It’s Easy to Build a Backyard BBQ Pit

It's Easy to Build a Backyard BBQ Pit

Spring is coming, and that’s a good time to build a BBQ pit in your backyard! The BBQ pit is making a comeback from the time of being a post-war symbol of the suburban good life.

A BBQ pit can be built in 2 days and will give you years of virtually maintenance free BBQing. Here’s how:

1. Start with a Proper Base

Decide on the size and placement you want, using grill grates as a guide.

Mark off the area and clear away any grass and debris. Excavate the area to a depth of 8”. Level and compact the ground with a tamper. 

Add pea gravel to a height of 3”, then use tamper again to level and compact. 

Mix fast-drying cement and pour on gravel until the hole is filled level to the ground. Smooth and level the cement with a trowel. Cement should be cured for 24-48 hours.

2. Fit the Bricks

Before committing the bricks to mortar, dry fit the first course of bricks. 

Do that by laying the bricks end to end around the perimeter of the concrete slab, being sure to leave a half-inch gap between each brick which will account for the mortar. Make sure the bricks are square at the corners. 

Mark the outline of the bricks to use as a guide when you lay the bricks.

3. Lay the First Course

Prepare the mortar and trowel a layer of it along the marked guide lines where the bricks will sit. Lay a brick by gently pressing it into the mortar. 

Apply a layer of mortar to one of the ends of the next brick and then butt it against the first one, and press it into the mortar. 

As you are working, remove any excess mortar. Continue until the first course is laid all around the base of the BBQ. 

Make adjustments as you go, by tapping the brick with the trowel handle. Ensure the course is square, plumb and level.

4. Lay Two More Courses

From now on, the courses will only be built on the outside and rear walls, so that the front is open for access to charcoal, ash and grill grates. 

Apply mortar to the top of the first course. Lay the first brick, pressing gently into the mortar, being sure to stagger the joints. Continue until this and the following course are completed.

5. Lay the Remaining Courses

Start with the fourth course, and continue with every other course, and turn some of the bricks so they stick out into the barbecue. 

These will be the grill grate support ledges. Having a few at different heights will give extra cooking space and will allow the grill to be either closer or further away from the fire, depending on how much heat you want. Continue laying bricks until it is the height you want. 

6. Finishing Touch

Use a stiff brush to remove any remaining mortar.

The food will taste better because it was done on a BBQ pit you made yourself!