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DIY: 6 steps to build your own barbecue

Izelle du Pisanie Izelle du Pisanie
eclectic  by 木村博明 株式会社木村グリーンガーデナー, Eclectic
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Building a barbecue might just be one of the easiest DIY projects that you can take on. 

South Africans love to cook and share with family, it's an experience! We meet so often on the weekend to socialise and eat, it has become an institution. Of course, much of this can be attributed to our braai culture. Everyone knows that regardless of who’s actually preparing the food at a braai, everyone is drawn like magnets to the fire and converse around the chef. What happens when we do not have a braai at home, however? Is all lost, or can we recover?

Building a brick braai on your patio is very simple, and for this reason we want to teach you to do it yourself. You will have to take into account the design, the base, grill, indications for maintenance and other tools that are needed to enjoy the perfect braai. Let’s not waste any time and jump right into the process!

1. Design your braai

When it comes to building a braai, the first thing you should consider is that you will need to have a sketch of the design you'd like to take home. In this way, you will know specifically what you want, how much material you'll need, what kind of distribution you prefer and other details. Of course, you should consider the exact measurements so that everything is perfect when building it. Also take into account where you will build it, if it is on the patio, you'll will have to consider how much space you can take up for the area to still comfortably accommodate guests and safety precautions. 

2. Prepare the base

The best thing you can do is to build a grill that is very economical, because you can get the building materials at specialty stores. By having the final design in hand, you can think of where to install your grill and you can proceed to prepare the base. Many people build with cement, bricks, concrete, and even stones as they are ideal to withstand a lot of weight. To do this, we recommend digging a few centimetres and pour concrete to make the base using self-levelling cement. Then you can place the bricks stacked with a centimetre of separation and continue this throughout the rest of the design.

3. Start building

When the base is formed the rest is a cinch! Now, what you need to do is connect the bricks with a cement mixture. Take a bucket and pour in part of the cement, mixed with water and sand. If you have doubts, consult a mason to advise you. It is, however, not a difficult task is you take brick by brick and put the mixture into the base, then level carefully so that everything is firm and smooth. You should only continue with the other rows when the previous is dry and firm, until you have completed all the work. If you still have doubts, be sure to call an expert.

4. Building space for grilling

For those who love to braai but have never built anything in their life, we recommend you choose a practical and simple model to make. No need to complicate your life wanting to do a vaulted oven. Instead, you could make one in a pyramid and finish with a fireplace. When starting out it is best to begin with the basics, don’t you think? The area where the fuel will be placed should preferably be square.

5. Placing the grill

The grills are one of the most important aspects when building a braai. When you list the base, the grilling area can be secured on the side with staggered brick base anchored in the cement. We recommend placing on the sides two pairs of brackets at different heights for a movable grate. It is the best when you can enjoy different degrees of cooking, especially when it comes to your meat dishes.

6. The details are important

Masterpieces always have a spectacular touch to the final product, and we cannot finish our ideabook without giving you the best-kept professional secret. Before the concrete hardens completely, give a great finish by turning the edges with your fingers. Using your gloves, you can soften the finish to be smooth and dynamic. When everything is dry, pass a sponge with soap over all of the work for you to remove cement stains, splashes and debris. Look at this model by expert Marcos Contrera. It is so perfect, it looks like it comes right out of a magazine photoshoot!

Let us know how it goes with building your very own brick braai!
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