How to Build a Portable Charcoal Grill


A summer evening in the backyard is made even better with the inclusion of a charcoal grilled dinner, as is a camping trip, beach party or any get together where you want to enjoy food outdoors. Large grills are difficult to bring when traveling to far-flung places, though, and disposable grills often don't withstand even one grilling session. Building your own portable charcoal grill solves these problems, providing you with a means of grilling no matter where you go.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal container
  • Coals
  • Metal wire grill
  • Shovel
  • Rocks
  • Choose a metal container to be the base of the grill. The best metals to use are stainless steel or cast iron, but the container can be square, rectangular or even bowl-shaped. The sides of the container should be at least 12 inches tall or tall enough to house at least one layer of charcoals.

  • Find a metal wire grill that is at least as big as the opening of your container. Hardware stores carry a variety of sizes to choose from or you can use something you have already, like a wire rack from a toaster oven.

  • Fill the container with charcoal and place the wire grill on top.

  • Dig a hole in the ground with a shovel to house the grill. This is to stabilize the grill, so the rack doesn't fall off during cooking. The hole should be as long and as wide as the metal container but only a few inches deep. If it is not possible to dig a hole, surround the grill with rocks. These rocks will support the grill and also destroy any coals that jump out of the grill and prevent small fires. The rocks should run along all sides of the grill to hold it in place.

  • Insert the charcoal grill into the hole.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep in mind that this grill is portable so when choosing a container size remember any space constraints you'll have when traveling.
  • Keep children away from open flame grills that are situated on the ground.
  • Always be careful when cooking using the grill as it tends to be very hot and you can burn yourself. Use pot holders and oven mitts to protect your hands.
  • Make sure that the grill is set up in an area that is not dry or prone to forest fires.

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  • Photo Credit charcoal grill outdoors image by jedphoto from
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