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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.
Building a homemade barbecue grill is an exciting and practical home project. Not only is it a fun task to take on, but it is also very rewarding. You can provide home-cooked barbecued food for parties and family gatherings with your homemade grill.
Due to their durability and fire resistance, cinder blocks are ideal components for creating a homemade outdoor grill. Cinder blocks are heavy enough to withstand an occasional bump or adverse weather conditions. While they may not be as flashy as modern grills, cinder block grills are rustic and can be customized easily.
The following guide details how to build your very own cinder block grill for your backyard.
Materials Needed for Your Cinder Block Grill
Building a cinder block grill is straightforward. Once all the necessary materials are sourced, the grill only takes around approximately 10 minutes to build. However, cinder block grill plans can be adapted to make a slightly different or bigger design so that it might take longer. It can also be customized using different materials and paints, giving it a specific look to match your outdoor space.
The core materials needed are:
- 22 x cinder blocks - 8” x 8” x 16”
- 4 x half cinder blocks - 8” x 8” x 8”
- 7 x flat / cap concrete blocks- 2” x 8” x 16”
- 1 x steel angle iron - 2” x 2” x 48”
- 1 x expanded metal mesh or cooking grate - 36” x 46”
- 1 x expanded metal mesh or cooking grate - 12” x 46”
These materials are easily sourced from a hardware store. For those with a construction-based job, you may even have some of these items in your garage or backyard.
Because these items are used in the cooking and preparation of food, try to source clean and undamaged blocks. This keeps the grill looking good and also makes it easier to paint or customize.
The average cost of a cinder block is between $1 and $3. A half-block or 2-quarter should cost approximately $1.50. A flat or cap concrete block costs around $1.10. The angle iron bar should cost no more than $25.
A stainless steel or ceramic cooking grate provides you with the best quality cooking surface. Expanded mesh is a cheaper alternative. Depending on the age, weight, quality, and source, it could cost anywhere from $50 to $200.
In total, building a cinder block grill should cost between $110 and $300 to make. It can be worthwhile to reach out to family or friends in the construction industry because they may have materials they’re willing to give away for free. If you want to know the skill in building fire pits with bricks, then read on.
How to Build Your Cinder Block Grill
Step 1: Determining a location
A cinder block grill isn’t moveable. Although it’s quite easy to build or take down, it should be built in the area where you intend to place it. The most important considerations for deciding on a grill location are safety and wind.
Build the grill on a flat surface (use a level to make sure the ground is completely flat), and it should be positioned far away from flammable items such as trash, loose debris, or garden mulch. Avoid placing the grill under low-lying trees and keep it around 10 feet from your home (if possible). If you belong to an HOA or live in a town or city with strict outdoor fire ordinances, you may have to place your grill up to 20 feet away from any structures.
Although smoke is an important part of grilling, be vigilant of which way the wind blows around your house. Otherwise, smoke may blow onto the cook, guests, neighbors’ houses, or into windows. These fumes contain carbon monoxide, among other hazardous materials, so you must avoid inhalation.
Step 2: Block layer 1
The first layer provides the foundations of the grill. It is shaped like an inverse “U.” Place 3 cinder blocks lengthwise along the grill site. At either end of this block line, place 2 more full-size cinder blocks perpendicular to the row. There should now be an inverse U-shape.
Step 3: Block layer 2
This layer goes directly on top of the first. However, 2 half-cinder blocks should be used to offset the pattern. This gives the base more stability and balance.
Step 4: Angle iron and large grate placement
Place the angle iron at the front of the grill, parallel to the original cinder block row. Either end of the bar rests on the ends of the side rows. Position the larger metal grate on top of the angle iron and double cinder block layer. This will be the main cooking surface.
Step 5: Block layer 3
The next layer secures the cooking sheet into place. The block formation continues as with the first 2 layers. Use the other 2 half-blocks to offset the pattern, further improving stability.
Step 6: Shelf
Place the smaller metal grate at the back of the structure. It acts as a shelf or resting tray for cooked food.
Step 7: Block layer 4
Position the final 3 cinder blocks over the smaller grate to secure it. These are the last structural blocks and are placed in the same formation as the first 3 blocks. The main layout of the grill is now in place. Unlike certain other cinder block grill plans, there is no need to use cement or bonding material to hold the blocks together. This is due to the weight and offset formation of each block layer.
Step 8: Cap layer
Use the 7 cap / flat blocks to cover the cinder block holes, giving the grill a more polished look.
Step 9: Creating the fire pit
There are several materials suitable for housing the fire pit. Depending on the natural surface the grill is built on, there may not be any need to build a fire pit. Some simple but effective fire pit surfaces are sand or pebbles. Fill 2” inches of either material and flatten it out before burning your fuel.
Enjoy Your Grill For Several Years
Although the design is simple, a cinder block grill can be used for several years. It is suitable for both wood and charcoal fuel. If you’re worried about the cooking grate’s cleanliness, a Teflon mat provides a good cooking surface.
This grill is large enough to cook full chickens and other common barbecue meats. The design can also be adapted to create a larger grill so that you can expand it for larger parties and family reunions.
If you need more suggestions on how to renovate your outdoor space read our guide on the right plans for an outdoor kitchen.