How do I build a tow-behind grill out of a large oil tank?

Written by meg warren
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How do I build a tow-behind grill out of a large oil tank?
Turn an oil drum into a portable barbecue grill. (Zelfit/iStock/Getty Images)

Used by outdoor catering companies, tow-behind barbecue grills are rather large and don't move easily without the help of a vehicle. You can buy a tow-behind barbecue grill with all the bells and whistles for a hefty price, or create one out of a 950 litre (250 gallon) oil tank and a secondhand trailer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Metal grinder
  • Metal brush
  • Hinges
  • 7.5 cm (3 inch) screws
  • Nuts and washers
  • Drill with bit kit
  • High temperature paint
  • Aluminium pans
  • Barbecue grates
  • Wooden dowel
  • Trailer light kit

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  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of the oil tank. This will determine the size of trailer needed. When buying a trailer measure the distance between the side rails of the frame. Buy a trailer that has a smaller width than the oil tank. A larger length measurement will provide additional space for other elements like a sink, table or smoker.

  2. 2

    Strip the trailer completely. Leave only the metal frame and wheels.

  3. 3

    Mark an area on the top of the tank for a door. The door should cover the entire front top half of the tank.

  4. 4

    Cut the opening for the door using a metal grinder. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying sparks caused from the grinder hitting the metal.

  5. 5

    Clean the oil tank of any oil residue and scrape away any rust flakes using a metal brush.

  6. 6

    Place the oil tank inside the trailer. The sides of the oil tank should rest flush with the side walls of the trailer.

  7. 7

    Weld the oil tank to the trailer.

  8. 8

    Attach the lid back on to the tank with hinges. Several smaller hinges will fit between the ridges of the tank. Pre-drill all holes, using a bit the size of the provided screws. Attach a washer and nut to the back of all screws. Cut the screw flush with the nut with the metal grinder.

  9. 9

    Attach floor trim to the front bottom portion of the door. This will allow the door to close flush with the front of the tank and prevent it from swinging inside.

  10. 10

    Mark a line around the outside of the tank, determining the appropriate height for installing grills.

  11. 11

    Drill holes through the tank on the line. Space the holes evenly around the entire tank.

  12. 12

    Insert a 7.5 cm (3 inch) screw through each hole. The end of each screw should be on the inside of the tank. Attach a washer and nut to the end of each screw.

  13. 13

    Paint every part of the tank and frame with high temperature paint. Cover the inside and outside of the tank. Apply three coats of the paint.

  14. 14

    Place aluminium pans on the bottom of the tank. These will serve as removable charcoal trays. Place all charcoal and briquettes inside the trays. This will provide easy clean-up after each use.

  15. 15

    Place barbecue grates over the screws inside the tank. The grates will rest on the screws.

  16. 16

    Attach a wooden dowel to the front of the door using a large bolt, washers and nuts. Place several nuts on the bolt before inserting it into the door to space the dowel away from the door. This will create a handle on the door.

  17. 17

    Install a trailer light kit and wiring harness to the trailer.

  18. 18

    Burn only charcoal or briquettes the first time you use the grill. This will remove any leftover residue.

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