Project Brick Oven Chocolate Update 1

We’ve been roasting cocoa beans on the bbq grill at home.  We use a drum roaster and carefully manage the cycle of heat so we get the result we are aiming for.  Works pretty darn good, but we want to take roasting cacao to a higher level in “the way cool” department.  We thought a homemade brick oven would fit the bill.

Then I stumbled upon some reclaimed bricks from a demolished Houston warehouse.  The bricks were formed with the label “Houston Reds”.

The way cool factor just got better.

I commissioned Tim (the retired railcar mechanical man, jack of all trades and handier than I) to build us a stand to hold our brick oven.  He enthusiastically accepted the challenge.  Tim has a welding machine, cutting torch and steel tables in his garage.  He also has a bbq pit in his back yard that he built himself.   The brick oven chocolate project is in qualified hands.

Ideally the brick oven would be portable so that we can roll it out of warehouse into the great outdoors for cacao roasting days.  Then roll it back inside when we are done.

The design will include a couple of access doors near the bottom, a rounded metal lid with chimney, and good quality thermometer.  If all goes well I will be able to create convection inside the brick oven for balanced roasting.  I will also have the option to roll in a little smoke and see where that takes us.

Picture this…

Sitting on top of this…

This is Tim doing his thing.  It’s better I stay out of his way.

Tim’s wife Mickey sort of let the cat out of the bag on Saturday about some secretive decorative ideas Tim has is mind.  Your secret is safe with me Tim.

Once Tim is done with the base we’ll move it over to our shop and practice our brick laying skills.  I’d be embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to figure out how to lay the bricks out so that we have a consistent pattern without having to cut bricks.  I failed HS geometry miserably.  Then I went over to Tim’s house and forgot how I did it, but was able to re-figure it out after several attempts.  Tim is just letting me feel like I’m participating and doing something constructive.  I think he knew the whole time.

Anyways, Tim and I shall be assembling our brick oven in the coming weeks.  We suspect that Michelle and Mickey will be happy to offer advice from the wine gallery.

I’ll keep you posted.

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