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vintagemx0 06-21-2010 10:00 PM

The Morgan's Open-Grill
We decided to build an open-pit style grill for our yard. We are using a space next to our oven for a few reasons... It's a good safe place for an open fire and hot coals, it was a good use of the weird little space next to the oven, and the stucco finish will make it blend into our "oven complex".

We had been researching traditional style Italian barbecues and had really liked the concept, but adding another chimney to a cooking "appliance" in our back yard just didn't suit us. We have been cooking a lot on open grills lately (an old Coleman unit and a fire pit in our patio table), and we feel just a simple open grill will suffice for our needs.

The premise of the design is to use it from the front side of the oven where we just need to lean slightly forward over the bench that runs along the front of the oven.

We began by pouring a small concrete slab to provide a level support and then dry-stacked concrete blocks. We inserted some rebar into the wet slab where the voids in the corners of the concrete blocks would go... Dry stack blocks and fill voids with concrete. We then made a form around the top and filled with concrete with rebar pieces inserted horizontally. This concrete protrusion will encompass the firebrick that will line the pit.

Here's the forms removed...

The open area in the back will serve two purposes; It will store an ash drawer and will have a louvered door in it to provide under-fire air. The angle-iron and rod structure in the next two photos support the bottom bricks. The bricks will be spaced 1/4" apart so air may "peculate"-up through and into the coal bed.

We made this rack and set in place, then leveled the entire elevation with mortar so the bricks have a level surface to rest upon. After the bottom bricks are placed, the side bricks will set in an be retained by an upper angle-iron frame that will secure them in place. This frame will stabilize the bricks and provide a means for attaching accessory items for what ever grills, stands, spacers we will eventually develop. The entire structure will get covered with stucco like the oven.

That's our plan (in motion)...We'll update soon!

The Morgans

vintagemx0 06-25-2010 09:23 PM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill
Last weekend I was pretty lazy and pretty much just loafed-around house. To make up for it, in the evenings of this last week I worked a little here, and a little there and made good progress.

I added fire brick and made an angle iron frame to cap and captivate the brick. This is the view from the from where one would stand to fuss-over the food being grilled:

Here's a shot of the back side. We applied some of the stucco to the bottom inside of that opening and created a ramp, from the front to the back for drainage. We plan to build an ash-removal drawer that will slide in there, and a door (perhaps integrated into the ash pan) that will close off this area, but allow air inside through either louvers or an adjustable (controllable) opening.

Some years ago, our daughter gave us this nice little plaque. We never found a very good place to display it... Until now! We glued it onto the side of the concrete blocks before stucco-ing. Its a bunch a frogs in a neat little design...Good for a garden.

This shot shows how the BBQ ties-in with the oven and the general outdoor area of our home. We hope to keep the fires burning!

What's left to do is to make the ash drawer and door, a weather-minded lid/cover, pavers around the base area of the BBQ, and we need to develope racks, holders and accessories for various grilling needs. We plan to innaugurate the BBQ this weekend with some shashlik, so a little "R&D" will occur then.

Ciao e presto!

The Morgans

robs 06-26-2010 07:55 AM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill
Nice looking grill. How high and wide is the bench at the front? Looks to make cooking a bit difficult.

vintagemx0 06-26-2010 08:52 AM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill
Yeah, it's about 34 inches high and 20 inches deep. It does make you lean over a tad. We're thinking that with BBQ tools and skewers it will be OK. We'll find out tonight as we plan on some marinated lamb for dinner. If I can remember, I'll try to get a photo or two showing someone working the grill for perspective.

The Morgans

vintagemx0 06-26-2010 11:54 PM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill
Today we used the grill for the first time. We started a fire with scraps of small peices of wood from our stash. Right away it was apparent that it breathed well. One note - when a slight gust of wind would blow against the back side, ashes were blown upward and about.

Initial wood fire;

Olivia poses with the wood charcoal. We really like this stuff. It's easy to light, burns hot and even, and doesn't burn too long (as in hours after you're done cooking).

Olivia's standing on my splitting stump, but I'm just standing on the ground. We wanted to post a pic that shows how the grill is effectively used from in front of the counter. You can see in cavity below the fire, that ashes are already accumlating. We need to build an ash drawer soon, and a louvered door to keep it in there and keep wind from blowing up through the coals.

Here's what we had for dinner. Olivia had an adventure riding in our kubelwagen and going around town for charcoal, some garden plants, and lamb for the skewers. You can see the glow in this photo within the coal bed. Air is drawn through the bricks beautifully. In fact, it was just a little too hot for these peices of lamb.

We need to make an adjustable rack system and ash drawer/ door, but we are very pleased with the performance of this grill. Tomorrow, it's steak, so I'll need to McGuiver some sort of rack adjustment, but this is all good R&D.

Bon Appetit !

The Morgans

robs 06-27-2010 07:00 PM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill
That bench doesn't seem too bad with you leaning slightly forward not as much of a stretch as i thought. Plenty of room to put your beer, food, tools etc.

vintagemx0 08-15-2010 04:59 PM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill
We've used it quite a bit now, and it works just fine. We also build an open-fire in it during the evening after dark and it adds a nice ambiance to our patio area as a fire pit. It was a simple, easy addition to our patio area that has a dual-purpose and we are very pleased with it. Using it as a fire pit this winter should help lure us outdoors.

The Morgans

Spunkoid 08-28-2010 05:58 AM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill
Excellent, very nice idea, functional, and looks good too!


EricU 01-25-2011 07:30 PM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

Originally Posted by vintagemx0 (Post 93149)
We need to make an adjustable rack system and ash drawer/ door, but we are very pleased with the performance of this grill. Tomorrow, it's steak, so I'll need to McGuiver some sort of rack adjustment, but this is all good R&D.

Bon Appetit !

The Morgans

Vintage! that is a beautiful job, nice fire pit! Really, really nice.

I hope I am not hijacking your thread but I also need to make an adjustable rack system, so now I am asking all of you for some suggestions on how to build/design an adjustable grill or fire/coal support to finish my pit. I have included some photos of my fire pit during the construction stage that I would like to use for a couple of different purposes. It has already been used as a fire pit and I need to add some pieces (I can weld) to be able to use it as a BBQ pit during larger parties. I have a separate gas fired BBQ on the upper porch for daily family cooking and a separate WFO for pizzas, roasts and making little lambs delicious! In other words, the first use will be as a fire pit and the second use as a "overflow" BBQ.

Anyway you can see in the pics below how mine is put together, what you cant see is the floor of fire bricks that I have added, and there will be a bull nose brick counter top on the two lower portions of the fire pit and a concrete counter top on the upper bar section. I also have power available for a future rack for occasional cooking of whole lambs or pigs that will sit on the two side brick counter tops.

PaulB 05-29-2011 07:00 PM

Re: The Morgan's Open-Grill

I like your grill. I'm planning a similar one. I'm looking for a large grill grate like you're using in the photos. Can you tell me what size it is and where you got it?


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