Introduction: Propane Toolbox BBQ

This is my first Instructible, so please don't judge me too harshly on it.  I decided to build a portable bbq to keep in my work truck. (I work for AAA.) And was getting tired of always just having sandwiches for lunch or grabbing some fast food.  Now I know that many toolbox bbq's have been put up on here, but they are all charcoal. And while I would love to cook over charcoal, I don't have the time on my lunch-break to wait for the coals to get ready and then cool down again when I'm done cooking.

I also didn't want to get one of those flimsy portable grills, because they wouldn't stand up to sitting in the back of a truck.  So, I wanted a bbq that could stand up to the abuse I would put it through.

Step 1: Starting Point

Equipment needed:

- Metal toolbox - I picked this one up at a thrift store for $7.00
- Unistrut - I had some of this laying around
- 3/8" bolts nuts and fender washers
- Expanded metal - my dad had some left from an old project that he let me have.
- Burner assembly - I found one at a thrift store for $2.25
- BBQ paint - Home Depot $4.98


- Drill and drill bits
- 4 1/2" Angle grinder
- Portable Bandsaw
- Socket wrench and end wrenches
- Chisel

So, I started with an old metal toolbox I picked up at a thrift store.  Make sure it is a good quality box with heavy gauge metal so you don't burn holes in it.  The one I found also had a metal tool tray in it which made it easier to have a way to set the grill in.

I then put a wire wheel on my grinder and stripped all the paint off the outside and lit a fire inside to burn all the paint out.  It took a couple hours to make sure all of it was gone.  I then let it cool down and rinsed the inside to get all the soot out.

Step 2: The Base and Burner

Next center the burner in the box.  You will need to drill out a hole in the end of the box and if it is like mine, use the chisel to punch out the side tabs or the burner.  Look at the picture to see what I mean. I also drilled a couple of other holes in the end to act as vents and to be able to get in and light the burner. 

Once you have the hole in the end and your burner in place, mark and drill out where the screw in the bottom of the burner is to be able to mount it securely.

For the base, I used my portable bandsaw to cut the uni-strut to the length of the toolbox, and attached it using the 3/8" hardware.  The reason I ran it the length of the box was for it to be more stable than if I had just made feet on the box.

I then painted it inside and out usinng the bbq paint in 2-3 coats. Just make sure to pull out the burner before you paint it so the burner doesn't get clogged with paint.

Step 3: Lower Grate

I decided to go with a grate and bbq stones rather than just a metal heat diffuser, because I think they work better and there were some that came with the burner at the thrift store.

I used some of the expanded metal to make the grate and uni-strut and bolts to make the legs to set it above the burner.

Using the angle grinder with a cutting wheel, cut the metal to just smaller than the inside of the box so you can get it in and out if you need to.

Depending on how high the burner sits, you may need to add some spacers on the legs to get the height you need.

I didn't paint this grate because with it right above the flame, I didn't want it to burn off and get into my food.

Finally, lay the stones on the grate to diffuse the heat from the burner so everything will cook evenly.

Step 4: Cooking Grate

For the cooking grate, I was lucky enough to get a toolbox with a metal tray inside.  I cut the handle off using my angle grinder and cutting wheel then ground the sharp edges smooth.  I then cut the bottom of the tray out leaving a 1/2" lip all the way around to hold the grate.

Make sure to grind the edges all smooth so that you don't accidentally cut yourself on it.

I'm thinking that I will tack weld the grate into the tray, but haven't had a chance to do that yet, and it seems to be doing fine in the meantime.

Hope you all enjoy this and feel free to give it a try.

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