Having a built in barbeque is a great idea for people who like to entertain friends and family at their home.Unlike a portable grill that can be wheeled from place to place, a built in barbeque is a permanent fixture that becomes a part of your outdoor space. Therefore, it is important to design a plan before you start laying bricks. Once you start the project, it won’t be easy to change your mind.
Building a built in BBQ is really not that complicated. You will need to have some masonry skills to lay the bricks and mortar them together. You will need to decide how big you want your barbecue to be and where you want it to be located. Before you start, it would be wise to lay out your plans on paper so there won’t be any confusion when you start to build.
Where you put your built in BBQ is very important. If you put it too close to the house and discover smoke is making your house smell like a chimney, too bad. Other than taking a sledge hammer to your hard work, you don’t have many options. Avoid making a mistake in locating your BBQ by asking yourself some questions. Am I too close to any structures? Am I too far from the kitchen? Am I near the patio or porch where we will be feasting on the BBQ?
Once you find a good spot on some nice level ground, you can think about the design of the built in barbeque. The grill should be set on a hard surface such as a stone patio or a cement slab. If you don’t have such a setup where you want to locate the grill, you should take the time and effort to create a nice platform. Setting your BBQ on a sturdy surface is just like building a sturdy foundation for a house. It will prevent your creation from shifting and possibly developing stress fractures and eventually suffering a significant decline in structural integrity.
To build a cement platform, you will need to go down to your local home improvement center and buy a bunch of quikrete cement. Make sure the ground you are going to form into a platform is cleared of any roots or debris. Use some lumber to frame in the area that will become the foundation. Follow instructions of the manufacturer for mixing the cement and pour the foundation. It is a good idea to slope the platform slightly toward one edge so water will naturally drain away from the grill. Once the cement has had time to fully set, you are ready to begin the brickwork.
At this point you should have some kind of drawing or blueprint of your grill design. Basically it is a square or slightly rectangular structure, somewhat like a small chimney. You will have a brick base, a steel grill and an area where you can slide a tray to hold the charcoal and capture the ashes. A word of caution. Make sure the grill faces in the right direction. You don’t want to be looking into the sun and if possible, it is better to be able to face the area where your guests may congregate.
The most important step in building a brick structure is laying the first level of bricks. This is the pattern that you will build upon as you increase the height of the structure. If the bricks are not perfectly aligned and set in the right pattern, your finished BBQ will probably wind up being lobsided and not very attractive. Put a level to the first layer before the mortar has set to make sure it has been properly installed. Once you have determined the first layer is in place, continue working your way up until you reach the planned height. Take care to wipe away excess mortar so the finished product will look neat and professional.
Before you are finished, you will need to do some interior brickwork to set the steel grill and cinder tray upon. You may want a single grill or a double grill (one grill set at a higher level than the other and farther away from the source of heat) and will need supports for both. Make sure when you do this last part that the steel grill(s) and cinder tray fits securely, but is still easy to slide out for cleaning.