This wood-fired, outdoor masonry stove can be used four ways: for baking, grilling, cooking and smoking. Whatever your cooking needs, this outdoor oven can do it, thanks to interchangeable grill grates and griddle surfaces. If you want to grill steaks or fish, use the grill grate. If you want to bake bread, slide on the steel griddle, stack some bricks on top to retain heat and add the door to hold in the heat. If you want to use the stove top, just slide the metal plate (or griddle) over the top of the firebox.

The oven has a thick insulation layer of lightweight perlite/cement between the firebox and surrounding concrete block, and we included a removable door. This design holds the heat in the firebox where it’s needed. (Perlite is the porous white stuff often found in potting soils. You can buy this mined mineral product at garden centers.)

You can build the outdoor oven in stages, a few hours at a time. (You’ll need a few days between some steps.) Check local building codes before you start building. The oven is made from materials you can buy at local hardware or building stores. You may be able to find some of the materials at a salvage yard, too. Even if you only use it to bake bread, you can save enough money in one year to more than pay for the $300 cost. Ideally, the stove is built to a comfortable height with concrete countertop space on each side, plus a roof to protect against the elements. We covered the concrete blocks with tile, primarily for aesthetic reasons, but you could apply stucco over the blocks, or just paint them. Having an outdoor sink and storage space nearby is also convenient.

Another key design element is the firebox size — not too small, not too large, but just right. Properly sized fireboxes heat up quickly, have improved combustion, produce less smoke and stay hotter longer. We measured cookie sheets, bread pans, medium and large roasting pans, canners and baking dishes to arrive at our optimal firebox size of 13 inches wide by 28 inches deep by 13½ inches high.

Our outdoor oven requires a fire in the firebox for about 45 minutes to one hour to reach a baking temperature of 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Or, if you want to grill, you can start in less than half an hour. The stove requires almost no maintenance. There’s no need to clean grease out of the oven because it will simply burn away next time you use it.

To read more, including tips on cooking with this oven, see this article at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS website.

Step 1: Materials

53 medium-duty firebricks (2½ in. by 4½ in. by 9 in.)
28 concrete blocks (4 in. by 8 in. by 16 in.)
12 concrete half block 4 in. by 8 in. by 8 in.
4 80-lb. bags cement
1 80-lb. bag cement mortar for tile and block
2 wheelbarrows of sand
2 wheelbarrows of gravel
1 2-gal. bucket fine sand
3 13-lb. bags perlite
1 quarter-inch steel lintel (1½  in. by 14¾  in. by 18 in.)
1 small bag concrete pigment
10 ft. of 6-in. stovepipe
1 damper
1chimney cap
1 collar
1 tube silicone
38 sq. ft. tile (for four sides) 
4 to 5 lbs. grout
1 steel griddle (¼ in. by 15 in. by 18 in.)
1 steel grill grate (15 in. by 18 in.)
1 grate (fridge/oven rack) (13 in. by 18 in. max)
36 in. stove gasket (optional seal)
1 metal insulated door with handles/vent

Total cost: $300. This price assumes you do all the work, and utilize recycled grates and stovepipe from yard sales. Everything new would cost $400-$500.


<p>Here's my version. I had some extra old bricks from a patio project that I used instead of the tile for the outside. I was going for the older look anyway. The directions from Mother Earth News were decent. I definitely used way more lightweight concrete then what the directions called for. I've used it a couple times for doing bbq and it's very functional You can put wire racks and cook multiple things at once. It stayed about 400 degrees while the coals were going which I thought was pretty good. I put a metal sheet on the top opening and was able to finish off the burgers there instead of burning them inside the firebox. The only thing left is to get a cover for the front. The chimera chimney has a stove pipe inside and then concrete is surrounding the pipe. I'm sure some heat gets lost there but generally the bricks retain the heat. I'm sure I spent close to the $300 budget even though the bricks were free. </p>
<p>Many years ago I started reading MEN I told<br> people all the time to try it. But then it got sold from Rhodale to <br>good housekeeping or something as lame. Now it is owned by a group out <br>west and is very nice once again.</p><p>They were the original Instructable IN PRINT, earth shelter home businesses MEN ruled even more then Pop Mech! </p><p>But this si just ehh, try again!</p><p>If print bothers you consider it is totally digital, I turn the pages with my fingers and it world w/o use of fossil fuels. It will not go away if they go out of business, as you retain all copies. And you do not pay for the info more then once. No matter how many different computers OS you change to.</p><p>but really this is not a great one at all.</p>
<p>I can't find the MEN publication that you mention.</p>
<p>The Mother Earth News </p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Earth_News" rel="nofollow">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Earth_News</a></p><p>sub here, also read/buy old issues</p><p><a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/" rel="nofollow">http://www.motherearthnews.com/</a></p><p>we called it MEN, mother earth then became a bunch of guys!</p>
<p>I've been thinking about makeing something like this, got my idea from my vaction to Guatamla but have never found any plans! Thank you </p>
Great design! I'd like to connect a cold smoker to it.
<p>I like it. I had been fiddling with how to do something similar. A lot of good information.</p>
if you can get your hands on a piece of bimetal you could add a thermostat pretty easily, see image, you can rotate the hinge to set the temperature, if the bimetal gets hot it bends to close the airhole, and if it gets cold it bends to open the airhole, you can add a temperature scale by experimenting with different settings, the end result is beautiful, I've gotta build something like this someday...
good idea!
&nbsp;Does really look great a lot of work went in to it.&nbsp;
it's a nice looking grill, but how does it promote &quot;health by design&quot;<br />

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