Make:’s 2016 Guide to Grillin’ n’ Chillin’

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Make:’s 2016 Guide to Grillin’ n’ Chillin’

It’s that time of year when many of us regress to our more primal culinary selves and feel compelled to sear things over an open flame in our backyards. Backyard grilling gets us outdoors, is a wonderful change of pace from indoor kitchen cooking, allows us to use a different set of cooking skills, and the results seem to encode the very essence of summertime, vacation, leisure, and fun.

Over the years, we’ve featured every manner of grill, smoker, and outdoor oven, many of them homemade, from metal drums, flower pots, and LP gas bottles.

Here are some of our perennial favorites. We’ve also included a few other fun backyard projects, things to do while you’re waiting for your tofu pups to grill up.

Build Your Own Yakitori Grill

grillGuide_5Get cooking with this Japanese-style yakitori skewer grill project, from one of our favorite Make: contributors, toy designer Bob Knetzger.

How to Convert your BBQ Grill from Propane to Natural Gas

If you have natural gas at home, consider using this detailed FAQ to convert your grill from propane to natural gas.

Build the Perfect Backyard Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

grillGuide_11Build this super-efficient, easy-to-use backyard pizza oven which will never deposit cinders on your pie.

The Nellie Bly Smoker

grillGuide_12Make this hot/cold food smoker from a 55-gallon steel drum.

Build a “Little Blue Egg” in a Flower Pot

grillGuide_16Inspired by some of our smoker and grilling projects here on Make:, a Canadian maker created the Little Blue Egg, a knock-off of the popular Big Green Egg, using two giant flower pots and an Ikea table.

Make a Smoker from a Clay Pot

grillGuide_1Another clay pot smoker project built around two giant clay flower pots from the home improvement store.

Who Doesn’t Need a Backyard Lord Of The Rings Fire Pit?

grillGuide_13Feel the fires of Mordor with this Lord Of The Rings fire pit made from spent LP bottles.

Cooking with Thermite

grillGuide_6Probably not one to try at home, but still a cool exploration of how you could cook with thermite, by scientific apparatus hacker, Ben Krasnow.

Cooler Robot Delivers Cold Beverages On-Demand

grillGuide_9Here’s an over-the-top backyard party assistant, a robotic cooler that uses an Arduino for its brains and serves drinks from an RC wheelchair platform.

Make a Custom Soda Cooler

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On this episode of Make:’s “DIY Hacks and How-Tos,” Jason Poel Smith shows you how to build a simple custom soda cooler, an insulated box for keeping your fridge pack of sodas colder, longer.

How-To: Gnome Lawn Bowling Game

grillGuide_14Bowling, garden gnomes, recycling – what’s not to love about this homemade gnome blowing set? The pins are made from 2 liter soda bottles.

Oversized Backyard Games: DIY Lawn Yahtzee

grillGuide_15Looking for a family-friendly way to spend those hot summer afternoons? Grab your giant DIY dice and head outside for a fun round of yard Yahtzee!

Add Light Up Effects to Backyard Games

grillGuide_8Use a microcontroller and some LED light strips to create a little extra magic to your backyard lawn games with this project by Jason Poel Smith.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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