How to Build a Brick Barbecue

Learn how to build a stylish brick barbecue that includes cooking, serving and storage areas. The build is easier than it may sound and should be achievable in a day or less. Although it may be initially more expensive than buying a steel barbecue, a brick barbecue will last for many years with little maintenance needed. It can also be a nice feature when the time comes to sell your house.

Planning the Size

You will need to think about what you will be using for a charcoal tray and a grill. The easiest thing to use is an old grill tray from a unwanted cooker as this will include the grill and the cooking tray. If you can’t get hold of an old cooker grill tray, any large metal high-sided tray will do for the charcoal. You can buy extendible grill trays/oven shelves for a few pounds. Remember that the size of the tray and grill will define the size of the barbecue.

Step 1 – Laying Out the Bricks

barbecue-layoutLay out the bricks dry on the floor where you plan to build the barbecue. The barbecue detailed here uses an E shape made up of two bays. One bay will hold the grill and tray and the other will be topped with a paving slab to make a serving platform.

Place the cooking tray on the floor and place the bricks around it to find the correct size of the first bay. The paving slab will sit on top of the second bay so this might need to be slightly smaller. Mark all of the corners on the floor using chalk or pegs (if building on soil).

Step 2 – The First Course

Make up a stiff mix of five parts sand to one part cement and lay this on the floor for the foundation of the first course. If the floor is not level, add more cement to even it out. The marks you made earlier will give you a guide for laying the cement now that the bricks have been moved out of the way.

Start to lay the first course of bricks using normal wall building techniques. Make sure that you check they are level as you go. When the first course is laid, check the level again and make sure that the corners are right angles.

Step 3 – Second Course

Start laying the second course, working out from the corners and staggering the vertical joints to the width of half a brick (as you normally would when building a wall). Where the middle wall meets the back of the barbecue, use metal wall ties bedded into the mortar to tie the two walls together. This isn’t essential, but will help to give the structure added strength and means you don’t have to cut too many bricks to tie the wall together. Check for level again and then repeat the process until you reach the seventh course.

Step 4 – Tray Supports

barbecue-layout-frontYou now need to create some supports for the charcoal tray. The easiest way to do this is to turn some bricks side on so they stick out into the first bay (they should be placed centrally onto the course below and will therefore also stick out from the outer wall). You will need to do this on the left side and the middle wall. You don’t need to turn all of the bricks side on, but make sure you turn enough to ensure the tray is stable when it is resting on them.

Lay another course of bricks on top of them normally and then repeat the process to create supports for the grill. If you want to have the grill further from the charcoal, lay two normal courses between the tray and grill supports.

Step 5 – Finishing off

The bay that holds the grill and tray can be raised up another two courses to provide the cooking area with some protection from wind. The second bay should be left at the height of the grill support course and then topped with a paving slab (or a slab of slate or marble if you can get it). Bed the slab down on a layer of mortar to hold it in place. Point all of the joints, as you would for any brick wall, using a trowel or by dragging a off cut of hose along them.