custom charcoal grills

Building your own custom charcoal grills

If you are the kind of person who enjoys the ambiance that accompanies grilling and loves the smell of burning charcoal, you should look at custom charcoal grills.

Having one in your home is the best way to entertain your guests. Especially during those hot summer holidays. 

Imagine your guests plunging into the pool while waiting for burgers and steak cooking in your custom-made charcoal grill.

Can you think of a better way to spend time in the summertime?

Moreover, a charcoal grill also serves to accentuate your backyard. However, the ones available in the market does not always suit our preferences.

Namely, as a homeowner, you should know that building your own is easy and you have the chance to design it the way you want.

Custom charcoal grills can be made from bricks, ceramic, or steel.

Types of charcoal grills

One of the unique things about this equipment is the flavor they add to your food.

A lot of people prefer to cook this way for this very reason.

Below are some of the most common custom charcoal grills you could build.

1. Barrel Grill

This type is made from a gallon steel barrel which is laid sideways and then cut in half.

The two halves should be connected by a hinge. The lower half holds the charcoal, the grate holds the food, and the top half acts as a lid.

Depending on your needs and preferences, you could further take it up a notch and add a chimney and vents.

2. Ceramic cooker

On the other hand, this one has been in use for more than 3,000 years. It is often made of clay and ceramic.

Its design takes an oval form and a dome-shaped lid will usually be connected to a round bottom.

You can use it to smoke barbecue or grill any kind of food you want.

3. Kettle grill

This variety, meanwhile, has a circular design and a dome-shaped lid.

It usually has a rounded bottom chamber, legs, charcoal grill, and cooking grate. 

Kettle grills have been in existence since the early 50’s and come in various sizes.

4. Conventional charcoal grills

These are characterized by rectangular or square shapes.

They are typically portable. You can move them around your yard based on the location you desire or require.

They have collapsible legs, lid, and vents. A majority of its parts will be constructed with steel.

Key considerations when building custom charcoal grills

When building a charcoal grill, you need to think about the features you want it to have.

The first stage of the building process is to line it with firebricks for adequate insulation.

Additionally, the best bricks to use are similar to the ones used to create an indoor fireplace.

Given how hot these bricks can become, you need to place them on top of another layer for blocks.

It is while constructing these bricks that you set aside mounts for the various grates you want to install.

The grates are for holding hot charcoal while some are for the food you are cooking.

Such compartments can be acquired from your local hardware stores or you can have a foundry build some for you to install in your grilling area. 

In case you want adjustable grates, you could put up crank-driven adjustments which will allow you to sear your food close to the flame and raise it so that it does not burn.

Furthermore, you can customize your grill with a rotisserie for the days you want to cook large chunks of meat.

You can get any sized metal rode and mount it so that it is stable and able to spin any food you may be cooking.

Your grill should also have a cover to protect your metal components from corrosion.

It is recommended that the lid is made of food grade stainless steel.

Additionally, you also need to ensure that your custom charcoal grills have a great air circulation system.

It is important to note that when cooking with charcoal, air should be able to travel across both grates.

Such a system keeps the coal burning long enough for your food to cook.

Moreover, It should have a tray below the coal grate for collecting falling ash. 

This compartment serves to protect your feet from fire embers while you cook and also keep your patio neat.

Other methods of customization

Once you have set up your grill, there are other essential things you need to consider.

Some of the other amenities you could add to your grill, include the following:


These are paramount when building custom charcoal grills.

There exists a wide range of materials you could use to build your grill countertops. 

Make sure you choose something that can withstand high temperatures.

Well-designed countertops make your outdoor kitchen look organized especially when grilling.


You need to ensure that you have adequate running water next to the grill to avoid going into the house when you want to clean something.

When constructing this water supply system, you need to include a shut-off valve that helps drain excess water in the pipes during winter.

Power supply

You also need to conduct an outdoor wiring and conduit for your outdoor kitchen.

An outdoor lighting comes in handy for the days you have evening cookouts.

Final thoughts

If you want to spice up those outdoor parties and don’t want to buy one, why not build a charcoal grill in your backyard?

The process of building one is much simpler than you might think.

It will be even easier when you have high-quality materials and know what you want.

In case you are building it from scratch, you have the chance to customize it completely according to your tastes.

You can customize it with large countertops, sinks, and ensure that you have adequate lighting.

Feel free to design it so that it also serves as a fireplace to keep you warm during the colder seasons.

The building process may seem intimidating, but what no one tells you is that it is also enjoyable and extremely rewarding.

Also make sure you take a look at our buying guide at thecookingsmokers for more.