Prefab Fireboxes Make Barbecue Building Easy

By Sheldon M. Gallager

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ACK-YARD barbecue builders are getting a whole new crop of prefab aids to make the job go faster. These are ready-made grills and fireboxes that you surround with simple masonry enclosures to turn them into fully operating outdoor fireplaces. You can buy a prefab unit, complete with adjustable grates, a fire door and an ash-pit door, for as little as $30. Most models can be slipped out of the masonry enclosure, knocked down to a

car-trunk fit, and carried with you. For temporary use, they work well without an enclosure. In winter, you can store them indoors to prevent rusting and weathering. In addition to open grills, you can get such frills as a Dutch oven for boiling and baking, griddles, surfacecooking tops, even an incinerator. Setting it up. The metal unit comes disassembled and can be bolted together, ready for use, in a few minutes. The kind of masonry you surround it with depends only on your taste, skill and time. Before you mix up the mortar, it's a
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Concrete blocks plus firebox make a neat and simple barbecue
SCREEN CAP CHECKS SPARKS 8" x 17" x 21" CHIMNEY BLOCKS (7 REG).) 8" x 8" x 16 FULL-CORNER BLOCKS (30 REQ.)

8" x 8" x 16" BULL-NOSE BLOCKS (14 REQ.)

BUILD UP CHIMNEY BLOCKS FIRST
CHISEL OUT SMOKE HOLE 6" IN DIA.

CARDBOARD SPACER (IF YOU BUILD AROUND METAL UNIT)

ASH-PIT FLOOR.

8" x 8" x 16" (LAID ON SIDE)

1" x 25" x 32½"
STONE OR CONCRETE COUNTER TOP

USE MASONRY PAINT

4" x 8" x 16"
(LAID ON SIDE)

8" x 8" x 16" (LAID ON SIDE) SLAB, 6" TO 8" THICK MAKE SLAB 1" OR MORE WIDER. ALL AROUND SAND-AND-GRAVEL MIXTURE

BLOCK ENCLOSURE starts with slab, for which one-by-eight form boards are set above sub-base (top left photo). Chimney, of standard square "doughnut" blocks, is built up next. Blocks on their sides form ash-pit floor. Slate or concrete slabs make "counters." This barbecue, designed for Majestic firebox, can often be bought as a package that includes both the metal unit and masonry materials.

good idea to pile the blocks or stones loosely around the firebox and test-run through a couple of steaks to see how you like it. Location. For the sake of your neighbors and guests, try to place your fireplace so that it doesn't spew smoke either at you or at the house next door. The best spot is on high ground with the front facing in the direction of prevailing winds to provide good draft and carry the smoke up and away. Keep the grill away from valuable trees, as the heat may eventually kill them. The slab. Because the foundation is relatively small, you can "float" it on a bed of sand and cinders, instead of on deep footings. The slab will rise and fall slightly without harm.
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Lay out the slab 1" wider than the fireplace, allowing for mortar joints between your blocks. Dig a pit about 10" deep and fill the bottom 6" with sand and gravel mixed together. Set form boards so that the slab will project 2" to 3" above ground level. Mix the concrete no leaner than one part cement, 2½ parts clean sand and four parts gravel. Pour 3" or 4" of concrete, then lay in the reinforcing mesh—10gauge wire or even old fencing. Pour the remaining 3" or 4" of concrete and tamp firmly around the wire, but don't push the wire down—it must remain suspended about midway. Let the slab dry under wet burlap for at least two days before building on top of it. Laying the blocks. Most fireboxes are

Pick a prefab to suit your space and cooking needs
SHALLOW FIREBOX is

designed to fit into a garden wall. This model has a removable top in two sections so that you can use it as double grill, double solid top, or combination of both.

NARROW FIREBOX

is

meant for free-standing barbecue, needs only a little space. It offers same cooking area as shallow wall type. Upper door is for fire, lower door for the ash pit.

VERTICAL FIREBOX cooks both sides of meat suspended inside it, and prevents grease from dripping into fire. This Donley unit is removable, hanging on hooks embedded in masonry.

35½"

11½" 1½" 31½" 13"

11½"

12½"

11½"

4" FLUE

15½"

OVEN POOR BRICKS PROJECT FROM SIDES

12"

ASH-PIT DOOR

DUTCH OVEN consists of two separate self-framed metal doors that are cemented into a hollow opening in the masonry. To support upper grate, the masonry is constructed with a ledge of brick projecting slightly inward on each side. The fire is laid on the lower grate, which is blocked up on bricks at the corners.

24"

Fancy layouts, simple grills, start with built-in fireboxes

FOR CHARCOAL COOKING, an enclosure of firebrick—one brick thick, without a chimney—was built around this Homer firebox.

designed to fit within standard blocks and bricks so that you don't have to do any cutting. Some are tall enough to stand directly on the concrete slab; others must be blocked up to a comfortable work-surface height (30" to 32"). This is another good reason for laying out the blocks loosely—it gives you a chance to see how many rows you'll need. You use the firebox as a form and build the enclosure around it—but not mortared directly to it. Set sheets of corrugated cardboard against the metal sides and build the masonry against these. The fire will burn the spacers away, leaving a gap so that the metal can expand. If your firebox has open sides, you may want to enclose it with fire bricks. Set them edgewise for a lining, flatwise for a single-wall enclosure. Use special fireclay mortar, not regular cement, and keep the joints extra thin—about 1/16". A firebrick lining is a must if you build with either limestone or sandstone, as these crack easily under heat. A chimney? If you're strictly a charcoal cook, you won't need one, but be sure that the grill you buy has adjustable

BIG BARBECUE includes storage niches and a special firebox. This one, made by Outdoor Fireplace & Equipment Corp., has a removable crank handle to raise or lower the fire grate.

grates. You need a high grate position for charcoal, a low one for wood. For burning logs, a chimney is usually required to increase draft and channel away the heavier smoke. END

More information about barbecue fireboxes can be obtained from: Colonial Fireplace Co,, 540 N. Cicero Ave., Chicago 44; Donley Brothers Co., 13902 Miles Ave., Cleveland 5; Homer Foundry Corp., Coldwater, Mich.; Majestic Co., Inc., 115 Erie St., Huntington, Ind.; Outdoor Fireplace & Equipment Corp., 347 Monroe Ave.. Kenilworth, N. J.; Outdoor Oven Fireplace Co., 872 Windsor St., Hartford 1, Conn.

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