Introduction: $2 Charcoal Grill

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Basically, I needed a small grill really quick and cheap. It's pretty simple to put together, and easy to use. All steps in this guide are for informational purposes only. I am not responsible for any damages, explosions, or radioactive fishmen they may attack you and/or eat your first born.

Step 1: Gather Materials

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Run to a Dollar Tree and pick up cooling racks (for baked goods, cookies, cakes, etc) and lasagna pans. The racks and pans were both 2 for $1, so I ended up with two pans, and two racks. I guess that makes this a $1 Grill, but who's counting?

Step 2: Assemble

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The cooling racks have 4 triangle shaped indentions pointing downwards that line up almost perfectly with the lasagna pan. Line up the indentations with the pan, the cooling rack holds itself in place, and thats all folks. .

Step 3: Grilling

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You want to put the grill on something heat resistant, or better yet, fire resistant. I used some cinderblocks as a base to prevent burning, melting or fire. But even the bottom of the cinder blocks, the part inside the hollow opening was extremely hot, so would reccomend cinderblocks or a stack of bricks atleast 2 bricks tall. Then follow the directions on your bag of charcoal or on the back of your lighter fluid. Stack the bricks in a pyramid, add fluid, yada yada yada.  I also let the charcoals burn with only the grill just incase there was some kind of coating on the cooling rack, which I don't think there would be considering it was meant to cool hot food on in the first place. Be sure that whatever surface you do place your grill on has enough surface area to support the bottom of the tin pan, or you will have some trouble on your hands.

Obviously, the grill isn't as strong as one you would buy at the store, and only uses one layer of coals. I was able to cook the steaks (1/2 a pound total weight, inch thick) to medium well done without problem, and some hot dogs. Be sure to watch for flare ups, and follow basic rules of fire safety and common sense.


hotdog1943 made it! (author)2017-09-22

I like to keep it simple and cheap too, after all why spend your hard earned dollars on overpriced things that break or are unreliable. This series of pictures represents things I picked up over time at our local recycle depot some for free and the cast iron grill cost me a couple dollars as I recall. This simple set up I will put up against any commercial grilling setup available. kept close to the grill it becomes the perfect grill searing station as is the chimney starter setup on the right. For cooking you want to get further from and or use less charcoal to control the heat. If you restrict the air once the briquets or lump charcoal is burning you can have heat for low and slow cooking for up to 4 hours, keep adding briquets two or three at a time for a long slow cook. If you have access to a small metal drum or for a smoker maybe a 45 gallon drum think of the smoker setup you could make using some briquets for heat and adding some wood chips on the bottom and a rack for whatever you want to smoke up high. Get creative and learn to think outside the box and there is no telling what you may come up with. Happy grilling.

JaysonB20 (author)2017-02-12

What a freaking awesome idea, I made a few of these using a bit deeper, wider pan like the one you cook a turkey in and I put two racks on top side by side long ways. They racks fit perfectly and I was able to use a small bag of instant light charcoal, cooked 8-1\2lb steaks, 12 medium sized burgers, 2 packs of hotdogs and warmed 2 packs of buns; of course not all at the same time but I cooked all of that and the coals were still hot enough to cook on for a couple of hours.

sk8er6 (author)JaysonB202017-04-14

Awesome! I'm glad people are still getting a kick out of this. I made one just last summer.

aicerg1 (author)2015-07-04

I made this today for 4th of July and it worked great! I live in a tiny apartment and it was very easy to make. Thanks!

sadbluekitty (author)2014-08-26

This is awesome! I live in a tiny rent house in a college town so there's no storage for anything. This way its disposable or I could just stick it under the kitchen sink! My fiancee has been dieing for a grill! Thanks for sharing!

pholtan (author)2014-07-15

You might use a couple more cooling racks under the grill so it's not on the surface of the table... or cement blocks.... but they are too heavy for me to carry around. The ground of course or sidewalk is good too.... I prefer not to be bending or leaning over that far down... like things up at table height. Good idea!!!!

lonestarnot (author)2013-08-08

... clean-up problem? Solved!!!

thisisnotmyusername (author)2013-07-16

Can this be reused?

It can be used a good couple of times. As long as that lasagna pan holds. Really if you left both pans stacked together (they are 2 for $1) it would probably be sturdier.

xrobevansx (author)2013-08-03


ladytyty (author)2012-04-12

what a great idea ! pack it in your car trunk, you have a creative mind. Thank you !

hossweightlifter (author)2010-06-25

i made this works great

derte84 (author)2010-05-25

In Italy the sell something very similar for 5 euros. In addition to this the charcoal is inside a paper bag that was wet with wax and gasoline (i think..). You just fire up tha bag and the charcoal ignite :)

carlos1w (author)2010-05-20

Very nice.

Browncoat (author)2010-05-20


sk8er6 (author)2010-05-19

thanks! dont forget to rate!

Computothought (author)2010-05-19


About This Instructable




Bio: Hi! I'm originally from Dallas, Texas and am studying Mechanical Engineering Technology in Upstate New York. I have received vocational training in wood shop ... More »
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