If you haven't been to a multimillion-dollar mansion that has an infinity pool and thousands of dollars worth of built-in backyard barbecue equipment in person, you likely have seen such yards while sipping beer on the couch watching the Travel Channel. Yards such as those are reserved for the wealthy, but there must be something in between that kind of luxury and a £6.40 Kmart grill on 6-inch legs.There is, and it is lovingly called the Hillbilly Outdoor Fireplace/Barbecue.
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Not everyone can afford to construct that perfect backyard setting that includes an expensive store-bought barbecue. Just one of the polished, hooded barbecues alone can run upward of £3,900 and combine that with the cost for the blueprints, other materials and labour cost, a bank of outdoor cooking equipment can equal the price of a good used car.
The idea for the Hillbilly Outdoor Fireplace/Barbeqce was born in the minds and spirits of the working class; the blue-collar workers, construction foremen, police officers and firefighters -- the core of the American workers who have enough disposable income to add a nice feature to their backyard, yet not waste away their mortgage payment.
What is It?
The Hillbilly Outdoor Fireplace/Barbecue is an enclosed barbecue, built on the ground, and has a chimney in the rear for ventilation. It is box-shaped and rectangular and is made of concrete, river rock and rebar. It is simple and easy to build and the materials cost next to nothing.
Start by levelling the ground where the fireplace will be constructed. Remove all vegetation and install crushed granite. Build a wooden box using 2-by-4s and 1-by-4s, 4 feet deep, 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. This will be the exterior dimensions of you fireplace. At the rear of the wooden box, on the top, cut a round hole and install a 5-foot-high metal chimney tube. Set this box in place where you prepared the site and build a cage of ¼-inch rebar, or even coat hangers around the box. Then mix a batch of mortar and cover the wood frame box and rebar with mud and river rock. If you wish, install some pieces of flagstone in front of the fireplace in a layer of sand.
After your mud has cured, it's time to fire your barbecue. Toss in a few logs, preferably oak or mesquite, and light it up. Don't worry about your wooden frame -- it will burn away in due time. Let your initial burns flame for a few hours, then repeat every other day or so to cure the mud, and you'll see the box begin to char and burn off.
Build or buy a channel iron frame that you can use to place a metal grate on for cooking. Build at least three levels for heat control. Your Hillbilly Fireplace is now ready to be used not only for barbecuing, but as a conversation pit with the warmth of a fire on those chilly nights.