Homeowners can extend their living space to outdoors by creating a permanent grilling station in their yard. While grills on wheels and stands may be convenient to store and easy to use, they often lack the size and durability of an appliance that has been custom-built. Homemade outdoor grills can be fabricated using limited construction skills and inexpensive materials. With a small amount of time and energy, a builder can have a grill of the size and style he desires.
Homemade outdoor grills, regardless of size, must be built in a location that is clear of hanging foliage and flammable materials. Because ash will fly from heated coals, a clearance radius of several feet around the grill must be maintained to prevent fires. Therefore, the grills should not be built near tree lines or too close to wood fences.
The grill must be built on level ground, so if the location you have chosen is not flat prepare the ground by excavating or using fill dirt to smooth holes. A poured concrete slab several feet longer and wider than the grill provides a sturdy, weather-resistant platform for the building project.
Check with your local government to determine if you need to obtain a permit to build a permanent outdoor grill before undertaking this project. Failing to do so may result in the inability to sell your home without destroying the construction project.
Grills are made of fire-resistant materials that are able to retain heat for even cooking. Brick is inexpensive. Basic sizes cost less than less than 50 cents each and come in a range of earth tones. Alternately, large stones can be stacked in a hearth shape and insulated with mortar. A third material for homemade outdoor grills is concrete poured into molds and allowed to harden in place. Concrete, while available for consumer use, may be difficult for inexperienced hobbyists to get a professional-looking result from.
Outdoor grills can be engineered into a variety of shapes. A common blueprint is to build a square frame up to waist high, fill the middle with concrete, and make three short walls around the grilling area to prevent wind from interfering with the cooking process. A second idea is to make the homemade outdoor grill like a pit and recess the cooking area inside of four short walls. A metal flap may be installed on the grill to ensconce the food and trap the heat during cooking.
Regardless of the shape of the grill, you should make an allowance for the metal grates that will be used to hold food off the fire. Bricks that jut slightly from the side walls can hold the grates or brackets can be mounted in the concrete or stone to accommodate them.
Some outdoor grills have chimneys. While not required to have a functional grill, chimneys increase a cook's comfort by drawing hot air created during charcoal combustion up through the flue. Also, they aid in even cooking by keeping the air flow moving in one direction rather than scattering air in disparate directions. Build the chimney tall enough that its top is higher than the top of your head to prevent smoke from blowing into your face while cooking.