family barbecuing around a brick fire pit as an example of a Classic Outdoor Entertaining Fixture
Photo: Jean Allsopp

Classic Outdoor Entertaining Fixture

Before gas grills and outdoor kitchens, America fell in love with that symbol of suburbia, the backyard brick barbecue. As outdoor entertaining became a hallmark of the good life in the post-war 1950s, the open-air grill stood center stage, presided over by Dad, who ruled the flaming briquettes.

We think it's time to give these nostalgic cookers a second look.

While you could buy a simple portable kettle grill to heed the call of the charcoal, there's something alluring about a built-in masonry grill. These structures not only accent the patio, providing a focal point and creating a gathering spot, but also are ideal for feeding a crowd because they typically have more grilling space than your standard-size rollaway. Plus, they're durable and weather resistant, don't need to be stored, and have a warmer feel than outdoor kitchens glinting with stainless-steel surfaces.

Building a simple barbecue pit is a relatively easy job and likely to cost less than a fancy new gas grill. With the right tools, materials, and a little skill, you can put together a basic brick barbecue in a weekend.

So whether you build your own or hire a pro, think about firing up one of these backyard barbecues this summer and standing, Tom Collins in hand, admiring the glow and taking a moment away from your packed schedule to appreciate your family, your friends, and your life.

Shown: The Brown family gathers around their vintage 1950s brick barbecue, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Landscaping: Jason Morey and Mark Simonds
Red-and-white rug:
Red flower pots:
Ask TOH users about Outdoor Structures

Contribute to This Story Below

    More in Landscaping