Durable, Easy Cinder Block BBQ Grill, for Frequent Use




Intro: Durable, Easy Cinder Block BBQ Grill, for Frequent Use

Very simple "redneck" bbq grill. I cook chicken on mine all the time. 

Arrange cinderblocks as shown, after knocking vent holes at the bottom of one (see photos). The grill plate came from Walmart ($10 new, got mine from rusted out  old grill after much use). The "chimney" works backwards, as a cool air induction vent when the coals are going well. A couple 12v computer fans can be added with a battery behind the bricks, to speed up heating or cooking. I use a $3 110v desktop fan aimed down into the brick. 

You can also get free grates from discarded ovens. They can be hack sawed or sawzall'ed to a smaller size, or you can just lay one on the bricks so it balances well.  You can get a super nice cast iron one for $30 from Walmart.  You can find 12v computer fans in junked appliances and computers. Hobby batteries work, or an older car battery can easily run the fans even if too weak to use for an auto (like one with a dead cell or several years old). It's not even necessary but does help speed up heating from a cold pit to hot bbq. 

Add some black clay to the bottom of the pit, about 2" deep. This helps insulate the ground and keep the charcoals put. You can simply hose down the coals to extinguish the grill, and let the sun dry them out. Add some fresh ones next time you cook. The used coals are still fine and will light after you get your new ones going normally (lighter fluid on a pyramid of coals, then spread them out when burning well). 
When the pit is too full or if sauce and food etc spills on the coals, just move the front brick and shovel out what is unneeded after all is well extinguished. 

You can add some lava rocks among the coals to promote even heating and economize on your cost of charcoal briquets. 
I get a lot of free charcoals from the park, left from when people are done with their bbq. I just sift the coals from the ashes and take home the coals. 

If you want to be fancy, the bricks can be painted (outside of bricks) with red rust colored primer or whatever color you want. It won't burn up because the heat is in the middle of the grill. 



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    7 Discussions

    I found a large round stainless steel grate with handles at Walmart for around $12. It works well even with the square/rectangle shape because of the size, and provides places to put meat or vegetables that are done but that I want to keep warm. The side bricks can be moved in closer together to make the fire pit smaller, for times when heating a pot/skillet or using less meat.

    It's tempting to start the meats before the grill is really going. This grill is powerful, so if you wait till they are roaring, you will be able to cook really well. It's easy to throw wood chips in there too if you like smoke flavoring. You can add sand to the holes in the cinderblocks if you want to roast meat a longer time, and spread the coals with lava rocks to make a lower, but even heat. You may have to add coals later. Use a meat thermometer if you're not going for well-done. The heavy oven-racks work best.

    Maker man10

    3 years ago

    They are cement blocks but great job

    I still have this. Now it's just the 4 bricks on the bottom, with an old box fan nearby. It blows away the smoke and gets the coals going faster. You can get these kind of bricks for about $1-3. They are just bricks so they don't wear out, like metal bbq grills. It's easy to move 4 bricks if you want to move it or take it with you to camp with a truck. A small garden shovel or metal ice scoop works good for stirring the coals or getting rid of old coals and junk from the pit.

    I reconfigured this into a "rocket stove", from the same bricks: The one with the hammered cut-outs (and one between the 2 walls added) as the base, and one of the thick 8-shaped or B shaped bricks on top of the first, plus one of the thinner bricks in front of it as an air chute. This worked great, but had a smaller cooking surface. I roasted some fajitas on it and it worked great with charcoal and wood chips.