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Brick barbecues will outlast any shop bought variety

As the weather warms up and the evenings get longer, many peoples minds turn toward that great summertime tradition, where the man of the house dons his apron and reverts back to his inner caveman to cook meat outdoors.

We have always had a fascination with fire, whether it's just a bonfire we can poke with a stick or somewhere to cook, it seems to have a universal appeal. But when it comes to cooking Al Fresco, there is a bewildering array of contraptions to get the job done.

The vast majority of people who want to cook outdoors will opt for a shop bought barbecue. These can vary from the cheap silver foil trays with grid and fuel supplied to the barbecues that will set you back a few hundred pounds from your local DIY store or garden centre. However, there is something rather special about a permanent barbecue structure taking pride of place in the garden. A barbecue that will never burn through, rust, have wheels fall off and will certainly never go out of fashion. We are of course talking about the brick barbecue.

The brick barbecue

As you can see from the photograph, not all brick barbecues are created equal! This particular barbecue is rather special and was professionally made and is inset with bespoke gas barbecue units. Having said that, a brick barbecue like this would certainly turn a few heads. As lovely as this barbecue is, you won't have to shell out thousands for a perfectly functional and attractive brick built barbecue to cook your steaks on.

Just a little planning, a few bricks, sand, cement and a grill and you're good to go.

Before you get mixing up the mortar and counting out the bricks, take some time to select a safe place to build your new brick barbecue. All too often people situate their barbecue too close to a wooden fence or garden shed. Just make sure that any heat or flames from the barbecue will not come into contact with any wood nearby.

Use the grill of your choice to determine how far apart the bricks need to be for the main cooking part of the barbecue. Once this is done, you can start laying the bricks in as many courses as you require so that the finished barbecue is the correct height for you. Drawing out a rough plan of where the bricks will go and how many courses of bricks are needed often helps the project work better.

By making a diagram of the project, you can become even more adventurous and end up with a brick barbecue that will be the envy of the neighbours.. You can even add on separate compartments that can be used as a smoking unit and an area with a door that can store all your coals and barbecue tools.

Unlike the first photograph, the second illustrates just what a simple and easy project a brick barbecue can be. If the bricks are laid out correctly and you use a well mixed mortar with the correct ratio of sand to cement, there is no reason why your brick barbecue would not stand firm for as long as your house.

The average metal barbecue from the garden centre will possibly do a reasonable job for a season or two, but it needs to be stored away from the elements or it will rust away to nothing in next to no time. The brick barbecue will last a lifetime, and the only part that will need to be removed is the grill and coal tray for cleaning and storage.

Some brick barbecues these days are not being built with a coal tray made from metal, but from a fire brick platform with vent holes to allow oxygen to feed the fire. The added benefit of heating the coals directly on the fire bricks is that they retain a huge amount of heat which cuts down on the amount of charcoal you will have to use. The fire bricks will act a bit like a storage heater and keep that heat locked in for much longer than a metal coal tray.

So how do you build a brick barbecue?

Follow the points below as a guide.

  1. Lay out the first level of bricks for the barbecue using the cooking tray as a guide. Keep as many bricks whole as possible to reduce the need to cut the bricks.
  2. Mix five parts sand to one part cement, adding enough water to get a stiff consistency. Check the level of the site before spreading the first layer of mortar, compensating for any changes by adding more mortar.
  3. Use the spirit level to mark the outer edge of the barbecue in the cement. This provides a straight guideline for laying the first course of bricks. When the first layer of bricks is laid, check the level again, making sure that the corners are at right angles.
  4. Insert a metal tie into the mortar to join the inner wall to the longer wall, giving the finished structure added strength.
  5. Start laying the extra courses of bricks, starting at the corners. Stagger the vertical joints alternately to the width of a half brick.
  6. Use a spirit level to check that each of the barbecue's corners are vertically straight. Check from all angles to ensure the finished structure is square.
  7. Use a spirit level to check that each of the barbecue's corners are vertically straight. Check from all angles to ensure the finished structure is square.
  8. Build up walls to seven courses. On the left-hand and inner wall turn the bricks side-on to create a ledge for the charcoal tray. Create a flush edge by using a half brick at the outer edge. After another three courses add another course side-on to support the grill tray.
  9. To give a more professional finish on the exterior of the barbecue, take a short length of hosepipe and draw it along each of the joints. Create a neat edge by adding a final course of brick setts then, when this is finished, check all the levels again.
  10. For a handy barbecue work surface, cement a large paving slab on top of the walls.

So if you would like to do away with that metal monstrosity and move over to a quality brick built barbecue, why not give us a call at ET Clay Products. We can advise you on the best type of bricks to use and could even give you a few design ideas for your new brick barbecue. Bon appetit!


t: 01708 200 304

t: 01708 200 304