Yankee Grill
The barbeque at the Milton House started with a simple hole in the ground that would have made a fine fire pit for a family weiner roast. But the backhoe kept digging until the hole was 8 feet long and 4 feet deep, far enough below the frost line to prevent a slab-cracking heave. This Old House contractor Tom Silva had his men fill the cavity with 4 1/2 yards of 3/4-inch washed stone on which they poured a slab. Tom's men erected a brick pedestal that embraces a gas grill where the new owners could, if they were so inclined, cook some hot dogs. "It's one of the most elaborate ones I've built," Tom says. The 4-by-8-foot barbeque appears to be an organic part of the brick patio it sits on. Three feet high with a 20-inch backsplash, it has a stainless steel door in front and dividers inside that create storage cubbies. The centerpiece of this brick cooking island is a 12-inch-wide, 4-burner black porcelain-enamel grill with a roll-back lid, a warming rack and 424 square inches of cooking area covered with stainless steel cooking grates. Next to the grill sits a separate burner for steaming clams or corn on the cob. The countertop itself is three pieces of 2-inch soapstone, a material that takes the heat and can be refinished easily with sandpaper. Tom's men installed the floodlights on the house to illuminate the area and hooked up the grill to natural gas piped from the house. It's a handsome pit, but TOH executive producer Russ Morash, a long time barbeque buff, marvels at the effort required to build it. "This is a long way from hot dogs over a fire," he says.
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