A simple backyard grill or barbeque area has long been a symbol of idyllic suburban Americana, and for good reason. They accent your patio, provide a perfect gathering spot for social events, and have more room and flexibility than a simple portable grill does. If you’re feeling the call of the charcoal and want to get started on your very own backyard grill, know that it’s actually a lot cheaper and easier than it might seem. Here’s a quick rundown of the basics so you can get started on your own little slice of suburbia.
Quick and Easy How-to
So your standard brick grill or barbeque area is made up of a few pretty simple parts. You’re going to want to start with the base, most likely a flat rectangle of concrete about three or four inches thick. This will keep everything stable and secure, and prevent your grill from tipping over. For even more stability, you can place the concrete base on another three or four inches of crushed stone, tamped down nice and flat.
The actual structure of the grill area is split into two parts: the firebox, and the walls. The firebox is the inside layer, where you’ll put the actual coals and the racks for whatever you’re cooking up. Whether it’s made of brick or some other material, the firebox should obviously be extremely heat-resistant, otherwise, it’ll crack or burn after only a few uses. The design of the firebox is pretty simple: just a floor and three walls. Ultimate Grill Mate is a great source for all your outdoor grill information. The walls go outside the firebox – three walls, preferably thicker than the walls of the firebox itself. For a little extra safety, try making the walls a little taller than the firebox to prevent sparks from flying out.
Inside the firebox, you want two grates: the ash pan, which holds the charcoal and catches any ash that falls down, and the actual grill grate to hold the food you’re cooking. The grill grate should be made of heat-resistant stainless steel or cast iron and can be placed at a comfortable height in the firebox. The ash pan should be between 7 and 15 inches below the grill grate and should be made of solid metal.
Pretty simple, right? All in all, it should only take about a weekend to finish and can be done fairly cheaply depending on the materials you choose.
If you are aiming for something cheap and dependable, concrete is always a solid choice. It’s going to be by far the least expensive option to build your walls and firebox out of, although it probably won’t look quite as nice. Still, it’ll work just fine and will leave you with a little more cash in your pocket, so that’s hard to argue with.
If you want to go for something a little nicer, brick is a classic option for a grill. It has a striking look, it’s resistant to heat and the elements, and it retains heat well so your food will cook a little faster.
The most expensive option is going to be stone, although if you’re looking for something especially pleasing to the eye, this might be your top choice. Expect to spend a little more time piecing the stones together and making them fit, however.
If you’ve been bitten by the grilling bug and you want more ideas on a grilling station give this article a try. It’s got some great, in-depth options that aren’t covered by this article.