How To Make Activated Charcoal Grill At Home

How To Make Activated Charcoal Grill At Home | Different Method

Become a Grill Master with Our Step-by-Step Guide to Making Activated Charcoal Grills at Home

Making an activated charcoal grill at home is a simple process. All you need is a steel drum, some charcoal, and a few tools. Cut out a door in the drum for ventilation and add grates inside. Fill the bottom with charcoal and light it up to start cooking your food! 

In my experience, making an activated charcoal grill at home was a fun and rewarding DIY project. Using materials like a metal barrel, wire mesh, and activated charcoal, I was able to create a functional grill that produced deliciously smoky flavors in my food. Plus, it’s eco-friendly as well!

In this article, I will guide you through the steps to make an activated charcoal grill at home, so you too can become a grill master in your backyard.

So Let’s Get Started!

Materials Needed for Homemade Activated Charcoal Grill

There are a few materials you will need to gather before starting the process of making your own activated charcoal grill at home. These include:

  • A large metal barrel or drum:
  • Wire mesh:
  • Activated charcoal:
  • Hinges and screws:
  • Tools like a drill saw, and wire cutters.

All these items can be easily found at your local hardware store or online and are relatively inexpensive.

Steps to Make an Activated Charcoal Grill at Home

The process of making an activated charcoal grill at home can be broken down into five simple steps. Let’s go through them one by one.

Step 1: Prepare the Barrel

The first step is to prepare the metal barrel that will serve as the body of your grill. You can purchase a new one or recycle an old oil drum, as long as it’s made from steel and has a lid.

Cut out a door in the side using a saw for ventilation purposes. Make sure to sand down any sharp edges.

Step 2: Construct the Grates

Next, you will need to create grates for your food to sit on while cooking. Using wire mesh, cut out two pieces that are slightly smaller than the diameter of your barrel. Make sure they fit inside and can be easily removed.

Step 3: Add Hinges and Handles

Using the hinges and screws, attach the grates inside the barrel approximately 8 inches apart from each other.

This will allow for even cooking and easy access to your food. You can also add handles on the side of the barrel for easy lifting.

Step 4: Fill with Charcoal

The next step is to fill the bottom of your barrel with activated charcoal. Make sure to spread it evenly and leave a small space at the bottom for air circulation.

Step 5: Light It Up!

Now it’s time to light up your grill! Use a chimney starter or lighter fluid to get the charcoal burning. Once the coals are hot and glowing, you can start cooking your food on the grates.

Tips for Using Your Homemade Activated Charcoal Grill

The key to successful grilling is practice and patience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while using your homemade activated charcoal grill:

Tip 1: Regulate the temperature

You can control the temperature of your grill by adjusting the airflow through the door. Closing it will lower the temperature, while opening it will increase it.

Tip 2: Keep an eye on your food

Since this is a DIY grill, there may be hot spots and uneven temperatures. Make sure to rotate your food on the grates for even cooking.

Tip 3: Use different types of wood

For more flavor, add different types of wood chips to your charcoal such as mesquite, hickory, or applewood. This will give your food a unique smoky taste.

Tip 4: Clean your grill

After each use, make sure to clean the grates with a wire brush and dispose of the ashes properly. This will ensure that your grill lasts longer.

Comparing Homemade vs. Store-Bought Charcoal Grills

The main difference between a homemade activated charcoal grill and a store-bought one is the cost. Making your own grill will save you money, as well as give you the satisfaction of creating something yourself. Additionally, DIY grills can be customized to fit your specific needs and preferences.

However, store-bought charcoal grills may offer more features and durability compared to DIY ones. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Building a Homemade Activated Charcoal Grill

There are a few common mistakes to avoid while making your own activated charcoal grill at home:

Using galvanized steel

Make sure to use a steel barrel that is not galvanized, as the galvanized coating can release harmful chemicals when heated.

Not prepping the charcoal

Before adding your food to the grill, make sure to let the charcoal burn until it turns gray. This ensures that any impurities and toxins are burned off.

Not regulating airflow

Do not leave the door completely open while cooking, as this can cause an uncontrollable flame and burning of your food.

Safety Precautions When Making and Using Your Own Charcoal Grill

It’s important to take safety precautions while making and using your own charcoal grill. Some things to keep in mind are:

Precaution 1: Wear protective gear

Always wear gloves, safety glasses, and a mask while cutting and handling materials.

Precaution 2: Use caution when lighting the grill

Be careful when lighting the coals to avoid any accidents. Always use proper tools like a chimney starter or lighter fluid.

Precaution 3: Keep an eye on your grill

Never leave your grill unattended while in use, and make sure to keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case of any mishaps.

Precaution 4: Dispose of ashes properly

Make sure to let the ashes cool down before disposing of them in a metal container.

Alternative Designs for Homemade Charcoal Grills

There are many alternative designs for homemade charcoal grills that you can try out, such as:

Brick Grill

Using bricks and a metal grate, you can create a simple and durable charcoal grill. Just stack the bricks in a square or rectangular shape, leaving room for airflow and placing the grate on top.

Wheel Rim Grill

An old wheel rim can be transformed into an innovative grill. Place it on a sturdy base and add grilling grates to the rim for cooking.

Cinder Block Grill

Similar to the brick grill, cinder blocks can be stacked to create a sturdy base for your grill. You can also place an old oven rack on top for grilling.


Making your own activated charcoal grill at home is a fun and cost-effective way to enjoy outdoor cooking. By following these steps and tips, you can create a personalized grill that fits your needs and preferences. Just remember to always take safety precautions and be creative with alternative designs! Happy grilling!  So, this is how you can make an activated charcoal grill at home.


Can I use any metal for building the frame of the grill?

Absolutely! However, it’s advisable to choose metals with high heat resistance, such as stainless steel, for enhanced durability.

Is it challenging to assemble the grill components?

Not at all. Our guide provides a detailed walkthrough, making the assembly process straightforward, even for beginners.

How often should I clean my activated charcoal grill?

Regular cleaning after each use is recommended. This ensures a hygienic cooking environment and prevents flavor contamination.

Can I customize the size of my DIY grill?

Certainly! Adjust the dimensions according to your preferences, keeping in mind the overall stability and functionality.

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