If you enjoy cooking outdoors over an open flame but do not have the money to spend on an expensive grill, a homemade fire pit is the answer. A 55-gallon drum makes a fire pit that will give you the satisfaction of making something on your own and will serve the purpose of a store-purchased pit. Construction takes very little time and only a few materials to complete the project for your next get-together.
Dig a hole as wide as your barrel. The center of the hole should be 6 inches deep. The outside perimeter of the hole should be a foot deep and wide enough to lay fireplace bricks end to end along the edge of the pit to provide stability. Leave enough room along the edge to insert the barrel.
Cut the 55-gallon barrel in half horizontally while it is standing on end with a hacksaw. Place the top half of the ring on the hole and surround the outside perimeter with bricks.
Pour a 6-inch layer of pea gravel into the inner ring for ventilation and drainage. Tamp the gravel down so it is level. Place a level on top of the gravel and remove or add gravel as necessary.
Add a fire brick into the outside ring of the pit until the top level is level with the barrel. Leave the center of the pit clear for your fire.
Finish your pit by installing a capstone at the top. Use capstones that are 4 to 6 inches in width. Apply a layer of mortar on the bottom of each capstone and tap it into place on top of the bricks with a rubber mallet. Let the mortar dry for at least 24 hours before you use the pit.