[Disclaimer: I'm not trying to sell anything here.]
I got caught up in the Baking Steel frenzy, but held off when I saw the price. It seems like a great product, but I just didn't think that the discount was that great. But the wheels in my noggin started turning (they don't do that often) and I started thinking (I don't do that often either).
There was talk on the Baking Steel thread about using it as a griddle, and about a possible future version with a lip. I pulled out the old trusty cocktail napkin and started doodling. Found a steel place with a fab shop nearby and went to talk to them. A week later, I had these:
The Big Tuff Guy is 16" diameter. The Lil Tuff Guy is 12" diameter. Named so because they are practically indestructible, and heavy as heck.
A36 steel ( I think), 3/8" thick. Handles are 2" high x 4"long to make them easy to hold with welding gloves on. I wanted handles partly to make moving them around easier, and partly to make them work as supports. The side opposite the handles has flat bar wrapped around but welded on top of the plate. Continuous weld on the inside.
The griddle (underneath the Tuff Guys) with the horseshoes is a tawa I brought back from India some time ago. It is slightly concave and can be used to make all kinds of things. The horseshoes were welded on when I ordered the other 2 items, so I could just set it on top of my Weber kettle.
Seasoning the guys up on my Weber Performer:
Here's how the 16" Big Tuff Guy looks in the large egg. If I had done a little more homework, I would have made the handles high enough to raise the plate up to the gasket level. Oh well... can't win em all. i'll just use bricks or something to raise the plate up if I need to.
They don't look all that professional, but I have zero welding or metal skills, so its not like I could have done any better myself. I paid $150 for both of these, so its not like they were any cheaper than 2 Baking Steels form the recent group buy. I'm not sure what I have achieved, but I think the Tuff Guys are fairly versatile. So far this is what I came up with:
-the 16" doubles as a lid for my tandoor. The current lid (just the base of the clay pot cut out) doesn't have handles and is a little annoying.
- griddle with lip for frying all kinds of things: eggs, fajitas, pancakes, burgers, steaks,etc.
- pizza! Can cook high in the dome pretty easily.
- indirect setup. The plate itself acts as the heat shield and the cooking grid can be supported by the handles.
Just getting the discs plasma cut was not all that pricey, and would have been cheaper than the Baking Steels of equivalent size. Most of the cost was for labor, to make the lips and handles. I could have possibly found a cheaper place, but this one was not far from home, and they were willig to sell me the steel by weight instead of making me pay for a whole 4'x8' steel sheet like the other place I had talked to preliminarily.
I'll try to put these guys to the test in the next few weeks, schedule permitting. Thought I would post them here to hear what other folks think. Your comments/critique would be much appreciated!