How to build a brick BBQ

A sizzling barbecue grill – for many, it’s the synonym of summer and an inseparable part of garden parties. It’s hard to beat the taste of homemade grill dishes – that smokey goodness is one of the best parts of summer evenings. Let’s take a look at how to build a solid brick barbecue in your own garden.

How to build a brick BBQ

Necessary materials and tools

First things first, though – before you can start building, you have to make sure you’ve got everything that’s necessary. The list goes as follows:

  • Bricks – the exact number depends on the dimensions of your dream barbecue. For a standard-width grill, you’d need about 8 bricks per layer. The number of layers depends on how tall you are – the barbecue’s height should keep you comfortable while cooking. For the best parameters, get dedicated fire bricks for BBQ.
  • Paving slabs – for a sturdy foundation. You’ll need two smaller ones or one bigger. You may want to get some more, e.g., for a convenient side tray or a roof, but that’s entirely your call.
  • Cement – one bag/bucket would be enough for a small garden barbecue.
  • Sand – you’ll need it to make mortar. The mixture requires five parts sand and one part cement, so plan the amount accordingly.
  • Water – required for making the mortar mixture stiff yet spreadable – should stick to the trowel when held vertically.
  • Trowel – for spreading the mortar.
  • Hammer/mallet – for minor corrections of slab/brick placement.
  • Spirit level – to ensure your barbecue ends up nice and levelled.
  • Metal ties – to add strength to the walls.
  • Metal plates – for convenient cooking tray and grill grate holders.

You can find more fireproof and refractory materials at

Where to place your brick barbecue?

The site for the barbecue should be relatively flat and not exposed to wind. It shouldn’t be close to any bushes/shrubs or any other flammable materials. You might want to keep it in proximity to your kitchen. To get a rough idea of the BBQ’s position fitting into the space, dry lay the paving slabs and mark the BBQ’s outline on the ground. Also, utilise the spirit level and check if the ground needs levelling. If yes, you can use some hardcore or gravel to even out the place.

If you want to expand your garden cooking options, even more, you can also consider adding a pizza oven, chiminea or fire pit to your backyard – they’re all great in their own way.

Building A Brick Barbecue Wall

Building a brick barbecue step by step

When you work out where you intend to set your barbecue, it’s time to start the building process. Here’s a short guide for it:

  1. Laying down the foundation – prepare some cement mixture that’ll be used for fixing the foundation slabs in place. Place spots of it on the ground in a manner that will allow even spreading and press the slab into it. Tap the slab gently with the hammer/mallet to get it in the right spot. Keep the spirit level handy to ensure that the slabs ends up levelled along and across. Repeat the process for the second slab. When the base is nice and levelled, let it rest for 24h so that the cement can harden properly.
  2. First brick layer – start with preparing mortar mixture. When it’s ready, lay out a 10 mm thick layer on the soon-to-be barbecue outline, spread it out evenly with the trowel’s tip and lay the first brick. Press it in and check if it’s properly levelled. Then add a 10 mm layer of mortar on the brick’s vertical joint and add another brick. Remove the excess mortar leaking from between the bricks with the trowel and keep everything levelled. Repeat the process for the rest of this layer’s bricks. Stick a metal tie to the mortar at each spot connecting the inner wall with the longer wall to add more stability to the construction.
  3. Adding verticality – when the first course is ready, go for next layers, starting at the corners. The layers should be staggered – the bricks must maintain a 1/2 overlap. If you didn’t get dedicated angled bricks for the corners, you’d need to cut some bricks for proper staggering overlap. Build the corners as high as you need the cooking tray to be for your personal comfort. When you get the corners done, build the walls up. When you get to the points where the tray (and later grate) will be, stick the metal plates into the mortar of the inner walls to support the grill tray/grate. Alternatively, you can use bricks placed sideways for the same effect. Make sure each brick and layer ends up properly levelled and straight vertically.
  4. Finishing touches and personalisation – you can add a finishing touch to the final course/layer by using bricks of different colour or adding some more ornate stone sett. As already mentioned, you can also add a roof or side tray (the latter would require at least one additional wall for support). When you’re done with the construction, let the finished structure sit for 24h before firing up the BBQ.

And that’s it – you can start cooking in your very own DIY BBQ in just two days. It’s well worth the effort and brings a lot of satisfaction.

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