Homemade Outdoor Grill Ideas: 4 Easy DIY’s

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Looking for some backyard griddle and grill DIY ideas, don’t worry, I was too, let’s chat about it!


So many of you right now will be reading this and thinking I’ve lost my mind, but believe me, homemade outdoor grills work, and work well if you make them right.

There are literally hundreds of homemade outdoor grill ideas out there for you to find, so I couldn’t possibly cover them all here. But what I can do is list some of the best ideas I’ve found on my own and from friends who have made them. After seeing how they made theirs, It was worth a share!

I’ve focussed on the ones that I can envision working well in practice, and I’ve tried to include fresh ideas for you to consider. Who knows, maybe reading this post will spark some creative thinking in you, and help you create the ultimate homemade outdoor grill for yourself!

DIY Oil Drum Grill Ideas

When I first found this oil drum grill idea, I thought it was ingenious! You can get your hands on old oil drums quite easily. The ones I found were 44 gallons, but I suppose you could find one of any size that suited you.

The key to using oil drums for this is to strip it back to its metal base. Some oil drums will be painted, and of course, you don’t want to be cooking things inside a painted oil drum in case it melts or peels away and ends up on your food.

Here’s a list of things you’ll need to make this grill:

  • Oil Drum
  • Paint Stripper
  • Scraper
  • Grinder
  • Grill Rack To Fit Oil Drum
  • Drill
  • Screws To Hold Grill Rack In Place

The first thing you’ll need to do is apply paint stripper to your oil drum if it is painted, and use your scraper to help remove every bit. Then you’ll want to clean everything down to make sure it’s hygienic to cook with.

Soaking or washing the oil drum in a water-vinegar solution is a great way to remove bacteria.

Next you’ll want to use your grinder to cut three sections out of your oil drum, creating an area to keep your grill well ventilated.

The bottom section should be smaller, as you don’t want all the smoke to escape where the fire will be started, and this gap is really only to help you light the grill with a long grill lighter.

The second section should be slightly bigger, as this is where you’ll add your food to the grill rack once you set it in place. The top section should be the same size as the second one, to give the smoke somewhere to escape.

Next you’ll want to pre-drill some holes into the oil drum below the middle opening you’ve created, to create a space to screw in your screws which will support your grill rack in place.

How many screws you need and the size of them will depend on the size of the oil drum you have, but you’ll be able to judge it based on the grill rack you’re using too.

Screw in your screws and place your grill rack on top of them – so that it rests on there easily, but will also be removable for cleaning afterwards.

Lighting charcoal or another burning fuel source in the bottom of your oil drum will help create heat and cook your food on the griddle rack you installed! I told you it was ingenious!

DIY Clay Pot Grill Ideas

This has to be the simplest homemade grill option available, and you’ll only need two things:

  • Terracotta Clay Pot
  • Griddle Rack

That’s literally it. The bigger the clay pot, the better, because then you’ll be able to cook for more people at once. All you’ll need to do then is find a griddle rack that fits into the pot and you’ll be fine.

As most terracotta clay pots are wider at the top and thinner at the bottom, you’ll have a natural way to hold your griddle rack in place by simply pushing it down gently until you wedge it into place.

At the bottom of your pot, light some charcoal and leave your griddle rack to warm up until everything is nice and hot, and then simply place your food on to cook. It couldn’t be simpler!

Brickwork Grill Ideas

The options above are a little more temporary, so if you’re looking for a permanent homemade grill then this is perfect for you!

You could always build it yourself, or have a professional bricklayer make the bones of it for you, but that really comes down to what you’re confident about doing. If you decide to do it yourself, then here are the basics of what you’ll need:

  • Bricks
  • Mortar
  • Brick Trowel
  • Spirit Level
  • Jointing Bar (If You Want The Finished Product To Look Professional)
  • Line And Pins (To Keep Bricks Straight)
  • Tape Measure
  • Soft-Bristle Brush
  • Grill Rack
  • Charcoal Pan

Method Of Mounting Pan And Rack To The Brick Wall

Now, I won’t pretend I’m a bricklaying expert here, so always consult an authority on this before trying to build the structure.

Rather than focussing on the step-by-step process of laying bricks, I’ll give you a general idea of the shape and purpose of your brick grill – any information on bricklaying is something you’ll have to find out for yourself, or else hire an expert!

You want to create a brick grill that is as wide as the grill racks you pick up, so really they can range from huge to small, depending on your grilling needs.

You’ll need to build your brick structure on a solid concrete base, and the bottom of your brick grill should be around 3 or 4 bricks deep.

If you aim for around 36″ high, and 44″ wide, you should be OK, but again, the size of the grill rack will dictate the size you go for. The base of your brick grill will catch any debris that can later be brushed up and cleaned.

You’ll then need a charcoal pan above that, which you will use to heat the griddle rack above. You’ll need to mount your grill rack and your charcoal pan to the walls of the brick grill structure too.

Build an outer brick structure that is higher than your grill to protect it from the wind for even better grilling!

Once that’s done, it’s just a matter of lighting charcoal in your charcoal pan, and placing your food on the grill rack. Cleaning up is easy because of the open space beneath the grill, and it’s a permanent structure you’ll be able to use for years to come!

DIY Fire Pit Grill Ideas

I thought I’d finish on another relatively simple one, but one that is permanent too. You can go about creating a fire pit grill in many ways, but the best way I’ve found involves building a well-like structure in the ground out of bricks and then simply placing a griddle rack on top of that. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bricks
  • Mortar
  • Brick Laying Tools (As Outlined In the Previous Section)
  • Shovel For Digging Out The Ground
  • Grill Rack

To achieve this, you’ll need to dig out an area of your garden to create a lower space in which you can light your fires. You can then lay bricks (or have a professional do it) to create the well, which you will then top with your grill rack.

It’s a very simple but effective way of turning a fire pit into a grill, but as with everything I’ve listed today, there are many ways of doing it. If you think of a different or better way, then why not try it?

A homemade grill is a wonderful thing, and it’ll be something you’ll be proud of for years to come – no matter how you decide to build it!