store, and they worked really well.
Go ahead and remove the metal plate,and use it as a template on the inside of the can.
This way, you'll know exactly where to poke the holes you need, and they'll need to be just large enough to accommodate the open ends of the bolt from the inside.
Now the plate goes back on, and if you bend the two legs away from each other, you can see the plate locks down on the can, holding it securely.
Now, do the same thing on the other side, and replace the nuts, just for decoration.
Right now you should have a half-barrel BBQ ready for grilling, and you could stop here, but let's take it to the next level by adding a top.
Step 6: Bringing It All Together
I found some 1" utility hinges fit perfectly between the gaps on the grill, so poke some holes where they fit the best, and use something like #4, round-head machine screws, to fasten them together.
The bolts are three eights of an inch long, and you can see I fastened the hinges with the barrels facing inward.
Now, finish up by adding a miniature handle. The piece I used is called a "strap loop" and I found it at the hardware store as well.
I fastened it near the edge with some #8 machine screws, and you can see at this point, the Bitty-Q is completely finished and ready for grilling.
Let's see what it can do.
Step 7: Time for Grilling!
Since the grill is completely removable, it makes it nice and easy, to add some coals, or whatever else you use for grilling.
I don't recommend starting the coals in the can, however, because they can get hot enough to melt through the bottom.
Instead, start your coals in something else, and transfer them when they've asked over.
The wire grill should snap into position, and hold firmly in place. Go ahead and add a bratwurst to the grill, and close the lid to get it sizzling.
One other cool feature is that the Bitty-Q has even got a built in loop for hanging your tongs.
After about 10 minutes you can see the brat is perfectly grilled, sweating out juices, and ready to satisfy those cravings.
Step 8: Enjoy!
I nestled mine one into a golden brown bun, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Now, there are all kinds of variations you can make to this idea as well.
I tried using some smaller cans as a base, and added some wire lath to form a makeshift half barrel grill, which you can see did a pretty nice job as well.
Step 9: More Projects
So now you know how to turn your empty drink cans, into a sexy and satisfying miniature BBQ.
So go ahead and get your grilling fix, just about anywhere you want, because now you can.
If you liked this project, perhaps you'll like some of my others. Check them out at www.thekingofrandom.com