Friday, May 29, 2009

Building a Brick Barbecue: Plans

I've been wanting to build a brick barbecue for a very long time now. This year, I'm making that a reality. This will, strictly, be Barbecue v1.0, which will at some future date, after an extension is built, be replaced by Barbecue v2.0. However, for the next few years, v1 will be where it's at.

So my idea is pretty simple. I'm going to build three small walls in a U-shape, with the mouth of the U facing either the house, or the eastern fence. Supported by these walls, about 50-60cm from the ground, will be some sort of flat surface. I reckon at the moment that this will be a paving slab of some kind, but depending on available materials, it may be a brick-paved surface over a rubble core. This will be where ashes and spent coals fall - a hearth, in other words.

Protruding onto this surface from the walls, which will continue up, will be four bricks, on which will rest the coal grill. This will be about 6cm higher than the hearth surface, that being roughly the height of one brick. Above this - given room for the coal grill by the thickness of mortar - will be another four protruding bricks, preferably offset from those below so as to avoid issues where the coal grill gets stuck between bricks. On these will rest the cooking grill, giving another 6cm between the coal grill and the food. Now, I'm looking at that, going "6 cm is really not much space!", so it may have to be more like 13cm, or two bricks and some mortar, and I might have to leave a similar gap between the hearth and the coal grill. It would avoid the grill-getting-stuck-between-bricks possibility as well. I'll need to look at the materials.

And then, the walls will continue up another 2 courses of bricks or so, in order to shelter the food grill a bit. There are some "warming grills" in the grill package I'm using, so I may go so far as to put in some pins to rest them on - they don't rate full brick support, and I might not include accommodation for them at all.

So... some rough maths says I need about 105 red bricks, assuming they're near the standard size of 215mm x 102mm x 65mm. I think I'll get about 140, to be on the safe side. I'll also need that paving slab, if I can get one big enough - it can protude on two sides and make a neat shelf, if it's too big - or enough bricks to make a small front wall and pave the "hearth" if the slab option doesn't work out. I'll need some kind of masonry chisel in order to produce half-bricks for wall-ends, unless B&Q are ahead of me and provide them as well. And for the mortar, cement, sand and some plasticiser if I can find it. And a trowel. And a jointer, or at least a short piece of hosepipe, as I've seen used on building sites. And something to make the mortar in, or on... the local election posters look tempting.

That's quite a list, but I reckon it'll come out, pricewise, a good measure cheaper than a shop-bought charcoal barbecue, and last considerably longer. Not to mention that it will be terribly satisfying.

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