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How to Build a Brick Smoker BBQ Pit

Updated February 21, 2017

The campfire-like feeling of a barbecue pit makes it popular for gatherings of friends and family. A simple, mortar-free brick smoker barbecue pit with brick walls and a large grate on top for grilling or smoking meat can be inexpensively built with a few basic materials.

Dig a round hole 1 foot deep and 5 feet in diameter. A base that is 5 feet in diameter accommodates a 3-foot-diameter grill area. Scrape out the bottom of the hole with the blade of the shovel and level as much as possible. Rake the bottom of the hole to finish levelling the ground. Tamp the ground with a hand tamper.

Add approximately 4 inches of crushed rock to the bed of the hole. Tamp the gravel with the hand tamper. Add approximately 3 inches of sand on top of the crushed rock. The crushed rock and sand help block the fire while creating drainage at the same time.

Build a circular wall three rows high around the inside edge of the hole's perimeter with retaining-wall blocks. Stack bricks so the seams between bricks are staggered from one row to the next. Stack most of the bricks tightly together, but increase the gap between bricks in two or three spots to provide air flow into the pit.

Cut a 5-foot-diameter circle from a sheet of expanded steel mesh with bolt cutters, a grinder with a cutting wheel attachment, a circular saw with a metal cutting blade, or a oxyacetylene cutting torch.

Place the steel mesh on top of the brick wall to use for grilling.

Stack another row of bricks on top of the steel mesh to create a protective lip around the grilling area.

Stack an additional row of bricks on top of the steel mesh. Seal the opening with a piece of plywood on top to use as a smoker.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hand tamper
  • Crushed rock
  • Sand
  • Retaining wall bricks (for landscaping)
  • Expanded steel mesh
  • Bolt cutters, circular saw, grinder or cutting torch
  • Plywood sheet (optional)
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About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.