Everyone loves a backyard fire pit. You can gather around the flames with friends and family, bathing in the warmth and listening to the soothing spit and crackle of the embers. If you have a large, stone-built pit, you can perch by the side of the fire, drinking wine or whiskey and laughing with party guests.
If you build your own grill grate, you can rest this product across your fire pit so that the metal rack is a few inches above the flames. This allows you to cook meat and vegetables without having to crank up the charcoal barbecue or monitor the oven in your kitchen.
Here’s how to make your own DIY fire pit grill grate for your backyard barbecue events.
How Do You Make Your Own Fire Pit Grill Grate?
There are 2 useful methods from which to choose. The first allows you to create a fully adjustable grill grate, while the other helps you construct a simple yet effective resting grate for stone, brick, or concrete fire pits.
Adjustable and portable grill grate
For this approach, you’ll need a sheet of expanded steel mesh, a long piece of ¾”-angle iron, and a robust steel pole. Measure the dimensions of your steel mesh sheet, then use a chop saw to cut your angle iron or aluminum strip into 4 suitably sized pieces that can fit neatly around this sheet.
Once you’ve cut out the grill grate’s frame, use some clamps to hold the structure in place while you tack weld each piece together. Lay the mesh sheet inside the frame, then weld this steel grid to the rectangular structure.
Once you’ve created a grill grate box, you can prepare the metal collar. This is the cylindrical stainless steel part that slides up and down the pipe. You’re going to attach the grill box to this collar so that you can move the grate closer to the fire or further away from the flames, depending on how well the food is cooking.
Before you attach the grill grate to this collar, drill a hole in the side of this small metal cylinder and insert a bolt. This creates a locking mechanism that you can use to hold the collar in place when you’re satisfied with the grill grate’s position above the fire. If you want to lock your grill box in place, twist the bolt clockwise; to loosen the collar, twist this bolt counterclockwise.
Take out the bolt for the time being and weld the collar to the grill box. Use a bandsaw to sharpen one end of your steel rod so that it’s easier to insert into the ground, then insert the bolt into the collar and slip both the collar and grill grate over the top of the rod. You should now have a fully adjustable grate that you can use to cook meat and veg over any open fire.
Resting fire pit grill grate
This method is simpler, and should only take you about an hour to complete. For the resting grill grate model, you’ll need some old barbecue grates, a bold permanent marker pen, a pack of 1”-thick hose clamps or hose locks, a pair of reinforced steel rebars, and a premium-grade angle grinder or chop saw.
If you’ve got some metallic grates leftover from an old gas or charcoal barbecue grill, you can use these. You could also build your own heat-resistant grates by buying a strip of ¾”-angle iron or aluminum and a section of ⅜”-thick hot rolled steel rod.
Measure the diameter of your fire pit to figure out suitable dimensions for your homemade grate, then use a chop saw to cut up the angle iron into 4 pieces, welding these sections together to produce a sturdy, rectangular frame. You can then place the hot rolled rod on top of this rectangle to figure out how long each steel piece needs to be in order to fit neatly inside the frame. Cut your rod into multiple, equal-sized pieces, then weld them into the frame to create your own grate, leaving a ½”-wide space between each bar.
When you’ve marked your rebars, you can attach your old grill grates to these steel rods, using your 1”-thick hose locks. Once you’re happy that the grates are in the right position along the rebars, screw in these clamps so that they’re as tight as they can go. You don’t want these grates coming loose and falling into the fire when you’re cooking patties or chicken wings.
After you’ve clamped the grates to the pair of steel rods, you can use a hacksaw, angle grinder, or chop saw to cut off the ends of the rebars, using your pen mark as a guide. Sand down the sharp ends of these steel rods with a hand file or 80-grit sandpaper, and your DIY campfire grill is ready to go.
Portable fire pit grates are lightweight and durable and enable you to whip up some delicious burgers, hot dogs, or pork chops wherever you are. However, before you head online to purchase a pre-made, expensive option, consider making your own grill grate.
Rather than throwing away some leftover racks from your old grill, you can attach this scrap metal to some steel rods and create a portable, effective set of grates that you can use at the grilling station, beach and on family camping trips.
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