How can I build a barbecue reusing or recycling stuff?

In a bit of an impromptu barbecue-themed week, I thought I’d ask about building the key part of the experience: the barbecue itself. This is partly because I’m interested in hearing bbq ideas and partly because I’m thinking of building myself a little smokehouse for my birthday and I suspect there will be a bit overlap – and asking about smokehouses may be a little obscure.

So anyway, barbecues. John’s dad, my father-in-love, has built a number of brick barbecues – a squared-off u-shape of bricks to about waist height – from salvaged bricks: I think he used grill kits for the grill bits but there is a possibility he made the coals pan from scrap metal. I’ll ask him tomorrow.

But brick structures tend to be a bit permanent – what about slightly more mobile ones? Ones made from old oil barrels (or ideally non-oil metal barrels) seem quite common the DIY bbq world. Old gas bottles can apparently be used for smaller versions but there are more safety concerns with initial cutting.

Any other suggestions? Any ideas about things to use for the coals pan or the grill itself? And what about alternatives like fire pits?

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10 Responses to “How can I build a barbecue reusing or recycling stuff?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    I found this smoker on quite some time ago and fell in love with it so wanted to share with everyone. It is so simple that even I could make it.

  2. Mary Horesh says:

    Saw a great fire pit reuse at Glastonbury, it was a washing machine drum turned flat resting on bricks with wood put in the drum and looked very effective. Wonder if there could be suitable for barbeques resting the grill on top of the drum circular side.

  3. Any old metal case (except aluminium due to it’s low melting point) will probably do. However, it’s always worth avoiding Zinc coated units as this is rather (erm toxic) when it melts/ smokes. I’m thinking though that corrugated iron, in a u shape could be a good solution as the ridges are close together, meaning that the coals will have space under them for air and probably less smoke!

  4. says:

    Brick barbecues do not have to be permanent. They can be laid without mortar and using a steel mesh on top. Usually your local garden centre will
    have the materials and provide you with instructions on how to assemble the bbq. Cheap and simple.

  5. alec.weeks says:

    the washing machine drum works well i drilled a few holes in the back of it to let air through the bottom when in use. I stand it on an old three legged metal plant stand. let the fire die to embers then cook an old oven grill suffices. I also use it to burn garden rbbish its slower tha a bonfire but effective and safer. it also does not rust had mine 2 years now it just stands outside out of the way

  6. :) Here is some interesting video about building BBQ

  7. Grill Girl says:

    I think its a great idae to make a bbq out of old stuff – after all er are all meant to be recyclineaas much as we can. There are probably some really bizzare grills out there!

  8. Wow, that’s a great idea. Make sure you clean the oil drum out before you begin BBQin :p

  9. Kathleen says:

    I built a simple one that is more a firepit than bbq, but this is my found object backyard family marshmallow toaster/hang out and talk or make tofu pups cooker: Take one of those steel wheels a tire comes on (elevate with 3 or 4 bricks if needed) or an old tripod of some type of found object (I had a nice cast iron antique one but broke it one winter! still upset about that) and then put an old hemisphere type charcoal grill lid on top, except upside down so it’s a bowl. I find these regularly along the roads in the US as they blow off people’s trucks when taking the garbage to somewhere–they come in handy now and then. These grill lids have holes in them already, so make certain the holes are open. Then I put in a small grate that I find –like anything–an old kitchen cooling rack or anything steel that elevates charcoal or wood off the bottom but that won’t melt. Start your fire. Your old oven rack always comes in handy for bbq meats or campfire cooking with cast iron pots but for nice roasted veggies you do need something with with smaller spacing or oops! there goes another red pepper!

  10. Sandra says:

    Basement bricks excavated from house built in 1926ish in south bend Indiana. Want to build small smoker/BBQ grill. Are these bricks safe? Not sure if asbestos was ever used in bricks.

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