HOWTO: Tiny BBQ out of Altoids Sours tin

 Image Fohhahgft7Pk7Bg Altoids-Sours-Bbq-Grill contributor vmspionage built a tiny BBQ grill out of an Altoids Sours tin and computer fan grates. My 4-year-old (and I) would love this for making s'mores, one bubbling, tooth-decaying marshmallow at a time. Altoids Sours BBQ Grill


  1. A friend of mine makes burners out of 500ml beer cans (they have thicker metal than the standard sizes). These ones are much more elegant though…

  2. I’m more worried of the metal content of those fan grates. Aren’t those usually nickel coated? If you are cooking a tiny pot or something like that sure…but I wouldn’t put anything edible directly on it.

  3. Oh, how cool is that? Love it. Whaddya use for the fuel? Woodchips? You could probably melt some Sterno in there if you were using it to heat something in its own tin. Sterno marshmallows not so much.

  4. I definitely wouldn’t let my food touch that fan grate. Maybe after burning off the plating, but I’d still be nervous.

    On the other hand, if you let a roasting marshmallow touch anything, you’ve already ruined it, so the grate is purely cosmetic anyways.

  5. That’s a cute little model of something that works. The craftsmanship is very nice. I’m with the other people who think that certain aspects of it may not be food safe, though.

    If you Google “Ultralight Backpack Stove” you will find many, many homemade stoves. Most are designed to burn alcohol, but there are a number of stoves that burn esbit or sterno tabs. I made one of the alcohol stoves from two 12oz beer cans, a pineapple can, and some JB Weld. It worked in principle (you light the alcohol, and the heat from that fire vaporizes alcohol in the side chambers, which then gives you a jet-type flame), but didn’t burn efficiently enough to bring a Sierra cup to a full boil.

    There are designs for Altoid tin stoves as well. Perfect for those of us who think very seriously about Altoid tin survival kits…

  6. Having experienced zinc fume poisoning firsthand, I’ll reiterate the warning about burning chrome. You can’t really tell what the factory put on the metal, but most likely zinc, chrome, or cadmium, none of which are healthy – and cadmium will really mess you up.

  7. I’ve made a stove out of a tuna can. Punctured holes around the rim with a paper hole puncher (if you put some muscle into it, it works, doesn’t dull the hole punch too much). Then poured in 200ml of alcohol. Burns for almost 10 minutes, boils 1L of water for 5 minutes, enough to make 2 cups of tea while hiking. Got the idea form ZEN stoves.

  8. That’s cute but fairly useless. Using the second grate to stabilize the legs is a nice touch, though.

    When I grill I put a whole family pack of chicken in a kettle grill, with the charcoal piled along the sides and not under the chicken so it’s cooked by burning charcoal and not burning schamltz, and I have enough food for a couple days from the work of getting the grill going once.

    And of course I light the charcoal with a propane torch so I don’t stink up the neighborhood with burning lighter fluid.

  9. It would be fun to set one of these up in a clearing in the woods, along with a pile of neatly butchered roadkill squirrels and a stack of Modern Coyote magazine.

  10. That seems like it’d be a really fun little DIY, but I wouldn’t trust the coatings on any single piece of that set-up.

    That being said, covering the fan guard with a piece of aluminum foil would probably take care of any metal contacting with or vaporizing onto your food.

    Personally I use a Coghlan’s Folding Stove and Camp Heat, although any food-safe camp fuel would work fine. The stove and fuel weigh in at maybe two pounds combined, and the little can of fuel lasts freaking forever. The one I’m using now has at least 5 full meals on it, and I still can’t tell the difference between that one and a full one.

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