A Temporary Cinderblock
Fire Pit Design
Looking for a fire pit design? A cheap fire pit barbecue is easy to build! You can build a fire pit based on this design. Its temporary yet sturdy and you can use it as a barbecue as well to cook up some delicious grilled foods.
If you want to build a permanent fire pit, see our brick fire pit or stone fire pit instructions.
The general principal of the cinderblock fire pit is essentially the same as making a temporary brick fire pit. However, the added size and stability of cinderblocks over most bricks makes this a great solution for a cheap fire pit barbecue.
Safety Note: Never build a fire pit or start a fire near flammable materials or on a flammable surface (like wood). Use protective equipment when starting fires and use a screen mesh lid to prevent flying embers from getting to flammable materials. I recommend building your fire pit at least 20 feet from other structures and avoid overhanging tree branches.
What you will need:
- A pile of cinderblocks - The exact amount you need will depend on the size of your fire pit. With most cinderblocks, you will need about 2 to 3 levels of cinderblocks to make your fire pit the correct height. You can get these at most home supply hardware stores.
- A round piece of flame-retardant metal the size of your fire pit - If you are building your fire pit barbecue on a non-flammable and non-damageable surface (such as gravel or dirt) you do not need this. However, if you build a fire pit on your concrete or cement and don't want to leave a big black char mark, then I recommend using one!
- Firepit and barbecue supplies - A mesh screen cover is optional but helps to prevent flying burning embers from hitting you or other flammable items. I also recommend finding a dome solid lid, like you'd see on a Weber kettle grill so that you can cook better by retaining heat. Finally, you'll need a large grill grate big enough to cover the top of your fire pit barbecue and sit securely on the cinderblocks. Plan ahead so that your fire pit design is a size which you can find a grill grate and lid for!
How to build your cinderblock fire pit:
- Plan the size and position of your fire pit - Keeping the safety tips above in mind, plan the position and size of your fire pit. The size will largely be determined by the size of available grill grates and lids you can find, as well as your backyard. Estimate the number of cinderblocks you'll need for your fire pit design given its size.
I recommend a smaller fire pit (about 2-3 feet in diameter) because as a temporary structure without mortar, a shorter, smaller fire pit design will be more stable and less likely to topple. You can use your grill grate to mark out on the ground with chalk or pencil the size of your circular fire pit.
- Build the walls of your fire pit design - If you are using a metal flame-retardant base, place that on the ground in the position of your fire pit. Now start laying cinderblocks in a circular shape around the base. If a layer does not fit perfectly, you can gently adjust the diameter so that your cinderblocks fit around the circle evenly. Don't worry if there are small openings in the wall of the fire pit.
Once your first layer is complete, start the second, laying the next brick on top of the joint between two lower cinderblocks. After the first two layers, assess the height of your fire pit design. You do not want your fire pit too tall or you won't be able to see your fire! Also, the grill will be so far from the hot embers that you won't be able to cook well. With cinderblocks, they should be big enough and stable enough with one ring as the wall. For added stability you can always build a second larger circle around the first to thicken the wall and bolster it.
Your fire pit if done! Fill with firewood and light it up. When you have good embers glowing in your fire, you are ready to start cooking. Simply lay your grill grate across the top of the fire pit and start cooking! For some barbecue cooking ideas, go to our recipes page.
For more detailed instructions and ideas for building a temporary fire pit, see our temporary brick fire pit design.
If you want to see another fire pit design,
go back to our building a fire pit page.