Shana Hurt enjoys working on home improvement projects and sharing tips with other DIYers.
Designing a Brick Grill for Your Backyard
A brick barbecue may be easier to build than most people think. For the serious grill chef, a brick barbecue is great for outdoor parties with family and friends. It is a permanent fixture, so be sure to think about future convenience before starting this project.
Step 1: Choose a Location
First, choose the location for the barbecue. Remember that it can't be moved once it is finished. The grill will need to be convenient for frequent trips back and forth to the kitchen. Do not place the grill near any flammable materials or under any low-lying tree branches.
How Big Should It Be?
Four feet by four feet is a good size to consider when deciding how large to build the barbecue grill.
Step 2: Dig Out the Area and Place Boards Around the Hole
In the chosen location, dig the dimensions of the grill-to-be to a depth of at least six inches. Place four six-inch-wide boards along the edges of your hole. Cut to the desired lengths after the area is excavated.
Step 3: Pour and Mold the Cement
Ready-mix concrete or mix-on-site concrete can be used. Regular mortar mix will require the use of rebar for stability, and ready-mix is fiber reinforced.
Pour the cement into your mold and completely fill the hole. Concrete needs to be molded while it is setting. Mold it with a slight slope from front to back, towards the pit opening. This will improve rainwater runoff while also keeping the drain area rinsed clean.
Note: The foundation needs at least forty-eight hours of drying time before proceeding.
Step 4: Purchase the Grills and Pans While the Foundation Dries
A step that can be done while the foundation is drying is to purchase the grills and fire/drip pan. These can be purchased from a local hardware or home store as these will be needed as guides for laying the brick for the barbecue. Before laying the brick for the grill, make sure to allow for five or six inches between the grill and the firebox that will be placed underneath.
Consider Shelves and Grill Height
This is also the time to decide if the grill will have shelves, and, if so, how many. Two or three shelves to hold cooking utensils and condiments could come in handy and should be decided before the brick is laid.
The height of the grill is a very important factor to consider. Will several people be using it, or just one main person in the household. If it will be used by the Grillmaster of the home, then it should be built at a comfortable working height for the master. Proper height makes it more comfortable for the user, so they don't have to bend or reach while cooking.
Step 5: Wet the Bricks
The day before the brick will be laid, wet them down thoroughly with a garden hose so that the brick can retain the water moisture. Dry bricks will absorb water from the nearest source and will pull the needed water out of mortar mix, causing the failure of the cement to set up properly. Wetting the bricks the day before use will retain any needed moisture, yet they will be dry to the touch.
Step 6: Practice Your Brick Layout
Do a dry run with the bricks. Place them as if you are laying them, just without the mortar. After determining the proper layout take a pencil and mark a template around your stacked bricks.
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Step 7: Mix the Mortar and Lay the Bricks
Mix quickrete or mortar according to package directions to get started. Use about 1/2 inch of mortar between the bricks. Use a level to keep brickwork in proper alignment in all directions.
For the novice mason, it is sometimes easier to follow the template markings and lay the corners first. Continue following the markings on the outline until the bricks for the base of the grill are in place and straight. Check the base row to make sure it is level; bricks can be tapped into place by using the butt of a trowel.
When the grill is 4–5 courses high, place rebar at the appropriate height to support the weight of the grill grids and firebox. Once the grill has time to dry out, it will be ready for use.
Bonus Grilling Recipes
Once your DIY grill is ready to go, consider trying one of these tasty recipes!
Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pork Chops
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 boneless pork chops
- Preheat grill to high heat.
- In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, apple juice, oil, soy sauce, ginger, salt, and pepper.
- Heat until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
- Pour sauce over pork chops, and let marinate for 30 minutes.
- Grill about 10–12 minutes or until done.
Peppercorn NY Strip Steak
4 1-inch thick NY Strip Steaks
1/4 cup black peppercorns (cracked not ground)
2 tablespoons Lime Pepper seasoning
salt to taste
- Place peppercorns in a coffee grinder or food processor, crush until course.
- Place crushed pepper on one side of the steaks and press in firmly, sprinkle with Lime Pepper seasoning and salt, do this on both sides.
- Place in refrigerator for 3 hours, uncovered.
- Heat grill and brush vegetable or olive oil.
- Place steaks over the hottest part of the grill for 2-3 minutes, turn the steaks over for another 2-3 minutes.
- Place steaks on a cooler part of the grill and continue to cook until done to suit taste.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2010 Shana Hurt
Glenda on April 27, 2020:
This is exactly what I've been looking for. Great design!
Shana Hurt (author) from Boonville on November 02, 2019:
Thank You for your input. Yes, that would be helpful
william on November 02, 2019:
A big help for the DIY Mason is using masonry mortar joint spacers.