How to Build a Backyard BBQ Pit

’Cue crazy brothers Rick and Ken Schmithorst provide you with step-by-step instructions for building your own pit. The materials list is included; common sense, patience, and a willingness to ask questions are up to you.


5½ ft x 7½ ft piece of tin
(Flue and draft regulator optional)

55 cinder blocks
8 (3 ft lengths of steel rebar)

2 (3½ ft x 6 ft sections of road mesh)
6 ft x 9 ft section of chicken wire
2 (6 ft lengths of steel rebar)
3 (3½ ft steel angles)
Metal twist tie

12 cinder blocks
3 ft x 4 ft road mesh




  1. If putting the pit in the ground, dig a hole 5 ½ ft x 7 ½ ft and 2 ft deep. Lay out your bottom layer of cinder blocks: Four on one end, five on each side, and three on the other end.
  2. Apply about an inch of mortar onto the blocks, and lay down second layer of blocks in the mirror image of the first layer.
  3. Pound steel rebars into each corner and side for stability, leaving 6 inches exposed for final layer.
  4. Apply another inch of mortar onto the blocks and lay down third layer of blocks in same pattern as the first layer.
  5. Place four cinder blocks into pit as holders for the steel rebars on the rack.
  6. Allow one month to dry and set before using.


  1. Place the two sections of 6 ft steel rebar on the ground approximately 3 ft apart.
  2. Place three pieces of steel angle across rebar, one piece about 3 inches from each end, and the third piece right in the center.
  3. Tie the angle to the rebar with metal twist tie.
  4. Tie a 3 ½ ft by 6 ft section of road mesh to the rebar rack.
  5. Lay down a 6 ft by 9 ft section of chicken wire on the rack and place your pig on it.
  6. Apply any injections, rubs, etc. at this point.
  7. Roll chicken wire around pig.
  8. Place another 3 ½ ft by 6 ft piece of road mesh on top of your chicken wire-wrapped pig.
  9. Using metal twist tie, secure top piece of road mesh to the rack.


  1. Lay out cinder blocks in yard. Two in back, and one on each side.
  2. Apply an inch of mortar and lay second layer of cinder blocks.
  3. Place 4 ft by 3 ft piece of road mesh on top of firebox.
  4. Let mortar dry for one month.
  5. When ready to BBQ, build fire on top of road mesh, allowing coals to drop below.
  6. Shovel coals into pit as needed. (Important: Remove pig from pit before shoveling!)


  1. Use jigsaw to cut hole for chimney.
  2. Install flue and regulator as instructed.



  1. Cut hole in tin.
  2. Use separate piece of tin to cover hole, opening incrementally as needed to cool pit.


  1. Do not cut hole in lid. Instead, slide lid partially off pit top—in very small increments—as needed to release heat.



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