Build a brick BBQ
Build your own brick barbeque – with a little help from Mitre 10
Barbequing is the oldest form of cooking – it takes us back to the days when food was cooked over flames on the end of a stick. Today, we do it because we enjoy the company, the smell of sizzling streaks or sausages and the fresh air – and because the backyard barbeque has become part of the aussie way of life. Here’s your chance to add a handsome brick barbeque to your garden.
Step 1: Buying your bricks
This barbecue design is based around standard size clay bricks 230mm long, 110mm wide and 76mm deep with a 10mm mortar joint. You’ll need to buy at least 156 bricks, but as some will need to be cut in half and three-quarter lengths, it’s safer to order extra – say 200 altogether – to allow for mishaps. Be sure that you specify hard, well-burned bricks. Bricks fired (or burned) at a high temperature are more heat resistant than other types and are best for barbeques. Only use clay bricks – never wire cut bricks. And make sure that their appearance will also complement your house and garden.
Mortar: The quickest, easiest way to prepare a mortar mix for a project this size is to use ready-mixed mortar available in 40kg bags. One 40kg bag makes enough mortar to lay 40 to 50 bricks so you’ll need at least four bags. If you’re mixing your own mortar, use the correct mixture – one part cement, one part lime and six parts sand is a good general brickwork mortar.
Step 2: Choose your site
When barbequing, most food is prepared in the kitchen so choose a position close to your house for easy access. Select a wind protected area or at least make sure it’s not too close to the house or you may smoke it out while cooking. Also try to position your barbecue so it won’t carry smoke over your outdoor entertaining area. And ensure that there’s enough room around the fire for free movement, and a place for a table and some benches. If your barbecue is part of a new landscape, plan it so it is integrated with your overall design.
Step 3: Prepare your site
This barbecue will end up five and a half bricks wide, three and a half bricks deep and 10 courses high, so you’ll need a solid concrete slab to build on. First, mark out the area measuring about 1430 x 835mm by driving four corner pegs into the ground and joining with string line (Fig. 1). Lines I and 2 should be equal length, 3 and 4 equal length. Check the distance between the diagonally opposite corners with your measuring tape to make sure that each is the same distance apart (lines 5 and 6). This ensures that the site is both parallel and square. You’ll need to excavate to a depth of around 100mm. Firmly tamp down the bottom if necessary, then box in the area with edging boards and pegs. To prevent the BBQ’s weight or growing tree roots from cracking the concrete slab, place light steel reinforcing mesh in the boxed area supported on the 50mm bar chairs. Mix the ready-mixed concrete, following the directions on the bag and pour it into the boxed area making sure that the reinforcing mesh is completely covered. Use a straight piece of timber to level off the slab (Fig. 2). Cover the concrete with plastic sheeting and leave it to cure for a week. Then remove the edging and backfill the sides.