Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .
Topic: What makes the Cue Cart that makes it such a good grill? . . . .
Subject: Re: Birmingham Stove Works
Smoky, what is it about the Cue Cart that makes it such a good grill? I have never seen one, but you have mentioned it recently in the faq. Do you use it for primarily for grilling, or also for smoking and bbq. Is there an market opportunity for a similar product in your opinion?
William M. Fox
Good to hear from you. I count you as a friend I've never had the pleasure of seeing.
The 'Cue-Cart had a lot of things right.
First, it had a lot of cast iron - the meat grill and the fire grates were cast iron - and they were replaceable after many years of use.
Second, you could tend the fire without troubling the meat - very easy and very important.
Third, you could move the fire grate to within 3" of the meat or move away to 24 inches.
Fourth, they had a little smoker box which you could put on the fire grate in which you could put 10-12 brickettes and a few pieces of green wood. A temperature sensitive coil would control air intake control so that it never flamed, but delivered low heat and smoke at a rather constant rate.
Fifth, every part was replaceable and reasonable in cost.
My two brothers and I all had 'Cues and cooked a lot of meat on them before they (the grills) died. I still curse the stupidity that let a superior product die. As to whether or not it is a financially viable product today, I have to equivocate. Char-Broil also had an excellent charcoal grill, only a step behind the 'Cue Cart, but the asses who ran the company went to gasses. The founder of the company left a condition that, as long as they made grills, they had to produce a charcoal fired grill. They dropped the big guy, the good one, but keep a token charcoal grill. It's design is still superior to the newbies. I went over personally and chastised the W.C.Bradley crew who make Char-Broil about treating their charcoal grills like step-children. They sheepishly agreed, but didn't give it a chance in the rush for the gas.
Perhaps if someone there had known what they had, they might have sold it better. The gas grill wars were heating up and the grills could be produced for peanut hulls.
I have, over the years, designed several grills which permit hassle free broiling, roasting and barbecue. If I were young, I'd produce some. Some of cast aluminum, some of cast iron, some of a combination of sheetmetal and cast. There is a real need, but marketing these days is a real chore. You have to break into a gigantic pipeline, which is almost impossible, or have the patience, and pockets, to do it gradually.
As a corollary, I have done some unique stuff with charcoal. If I were 20 years younger, I'd turn the market on its ear. But, I really can't devote the time and energy it would take. I have a patent pending in an entirely different field which is taking a lot of money and time, but, if it is issued, will take care of more than retirement. It is not my first, but, it is, by far, the most expensive. Lawyers value their time to an unbelievable degree.
It gripes me, chaps my ass, even, that manufacturers and purveyors of grills have no idea how to use them. Even the instructions are as stupid as the Japanese translations of computer manuals.
That's why I try to "Keep It Simple Stupid" so that I can teach a guy how to cook in his own back yard with little more than meat and a desire.
Ran on a little, didn't I?
Thanks for asking,