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Extremely hot flame pit by Flickr's GenkiGenki.

By M.E. Williams

Every summer, I look forward to cooking outdoors. Lots of people have propane grills, which make outdoor cooking fast and convenient, but I use a small charcoal model similar to a Weber Kettle Grill. I don't think I'd move up to a propane grill, partly because the food cooked on it can have a "gassy" off-flavor (also possible with charcoal, if you use too much starter). On the other hand, I'd love to have a backyard large enough for a barbeque pit, like the one I remember my late grandparents having.

The Arizona BBQ Association has assembled a page of links that will show you how to build your own backyard smokers and grills. The projects are of two basic types: those based on masonry and those based on metal barrels, which usually require welding. The BBQ Lodge pit project is probably the simplest, but still, the designer had to cut some concrete blocks to shape.

None of these is exactly an "easy" project, but if you get started now, you'll have something to show off on Labor Day Weekend... and some really great meals for the rest of the season!


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