Building a grill is something many people shy away from because it seems like a complex task, not to mention time-consuming. But if you take the job back to basics and use cinder block for the construction, you can make an almost mortar-less grill in the backyard in an afternoon. By dry-setting your cinder blocks and then covering them with a surface bonding cement, you get a smooth, rendered finish, with a grill as sturdy and durable as a full brick-and-mortar job.
Place the grill plate on the ground in position where you want the grill—the surface should be paved, concrete or otherwise level and heatproof. Lay cinder blocks in a row on three sides of the grill, the open side being the cooking side. Push the blocks closely together. Fill the holes in this bottom layer with sand to add strength to the foundation.
Lay the next row of cinder blocks on top, staggering the joints. Lay the first and last block of each side wall on its side, so that the holes in the cinder block are exposed. Repeat this for six rows of cinder blocks, with the first and last block on its side in every second row.
Insert threaded rods into the holes of the sideways-placed cinder blocks, so that you have three racks on which you can place your grill plate to vary the proximity to the coals.
Mix the surface-bonding cement as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Fill the holes that contain the threaded rods first, securing them in place, then let harden. Use the trowel to smooth a 1/4-inch layer of surface bonding cement over the entire structure. Make sure the entire surface is level and smooth. Let cure for three days.
Lay a floor of tightly packed firebricks on the base of the barbecue grill for the firebox, then sit the grill plate over the threaded-rod shelves and your cinder-block grill is ready for action.