Tag Archives: Grilling

Restored A BHG 4-Burner Stainless Outdoor Gas Grill / BBQ

This past June, my wife and I spotted a big stainless four burner BHG gas grill with a side burner at a neighbor’s house set up for trash pickup.  It looked to be in a pretty good shape so I stopped and took a look.  The drip pan had rusted away and dropped rust everywhere in the grill plus there was minor rusting elsewhere but it was in very good shape otherwise.  My wife asked if I could rehab it because we had a bunch of family coming for a visit a month later.  I said “yes” so it went in the back of the Highlander leaving a trail of rust everywhere.

It looked like the grill was used and then left to sit and rust but it was actually in quite good shape.  Besides the drip pan, the only other items in tough shape were the heat plates also sometimes called diffusers that sit over the burners. They had rusted significantly and were an eyesore.

What Gas Grill Was It?

“BHG” stands for “Better Homes and Gardens” and the model number was BH13-101-099-01.  I don’t really have much more info than that – it’s a big generic stainless grill that was imported from China by Blue Rhino Global Sourcing.  You may not recognize the name but when you see their logo – they sell propane tanks, grills and what have you through a ton of stores under their own brand name as well as Mr. Bar-B-Q, Chef Master, Endless Summer, Grill Mark, Mr. Pizza, and Uniflame. BHG is no longer listed by them so one must surmise other brand names were used in the past as well.

According to a sticker, it was made in January of 2013. From there, I bet they were sold through retail stores but I really can’t find any more details after searching but I will say it appeared to be a decently made gas grill.

If you hunt around on a grill, you can almost always find an information sticker that at the very least has the model and maker listed.

Armed with the model number, I could go digging for parts.  There is a whole cottage industry of parts suppliers out there when you search but the challenge was finding what I wanted in stock and that the price they wanted plus shipping wasn’t astronomical. In some cases, the part price was low but shipping was sky high.

Note, I also found that most parts places are selling parts that will fit the grill but most advise you to confirm dimensions before you buy. The grill is over 9 years old and these places are selling generic parts – so be sure to check dimensions and even that the seller is legit.

The Drip Pan

Okay, the drip pan was trash.  You see, at the end of the day, they are made from steel and salty liquids are dripping on them.  If you don’t keep them clean or put foil on top of them, they will eventually rust out. 

The drip pan had rusted to pieces so the inside of the grill looked far worse than what it was. I think the neighbor took the cover off after maybe a season or two of no use, saw the rust everywhere and pulled it to the curb for trash pickup … or for me to pick up depending on how you look at it.

You need to double check the measurement of your pan – mine was a loose fit in the grill so you have wiggle room in terms of dimensions.  Mine was about 15-1/4″ deep x 28-5/8″ wide.  The replacement pans will all be in the ballpark but you want to make sure that pan reaches from left to right so it is properly supported.

After a lot of digging looking for an affordable exact match to the original pan, I decided to order a 30″ adjustable pan off of Amazon.  The problem I was running into was a combination of the total cost including shipping and also lead times and availability.  So, I went with an adjustable model and you know what?  It’s just fine. 

The AJinTebby pan is 15.5″ deep and can adjust from 27 to 30″ wide. Yes, it is pricey at $46.99 but there is a 5% discount coupon you can apply and if you have Amazon Prime, shipping is free (technically it’s factored into the price but you get the idea – it’s a good deal). Click here to open the Amazon page in a new tab.

An adjustable pan lets you adjust the width to fit your grill. It’s the width that adjusts but not the front to back depth so you still need to make sure of that plus the how much adjustment the model has. The is an AJinTeby 30″ pan that can adjust 27-30″ and has a depth iof 15.5″. It fits the BHG.
The drip pan comes with a nice small drip cup that slides in or out of place under the main pan. Drippings ooze into there and are collected so then you can dump and clean it as needed.
I painted the drip pan and it’s drip cup with Rusto-oleum BBQ & Stove 1200F paint to slow rusting. It has three coats of paint
To further lock and seal things, I put 3M High Temperature Flue Tape on the top of the joints. FYI – the oval hole is where fluids drip through to the aptly named “drip cup” under it that can be emptied as needed.

The Heat Plates

I had to decide what to do with the heat plates.  They had rusted to the point of being pretty thin – the heating and lots of salty fluids had really taken their toll on them. 

You can see the brand new AjinTebby drip pan under the original heat plates and they looked awful. The grill saw quite a bit of use, that I have no doubt of, and then it sat and rusted even more.

My first thought was to try and save money so painted them with Rustoleum’s Ultra High Temp BBQ paint first to try and save money but I could’t get past all the bumpy look from years of rusting.  There are so many affordable replacement options, I decided to go that route.

I painted the heat plates plus I put three coats of Ultra High Temp Rustoleum on the drip pan to slow up the rust. I could have stopped here but the really worn plates were bugging me so I decided to replace them.

The BHG uses 15″ long x 3-13/16″ wide heat plates and they are very readily available in a variety of metals and finishes.  I bought a set of five stainless steel replacement heat plates made by Shinestar off of Amazon – click here to open the listing in a new tab.

Here’s a look at the new Shinestar plates prior to installation.
The 15″ Shinestar heat plates are nicely made and are going to last for a long time. I definitely liked them more than the painted ones.

The Gas Regulator Turned Out To Be Bad

During initial testing, the grill ran just fine but then it started getting flaky and finally would barely produce flame. This is usually due to a regular failing and/or rust or a spider web getting stuck somewhere. I pulled the lines and blew everything out with compressed air. Sometimes that fixes the problem but not in this case.

Now, I made a bit of a costly mistake here because I was in a rush. We had an Ace Hardware nearby and I bought a Weber regulator that fit but was a tad short for $44-46 if I recall rgiht. Because it was short, I took a piece of 2×12 lumber and cut a hole in it with a jig saw to hold the tank. A week later, I was in Home Depot and found out they had a ton of gas grill repair parts in stock (I didn’t know they did) including the exact hose and regulator I needed for half the price of the Weber.

The old regulator went straight in to the tank and the Weber unit is at a right angle.
Quick comment – when you are working on gas fittings, there will almost always be a way to support the existing tube/hookup and ou need to do that. See the small nut formed into the black tube? You need to hold that with one wrench while either tightening or loosening the hose fitting. If you don’t support the tube you run the risk of it bending or breaking free. Just remember. always do what you need to do to support what your line is connecting to. Don’t just torque on the hose’s fitting alone.
Because the Weber hose was too short, I took a piece of scrap 2×12 lumber I had, traced the outline of the tank’s botton on it and cut the circle out. Note I drilled four holes so I could start the jig saw blade that did the actual cutting.
There it is – nice and stable. Again, if I had known that Home Depot had a bunch of repair parts, I would have taken the busted regulator in there and found a match.

I could have saved even more if I had the time to order a hose and regulator from Amazon. They have them for $15-18 depending on the length of hose you need. Click here for to open a new browser tab with the Amazon listings – be sure to get the hose length you need and round up vs. down if need be.

Other Minor Touch Ups

  • I ran a 180 grit sanding mop in the same direction as the stainless “grain” finish and removed surface rust.
  • Sprayed the inside of the grill so it looked better
  • One hinge had a missing Cotter key that I replaced
  • Put a wire brush wheel in my drill and cleaned up the grill grates so they had a nice clean brushed look

The Result

It turned out quite nice and gave us another grill to use during a family reunion we had during July.

The cabinet cleaned up really well.
So did the inside. There is a smoker box down on the heat plates to add a bit of smoke flavor.
Here’s the restored BHG next to my pride and joy Chargriller Competition Grill that my kids got me for Father’s Day a few years back and I converted for wood (click here if you want to read more about that).

Conclusion

One man’s trash is another’s treasure I suppose. The grill turned out nice. The only things it really needed were a new drip pan and the regulator replaced.

I hope this post helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Upgrading A Char-griller Competition Pro Model 8125 Smoker For Use WIth Firewood

As a father’s day gift this year, my kids chipped in and bought me a brand new grill. My wife helped them hide it and together they surprised me. Man, that really touched me. I’ve had a Char-griller Super Pro 5555 grill for almost 10 years – we’re not exactly sure how old it is but it was rusting through in a number of spots. The kids know that I love to grill and decided to go in together to buy me a new 8125 Competition Pro Offset Smoker Charcoal Grill. I had made a few assumptions about that grill that didn’t quite turn out as expected but with a little bit of work I was able to make a grill I really like.

Eye catching packaging and it weighs a ton – 140 pounds.
My two daughters helped me assemble it. The size and weight of the components really make it a two person job.

My biggest problem has to do with my preference to cook with wood and not charcoal and some usability issues this created. Here are my observations after using this for a few weeks:

#1 – The 8125 was really designed with charcoal in mind and they say that right up front. It has a fairly small fixed gap between the grate that holds the charcoal and the expanded metal cooking grates. It would work for a layer or two of charcoal but not for wood.

You can see there’s not much room between the lower rage and the shelf that would hold the cooking grates. Note the expanded metal food grates sitting on the left end of the shelf.

#2 – The paint they put on the 8125 flat out burns right off. What in the world were they thinking? I’m sure this is why the manual says not to exceed 400F but come on. My old grill never did that.

Yeah, the junk paint came right off where it got too hot. We read this might be a problem so it was entirely a surprise but for the price they could have used a high temp paint.

#3 – The expanded diamond-pattern sheet metal is really thin and doesn’t help at all when it comes to transferring heat. I prefer a heavier grate that will help conduct heat to the food.

#4 – Maybe because I am using wood but I can’t seem to run the little smoker piece as well as the big section. Not a big deal but definitely an observation. I’m not even going to worry about this and save the little side smoker box for when I do really want to smoke stuff.

So what did I do?

In looking at the grill’s performance there were three things that I needed to do – retrofit it to use wood, replace the thin expanded metal cooking grates with cast iron and to use a high-temp paint vs. whatever stuff Char-griller chose very poorly to use.

Welded Fire Plates To Burn Wood

Okay, my old grill had a relatively thin sheet metal cradle that you could raise and lower to adjust the heat. The nice thing was that I could lift it out and dump the ash. What was real important is that is shielding the bottom from the burning wood. I really wanted that.

I bought some 14 gauge mild steel and cut it into strips. I did the wings at 4″ and the base at 5″ wide. If I had it to do over, I would have done the base still at 5″ wide but the wings at about 4-1/2″ to get a tad closer to the shelves that are tack welded from the maker. You could go in with a cutting disc, cut the tacks and remove the lower shelf supports really easily if you wanted to. I decided to just leave them.

Laying out the 14ga sheet metal to cut my fire plates. The straight edge helps me make clean cuts with my Hpertherm Powermax 45 plasma cutter. I could have used a cut off wheel too but at this thickness, a plasma cutter is nice and fast. I tend to spend more time setting up than I do actually making the cut.
I’m always impressed by how fast the plasma cutter goes through steel. Wow. The Powermax 45 is nice and straight forward. Amperage, air flow is indicated on the top right and the bottom three position toggle is for the type of cut you are doing.

Yes, I did think about doing more strips because the grill’s bottom is round. That would have let me follow the contour even more closely but I just wanted to keep it simple. If I were to go this route, I would cut the strips such that they came close to 14-15″ across or whatever you want really.

To form the angles, I actually took a simple short cut. I did three small tack welds to hold the plates together – one at each end and one in the middle. I then took the assembly to the grill and pushed/whacked it into place. This caused the sides to bend up and I got just the angle I wanted with the base plate centered. I then removed the unit and did the final welds all the way around.

Here are the two raw plates. My next step was to paint them with 2000F paint – yes, there is such a thing.

Now the interior length of the grill is about 40-3/4″. The 14ga sheet metal I bought was 24″. I thought about cutting and welding the sheet metal but instead decided to let the two pieces simply overlap in the middle.

There are rivet nuts installed at each end of the grill to hold the legs. These stand that plates off from the bottom of the grill at each end. I put a spare piece of folded 14 ga sheet metal in the middle to lift the plates off as well.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a 2000F heat resistant paint. This Rust-oleum High Heat paint is really interesting stuff and has a staged heating protocol you will need to follow to get the best temperature resistance.
I first sprayed the plates down with brake cleaner to degrease them and put on rubber gloves to avoid contaminating them with oil from my skin. Boy, they got hot in the sun and dried really fast. There are four coats on each side of the
I then installed the two plates into the grill. Next up was to load wood into the smoker unit and heat the grill up following Rust-oleum’s prescription.

Here’s what Rust-oleum recommends in case you have access to a big enough curing oven: “Bake at 400°F (204°C) for 30 minutes and allow 30 minutes to cool. Bake at 600°F (315°C) for 30 minutes and then allow 30 minutes to cool. “

In my case, I loaded the smoker up with wood and used it to heat the grill. I’d open both dampers and hit the recommended temp for at least the allocated time and then close the both dampers to smother the fire and let it cool down. My thinking, and time will tell if I am right, is that you need to hit the target temperature for bonds to be made and then cool down sets them — at least that’s what I think is happening. If it all flakes off then my assumptions will be proven flawed.

Note, I did install new grill plates and baked them at the same time so let’s talk about them next.

Bought Quality Cast Iron Grill Plates

Alright, the expanded metal cooking plates really are a joke. I’m sure they made sense to someone looking to cut cost but you really want a nice thick metal to sear meet and also to evenly spread the heat. My old 5555 grill had cast iron and they really did a nice job. Based on that, I really wanted to upgrade to heavy cast iron.

I did a lot of digging and hit on the perfect cast iron cooking grates on Amazon. These things are amazing!

The replacement cast iron cooking grates I ordered off Amazon fit perfectly. They are very thick and heavy, which will help cook food evenly.

The grates are Vicool model 7526s and measure just over 17-1/8″ deep and about 11-7/8″ wide and almost a 1/2″ thick — they are heavy! The grates come two per package and this meant I would need to order two sets to go the length of the grill.

The inside of the smoker has tabs to limit travel of the grates they installed. I could set in three complete grates. For the last grate, I marked where I needed to cut it and used a grinder with a cut off wheel to cut the last piece to size and drop it in. Since I don’t grill to the far left, that’s where I put the partial piece. It really turned out nice — I am very, very happy with these grates and definitely recommend them (the link is above or click here for the Amazon page).

I used a cut off wheel on my Dewalt 4.5″ grinder to quickly and easily cut the piece off the last grate. I cut the piece slightly too big and then sanded it down to fit perfect. Since I will need to remove the grates too add more wood, I wanted them to not slide all over the place but also easily lift out when hot and the metal has expanded.

One last comment, these grates are heavy. You will need a tool to move them out of the way when they are hot. I bought the following tool – it’s well made and up to the task.

Started Touching Up With Ruse-Oleum High Heat Ultra Spray Paint

The paint that Char-griller put on a supposed competition-grade smoker sucks. I’m not going to mince words – somebody made a very, very poor design decision. Yes, in their documentation they say not to go over 400F but why the low limit? Of course the cooking chamber or the side unit will go past that.

Rust-oleum High Heat Ultra is perfect for replacing the OEM paint that will literally curl and come off your grill.

Dealing with it is a nuisance but not hard and there is a good paint to use to do the touch ups. Rust-oleum High Heat Ultra comes in a semi-glass black version that works great. I use a wire brush wheel on my cordless drill to remove the loose paint and then apply 3-4 coats of the High Heat Ultra. Let it dry for at least an hour and then heat it up to 400F to cure it. Note, they do not recommend it for direct contact with flames which is why I used the 2000F paint mentioned above on my fire plates.

I use a wire brush in my drill to remove the curling original paint. It’s happening less and less now that the high-heat areas have largely shed the original paint.

So far, this paint has held up with no problems. When ever the original paint curls back, I wire brush it and apply the High Heat Ultra. It’s annoying but I don’t feel like using a chemical stripper to remove all the old paint so I just keep doing this over and over.

If you have a BBQ or grill that you want to touch up, this stuff rocks and you’ll see why so many people recommend it.

A Cover

I do want this grill to last so I bought a cover that fits it pretty well. It’s made by iCover and is intended to fit 60″ offset smokers. I bought it due to reviews and wanted to save some money compared to the Char-griller cover and am happy with what I got. We’ll see how it holds up over time including Michigan winters.

Hint: Break In The Grill

If you don’t break in your brand new grill, you run the risk of your food tasting funny not to mention eating some chemicals you really shouldn’t be. Before you use a grill to cook food, get it good and hot – 350-450F and hold it there for at least a half hour to get rid of paints, oils and what not. For example the 8125 came coated in some kind of oil or corrosion protection agent that needed to burn off. After that, I close the dampers and let a good coating of smoke go around and coat stuff inside and let it all cool down. After that, you ought to be ready to use it for cooking.

I’m seasoning the grill here. You can’t tell from the angle but there is over 6″ from the bottom of the grill to the wood. I’d stocked it up more than normal to season the grill and to get ready for cooking out that night. I split oak and maple from our property for cooking with plus whatever else my buddy John gives me such as cherry and hickory. The cherry is simply amazing to cook with.

Conclusion

My kids really surprised me this year. They knew my old grill was on its last legs and really wanted to get me something nice. They were way more upset than I was when the paint started coming off and that it really couldn’t handle the wood I wanted to burn. To be honest, the 8125 is a pretty good platform to make improvements on because they did use relatively thick sheet metal in the construction. You can take the base 8125 and make it do just what you want – that’s what I did and I honestly had some fun working out the details. I am thrilled with the result and want my kids to know they are awesome!!

I have a nice bed of coals going on and am getting ready to do hotdogs the night of July 4th. It did a great job. Those thick cast iron grates do an awesome job of helping to both sear and cook the meat evenly thanks to their ability to conduct heat and thermal mass.
It did a great job on this chicken. The thick grates seared the meat and I could dial in the temperature right where I wanted it.
Pork steaks too!


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.