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Here's the basic set-up, sans grill rack. I wanted some protection against corrosion inside the can so I sprayed the inside of my new toy with Krylon barbecue paint. The directions said to wait at least an hour after the last coat before cooking but I waited a day and made a three hour trial run sans food to smoke off any linger paint fumes. Next time I went at it with some tri-tip and the results were great.
Krylon makes barbecue paint in any color you want, so long as it's black. Funny enough, car guys like a wide variety of colors to choose from when painting their motors.
Heat-resistant motor spray paint also comes in two versions—500 degree and 1200 degree. Meat’s not happy at 1200 Fahrenheit, so I went with the 500 F which is also a third cheaper. A trip to my local auto parts joint and the Home Depot yielded everything I needed: masking paper, masking tape, primer, paint, and a cheap plastic drop cover. The Krylon paint didn’t call for primer but the motor stuff does. I washed the outside of the can and lid, then set up my painting area. You want a place that’s well ventilated but out of the wind. That way you minimize dust, control the paint, and won’t kill any (more) brain cells. I put the can on its side so I could cover it in long horizontal strokes. The first two primer coats were light to build up a tacky foundation, followed by a deeper third coating for thickness. Once the first half was coated, I let it set for an hour, then primed the rest.
A week later, the primer was cured. I shot over it in black using the same coating procedure. Later, I taped the can up tightly in masking paper and drew on my pattern.
After that, I carefully cut away all the areas I wanted exposed for the red, taped down the edges to avoid paint bleed, and zapped down the red.
All done. I've had a lot of fun with the new smoker since then. Now I just need a charcoal version...
Mark Masker is a freelance journalist based out of Los Angeles. Ten years ago he fooled the motorcycle industry into thinking he could write and shoot photos. He's now trying that same trick with the culinary arts.
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