Grilling on your backyard dragon

Sculptor Ed McBride's custom barbecues capture the spirit of creatures wild and fanciful.

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Sculptor Ed McBride's custom barbecues capture the spirit of creatures wild and fanciful.

(Fortune Small Business) -- All that sculptor Ed McBride intended to build was a simple charcoal grill for his backyard. A year later he was searing salmon steaks on a barbecue fashioned to look like a five-foot-tall dragon.

"It was kind of an accident, but it's in my nature to be elaborate," says McBride, who later sold the cooker for $65,000 at a convention of safari enthusiasts. Seeing that success, he added custom-built grills to his line of artistic creations, most of which are sculptures inspired by his encounters with wildlife.

"When you're ten feet away from a grizzly bear in Alaska, you get to really feel the power of the animal," says McBride, 53. "I try to capture that wildness in my pieces."

This summer, the artist, who lives in Ridgecrest, Calif., unveiled a new fire-breathing smoker: a smaller, transportable grill that he attached to the sidecar of a restored 1959 Panhead Harley-Davidson (HOG, Fortune 500). The total package sells for about $80,000, but the grill can be purchased - and used - separately for $44,000.  To top of page

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