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Cook Trailer #1 (revision a)

This is the first of several trailers built. This write-up was done when it was completed and since then a few other trailers have been made and we will publish write-ups for them as well.

Many people have asked about this trailer and so to make it generally available we decided to show it off by the web. Every cook trailer out there is unique and we hope that our ideas relating to this one might help others in their quest for the perfect cook trailer.

This cook trailer is a culmination of about 5 years of planning and four months of building. It was designed by Russ Durfee and Dave Gardner (with a lot of input from others) and built by Dave Gardner. Russ has cooked for large groups for some time and has a wealth of cooking gear. Some time ago we came to the conclusion that it would be much easier to have a gas cooking trailer than to load charcoal grills and deal with them at remote locations. We looked at a lot of exisitng trailers and we decided that we wanted an all-purpose trailer that could be used for almost any type of cooking. When Russ cooks it is seldom beans and cornbread. Normally its higher class foods that require a kitchen to prepare. In the summer of 2002 Russ retrieved a used fresh water tank from a trash dumpster. That was the piece that made us decide to begin construction.

This is the right side view of the trailer. The base trailer was purchased in kit form from Harbor Frieght Tools. We got a rain check from a sale and paid $300 for it. The regular price is $400. It is their top of the line 4' x 8' plywood base trailer and includes leaf springs. We assembled it and used a sheet if 1/16" plate steel instead of plywood (lower maintenance). One of our basic goals was to make a lightweight trailer that could be easily pulled by any vehicle. On this side we have four cooking burners wich are shown in detail in the following picture.

Here you can see a close up of the burners on the right side. The first burner was made from a turkey cooker. This is a 175,000 BTU high output burner. If you look below it you can see the red knob which is a special high-output gas regulator just for this burner. When the burner is on it sounds like a jet engine. We wanted this to heat water quickly. Because we usually heat water in very large pots we lowered this burner so it's easier to get big pots on and off of it.

Next to that we have two 70,000 BTU burners and then one 35,000 BTU burner. A friend gave me the bigger burners and the 35,000 BTU (same as a standard CampChef burner) was purchased from Harbor Frieght for $15. The burner cover was constructed from 1" x 1/4" steel strap.

If you look down below the burners you will see Dave's Universal Tool Mounts or UTM's. These consist of a 1/2 pice of rod and a flat piece of bar with a hole in it just above the rods. 1/2" conduit fits in these receptacles perfectly. We have put these UTM's all around the trailer. You can see three of them in this picture. We also have four at the back of the trailer, two on the other side and two in the middle of the trailer. We have conduit poles that we can use to hold lanterns, cooking tools, serving trays (for taking stuff off the cooking surfaces or putting them on) and other things we're still dreaming about such as canopies, etc.

Here is the front right side of the trailer. You can see our main propane tank which holds 50 gallons of propane. It was purchased from a local RV dealer. It is 16" in diameter and 5' in length. It looks like a missile coming down the road. We also have a flex hose hookup for a standard 5 gallon tank. When cooking on a long-term camp it allows us to use and refill smaller tanks without having to bring the whole trailer to town for a refill. All of the piping is 3/4" thick wall steel pipe. We probably could have used 1/2" or 3/8" and been fine.

As a side note we are building a large cutting board that will mount on top of the front of the trailer and extend all the way around from the edge of the turkey cooker burner to the grill. This will cover the propen tank and provide some good work surface for us.

The left side of the trailer has a 6' x 2' stainless steel griddle made from 3/16" stainless steel. If I had to do it again I'd definitely use 1/4" or even 3/8" stainless to help in the heat distribution. I had this made by a professional welder because I have never welded stainless before and I wanted a good clean weld on the inside. Here you see it with a 6' plastic table on it. The trailer normally has two of these tables on the grill. They fit perfectly and are always handy to have around.

Here you can see the grill without the table on it. We have 5" splash walls around the back and a grease channel the full length in the front.

Here is a view of the griddle from the backside of the trailer.

At the back of the trailer is the BBQ/Oven unit. It is made from a fresh water well tank which measures 26" in diameter and is 56" in length. We put two heat handles on it and had a smokestack donated by a local trucking company.

Inside the BBQ/Oven we have a cooking surface that measures 25" x 45".

Click here for even more detailed trailer #1a information

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