How To Make a DIY BBQ Grill

If you don't feel like hauling the grill, or you just feel like roughing it a little, make this simple and functional DIY BBQ grill.

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Next Project

An hour or less




Less than $20


If you're camping in the great outdoors, going to the beach or heading to your rustic off-grid cabin for the weekend, hauling a BBQ grill and bags of charcoal briquettes along may not be so practical. Fortunately, for even mildly intrepid outdoorsy types, building a DIY BBQ grill couldn't be much simpler.

You'll need to pack a few items from home, but otherwise you can improvise with the tools nature provides. And we've included some tips on how to cook over wood charcoal.

This DIY grill won't win any beauty contests, but it's intended to be temporary and functional. If you build it on public land, or private land that's not yours, remember to check local regulations about open fires. When you're done, make sure to completely extinguish the fire and clean up any remaining debris.

Tools Required

  • 2 to 4 bricks (optional)
  • Lighter
  • Portable campfire grill/grate
  • Small camp shovel
  • Stones (found on-site)

Materials Required

  • Fire-starter cubes or bundles
  • Firewood (can be found on-site)

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

Prepare a clear area for the BBQ

  • Find an area of level ground about five to six feet in circumference. (The fire is much smaller than that, but you’ll want room to sit by it and move around while you cook.)
  • Pick a spot that’s sheltered from the wind.
  • Make sure there are no low-hanging tree branches or foliage near the area where you’ll build the fire.
  • Sweep away any leaves or other debris.

Prep The AreaElizabeth Heath for Family Handyman

Step 2

Build the Basic BBQ Form

Using the bricks you brought with you or stones found on-site, build the BBQ form.

  • Choose dense, heavy stones that are roughly the same size.
  • Avoid stones that are damp. Don’t take stones from creek beds or other bodies of water — they could explode when they heat up!
  • Position them in a U-shape.
  • If you’re building on soft sand, nestle the bricks into the sand a little so that they won’t tip over.

Pro tip: The idea is to create a shape that allows you to build the fire toward the back of the “U,” then pull cinders out for grilling (see below).

Build The FormElizabeth Heath for Family Handyman