Introduction: Portable Barrel BBQ Grill

Picture of Portable Barrel BBQ Grill

My first ever instructable :)
This will detail how i built a portable bbq out of a barrel. It took a about 3 months in total as i could only work during weekends and that too not every weekend.

Step 1: The Barrel

Picture of The Barrel

Got this slightly smaller size barrel from a place that sells used barrels. Finding food grade barrels is hard in my country, Sri Lanka.
This barrel had carried some chemicals used for making incense sticks. Finding a barrel without dents too was really hard.
I eventually cleaned the inside parts of the barrel with chemical paint stripper, power washed it and then burnt it out.

So first step after getting the barrel was to mark and cut the opening flap with an angle grinder.

Step 2: Reinforcements

Picture of Reinforcements

Objective was to make a portable grill that i can pack in the back of my truck when it needed to go out.
So making things solid was part of the brief to myself.
I used 80grit sand paper to smoothen the cut edges and the used 3/4" metal stirps to reinforce it..
I will be welding on hinges to these bars later so they need to be able to take the weight of the top lid.

I have a small AC stick welding unit so these rods were only welded to the barrel rims. I used pop rivets to fasten the sheet metal bits of the barrel as my stick welder can't weld thinner gauge sheet metal. Just two pop rivets on the center ribs of the barrel did the trick

The lid too would have a steel outer casing and the cut out part of the barrel will be pop rivetted back into it

Step 3: Top Lid

Picture of Top Lid

Used two wooden blocks and a 3lbs hammer to bend the semi circular bits into shape. It took a bit of time but i did enjoy the process.
Got them to match the curvature of the barrel so that the cut out lid can be perfectly rivetted into place

I added a bottom "brace" to the main barrel body so when the lid is closed it... it could rest on this brace.
I curved out the sharp edges of this "L" iron brace with the grinder and finished off hand sanding with 80grit paper

The lid closed perfectly :)

Step 4: Lift Handles

Picture of Lift Handles

I wanted to include two lift handles either side of the barrel body so it's easier to lug around. I also wanted the same handles to double-up as holders for slide-in side table top.

Things needed to be accurate from now on so got my simple set of tools out.
First part of the job here was leveling up the barrel body so the grill top and lift handles are perfectly parallel to each other when its all finished up.
Each work day, i used the spirit level to make sure things were all leveling up before cutting, welding or riveting anything into place
I used a "concrete nail" sharpened on the bench grinder as a metal scribe. This material held up really well and was far superior to the cheap purpose built scribe tool i had.

My chop saw got busted so was limited to only using the angle grinder for all the cutting work.
The handle was made out of 1" square tubing and the cuts were made with the grinder.
I had to fill up cutting errors when welding.

And i'm a total noob to welding too and please don't slam me for poor welds :)

Step 5: Grill Holder and Firebox Support

Picture of Grill Holder and Firebox Support

I didn't want the firebox to "sit" on the barrel surface itself so added internal ribs using 1" and 3/4" metal strips. These were rivetted onto the barrel body.
The grill would fit between two "L" rods. These were welded onto the internal ribs and also to the front "lip" i made for the top cover to rest on once it's closed

I welded 1/2" steel rods to either side so that it the weight of the grill wont bend the internal ribs.

Step 6: Stainless Steel Grill

Picture of Stainless Steel Grill

I got 8mm dia stainless steel bars to make the grill out of.
Have read pros and cons of using SS but without many other options stuck to SS.

I found stick welding SS to be a lot easier than usual mild steel work.

Although these pics doesn't show it, i added two lift handles to the grill as well.

Step 7: The Stand

Picture of The Stand

I made the stand with 1.5" square pipe.
Used two SS bolts with SS washers to hold the two pieces in place.

I wanted the grill top to be at 36" height from the ground. So used a coir rope to get the position of the two legs correct before welding in the center locking brace.

once the angles were right, i used two g-clamps to hold the center brace in place and welded it into place.

The stand folds back so it doesn't take a lot of space in my truck when transporting

Step 8: Top Lid

Picture of Top Lid

Used three hinges to support the top lid and welded them into place.
Added lift handles to the grill top as well

Step 9: Stripping and Rubber Legs

Picture of Stripping and Rubber Legs

Using chemical stripper to strip the paint.

I got some rubber inserts from a furniture shop and got them hooked up to the bottom of the stand legs.
This way the steel stand wont be sitting on the ground

Step 10: Firebox/Coal Tray

Picture of Firebox/Coal Tray

Made this out of L iron, steel rods and steel strips.
The bottom L iron frame is slightly larger than the coal holding area.
I will be rivetting in a piece of sheet metal covering the bottom base so when finished it serves as an ash pan.
Dont want ash to get dropped into the barrel

I welded in a small ring to hold a small SS water pan as well to keep things moist when cooking

Step 11: Painting and Vents

Picture of Painting and Vents

Added a lid handle and and painted all the outside parts with heat proof paint.

I made a template for the vent holes on adobe illustrator and printed used that as a guide. Used a 40mm hole saw to cut the holes out.
Both sides of the barrel will have these vents to control airflow

I made two brackets with 1" metal strips and rivetted them into the top lid and one of the side panels.
These two will serve as the anchor points for the chain i'd be adding to hold the lid up in place when it's fully open.
I had a new dog collar chain with me so ended up cutting that to size and welding two bolts to either ends of it.
These bolts will secure the chain to the brackets. Didn't want to weld the chain straight to the bracket cos in case the chain needs changing, it's just a matter of removing two nuts :)

Step 12: Finishing Up Wooden Bits

Picture of Finishing Up Wooden Bits

Steel work is all done. shifting to wood bits.
First time using a wood router so the work isn't as sharp as it could have been.

Bought Mahogany wood to make casing for the steel lid handle and also slide-in wooden table top.
Also made two triangular pieces to epoxy onto the vent discs.

Used circular saw, jig saw and mitre saw to go through the wood and a pad sander to finish things up.
i went through 100, 200 and 320 grit paper before applying wood stain and matte clear lacquer.

Once all the wood bits were done, i used two part epoxy to glue things into place.
The top lid handle had to be made in 4 pieces. and it was glue and clamped over night to fit.

I took the finished grill out on a trip to the hills and 9 of us had a great time with chilled beers and great tasting meat.
Was a late night BBQ after a trek up a mountain so couldn't snap any "action shots"

I plan to add a felt gasket intended for the big green egg to ensure the top lid seals well with the bottom part of the barrel.

Comments

rnalawansa (author)2014-08-25

Grill surface 27.5. 17.5 inches. This is the max I could go considering I was using the smaller drum.

Stand is in two rectangular pieces that have two center ss bolts to allow it to fold flat. Well almost flat at least.

Larger rectangle is 19.5 wide and 39" tall
Smaller rectangle is 16" wide and 36" tall
All measurements are on outside and I used 1.5 square pipe

Center swivel ss bolt is at 18' 2"
I used a rope to place the barrel at get the height correct before welding the licking brace in.
Also keep in mind there has to be space for the two rectangles to fold one inside the other
I got it wrong the first time. Was too tight.
Good luck

wthwaites86 (author)rnalawansa2014-08-26

Thanks a lot for this!

rnalawansa (author)2014-08-25

Will measure it and post it. I made things as I went along.

wthwaites86 (author)rnalawansa2014-08-25

Thanks a bunch! Will await your response.

wthwaites86 (author)2014-08-21

What are dimensions for the Legs/Stand you made? I plan on making a similar design (same height for my grill - 36 inches) but cant seem to get the proper dimensions.

Also the dimensions for your grill rack if you don't mind sharing specifics. I made a set with dimensions 20" x 34" and fear it might be a bit too small.

rnalawansa (author)2014-08-21

Thanks. I got the SS rods from a hardware shop here. It's one of those one stop shop sorts. I got 8mm dia rods although they did have both thicker and thinner rods.

wthwaites86 (author)2014-08-21

Awesome grill. Where did you source the SS rods?

rnalawansa (author)2014-07-07

It's charcoal. Prefer it personally.

Jakonator (author)2014-07-05

Is it gas or charcoal?

rnalawansa (author)2014-05-09

Thank you :)

Now that's an epic grill!

About This Instructable

26,731views

124favorites

License:

More by rnalawansa:Portable Barrel BBQ Grill
Add instructable to: