How to Build an Awesome Built-in Outdoor Grill

How To Build A Built-In Outdoor Grill

Have You Considered a Built-in Outdoor Grill for Your Backyard or Patio?

 

It’s tricky, it’s time-consuming, but building a Built-in Outdoor Grill that’s going to be in your backyard for years to come will really enhance your party and grilling experience.

We’ve all been scrolling the channels and come across a ton of HGTV clips when they’re showing off these insane outdoor kitchens.

Well, we can get you there with a bit of TLC.

Building this isn’t going to be too easy, but I’ve done everything I can to make sourcing materials cheap as can be, without skimping out on quality.

There are a few hacks here to keep your budget down while making sure that you have a great good-safe surface and a permanent fixture for your gas grill.

Let’s get to it.

How Much is a Built-in Outdoor Grill?

Taking Money From Wallet

Well, it’s not going to be cheap.

I’ve done what I can to help you source materials in a cheap manner, but some things are unavoidable.

Instead of buying a steel frame, which could cost you upwards of $400 to $700, we’re going to be using cinder blocks to make the basic shape and wall.

This makes it a much more permanent fixture, but you’re still going to have a way to remove your gas grill in the future without having to tear down the walls.

Most of the cost is going to come from the countertop, and the materials to actually prep the surface area for the cinder blocks.

Most of the cost is going to come from the countertop, and the materials to actually prep the surface area for the cinder blocks.

I’ll list an optional part in this which, if you ignore, you could save about $200 on average, but it’s going to leave that ugly look of cinder blocks in the end.

If you want to hide those, you’ll opt-in for the aluminum squares.

Altogether, if you use the materials I’ve outlined in this guide, you can expect to pay around $775 to $1,000 in total, depending on the materials you need.

However, this built-in outdoor grill is a permanent fixture that will look fantastic, and still give you access to remove your grill when it needs to be repaired or replaced.

I’ve taken ventilation and storage into account as well.

How do You Make Grill Surrounded With Wall Blocks?

Built In Grill

Wall blocks are a great and inexpensive way to make an outdoor grill space.

It’s not quite as awesome as what we’re going to do, but you can usually get wall blocks for cheap, and sometimes even for free if you check the papers.

Measure the space each of your side shelves has, and measure the size of your wall blocks.

Your goal is to position them so that they stack up underneath it and create a pillar for the shelves to rest on.

For this, you’ll want to measure the total height from the ground to the side shelves, and the height of your wall blocks so you can figure out where you’ll be left off.

Most side shelves are fairly square, few are rectangular.

Position your blocks in a parquet floor style setup and stack them.

Position your blocks in a parquet floor style setup and stack them.

Use a rubber mallet to knock them into place so that they are aligned with your grill.

Position your grill by sliding it into place. The side shelves should now rest on the stone blocks.

If that’s not an option, you could remove your side shelves entirely, slide the grill into place, and then affix the shelves onto the stone blocks.

Even if they are a little higher or lower than the grill, it’s not going to make much of a difference once you open it up.

What Materials do You Need for a Good Built-in Outdoor Grill?

Cinder Blocks

The quantity and surface size of these items are going to depend on your grill, and how big you want the outdoor space to actually be.

  • Diamond tread aluminum metal squares (3 ft x 3 ft)
  • Cinder blocks
  • Concrete drill
  • 12” stainless steel vent
  • 24” x 30” stainless steel doors w/ frame
  • Concrete powder
  • Auger
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • 6” concrete screws
  • Stainless steel countertop
  • 2 x 4s

It’s a relatively short list because we’re not going for anything over-the-top here.

We want a ventilation shaft, a storage area, and some stainless steel to make this food-safe and aesthetically appealing.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build a Built-in Outdoor Grill Area

In 13 steps, you’re going to have a clean outdoor grill area that’s going to make your neighbor Ted super jealous, but more importantly, it’s going to act as a base command during every cookout.

You’re giving yourself more space to work with, and a one-weekend project that won’t make you go insane.

Let’s get started.

Know What Grill You Want to Make This Around

Taking Measures

Measure out your grill.

Get the width without the side tables, since those are likely going to be removed to fit this into place.

Get all the necessary dimensions, because you’re going to fit a stainless steel countertop around this later on, and you know it needs to be good.

Your stainless steel countertop should run on the left and right of the grill, with a small strip running behind the lid.

It’s optional if you want it to go across the front of it where you actually open the hatch.

Once you have the right measurements, find a spot that you’re going to put this grill.

Flatten the Ground Where You’re Putting This

I don’t recommend building a permanent fixture to your back deck.

There’s concrete involved, it’s just going to get messy, but putting this on a spot in your yard is the right way to go.

It’s important to flatten the ground because otherwise, you could end up with misaligned cinder blocks, even if you are meticulous when you laid them out.

You can get a tamper to flatten out and press down on the soil, giving it a more cohesive feeling all around.

If you have a partially hilly area, you can use a spade and a gardening rake to move dirt away before you level everything.

Mix Your Concrete

Concrete in Wheelbarow

My auger is an attachment for my electric drill, and it makes things insanely convenient for the few times I’ve had to mix concrete.  Here are the steps to take:

  1. Grab a 5-gallon bucket, fill it up with your concrete, and start mixing.
  2. You’re going to use this to spread on the ground that you just flattened.
  3. After it’s mixed, let it sit for a minute while you pull out the 2 x 4s.
  4. You want to align these to create a basic frame for where your grill area is going to go.
  5. Make a box with the 2 x 4s, use screws if necessary, and align it around that specific area.
  6. Once you’re there, use a rubber mallet to tap the wood towards the ground and ensure no concrete will slip out from underneath the wood.
  7. Pour your concrete. Since the ground is level, you’re not going to have a hard time evening this out.
  8. Pour directly into the center and let it move out in waves by itself.
  9. After a moment or two, check to see if it’s flat and smooth.
  10. If you need to use your tamper or shovel to reposition the concrete, do this now before it settles. You want about 2” to 4” of concrete.
  11. Not super thick, not wafer-thin.
  12. Concrete can vary on how long it takes to dry.
  13. Get your other materials nearby, and let it dry for the appropriate amount of time.
  14. Consider putting a tarp about three feet over it to avoid leaves and debris from falling into it.
  15. Since this is a relatively small area, it shouldn’t take more than eight to twelve hours to dry.

Lay Your Cinder Blocks in Place

Building With Cinder Blocks

Now, it’s basically time to start building.

You can begin laying your concrete blocks out in the shape of your grill setup.

Ideally, you’re going to make a rectangle shape with a spot for your grill in the center.

On the left, you will have the stainless steel cabinet doors installed, and on the narrow end of your concrete wall, you’re going to have space for that vent we put down on the list.

Do a mockup of this at first to be sure you know where everything is going.

Mix some more concrete, and begin solidifying your cinder blocks in place.

If your grill isn’t too difficult to drop into place later, then continue building as you see fit, but if you have a very heavy duty grill, then you might want to find a way to position it now so that you can build the cinder blocks around it.

I recommend what we’re going to be doing—dropping it into place—because that way you know for a fact you made the dimensions properly to remove the grill when it needs service or maintenance.

Build your cinder blocks all the way up to your countertop level, and let the concrete sit tod ry.

Pre-Drill Holes for Your Diamond Tread Aluminum Sheets

Diamond Tread Aluminum Plate

Use those 3 x 3 diamond tread aluminum sheets to a position where they’re going to go on the outside of the concrete.

You’re not going to place them right now, you’re just going to see how they’re going to fit, and where you may need to cut them.

Mark your holes for drilling here, ideally one in each corner of every sheet.

Use your concrete drill bit, and pre-drill these holes.

This will give you time to clean it up afterward, whether with a brush or a vacuum cleaner and ensure everything is the way it needs to be.

If you made a mistake, it doesn’t take much time to just add another hole a few inches over—they’re going to be covered up, anyway.

Place Your Grill

If you need the help of a friend to do this, call them now.

You’re going to want to lift your grill up and position it over the top of the cinder block housing.

Drop it into place (without actually dropping it, of course) so that it’s exactly how you want it to be.

Make sure that the countertop is going to fit around it.

Install the Cabinet Door

Now that you have most of the frame done, you can install the cabinet door on the front of your unit.

This is going to be great for spare canister storage.

You can either drill holes through the steel and concrete to keep these in place, or you can use a series of steel L brackets to sort of wedge it into place.

Install the Ventilation

Outdoor BBQ Ventilation

Just like with the cabinet doors, you can be a little choose with how you install this.

If you want to pop in some L brackets so that this just pushes into place and comes out at a moment’s notice, then that’s fine; it’s your grilling space.

The vent is going to prevent moisture from building up under the grill.

It’s definitely a critical component of this whole project.

Lay the Rest of the Cinder Blocks

The cabinet is in, the vents are in, and the grill is in place.

Lay the rest of your cinder blocks so that your wall meets the countertop level that you want for the grill stand.

Take the time to make sure everything is level, that everything is even, and just do a quick quality assurance over the whole thing.

Lay the concrete and then your blocks, and let it dry for an appropriate amount of time. 

There’s been a lot of waiting in this project, but you’re nearing the finish line, and it’s all about to be worth it.

Affix Grill to Frame

Your grill is in there, but you don’t want it banging around.

You can use something simple, like a metal bracket, but you need to hook and keep this in place to prevent it from shifting.

The last thing you want is to hear it clanking against the stainless steel countertop when you’re trying to use it.

Lay Your Countertop Down

Opened Countertop

The look of a brand new, stainless steel countertop is glorious.

We don’t want to damage or mess with the aesthetic and function of the steel, so we’re going to lay it down on the top of our cinder blocks, around our grill, and see how well it fits.

For the most part, the fact that you have that strip of metal going behind the lid should be enough to keep it in place, if everything was measured accordingly.

But if not, you can affix the countertop to the top of your cinder blocks.

Don’t use concrete to put it down.

Instead, use a few brackets on the outside edges of the countertop, and use small screws to apply them to the underside of the counter.

You can then apply the other side of the bracket to the concrete.

This is the best possible way to affix your countertop, because, at some point, you may need to unscrew it to get the grill out.

Apply Diamond Tread Aluminum Sheets

Now that everything is in place and the grill is where it needs to be, you just have to go back to those pre-drilled holes and apply those diamond tread aluminum sheets.

As a word of warning here, it’s very easy to have the sheet spin in your hand and mess up the way the screw goes through it.

As a word of warning here, it’s very easy to have the sheet spin in your hand and mess up the way the screw goes through it.

For this, it’s really good to have a second set of hands to hold everything in place while you drill.

The reason that this step is put here is that now, you have the entire frame done and everything in place, so you can align the sheets accordingly.

It’s like putting on the decals at the end of building a model train; you want it to line up with everything else that’s already done and in place right at the end.

Double Check and Clean Up

Outdoor Grill

Run a check over everything: make sure the countertop is staying in place where it needs to be, check the screws on the aluminum plating.

Now is your chance to act as your work at OSHA and you’re going to either pass or fail this setup.

Check that everything is level and that all concrete dust has been cleaned up from the area.

I recommend sweeping and perhaps vacuuming out the new cabinet space just to be sure, and wiping down the counter and grill lid to ensure there are no fingerprints.

Take a step back and look at what you’ve done. You made that!

You’re Good to Go

Nobody said this was going to be easy, but everyone is going to be talking about how flippin’ fantastic it looks when you’re done.

Dropping your steel grill into a steel frame and countertop?

It’s going to look fantastic.

Get that professional outdoor look that also helps you with storage, ventilation, and making better meals with a more accessible workspace in the great outdoors.