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How to build a simple breeze block barbecue

Updated February 21, 2017

Many sleek barbecue grills on the market cost a pretty penny, but outdoor charcoal grilling need not be expensive. A simple grill design incorporating grill grates and breeze blocks creates an outdoor barbecue just as functional as any brand name grill on the market. Choosing the right location and properly spacing and laying the breeze blocks and grates ensures an outdoor grilling experience equal to any shop-bought charcoal grill.

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  1. Choose a level location on the ground at least 3 m (10 feet) from any brush piles, tree lines, or underbrush.

  2. Clear the site of leaves, sticks, and any other flammable debris.

  3. Lay the sheet metal section flat on the ground in the middle of the site. This forms a heat shield to catch any hot coals that fall through the coal grate, and channels the heat back up toward the food.

  4. Measure the length of the grill grates and subtract 5 cm (2 inches). The number from this calculation will be the distance apart for the first two breeze blocks.

  5. Lay two breeze blocks side by side on the sheet metal, so the flat sides of the blocks are on top and bottom and the hollow cores of each block are facing each other. Then move the breeze blocks apart a distance equal to the calculation from Step 4.

  6. Lay one of the grates lengthwise across the two breeze blocks, so the grate spans the distance between the blocks. If the calculation from Step 4 is accurate, the grates will overlap each block by 2.5 cm (1 inch). This will be the charcoal grate.

  7. Place the other two breeze blocks atop the first two blocks, so the edges of the charcoal grate sandwich between the blocks. Then place the second grate across the top two breeze blocks. This will be the cooking grate.

  8. Build a charcoal fire on the coal grate (the bottom of the two grates) and place meat or other food on the cooking grate (the top grate). You're ready to grill.

  9. Tip

    Coat the cooking grate with a thin layer of olive oil before using the breeze block grill for the first time. Allow the grate to heat with the olive oil coating for an hour over hot coals. This creates a non-stick and rust-resistant cooking surface.

    Because this type of grills lacks a lid, it works best for foods that require direct grilling, including hot dogs, sausages, burgers, steaks, and chicken breasts.


    To avoid burns, always use heat-resistant barbecue (or oven) mitts when handling hot grill grates, and use long-handled grilling spatulas or tongs when moving or removing food from the cooking grate.

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Things You'll Need

  • Four breeze blocks
  • Two square or rectangular grill grates
  • 90 cm by 120 cm (3 foot by 4 foot) section of sheet metal

About the Author

Marc Chase is a veteran investigative newspaper reporter and editor of 12 years. Specializing in computer-assisted reporting, he holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois.

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