It all began when Dave Upton’s neighbor, Paul, asked him to build a grill for block parties and cook-offs. Their original plan was simple, of course: a couple of 55-gallon drums welded together, plus a few work surfaces. Then Dave noticed that it was beginning to look like a locomotive and the project grew. And grew. The result is a barbecue and smoker combo unlike any other. Ductwork, plus a turbo fan from a Chevy Corvair, allows Paul to control the heat; he can raise or lower the temp quickly, adjust for hotter cooking at one end of the grill, or get steady, uniform temperature throughout. The fan also gets logs burning quickly and circulates smoke for even smoking. For frills, the locomotive has a built-in stereo, headlight, strobe light, fold-down countertop and bell to announce chow time.
“It got too big for the garage, so I did most of the work in the driveway. Pretty soon the whole neighborhood was stopping by to watch the progress.” — Dave Upton
Photo: Courtesy of Dave Upton