Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build A Brick BBQ With A Chimney

There’s something amazing about the taste of food cooked on an open fire, especially when that fire comes from a barbecue of bricks. Of course, you could go out and buy a regular barbecue or a gas one to replicate the taste, but why not be unique? Have you seen many people with a brick-style barbecue in their backyard, let alone one with a chimney? What if we told you that we could show you how to build a brick bbq with chimney?

Group of young friends cooking vegetable skewers and having fun in a outdoors summer barbecue

Are you an experienced DIY’er that loves outdoor projects like how to build an outdoor kitchen, a brick oven, an outdoor fireplace or a pizza oven? Or maybe you want an outdoor brick BBQ to be your first project! Without further ado, follow our instructions and get a BBQ, fun to build and cook on!

Planning before you start

Before you start building your BBQ, there are some things you need to plan, as with all DIY projects. First of all, you should find a suitable area in your garden, measure and mark it, to make the barbecue of your dreams. Keep on reading to find out all you need to know.

Check your local laws

You should check into your local laws to get the answer to these 3 questions:

  1. Will you need a building permit?
  2. Do you have to hire someone to grade the soil or ground where you want to build your barbecue?
  3. How high are you allowed to build your chimney?

Choose the right area 

Start by walking around your property and look around to find where exactly you want to build your barbecue. It’s essential to keep in mind that it needs to abide by local laws and ordinances. For example, local law may be that barbecues can’t be within 3 m of the home, and some chimneys can’t exceed 90 cm tall. Also, if you don’t have a level area to put it, don’t worry; we provide instructions for excavating and levelling the ground in the following guide.

Here are a few things to consider when searching for an area:

  1. Do I want to entertain my guests while I’m cooking?
  2. What part of my landscaping looks the most level?
  3. Where should I put it so that trees won’t cause damage in the case of bad weather?
barbecue in the garden made of bricks


You’ll need to figure out how large the concrete slab will need to be for you to build your foundation. To do so, you can use a couple of metal grill grates. Here’s what to do:

  1. To mark your area, lay a metal grill grate on the ground and place bricks along the border. Also, apply a brick on each side of the brick border. Instead of laying these vertically like the others, lay them horizontally.
  2. When measuring the bricks’ width, make sure you measure from end to end of the horizontal bricks. To get an idea of the depth, measure front to back. Write down these measurements so you don’t forget them for the following steps.

What you’ll need for your outdoor kitchen barbecue

Before you start building your outdoor barbecue, make sure to have all the equipment you’ll need handy. Here’s a list of all you’ll need:

  • Bricks and refractory bricks(for the barbecue)
  • Concrete blocks(for the base walls)
  • Concrete(foundation and countertop)
  • Rebars for the reinforcing structure
  • Refractory cement
  • Safety gloves, glasses
  • Wet saw(to cut the bricks)
  • Hammer, spirit level, carpentry pencil
  • Concrete mixer
close up of bricklayer's trowel on three bricks

Step-by-step guide: How to build a brick barbecue

You are now ready to start building your DIY outdoor bbq. All you need to do is to have your tools and equipment ready and follow our tutorial!

Step 1: Pour the concrete

To help your project go more smoothly, you should first clear away any grass or debris from the area. Then follow these steps to excavate or pour the foundation:

  1. Apply the measurements you took to your ground. Do this by using wooden or metal stakes with a string attached. 
  2. Excavate the whole area. Make sure you dig about 20 cm down so you can level the ground and build a load-bearing foundation.
  3. Pour in some pea gravel. It should be about 8 cm high when spread across the area. Then, use a tamper to compact it down till the site is level.
  4. Mix the cement using fast-drying cement so that you can get on with it quicker. Check the manufacturer’s instructions so that you can mix it the right way.
  5. It’s now time to pour the cement. Fill the rest of the hole by pouring your cement on top of the gravel until it is ground level. With a trowel, work the top of the cement to ensure that it is smooth and level
  6. Let the area cure for 48 hours.

Step 2: Mark your bricks

Before you fix your bricks to the concrete, it’s best if you first do a dry run. To do so:

  1. Lay your bricks around the concrete’s perimeter, making sure there’s about 1.5 cm of space between each one to include the mortar in the layout.
  2. Mark the corners of your barbecue with some chalk, as well as where the walls will be. Before doing that, make sure to check that your corners have perfect 90-degree angles. This marking you’ve just done will act as a guide when you lay your bricks later.

Step 3: Lay the first fire bricks

Before you begin laying your first bricks, you need to prepare the mortar according to the manufacturer’s directions. Here’s what to do next:

  1. Using your trowel, apply the mortar along the marked lines. While applying the mortar to the cement, ensure it’s in a straight line.
  2. Take the first fire brick and press it gently into the mortar.
  3. Use more mortar to the end of the brick. Then, apply the next brick, making sure to remove any excess mortar as you go by scraping it up.
  4. Repeat these steps until you have laid the first course around the base of the barbecue.
  5. Make sure everything is level and square, using your spirit level. If you discover any brick out of place, tap it to adjust it. 
close up to man's hands wearing working gloves, setting bricks

Step 4: Continue to lay your courses

You will form the remaining courses on the outside of your barbecues and their rear walls. You should leave the front open, so you can access it for fuel, cleaning the ash and placing the grates. You should:

  1. Apply mortar with your trowel to the top of the first course of bricks that you just finished laying. Press your first brick into the mortar. This time you must ensure you stagger the joints.
  2. If the brick doesn’t fit properly, you can cut it using a wet saw or a cold chisel.
  3. Repeat the steps while laying the bricks until you have applied all of the courses. The courses’ number will differ depending on how high you need your barbecue to be for you to access it comfortably. Keep in mind to scrape any excess mortar as you go.

Step 5: Lay your final course

  1. As you finish laying the bricks, you should turn a couple of them to create a grill grate support ledge. Some should stick out a little bit on the barbecue’s inside. Make sure to do this for each level to create a grate to be able to sit.
  2. Continue laying the bricks until you’ve reached your desired height. Choosing several heights for cooking allows you to have space to do so and different heat intensities. It’s important to know that you need to use solid bricks when you lay your final course of bricks. That way, you’ll ensure the structure’s completion and sturdiness so you can then add the chimney.

Step 6: Finish the base of your brick barbecue

  1. Once you’re done with your final course, you should strike the joints using a jointer. That way, you’ll create the concave depression into the mortar. Keep in mind that you should do this before the mortar has had the time to dry. 
  2. When your cement is almost cured, scrape off the mortar’s remaining bits with a stiff brush, like a stainless steel bristle cleaning brush.
close up of bricklayer hand laying bricks and levelling up brickwork

Step 7: Add the chimney

Your chimney’s height will depend on your local building codes. It’s essential to check with local authorities before you begin. Then follow these steps to add your chimney:

  1. Start the smoke chamber at the barbecue’s top. Start building the chimney where you laid the solid bricks.
  2. To construct the flue and the outside of your chimney, use a metal pipe, create it from bricks or even a pipe or flexible hose. If you choose the hose, you should ensure that it can withstand extreme heat amounts as the smoke and hot air rise.
  3. Surround the chimney with flashing, where it meets the top of your barbecue.
  4. Add a chimney cap and secure it by using a silicone waterproof caulking material. The lid should be about 5 cm extended past the chimney’s walls. This will help to prevent wildlife and water from entering. You now have your brand new barbecue/firepit ready!

How to maintain your brick BBQ

If you want to keep your barbecue in good condition, you should spend time cleaning it and fixing minor damages that may appear in it. Keep on reading to find out how to clean a barbecue step by step. 

Cleaning the barbecue grill

The first thing you should do when you start cleaning your barbecue is to clean its grill. You can do this by using specific products or some homemade tricks. Here are some effective cleaning tips to use:

  1. Make your cleaning mix. You can use a little bit of dishwasher or soap mixed with water. You may also squeeze the juice of 4 lemons and mix it with a bucket of hot water or cook a pot with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar and bring it to a boil.
  2. Soak the BBQ grill in a bucket in the mix and let it act
  3. Scrub with a cloth or sponge to remove any traces of grease. 
  4. If the grill has traces of charred food stuck together, you should give it a pass with a metal brush or a metal scouring pad before submerging it in soapy water. Do not stop rubbing until you have got rid of all the stuck remains.
close up to man's hand holding a brush, Cleaning outdoor gas grill

Withdrawing the ashes

When there is very little coal, you can clean off the ashes by just pouring water. The best way, though, is to remove the ashes and then clean carefully. Here’s what to do:

  1. Remove the ashes using a brush.
  2. To get rid of the remains of ash, use a metal palette to take it off.
  3. After you’ve removed the ashes, you should clean that area. It’s best to use water and soap to clean the ashworks barbecues. Then, rub well. 
  4. If there is a charcoal tray with wood or charcoal ashes, cover this area with aluminium foil before removing it.

Clean the soot from the chimney and walls 

To clean the soot from the walls and chimney, you can use:

  1. Pressurised water.
  2. Bleach.
  3. Caustic soda.
  4. A more light combo of black soap, pumice and ammonia in a bucket of boiling water.
  5. Dishwashers’ soap and salt

More tips for cleaning your brick bBQ pit

Do you need some extra tips to keep your BBQ clean and safe? Here’s what you should know:

  1. The bricks of the construction barbecues are very sensitive, so you will have to use a brush with soft bristles not to damage them during the process. Avoid grilling steel brushes. Otherwise, the brick will wear away after each cleaning.
  2. Always wear gloves, glasses and a mask to avoid having an “accident”.
  3. Brick barbecues require more maintenance than stainless steel ones. You should remove the embers after each use and clean the walls after every 2 uses. You should also do general cleaning, at least, after every 5 uses.
  4. Check the structure at least once a year to ensure there are no cracks, especially if you have a lot of barbecues.
Fish seated on brick barbecue

Having your own BBQ with a chimney will not only upgrade your cooking experience but will also enhance the look of your backyard! If you enjoy spending time with your friends and family and love a great meal together, stop thinking and start building! What you should do is follow our step-by-step guide for a barbecue that will last for many years. All you need is a few tools and skills; this is something anyone can do!

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