DIY Construction Plans for Building a Parrilla

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Bricks or concrete blocks

  • Mortar

  • Level

  • Fire bricks

  • Masonry tools

  • Lumber

  • Screws

  • Electric drill

  • Jigsaw

  • Sheet metal

  • Grill grate

  • Cranks

  • Cable

  • Pulleys

  • Self tapping masonry screws

Parrillas are made for cooking large quantities of meat at a time.

The parrilla is an outdoor brick barbecue that is frequently found in Argentina and other South American countries with uncommon attributes such as an angled, adjustable grill, side by side grilling, and an inward sloping, covered chimney. Building your own parrilla will require masonry skills to level and lay the bricks correctly. Some parts of the parrilla can be created by building frames and pouring concrete.

Step 1

Clear and level a 6-foot by 3-foot area outdoors for the parrilla construction. Lay out the first layer of bricks or concrete blocks to form the base. Secure each brick to the adjacent ones using a layer of mortar. The base of the parrilla should be 5 1/2 foot by 2 1/2 foot.

Step 2

Lay and mortar one row, or course, of bricks along the sides and back of the base. Build up each course on top of the previous one by staggering the brick seams until it reaches a height of two feet.

Step 3

Build a frame out of lumber with a plywood base of 1-inch by 6-inch sides. Secure the frame together using screws and the electric drill. The frame should be 7 feet and 5 1/4 inches long and 3 feet wide. Place the frame on top of the parrilla so that one edge is lined up with the side of the parrilla. There will be overhang for counter space on the other side.

Step 4

Trace the shape of the parrilla on the underside of the frame. Remove the frame, flip it over, and cut out the traced shape leaving 1/8 inch leeway to the inside of the line with a jigsaw. Set the frame back on the parrilla. Line up the hole with the top layer of bricks. Make sure the frame is leveled. If it is not, shim it accordingly.

Step 5

Mix, pour, and smooth concrete into the frame. Allow it to dry completely. Disassemble and remove frame. Build another course of bricks as if continuing from the row below the poured concrete. Build a layer of fire bricks to cover the concrete and create a base for the fire pit. These fire bricks will be inside the outer row of non-fire bricks. Build up the outer bricks to a height of 2 feet 10 inches above the concrete slab. Build up fire bricks to line the inside of the parrilla. Lay in one row of fire bricks on edge, along the bottom front rim of the firebox, to create the lip of the fire pit.

Step 6

Build a frame to bridge the gap across the front of the parrilla. This will be used for building the top front part of the firebox. Lay a final course of bricks that goes all the way around the parrilla, creating a box at the top.

Step 7

Build a pyramid style frame out of plywood that fits inside the top of the parrilla for supporting the chimney. Lay in the bricks for the chimney on the frame, starting at the bottom of the pyramid and working upward. Each subsequent layer of brick on the chimney will have fewer bricks than the layer before. The height of the angled part of the chimney should be 1 foot and 3 1/2 inches.

Step 8

Disassemble and remove wooden frames inside the firebox and chimney. Lay in bricks atop the chimney an additional 2 feet. Build two more layers of brick along the sides of the chimney only. Bend a piece of sheet metal into a roof shape to fit atop the chimney. Secure it to the chimney with self tapping masonry screws.

Step 9

Insert the grill grate into the firebox to the left side of the fire pit. Anchor the front edge of the grill to the fire bricks at the lip of the fire pit. Attach two pulleys to the back of the firebox at the same width as the grill grate using self tapping masonry screws. Anchor two cranks at the top front of the firebox directly above the outer edges of the grill grate. Attach a cable to either side of the grill grate and run them up through the pulleys. Run the cable to the front of the parrilla and attach them to the cranks.


Gabrielle Black

Gabrielle Black has been a professional writer, artist and designer since 2002. Her theatrical designs, puppet design and construction have been featured in "Theatre Design & Technology" magazine and she has written numerous articles for various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Luther College and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Idaho, both in stage design and painting.