If you like your burgers flame-grilled then why not build a barbeque? It’s as good a reason as any. The taste of charcoal cooked grub is a particularly good one, and there really is no reason to splash out cash on a flash outdoor cooker for grilling in the elements.
If you’re the adventurous and crafty hands-on type with a little bit of spare patio space then you’ve everything you need to construct your own barbeque. That means cooking in your parka during the winter (you haven’t lived until you’ve barbequed steak in the snow) and garden parties in the summer!
You’re going to need some tools and few materials to get this project of the ground though, here are the details. As far as tools go you’ll need a builder’s square, spirit level, brick trowel, plumb line and a piece of chalk. And in terms of materials we’re talking some bricks (enough for about ten courses), dry-mix mortar and you’re grilling equipment, a charcoal tray and a grill (these should be the same dimensions).
If you’ve got all the gear together you need to start thinking about where you’re going to put the barbeque. Remember you’re building a permanent structure so choosing the right spot is important. Things to remember are that you want it to be conveniently near the kitchen, on a flat base and safely positioned in terms of anything flammable such as fences, trees and the like.
Once your spot is chosen and the base is firm and level, you might need to do a bit of levelling if a suitable spot isn’t available, you’re ready to begin.
1. The first thing to do is lay out the first course of bricks. Do this by placing the charcoal tray on the ground and placing the bricks about it in a ‘U’ shape around the back and sides. Once this is done draw around the bricks with the chalk ensuring that everything is at right angles by using the square.
2. Mix up the mortar and then trowel it on ready for the first course of bricks. Start laying the bricks and check the corners are still at right angles and that the bricks are level as you go. Your first course is complete!
3. Build up the courses, staggering the joins and always checking everything is square and level. As you build upwards use the plumb line to eliminate any possibility of creating a lean.
4. As you get to around six courses you need to start thinking about making an allowance for the charcoal tray. Obviously the height is up to you, but six tends to work for most. What you need to do at this stage is lay three bricks at right angles, just like a double in dominoes. These will hold the charcoal pan. Lay another regular course and then repeat the three bricks at right angles. These ones will hold the grill.
5. To finish off add a further two or three courses; this is an especially good idea if you’re in an exposed spot as it’ll act as a shield against the weather. And that’s it. You’ve built your very own barbeque.
Lucy Fellows is a copywriter and blogger currently working on the new blog all about Valentines Day Gifts – a site for product reviews, hints and tips, and ideas on how to make Valentines Day 2012 a date to remember.