This is my simple inexpensive way of brewing all grain beer, i've been using this method for about 6 months now and achieve 80% or better efficiency with grain bills of up to 16# for 5 gallon batches. This method is not for everyone as it requires some heavy lifting. A big shout out to deathbrewer for his all grain stove top inspiration.
First things first:
This can be substituted for a homebrew if you'd like
Then heat your mash water, for this brew i used 1.5qt/pound, this recipe was 12 pounds plus some pumpkin so i went for a thinner mash, this is an aluminum pot (i've never had an issue)
I wanted a mash temp of 154 i know that with my system i lose about 15 degrees once mashed in, so i heated to 170
Now grab a plain jane unmodified cooler and add your mash water to it.
Slowly add your grain while stiring, once mashed in check your temp, throw the lid on and don't touch it.
My thermometer is the one that came with the burner and pot so it's for oil but its accurate and i hit my number on the nose
With 15 minutes left in the mash start your sparge water, again i know that i lose 15 degrees so i heated to 185. Typically, your going to lose 1 gal of water to absorption and 1 gal to the boil, this example was a little different because i used pumpkin in the mash and it absorbs the heck outta some water, so, for this example i started with a 5 gal mash -1 for absorption -1 for boil off and -1 because of the pumpkin, i sparged with 3 gallons.
After your mash time of 60+ minutes, grab a bucket, i used my fermentor, line it with a large mash/sparge bag or paint strainer, i didn't have any help with this brew so i used a bungee cord to hold it in place. Now for the heavy lifting, grab your mash cooler and carefully pour it through the sparge bag in the bucket. It can get messy, in this example i did spill a tiny bit, however i still hit all my numbers and ended at 80% efficiency.
(sorry this pic wouldn't upload with the correct orientation)
Now grab the bag and let it drain into the bucket, this is heavy and takes a few minutes, i used to have a giant colander that worked really well for holding the bag. Once it has stopped draining for the most part, dunk the bag in your brew pot with the sparge water, give it a good stir, and let it sit 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes, tea bag your grain a couple times, give it another stir, and the drain, twist, squeeze the heck out of it until it's pretty much not dripping, remember every last drop is sweet sweet wort. Toss your grain aside.
Combine your "first runnings" in the brew pot and get your boil on.