Altoids Sours BBQ Grill




I decided to try my hand at making an Altoids tin grill after reading about the eBq.  This one is powered by a standard-sized charcoal briquette and is capable of cooking a full-size hot dog (cut down to size) or smaller hamburger patties with ease.  It gets mighty hot after it's fired up so use plenty of caution and keep a large glass of water handy.

If you decide to make one of your own please post a picture in the comments!  I'd love to see what you guys are coming up with.  The propane version is coming soon! :D

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Step 1: Materials

1 Altoids sours tin
4x 1.5" sheet metal screws with wide heads (or 4x washers to match)
8x nuts to thread on screws
70mm metal computer fan guard (similar style to the one shown)
92mm metal computer fan guard (similar style to the one shown)

* I scavenged my fan guards from an old computer power supply.  They just happened to be the correct size

** I think these are the same fan guards that I'm using: 70mm and 92mm

Dremel tool with cutting wheel
Drill with bit slightly bigger than screws
Tin snips
Pliers/Needle nose pliers
Safety goggles and gloves

Step 2: Remove Bottom of Tin

Using the small 70mm fan guard as a template, drill 4 holes in the tin slightly inside the screw holes.  They don't need to be perfect, but they should be close.

After you have the holes use a Dremel tool and cutting wheel to remove the center of the tin, leaving 2-3mm of metal around the holes you just drilled.  Remove enough metal so that the "tabs" with the 4 holes can easily bend outwards without altering the shape of the tin or breaking off.  When the metal is removed bend these tabs out slightly (~15 degrees)

Be careful of the sharp edges when you are cutting and bending, and always wear appropriate safety gear!

Step 3: Upper Grill Notches

Using the snips and the large fan grill as a template, cut 4 small slots in the rim of the tin.  These should be thin so that they will grip the upper grill but not so much that the grill can't be removed.  Needle nose pliers come in handy for removing the metal after you snip the edges.

When you are done test fit the large grill and make sure it snaps in and out nicely.

Step 4: Legs and Lower Grill (briquette Rack)

The small grill will hold the briquette.  It needs to sit about a quarter inch or so below the bottom of the grill due to the thickness of typical charcoal briquettes.

First you need to connect the legs.  Put all 4 screws through the holes and secure them with a nut, but only thread one completely through.  Do not tighten this nut either just yet, it should be loose.

Next put the grill on the leg and loosely thread another nut on it about halfway down.

For the remaining legs you'll need to screw the nuts in about halfway, align them with the holes in the grill, and then push them all the way through securing them with a second nut on the end.  You will probably need to bend your tabs a little more at this point to get the alignment just right.

At the end of this step tighten the top nut on all of the screws to secure the legs to the tin.

Step 5: Alignment

The second nut on each leg serves to align the bottom rack.  Tighten each one until the lower grill is level and about a quarter inch from the bottom of the tin.  All 4 legs should be pointing out about the same amount from the center, and your grill should stand without wobbling when you flip it over.

Step 6: Lid

Using the tin snips and needle nose pliers cut 4 notches in the lid so that it can fit over the tin when the upper grill is installed.  In practice you can also use the lid as a tray to keep the ashes off of the table.

Step 7: All Done!

Your grill is now complete!

To use simply remove the top rack, set a briquette on the lower rack, reinstall the top rack and light the briquette from the bottom.  In no time it should be fired up and ready to go!

Don't forget to post pictures of your grill in the comments! =)

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161 Discussions


Question 11 months ago

Do you have a trick to light a single charcoal briquette? It takes 1 match to start a forest fire, 300 matches to light a barbeque...


8 years ago on Introduction

I think this is my favorite of all the Instructables I've read so far. Way to go!! It's a shame about the Altoids but the m&m's tin is a very sweet alternative.

Someone was rather nastily ragged on for saying the grill might not be food safe. This is no small point! Many metals might be OK for the food to sit on, but once they're heated it could be a different matter. I think I would cut down a regular BBQ grill.

1 reply

8 years ago on Step 7

i live in england an no way near me sells altoids sours, any ideas of other tins?


1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

You might be able to find a tin with chocolates or cookies that might work


3 years ago

sooooo cool


3 years ago

Looks more like a Barbie Q....anyway...why cut most of the bottom out...what does the charcoal sit on? Wouldn't you tend to lose a lot of the heat that way?


4 years ago


I am the editor for American Miniaturist Magazine and was wondering if you would like to feature your amazing tutorial in an upcoming issue. I would love to share your work with our readers if you would be interested. It's a great way to reach many people who have a passion for miniatures. You can email me at if you are interested.

Thanks and have a lovely day,


LeanneF1-l WORK l-

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

If you look in the actual instruction part for putting together the bottom fan part of the grill, it states that is where to put the charcoal briquette, since it is too thick to be inside the tin, beneath the cooking grill. The bottom of the top part of the box is cut out, so the heat from the briquette on the bottom grill goes through to the top grill.


7 years ago on Introduction

I love the mini weber but is the coolest ever... but are the fan grills safe to cook on?? I know that some metal surfaces are unsafe once you heat them?? Just a question as I will be making one of these for my son and he WILL use it!!!!!!

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Some metals will leach into food etc in contact with them after heating. A public health official told me a fascinating story about a family with symptoms that looked a lot like food borne illness, but turned out to be heavy metal poisoning. They'd been using an old metal refrigerator shelf on top of a barrel as a charcoal was leaching heavy metals into the food as it cooked and built up in them over time. I dont remember which of the metal(s) were involved.

a one brickette BBQ cool , love idea , great for a cupper,lol boil water or heat a can of stew ,cool

I see there haven't been comments in quite awhile, but had to comment! Made this for my son and son-in-law and packaged it in an "apocalypse" designed painted can (yes - they both watch that show) with other small survival items and it was a HUGE hit!!! I'll try to post a pic if they ever let them out of their sight!!