Introduction: How to Make the Bitty-Q - (A Drink-Can BBQ) #Mikehacks

Picture of How to Make the Bitty-Q - (A Drink-Can BBQ) #Mikehacks

Got an itch to grill, but don't have a BBQ handy? Here's an awesome little hack, to satisfy your meaty cravings one bratwurst at a time!

Step 1: Watch the Video!

WARNING: Cutting aluminum cans will give the metal very sharp edges. Sharp edges cut skin. You may want to use gloves to mitigate any risk. Hot coals also pose a number of risks. Never use around flammable materials or on tabletops sensitive to heat. This project should not be attempted without adult supervision and adequate training. Use of this video content is at your own risk.

Step 2: Introducing the Bitty-Q - (Itty Bitty BBQ)

Picture of Introducing the Bitty-Q - (Itty Bitty BBQ)

At some point this summer, you may find yourself somewhere your grill isn't, with an itch to cook up something tasty. So in this project let's hack an empty drink can, into an itty bitty BBQ, that will help get you the fix you need, and put some sizzle on those links one glorious dog at a time.

Step 3: Split Down the Middle

Picture of Split Down the Middle

I just made a Bitty-Q that grilled the largest garlic and onion bratwurst I could find at the grocery store, so there's a good chance it'll handle your hot dogs as well.

For this project I chose to use a large 23.5 fl oz drink can.

You'll need to cut the can completely in half, which you could do with a pair of scissors, but whatever you use, the goal here is to split the can cleanly in two.

If you make some small angled cuts about half an inch from the edges, you'll be able to bend the aluminum over, forming a small ledge.

I was able to get a nice clean crease with the help of a popsicle stick.

Do the other side the exact same way, then trim down the pointy parts so they're not quite as sharp.

Now let's focus on making an awesome, and removable, cooking grill.

Step 4: Removable Grill

Picture of Removable Grill

I made my grill with a wire coat hanger, and I'll give you the template for free.

Use something like a pair of wire dikes to cut a wire coat hanger at the neck, then find a way to remove the protective coating.

I used a piece of 60 grit sandpaper, and got the film removed, in under a minute.

Now go ahead and use the template to measure, and carefully bend the wire to shape.

You should end up with a removable grill that spring loads into position when you're ready to start cooking.

Alright, you're ready to add the legs.

Step 5: Adding Legs for a Half Barrel Grill

Picture of Adding Legs for a Half Barrel Grill

I picked up a couple of 4" U-bolts from the hardware store, and they worked really well.

Go ahead and remove the metal plate,and use it as a template on the inside of the can.

This way, you'll know exactly where to poke the holes you need, and they'll need to be just large enough to accommodate the open ends of the bolt from the inside.

Now the plate goes back on, and if you bend the two legs away from each other, you can see the plate locks down on the can, holding it securely.

Now, do the same thing on the other side, and replace the nuts, just for decoration.

Right now you should have a half-barrel BBQ ready for grilling, and you could stop here, but let's take it to the next level by adding a top.

Step 6: Bringing It All Together

Picture of Bringing It All Together

I found some 1" utility hinges fit perfectly between the gaps on the grill, so poke some holes where they fit the best, and use something like #4, round-head machine screws, to fasten them together.

The bolts are three eights of an inch long, and you can see I fastened the hinges with the barrels facing inward.

Now, finish up by adding a miniature handle. The piece I used is called a "strap loop" and I found it at the hardware store as well.

I fastened it near the edge with some #8 machine screws, and you can see at this point, the Bitty-Q is completely finished and ready for grilling.

Let's see what it can do.

Step 7: Time for Grilling!

Picture of Time for Grilling!

Since the grill is completely removable, it makes it nice and easy, to add some coals, or whatever else you use for grilling.

I don't recommend starting the coals in the can, however, because they can get hot enough to melt through the bottom.

Instead, start your coals in something else, and transfer them when they've asked over.

The wire grill should snap into position, and hold firmly in place. Go ahead and add a bratwurst to the grill, and close the lid to get it sizzling.

One other cool feature is that the Bitty-Q has even got a built in loop for hanging your tongs.

After about 10 minutes you can see the brat is perfectly grilled, sweating out juices, and ready to satisfy those cravings.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

I nestled mine one into a golden brown bun, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now, there are all kinds of variations you can make to this idea as well.

I tried using some smaller cans as a base, and added some wire lath to form a makeshift half barrel grill, which you can see did a pretty nice job as well.

Step 9: More Projects

Picture of More Projects

So now you know how to turn your empty drink cans, into a sexy and satisfying miniature BBQ.

So go ahead and get your grilling fix, just about anywhere you want, because now you can.

If you liked this project, perhaps you'll like some of my others. Check them out at


Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-06-29

Fantastic OTG BBQ :)

kayjax51 (author)2014-06-27

This is so creative, useful, and just downright adorable!

Everything impossible (author)2015-09-16

I'll use it for camping

oreoosmar (author)2015-06-15

Awesome my dad has a big grill and I'm only ten so . I can make thus mini BBQ:)

Joel29 made it! (author)2015-05-20

Nice idea!

My 10 years old son found your video on youtube and asked me to help him build his own BBQ. I (drinked and) cutted the can and folded the grill. He did all the rest. We made minor changes like using plain bolts as legs (helps to keep the can round) and used a thumbscrew as handle.

Thanks for the great idea! We had lots of fun building this and everybody likes it!

PS: We found a Heineken mini keg for the next one!

PatrickD8 (author)2015-04-15


PatrickD8 (author)2015-03-19

The link to the templatre is no longer available , can you re upload it please

Sp1k33 made it! (author)2015-02-02

Thanks for this awesome idea, works great! :-D

tephenboy (author)2014-12-01

Awesome ????

Wildfire-Phoenix (author)2014-11-21

What about this process for a 55 gallon drum or a big keg made of stainless steel?

Army boy (author)2014-09-15

Does someone knows if BPA lining in it makes it dangerous for our health, yesterday i tried this with a pepsi can as soon as hot charcoal touched it black smoke came out of it so can someone tell me if it is safe for my health?

MiniDIY (author)Army boy2014-10-25

You would have to drink 900 cans a day for if to be dangerous but in case you are still worried just burn it off with a lighter or leave it light for a while, but don't breath the fumes.

jacktores69 (author)2014-09-15

its a good idea and kinda cool, its another way to ahve fun and cook the dogd so its all good everyone.

kyle brinkerhoff (author)2014-09-11

im just saying, use a stick over a open fire to cook your dogs is way easier....

squidcraft (author)2014-07-31


thundercookie (author)2014-07-18

u r very smart

Mielameri (author)2014-06-25

This takes two of my favorite things and manages to combine them; small versions of big things, and objects of fantastic DIY functionality. Thanks for a great ible!

MichaelAtOz (author)Mielameri2014-07-08

"This takes two of my favorite things" hard lemonade and hot dogs...

Plo Koon (author)2014-07-07

That's epic, bro.

die potato (author)2014-07-07
here's a link to my altoids tin BBQ

die potato (author)2014-07-07

You should try an altoids tin like I did :)

bigjeff313 (author)2014-07-06

mite want to put some pool sand in the bottom of the can it well help to keep the charcol from burning thought

flyangler (author)2014-07-02

Though I stuck to the grill pattern pretty well, I ran out of coat hanger because I cut it off at the neck and didn't try to salvage the spiral end or hook. Not a big deal. I thought it would be easier to bend open a 3" U-bolt than a 4" . I had to really lean into it to pull the legs apart. The handle on my grill top is hand hammered from some grounding copper and I drilled a couple of holes to accept the bolts because the hardware store didn't have the strap thingamabobber. I par-boiled the brats in the contents of this can, the only humane way to dispose of stuff that comes in cans this big. ;)

vatoniolo (author)2014-06-26

Aluminum cans are lined with BPA which you do not want to ingest. I'd suggest melting it off with a torch but be careful not to melt the aluminum.

cdistillery (author)vatoniolo2014-06-26

No need for a torch. After you add the coals and close the lid it will burn off in a couple of minutes once it is heating up.

I've done a fair amount of burning the linings out of cans, and I can say for certain that they are tough little bastards. One of the problems is that metal is a fantastic conductor of heat, which can keep the lining "safe" for quite some time. I think you're correct that the coals would probably burn the lining off the bottom part, but I doubt they would do much for the top. A torch would also be problematic, as the flame will oxidize the aluminum rapidly. In the picture to page 8 you can see the lining start to yellow. I would definitely say that this off-gassed burnt plastic onto the food. I would also say that the lining is still attached. I really like the way this looks, but I would not want to eat anything cooked in it.

EliteAntelope3 (author)vatoniolo2014-06-26

I found this soda called Zevia, apparently there is no BPA lining it. I just hope they have tall enough cans.

orator (author)2014-06-30

Cute idea that really works. Hard to believe, however, that you had all these materials available and time to assemble it, but didn't have a grill!!! LOL

Victor805 (author)2014-06-29

I hate to be "that guy", but isn't the inner coating of the can dangerous if it burns? Most of those coatings have quite nasty chemicals and the smoke could make them stick to the food.

The upper part seems to be intact after being used but I'm concerned about whether or not the coating of the bottom would burn.

elic (author)2014-06-28

Very nice! Good for walking tracks, all you need is a can of beer and a small wire grid. The only trouble is, that you can't drink the beer during eating. - joking!

purplebedsheets (author)2014-06-28

( •,•)
O('')('') bunny

BikeHacker (author)2014-06-28

You have my vote!

snoopindaweb (author)2014-06-27

Cool. Voted. ~ :-})=

beljar4 (author)2014-06-27

what about using a one gallon beer "can"? probably can get a few hamburgers on there.

lazyboy395 (author)2014-06-27

we will still have our grills after the apocalypse, thanks to you grant Thompson.

Wantashi Na (author)2014-06-27

Well done very clever and resourceful , do you have a video on how to make a video ? Thanks the fiddler

Wantashi Na (author)2014-06-27

Well done very clever and resourceful , do you have a video on how to make a video ? Thanks the fiddler

pmenon1 (author)2014-06-26

Wonderful. Especially your youtube DIY made it interesting. Thanks a ton.

cdistillery (author)2014-06-26

I am going to use a Monster Energy can so I can make a Monster Bitty Q. LOL. HEE HEE

123heroson (author)2014-06-26

This is awesome thanks

kas227 (author)2014-06-26

Awesome idea but, realistically, only as a fun, novelty project. How often does one only need one hotdog at a time? lol

random squigles (author)kas2272014-06-26

Or your outside and need to eat cooked food.


seesunmoon (author)kas2272014-06-26

but imagine, there are 12 personal beer can BBQ like this on the table, and everyone can enjoy using the make their own hot dogs.

kas227 (author)seesunmoon2014-06-26

love that idea ... and it would certainly be fun getting the 12 cans for the project! lol

Kiteman (author)seesunmoon2014-06-26

Or a family gathered around a single can, toasting marshmallows for their hot chocolate...

random squigles (author)2014-06-26


Jrown (author)2014-06-26

This is totally awesome! Gotta try it!

Kiteman (author)2014-06-26

Nice job!

Amos Christophers Jacob (author)2014-06-25

How much dollar.

doodlecraft (author)2014-06-25

Awesome! Fun way to do a little smore's campfire too! :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Random Weekend Projects
More by The King of Random:5 Ways to Start a Fire, Using Water How to make a Batarang like "The Dark Knight"How to Make Ninja Stress Balls
Add instructable to: