In the mid 1900's, brick BBQ pits were all the rage, offering home owners the pleasure of owning and using a unique and distinctive form of cooking outdoors to entertain friends and family.
Despite the huge increase of modern charcoal and gas barbecue grill sales in the last 20 years, the popularity of building your own BBQ pit has begun a revival with those seeking an attractive, alternative method of cooking in the garden.
With modern counterparts costing hundreds and even thousands of dollars, the incentive to build a BBQ pit of your own has increased exponentially among enthusiastic grill chefs and DIY maestros.
Learning how to build a brick BBQ pit is not as hard as it may seem from the outset, and using some common sense, basic tools and a few tips, you will be well on your way to building your own BBQ pit in no time.
Building a Brick BBQ pit
First of all , measure out a rectangular plot for the BBQ pit, and dig downwards at least 10" inches below the ground to ensure that a stable foundation can be laid in preparation for the bricks. Level this area off until it is true to a spirit level or plumb line.
Next, pour in a layer of gravel, some 2-3 inches deep onto the base of the dig-out, and level off. Create a mixture of mortar and water and spread it 2 inches deep around the gravel edges.
Smooth off the freshly laid wet mortar with a trowel and lay down a roll of flattened blocks around the edges of the BBQ pit foundations, levelling each one at a time.
The mortar will dry off fairly quickly in warm weather, and as it does so, fill it in with some dirt and apply another level of wet mortar on top of the blocks and smooth it off level.
Now comes the fun part, laying the bricks for your own BBQ pit!
Take a brick, and spread an even layer of mortar onto it and lay the brick horizontally along the edges of the blocks, level, tap off any excess mortar, and move to the next brick placing it alongside the previous brick repeating the process around the edges of the block base.
When you have finished the outer wall of your brick BBQ pit, move to the inner wall using the same process and add a second layer of bricks, alternating the pattern as you go.
When you have finished both the inner and outer walls of the BBQ pit, take some metal brackets and insert them into the correct position in the wet mortar. The brackets will be supporting your chosen grill size, and this will be set into place tomorrow after the mortar has hardened overnight.
Time to clean up and rest, and return tomorrow once the mortar has set.
The following day, you should find that your brick BBQ pit has set into place nicely, at which point you can add your BBQ grill to sit onto the metal braces.
Cast iron adornments, plaques and interesting fittings can finish off the appearance of your barbeque fire pit so that it fits in well with your outdoor space and adds an additional sense of individuality to your project as well.
Some points to remember when building a brick BBQ pit
Mortar will take a great deal longer to set if the climate is damp or wet. If it is raining and you are working unsheltered outdoors, leave the project until you can obtain shelter over the whole BBQ pit, or wait until the bad weather passes.
Ensure that you remove the excess mortar from each brick as it is placed. Once hardened it will be hard to remove, and be an eye-sore once it has been finished.
Remove any small particles of mortar from the BBQ pit once it has fully set. Avoid attempting to remove excess mortar from the pit while the mortar itself is still wet. Once dried, small particles of mortar can be easily removed using a strong wire brush.
Plan your BBQ pit build in advance, and have all the tools and resources to hand so that you don't have to stop too often. Brick laying is best done in a single pass to help ensure correct level and standard. If you feel as though you cannot get both the inner and outer wall of the BBQ pit finished in one day, build the outer wall first, and leave the second wall until another day.
If the weather appears as though it may rain, cover your BBQ pit with a large polythene sheet. This will speed up the setting process dramatically and help you get on with finishing the project the following day.