How to build a wood-burning barbecue

Updated April 17, 2017

A wood-burning barbecue pit may be a great accessory to your patio or outdoor area. Not only can you use it for cooking or grilling, you can use it as an outdoor fireplace to sit with friends on cold winter nights. You can build an in-ground custom round masonry outdoor barbecue fire pit constructed from bricks and concrete that burns wood logs. By building a nice barbecue pit design, your yard value may increase along with enjoyment of usage.

Measure the area for your barbecue pit to determine its size, using a measuring tape Push a wooden stick or pole in the centre of the barbecue area in the ground.

Attach one end of a 10 1/2-inch-long string to a spray paint can and the other end to the wooden pole. Pull the string tightly and paint a circle around the pole for the barbecue pit area. Remove the string from the pole and spray can.

Attach a 22 1/2-inch-long string to the spray paint can and pole and repeat Step 2.

Dig a trench around the spray paint outline 10 inches deep and 12 inches wide with a shovel.

Pour gravel in the trench to line the bottom and sides and pack it firmly. Mix concrete according to the instructions on the bag and pour it over the gravel until it reaches ground level. Use your shovel to remove any bubbles or air pockets and a two-by-four to level the concrete. Smooth out the surface with a trowel. Allow the concrete to harden.

Cover your concrete trench with plastic for a few days (at least two). Allow the concrete to set for another five days.

Spray water on the concrete and spread refractory mortar on the surface area. Use your hands to press a manhole brick six inches long into the mortar before it dries. Place another brick flush against the first brick, using a piece of two-by-four to even the heights of the bricks. Continue adding bricks around the trench. Leave about three 3/4-inch gaps spaced equally for air vents.

Lay six-inch manhole bricks over the first layer without using mortar. Place the bricks in a flush position. The inner edges of the second set of bricks should be in line with those in the first layer.

Spray water on both layers of bricks and apply the surface-bonding cement to the outside of the bricks. Smooth out any rough spots with a wet trowel. Don't put cement on the top edges of the pit and avoid covering up the air vents.

Cut your fireproof brick capstones into wedge shapes, using a circular saw with an abrasive masonry blade and chisel. Wear goggles to avoid accidents.

Spray water on the wood-burning barbecue pit after the surface-bonding cement has dried. Add a coat of mortar around the top edges of the pit. Place the brick wedge shapes on top of the mortar. Allow the barbecue to cure for 30 days. Place a grilling rack over the barbecue.


Wear goggles when using the circular saw.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden stick or pole
  • String, 10 1/2 inches long
  • String, 22 1/2 nches long
  • Spray paint
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Concrete
  • Measuring tape
  • Small two-by-four
  • Trowel
  • Plastic sheet
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Refractory mortar
  • Bricks
  • Surface-bonding cement
  • Circular saw with abrasive masonry blade and chisel
  • Grill rack
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About the Author

Since 2007, Jophiel Aurora has written articles on environmental issues, vegetarianism, travel and animal rights for Web sites like eHow, Answerbag and LIVESTRONG.COM. Aurora is also a writer for Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants, an online program. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration in computer information systems from Georgia State University.