How to Construct Your Own Gas or Charcoal Grill

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A custom-built outdoor cooking area is one of the best ways to enhance your backyard and increase the value of your property. 

You may believe this is difficult. However, the grill is simple; the enclosure is complex. Most gas grills can be purchased head-only, meaning that the cart is not included. A charcoal barbecue may require little more than a pair of cooking grates available at nearly every grilling supply store. 

A grill island is the most efficient way to assemble a unique grilling area. These prefabricated pieces can be delivered and completed in a single day. However, they can be costly, and if you do not live near the maker, you may incur a hefty delivery fee. You can make exactly what you desire if you have basic construction skills. 

What Are Your Custom Grill Requirements? 

Before beginning a project, you must determine precisely what it is you wish to accomplish. Charcoal or gas grill? What conveniences, such as cupboards, sinks, refrigerators, running water, electricity, natural gas, and lights, do you require? 

  • Gas vs. Charcoal: Gas grills offer controlled heat and options such as side burners, rotisseries, and lids that allow you to grill virtually anything. Although charcoal grills can have the same qualities, getting them may be more challenging due to the limited number of prefabricated charcoal grills that can be put in a custom enclosure. Charcoal provides a more natural grilled flavor, and there is something more primitive and romantic about cooking over coals. This is a decision you should pay careful consideration to when planning your custom barbecue. 
  • Electrical Outlet: It might be beneficial to have an electrical outlet close to your grill. Electrical wiring, conduit, and outlets must be rated for outdoor use. Your local hardware store can point you on the proper path. Consider operating a separate ground for your outdoor kitchen. 
  • Running water: A modest basin and faucet near your grilling area will save you numerous trips inside. If you reside in a region prone to freezing, you must install an indoor shut-off valve and a method for draining the water lines in the fall. Antifreeze may or may not be required in these lines. Again, your neighborhood hardware shop will have further information for your region. 
  • Lighting: For late-night cookouts, ensure that your outdoor kitchen has adequate illumination. A helpful addition would be a light near the kitchen area, as patio lighting may be ideal for socializing but not usually for cooking. 
  • Storage Space: If you have ever used a kitchen, you know that storage space is limited. It is essential to design your grilling area with adequate storage space for your cooking tools. You can keep equipment close to reaching and protected from the elements. You will find that having ample storage space will make your custom grill an excellent cooking area. 
  • Locks: If you plan to leave anything outside, you must be able to secure your storage cabinets. Since you cannot lock the door to your outdoor kitchen, you may desire the ability to connect the cabinets. Some outdoor cabinets come with locks, or you may buy a quality bicycle lock to protect your investment. 

Set Your Budget 

The gas grill heads for premium stainless-steel grills are slightly less expensive than the whole unit. Thus, a price of $4,000 is not unusual. You may always incorporate a less expensive grill head, but as a general guideline, the grill head should cost between one-half and one-third of the project’s total cost. A $4,000 grill head is not unreasonable when considering the cost of lumber, bricks, cement, wiring, sinks, countertops, cabinets, and whatever else you want to construct inside your barbecue. 

Location Considerations 

You must now search for a location. A grill should be placed at a distance from other structures. Before deciding on a location, you may need to verify with the local authorities on fire code regulations. If you need or want your grill to be close to your home or another structure, you can construct vents and fire-resistant barriers around it. 

In general, the placement of a built-in grill should be identical to that of a freestanding barbecue. No trees, decks, overhangs, or combustible objects should be within the grill’s range. Taking some empty boxes and constructing a basic form where you’d like to place your grill is an excellent method to try out the space. This will allow you to examine it before digging up any blossoms. 

Visit the Home Improvement Store 

Once you have a decent notion of the route you wish to take, visit your preferred hardware store. Numerous hardware businesses offer free plans and suggestions. If they believe you will purchase materials from them, they will go above and above to assist you. Building Barbecues & Outdoor Kitchens is one of the available books. This book contains various project ideas and basic construction information. In any case, a trip to the hardware store might serve as a reality check, so you may find yourself back in the planning stages by the time you return home. 

Gas Grill Considerations 

If you prefer a gas barbecue, you’ll need a fireproof structure with steel supports to mount the grill. The grill head should be detachable so that it may be replaced or repaired if necessary. No exposed wood or other combustible material should be near or directly beneath the grill head. 

Additionally, it would be best to have an accessible area under the grill. Even the costliest grills emit grease from the bottom. You will need a method to capture this liquid, so it does not seep onto deck surfaces. 

Propane or Natural Gas 

There are propane and natural gas variants of gas barbecues. If you are constructing a permanently placed gas barbecue, you can eliminate the need to replace propane cylinders using a natural gas grill. This involves installing a gas connection from your home to your outdoor grilling area. The gas line can be connected to the grilling area after the primary regulator (meter). If you wish to install this line yourself, you must have your local gas provider inspect it before covering it. Contact your local gas provider for information on gas line requirements in your area or contact a licensed contractor to run the line for you. 

To utilize refillable propane tanks on your gas barbecue, you must store the tank in a well-ventilated area. Propane tanks must be kept below 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 50 degrees Celsius. 

Gas Grill Structure 

The most straightforward construction to house a gas grill head would be a U-shaped structure made of blocks open on top and in front. It must also contain the appropriate mounting supports to hold the grill securely. Once you have chosen a grill head, you should contact the manufacturer or a distributor to obtain the exact mounting dimensions and specs. This will provide the first dimensions for your grill structure. Depending on the type of additional features you intend to add, you can now measure outwards to determine the ultimate shape and size. 

Space Around the Gas Grill 

After determining the specs for the grill head you wish to install, you must examine the space surrounding the grill. You need ample space to work around the grill. However, you also need much space to escape the grill’s heat. Plan for a minimum of one foot of space on either side of the grill head, so you do not have to fight the heat to reach the sink. 

You will likely require space for meal preparation before grilling. Consider how much area you use in the kitchen for these duties, and add that amount of space as your working space near the grill. Your unique grill area should have a layout that not only works but also works for you. 

Charcoal Grill Considerations 

Charcoal grills are excellent for flavor, but they require more preparation. If you choose a charcoal grill for your outdoor kitchen, you will have to customize it more. There are limited options for charcoal grill inserts. You will need to rely on cooking grates that are available for purchase or can be custom-made. A metal manufacturer or foundry should be able to give you custom grates that meet your requirements. 

When preparing for a custom charcoal barbecue, you must consider the characteristics you desire. For example, do you need a cover for roasting foods? Do you want rotisserie chicken? If you are going to have someone create the metal components for your barbecue, you must lay out the grill unit before designing the enclosure. 

A charcoal grill requires a pair of metal grates at the most fundamental level. One grate contains the coals, while the other includes the food. 

Also required is airflow. When it comes to cooking with charcoal, ventilation is crucial. It must be possible for air to pass up through the burning coals and out over the food grate. This indicates ample space for oxygen to reach the fire. It would be best if you also had an utterly fireproof area to collect falling ash. You do not want smoldering embers to fall on your feet or patio. 

Construction of Firebrick for Charcoal Grills 

The space surrounding the charcoal barbecue must be coated with firebricks. These are the same type of bricks utilized in fireplaces. Since firebricks can grow extremely hot, another layer of brick or block is required to insulate the area where the fire will reside. The building of the brick lining should incorporate metal component mounts or racks. 

Parts of Metal for Charcoal Grills 

Consider the metal components when planning a charcoal grill. Adjustable cooking grates provide a greater degree of control over the cooking process. A crank-driven adjustment would allow you to modify the level during cooking, allowing you to sear meals close to the flame and finish them away from the heat. 

If you wish to use a rotisserie, numerous units are available on the market; however, you must ensure that it can be appropriately mounted and solid enough to spin whatever meal you desire. 

When it comes to the metal components, you must select a durable metal. Cast iron is excellent for cooking but will rust if not correctly maintained. Therefore, a cover or lid will be useful. When researching metal fabrications, inquire about a stainless-steel grilling area cover. 


A fantastic feature of a charcoal grill is that it may also act as an outdoor fireplace if it is designed to do so. Installing a front aperture in your charcoal grill may allow the fire to illuminate and warm outdoor gatherings. However, keep in mind that you must be able to close this area to protect your griller from heat. 

Finishing Your Outdoor Kitchen 

For the remaining components of your outdoor kitchen, you have numerous possibilities. Almost everything placed inside a kitchen may also be set in an outdoor kitchen. If you want to go all out, you may install refrigerators, sinks, hot and cold water, cabinets, and even outdoor dishwashers. It is entirely up to you how far you wish to proceed. Once you have some basic ideas, consult your local hardware shop staff regarding availability and pricing. Most outdoor appliances are more expensive than their indoor counterparts. 

Finishes and Countertops 

The materials you select to finish the surfaces of your custom grill enclosure should be sturdy and complement the exterior of your home and landscaping. This stage ensures the unit complements your property and enhances the monetary value a personalized grill provides to your home. Since a grilled enclosure is constructed similarly to a home extension, nearly any material will suffice. If they are not exposed to the heat of your grill, you can even finish the sides with wood panels to match your home. 

Custom countertops are available in several materials. Ensure that the material you choose can survive the elements; this includes temperature extremes that no kitchen countertop should be forced to endure. Ensure that, if utilizing one of these counters, you inform the suppliers of the intended use and determine the optimal materials. The same holds whether you want to use tile or brick as surface materials. Always notify the seller of the intended application and obtain written confirmation that the material can handle it. 

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