How To Build an Outdoor Brick BBQ Pit

Updated February 21, 2017

For avid chefs or outdoor enthusiasts who have an area for a grill, there is no better way to cook the summer away than with backyard barbecues and pool parties. You can build an outdoor brick BBQ pit in your backyard with some simple tools. Build it on sturdy ground with good drainage, at least 15 feet away from any bushes/shrubs that can catch fire. It requires a little upkeep and cleaning, but it is resistant to weather and will provide you years of grilling.

Design the shape and size of your brick BBQ pit, it can be in a circle or square shape, depending on how much room you have. If you choose a circle design, you will need to do more mortar work to fill in the corner edges between the bricks. For a square shape, you can arrange the bricks so they create a solid perpendicular corner. Measure out the boundaries with twine and stakes, or use landscaping spray paint.

Dig a pit about 10 to15 inches deep. Try to dig the pit as evenly as possible and smooth it out with the back of your shovel. Layer 2 or 3 inches of gravel on the bottom of the pit. Spread the mortar on top about 1 inch thick and smooth with the back of the trowel. Let dry.

Line the first level of bricks outside along the pit edges, touching them almost side-by-side to line the entire fire pit. For a square design, fit the bricks so the corners have no spacing and they are snugly together. For example, after laying out bricks along one side of the square, you create a small overhang on each edge of about a half brick so they are perpendicular to the bricks lining the next side. This way the bricks are fit snugly together from corner to corner. For a circular design, touch the brick's corners as tightly as possible, but you will have small triangle openings that you will eventually fill in with mortar.

Smooth a 1-inch layer of mortar on top of the first layer of bricks before you set the next layer, making it as even as possible.

Set another layer of bricks on top of the freshly smoothed mortar. Lay the first bricks in this layer so that the middle of each is right over the crack between two on the bottom. Stuff mortar into any open spaces and edges of the bricks. Continue to line up the second layer of bricks in this manner. Then, smooth mortar and apply another layer of bricks until the BBQ pit walls are as tall as you want. Keep in mind that the taller it is, the farther the food will be from the fire.

Let the final layers of mortar completely dry. Set the BBQ grill grate on top of the walls of the brick BBQ grill.


Use firebrick rather than ordinary red brick for your BBQ pit for the safest, longest-lasting construction.

Things You'll Need

  • Bricks
  • Mortar
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Trowel
  • Grill grate
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