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Giant Barbeque Cooker Serves Up To 1,000 At A Time
“I’ve been around barbeque for a long time and have built several cookers for pork, beef, chicken and anything else you might want to barbeque. Now that I’m getting closer to retirement I decided to build one that’s big enough to serve up to 1,000 people at a time,” says Dave Barrett, Chrisman, Ill.
    The one-of-a-kind giant cooker is built on a tandem axle trailer and measures 24 ft. long, 5 ft. wide and 8 ft. high. On top are four 14-in. sq. metal cupolas painted red with black roofs, making them look like small barns. The cooker weighs 10,080 lbs. and comes with a spare tire mounted on front. Barrett uses a 1-ton Ford 4-WD pickup to pull it.
    Barrett designed the cooker, but he didn’t build it. “My shop doesn’t have the big press brakes or shears needed to build this cooker and torching the sheet metal doesn’t look as nice, so I had a local machine shop build it. I bought the tandem axles, and then they built the cooker from the ground up. One guy told me it looks like we could drive the cattle in the back of the trailer and take the cooked steaks out in front.”
    The cooker comes with five 4 1/2-ft. wide compartments along one side. The 3 middle compartments are for cooking, while the front compartment is a storage unit and comes with a slide-out table. The fourth compartment is also used for storage, and the back compartment is a refrigerator unit. Most of the cooking is done with propane, using three 100-lb. propane cylinders that mount on front of the cooker.
    “The second compartment is actually a big oven grill that’s used to cook side dishes like au gratin potatoes and green beans. You could bake cookies in it if you wanted to,” says Barrett.
    The third compartment is a wood burning smoker oven. “The wood is piled into a metal basket, and a furnace burner underneath shoots flames up to light the wood and control the temperature,” says Barrett. “Burning wood gives the meat a smoky flavor. I didn’t want to use lighter fluid to start the wood because if you don’t get it on at the right time you can taste it on the meat.”
    The 8-ft. high cooker ended up being a lot taller than Barrett expected. “As we were building it, the machine shop suggested we slope the roof to keep water from ponding. The sloped roof resembled a barn roof, so we decided to add ‘barn’ cupolas on top. Each barn cupola has a smoke stack inside it. The cupola on back is just for looks.”
    Barrett has also built several other cookers including a one-of-a-kind 3-pole, wood burning rotisserie that’s operated by an electric motor and can cook up to 60 5-lb. chickens at a time, and a pitchfork fondue that’s used to deep fry ribeyes, beef tenderloins, and pork tenderloins. “We put the meat on a pitchfork and dip it in soybean oil before deep frying it,” he says.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dave Barrett, Barrett Bros., 15155 E. 1700 Road, Chrisman, Ill. 61924 (ph 217 269-3142; dbarrett@midwestfirst.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #3