A friend of mine came up with the idea for this DIY outdoor grill station. He had a standalone charcoal grill that he liked, but wanted a table next to it for prepping food and the like. We incorporated his 18” grill into a DIY BBQ cart/table by taking the grill apart and using the kettle and other parts of it in the new grill station. Because my friend’s outdoor space is small, we kept the grill station’s dimensions small too, but you can adjust to your grill size or desired prep area.
Step 1: Cut legs and cross pieces and assemble
For the vertical ends of the grill station, we used two-by-four lumber and cut:
- Two legs 33” long for one end
- Two legs 31 1/2” long for the other end
- Four pieces 15 1/2” long for cross-bracing
You’ll notice one end is shorter—this is because we’ll eventually use the wheels from the grill, which will add 1 1/2" of height once installed.
The top crosspieces on either end are on-edge and flush with the top of the legs. We used two screws at each end of each crosspiece.
We wanted the bottom crosspieces of each end to be the same height off the ground, so we attached the brace for the 33” side with two screws through the leg located 7 1/4” and 8 3/4” up from the bottom. On the other shorter end, we placed the screws 5 3/4” and 7 1/4” from the bottom.
Step 2: Drill holes and mount wheels
We “cannibalized” the wheels from the old grill and drilled a 3/8” hole for the axle centered 1 1/2" inches up from the bottom of each shorter leg. We used a 3/8” x 3 1/2" hex bolt, two washers, and a nut to mount the wheel. To do this, place the bolt through the plastic wheel, slide on a washer, insert the bolt through the outside of the leg, then use another washer and nut to secure. We used two nuts and locked them against each other so things wouldn’t loosen. A locknut would do the same.
An optional step we decided to do was screw a metal fence clip to the bottom of the longer legs. This is to keep the lumber from direct ground contact at the grill station’s future home. You will not want to use metal feet if your station will stand on a more delicate surface such as wood or manufactured decking.
Step 3: Attach skirt
We used one-by-four lumber for the skirt and cut our end pieces to 18 1/2” and our longer side pieces to 41”. Attach the short end pieces to the tops of the legs on each side. Pre-drill holes for screws, making sure to avoid the screws you placed previously.
Pre-drill and secure the side skirt pieces in the same way, using three screws per side, which anchor into the two-by-four leg pieces (avoid screwing into the ends of the shorter skirt pieces you just placed).
Step 4: Cut pieces for DIY grilling station worktop
Next, cut one two-by-six and four two-by-fours to 42”.
Now it’s time to attach the top surface boards to the frame of the cart. The two-by-six is the center board and mounts first. Mark the tops of the side skirts at 7 1/4” and 12 3/4” from one end. Your two-by-six will mount between these marks and overhang by 1/2” on either end. Use two screws at each end, fastening through the top of the board into the two-by-fours below. Now, working outward from the two-by-six, secure the 4 two-by-four boards, spacing them 5/16” apart from one another. Purpose-made spacers work great, or you can find something else to use as a spacer. All boards should overhang on the the ends by 1/2” and the outside boards should overhang the sides by 1/2”, too. Use 3” screws to fasten in place, making sure you’re anchoring into the two-by-four framework underneath.
Step 5: Reinforce worktop
Cut an 18 1/2” piece of two-by-four to provide extra support for the top boards. Measure 17 1/4” in from the end of the wheel side skirt and mark for two screws on each side. Holding the two-by-four on edge under the table surface, drive 3” screws through the skirt into the ends of the new support. Now, screw down through the top of the worktop boards into the same support with two 3” screws per board (avoiding the horizontal screws you drove just prior).
Step 6: Install lower cross-supports
Cut two two-by-fours to 34 5/8” to place horizontally between lower cross-braces on the ends. Center them by measuring 3” in from either end of the leg cross-brace. Mount the long braces just inside these marks and you’ll have the correct placement needed later for supporting the legs of the kettle grill. We used 3” screws to secure through the outside of the bottom cross-braces.
Step 7: Cut the hole for the kettle grill
It’s a little difficult to cut a hole in the beautiful work table you’ve created, but it’s the first step to incorporating the kettle grill itself. Start by turning the bottom of the grill upside-down on the table. Position it at the “wheel end” far enough from the end so as not to cut into the two-by-four support underneath and so that it’s centered side-to-side. Trace the outline of the grill with a pencil.
There’s no going back, so double or triple check the placement of the hole! Now, using a jig saw, start your cutting in a gap between boards and carefully cut out the circle. Going slowly and keeping your pencil line in view at all times will minimize the chance of getting off track.
Step 8: Add metal plates to DIY outdoor grilling station
We attached metal plates on the inside of the skirt with 9/16” screws and attached metal straps to the inside edges of the circle in the same manner. You don’t have to fill every hole in the metal plates with a screw—just use enough to make it secure. Trim the end of the metal strap with a hacksaw if you need to shorten it like we did.
Step 9: Attach grill legs
The grill will stand just above the work table on two legs that sit on top of the bottom cross-supports made in Step 6. We reused the two grill legs with holes in them, flipped them upside-down, and used the hole in the tubular leg to bolt to the two sockets in the bottom of the grill farthest from the grill handle. When you do this, tighten the bolts snugly, but leave some room for fine-tuning later. Note: The clips for the ash catcher will be used again, so leave them on or reinstall them later.
Step 10: Fit the kettle
Fair warning: This takes a bit of finagling since we’re using bits and pieces of the original grill in different ways. Start by placing the kettle grill in the hole with the legs resting on top of the lower cross-braces (you’ll secure the legs later). The grill will “float” in the hole with airspace surrounding it and stand above the worktop by a bit. The legs should slope backward to allow the ash catcher to be placed below the kettle. The kettle’s handle will bolt to an L-bracket that will attach to the top of the worktop's two-by-six. You can loosely attach this bracket to the kettle now.
Once you have the kettle sitting where you want it, mark the position of the legs on the horizontal boards below and the spot for the L-bracket on the work surface. To keep the bottoms of the legs in place, we screwed two stout lag screws into the tops of the cross-braces and slipped the hollow leg over the top of the screw head. Next, mark the spot for the L-bracket to mount on the worktop and secure it with a screw. Tighten the bolts at the top of the legs and at the L-brackets.
Step 11: Add final touches to your DIY outdoor grilling station
Finally, it’s time to add a few final touches.
Ash catcher: Since we only used two of the three original BBQ legs, we needed a third support for the ash catcher tray. To do this, we drilled a hole in the catcher rim and mounted a small eye bolt and nut. Then, we ran a lightweight chain from the eye bolt up to a hook, which we screwed into the bottom of the cross-support above.
Triangle shelf: We reused the grill’s triangle shelf by mounting it to the two non-wheel legs of the new cookout station with screw hooks and used a chain and screw hook to hang the hook end of the shelf much like the ash catcher tray above.
Fire extinguisher: Because safety is always a good idea, we mounted a fire extinguisher to one leg of the cookout station. Choose a Class ABC fire extinguisher designed for combustible materials like wood (Class A) as well as flammable liquids or electrical fires (Classes B and C).
Hanger for lid: The kettle’s lid has a hook built into it so you have somewhere to hang it when it's removed. We screwed a large eye hook through the skirt on the “wheel end” of the station, which fits the hook and allows the lid to hang securely.
You can also add hooks, a bottle opener, etc.—the options for customization are endless. Happy grilling!