Barbecue lovers are united in their love of great food, but also in their celebration of inventive spirit. They like to tinker with recipes, fuss with grill features, and experiment with new tools. Barbecuing is all about trying new things, and this fun collection of DIY projects touches on every aspect of the experience—the food, the hardware, the accessories, and the socializing. They’re perfect for grill masters and barbecue hosts looking to step up their game.
1. Assemble an outdoor prep station
Tired of running back and forth to the kitchen or attempting a dangerous balancing act with tools, condiments, and toppings? A portable prep station will feel like a barbecue miracle. This video from Ron Hazelton will show you how to build one that’s both useful and stylish.
2. Build your own brick barbecue
What grill enthusiast hasn’t swooned over a majestic brick barbecue? These beautiful pieces are permanent fixtures that bring character and class to your grilling area, and building one is not as hard as it may seem. These step-by-step instructions will have you showing off your brick masterpiece in no time.
3. Make your own condiments
Barbecue guests are always extra impressed when their hosts bring out homemade ketchups and marinades. With an arsenal of condiments at your disposal you’ll go from “that guy manning the grill” to “that chef preparing a gourmet feast.”
4. Create fancy condiment containers
Now that you’ve got delicious condiments to serve, you’ll need an inventive way to display and distribute them. Storing them in old alcohol bottles with homemade labels adds a cool vibe to your barbecue gathering. This blog example uses Jack Daniels bottles, but you can work with any stylish alcohol bottle.
5. Put handles on your grill
Removing a grill from a charcoal or wood barbecue is a huge pain and can easily result in nasty burns. But it’s also a necessary evil if you want to replenish the charcoal or wood while you’re grilling. Attaching some simple grill handles is the perfect solution. This Instructables article outlines exactly what you’ll need.
6. Add a beer cooler to your picnic table
This awesome DIY project is not only completely practical (the booze has to chill somewhere!) but it’s also unbelievably cool. Everyone will be taking about that barbecue they went to where they could grab a cold one from inside the table they were about to drink it at.
7. Turn your charcoal grill into a smoker
Who says you need a high-priced smoker to achieve that sensational smoky flavour with your food? You can make it happen with just a disposable aluminum pan and some water. Skeptical? Serious Eats will walk you through the steps of DIY smoking on a charcoal grill.
8. Build some patio tables
Eating at a barbecue is always a little dicey when table space is scarce. These inventive, quirky DIY tables, which use tomato cages as a base, are perfect for whipping out at parties to spare your guests the indignity (and mess) of eating on their laps.
9. Hang wine bottle tiki torches
This easy, yet impactful project is great for barbecue parties that are still rockin’ after the sun goes down. The recycled torches provide mood lighting, help keep the bugs away, and are a great conversation piece. If you don’t have a fence to attach them to, try using the trees on your property.
10. Put some portable speakers together
Every good barbecue needs killer tunes and these portable speakers are a great way to deliver them. They’re made using existing speakers and (believe it or not) Ikea salad bowls! It’s an ambitious project that involves as least some ability to navigate wires and circuits, but the end result may be worth it.