In episode two of Matthew Hayden’s Home Ground, Matt and the team start the backyard fire pit. The fire pit provides a central point for the family to cook in and congregate around.
Master stonemason Saul Cafarella oversees the job. He starts by building up a dry stone wall around the fire pit. He then fills it with an aggregate (crushed stone) and caps it off with big capping stones which protrude slightly proud of ground level.
The reason they use dry stone is because cement has a hard time with fire. Dry stone can expand and contract and get stronger as it settles in. Saul suggests putting heavy stones on top because gravity will settle the smaller stones in.
The BBQ plates
The four items that make up the BBQ element of the fire pit were made by sheet metal fabricators Hy-Way Sheet Metal in Lidcombe NSW, http://www.hy-waysunvisors.com.au/
Garden designer Nicole Moon sent the sheet metal fabricators cardboard templates to work from.
From Nicole’s templates, they built:
• BBQ hot plate – steel plate - weight 40kg
• Shish kebab grill – grooved plate to fit the tandoori sticks - weight 6kg
• Grill – solid steel plate with slots cut in the steel - weight 30kg
• An arm with one or two hooks for hanging a billy over the fire - weight 3kg
Each plate is made of plate steel, 810mm by 580mm long and 10mm to 12mm thick.
About plate steel
Plate steel is the material used for the grates which cover drains near the kerb.
It is very heavy, very strong, withstands high temperatures and retains heat extremely well.
Since the plates on Matthew Hayden’s fire pit are only held up by a single post, it was crucial to use a material that would withstand heat and not melt or bend.
About 750mm of the plate hangs over the fire. If the plate was any thinner over that flame, the plate would bend.
In contrast, a regular BBQ can use plate metal that’s around 4mm or 5mm thick because it’s essentially a flat plate sitting immediately above a flame.
Steel of 1mm to 3mm thick is known as sheet metal. Anything thicker than 4mm is plate metal.
You can clean plate steel the way you would a normal BBQ and it should last forever.
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