How to Build a Santa Maria Grill: Follow These Instructions to Make Your Best Grill Ever

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Last updatedLast updated: October 17, 2021
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If you are someone that is looking to up their grilling game, then you have probably thought of changing up your grilling situation. Almost everyone has a charcoal grill, or a gas grill, or even a pellet grill, especially if you have a dedicated grilling spot in your backyard. But if you really want to be an aficionado of the grilling world, you might want to try a Santa Maria grill. These grills really good models to make delicious wood-fired meals. The big issue, however, is that buying one can be expensive. Thankfully, if you know how to build a Santa Maria grill, you can put one together yourself and start making great foods.

Of course, building a grill is not a straightforward operation for most folks. But don’t worry! We have taken the time to put together this easy-to-follow guide that will allow you to make a great grill in no time at all!

What is a Santa Maria Grill?

How to Build a Santa Maria Grill: Follow These Instructions to Make Your Best Grill EverBefore we get into the nitty-gritty details of how to make a Santa Maria grill, we should go over the basics, like What is a Santa Maria Grill Trusted Source Santa Maria-style barbecue - Wikipedia Santa Maria-style barbecue is a regional culinary tradition rooted in the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast of California en.wikipedia.org ? This grill bears the name of a city in Argentina, which is where they were first utilized. Sometimes these grills are also referred to as Argentine grills.

The grill is a relatively basic concept. It can have either three or four walls for the firebox and then consists of a grate that is attached to a pulley system. This system allows the user to raise or lower the grate, which provides excellent temperature control. These grills are wonderful ways to cook meats with low-fat content since they allow you to cook slowly over low heat. This reduces the chance of overcooking your meal.

How much time will it take?

The amount of time that it will take you to make your grill is going to be largely dependent on how well you know your tools. If you are new to welding, this project could be a bit of a challenge. If you have lots of experience, however, this is a relatively straightforward build.

All things considered, you should probably set aside about a week to fully finish this project if you can work on it for 1-3 hours a day. Obviously, the less time you have each day, the longer it will take you to get the job done.

What you’ll need

  • Metal cutter
  • Clamps
  • Welding machine
  • Protective helmet and welding shield
  • Gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Sheet metal – any thickness above 6 mm will work, though the thicker the gauge, the harder it is to cut.
  • Stainless steel mesh
  • Metal table legs
  • Metal rods
  • Eye loops
  • Two chains

Step-by-step instructions


Now that you know the basic materials and tools to complete this build, it is time to actually get started. Listed below are the step-by-step instructions that you should follow to make your DIY Santa Maria grill a reality.

Start with a plan

How to Build a Santa Maria Grill: Follow These Instructions to Make Your Best Grill EverThe most important step in any build is to have a good plan. You need to know what you are aiming for at the end so that you have a guide to follow throughout the process. The above sample is one that you can use and modify to meet your needs.

Perhaps the biggest choice that you need to make while you are planning your grill is whether or not you want to have a three-sided model or a four-sided one. There are definite pros and cons for each option, so let’s go through them quickly.

  • Three-sided – A grill with three sides is going to be cheaper and faster to make than a four-sided model. This setup also makes it much easier to add firewood since you can simply slip it into the open side. Of course, this open side also allows for a lot of heat to escape, which could extend your grilling time.
  • Four-sided – A four-sided grill can really hold in the heat. This makes it much easier to control the temperature on the grill. Of course, it will make adding wood slightly less convenient since you will need to raise the grate out of the way to put more fuel into the fire.

Measure twice, cut once

After you have decided on the design and plan for your grill, it is time to get started on the manufacturing process. The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that you measure out all of your pieces as carefully as you can. This process should not be rushed. Make sure that you check and double-check each of your measurements so that the pieces will align properly once they are cut.

After you have measured the sides and supports, you can start cutting them. This can be done with a grinder equipped with a cutting wheel, snips, or a jigsaw with a metal cutting blade. No matter what tool you choose to use, make sure that you have a square handy to make certain that all of your cuts are nice and straight or the sheet metal. For the supports, they need to be cut to length using the same tools.

Welding them together

How to Build a Santa Maria Grill: Follow These Instructions to Make Your Best Grill EverWhen you are ready to weld Trusted Source welding | Types & Definition | Britannica Welding, technique used for joining metallic parts usually through the application of heat. www.britannica.com , it is best to do both sets of sides and ends separately. Once they are attached to each other, you can put the entire thing together. When you first start to weld, you should clamp the pieces together and then weld in the corner, the middle, and the other corner. Repeat this for each connection. Once the outside is finished, put on the bottom in the same manner.

Once you have all of these spot welds completed and the frame/base are connected, you can then weld around all of the sides. You want to make sure that you close any gaps between the metal so that no air can escape from the firebox that you just put together.

After you have the firebox complete, attach pulley supports to the sides, making sure to center them on the ends. The grate should also be put together in the same fashion as the firebox. After you have the sides, place two support bars in the middle and then weld on the steel mesh. You should also attach eye loops to the middle of this grate to attach the chains later.

Attaching the legs (if your design implies)

When it comes to supports for this grill, you have two different options. You can make or buy legs that can be welded onto the bottom of the firebox, or you can place the grill down into the ground. Both designs work well, though having the grill in the ground holds in more heat for hotter fires.

Using legs, however, puts the grill on the correct grilling level, which can really save your back. If you choose to utilize legs, make sure to add angled supports so that the grill is extremely sturdy.

The rotating mechanism

How to Build a Santa Maria Grill: Follow These Instructions to Make Your Best Grill EverThe upward supports should already be in place. For the rotating mechanism, you need to either make a slot for the spinning rod or drill holes through the supports. Either method will work, though the holes are a bit more secure. Next, weld the chains onto the rotating rod near the ends. Make sure that the two chains are the same length, and then weld them onto your grating. You should attach a handle to one end of the rotating rod so that you can easily turn it, which will raise or lower the grate.

Cheaper and quicker ways to build a Santa Maria Grill

There are quicker ways to build a Santa Maria grill that would also save you a bit of money as well if you don’t want to build the entire thing. One such way would be to create a grate and lowering and raising mechanism that could be used over an already established fire pit. Fire pits are much easier to make than a complete firebox, which makes this a much simpler project. These pits are also a lot cheaper to buy as well.

Something else that you could do if you already have a firepit is to buy a premade grating, like this one from Texsport. You could also go a step further and get something like this from only fire. This model grating works much like a Santa Maria grill but can be used with a kettle grill or fire pit.

Final thoughts

Whether you are looking for a new project or you just want to have an amazingly efficient and unique way to cook, a Santa Maria grill is an awesome option. These amazing grills make it very easy to make delicious food even because it is so easy to raise and lower the grating to control the temperature.

Hopefully, you now have a clear understanding of how to build a Santa Maria grill. Just make sure that you take your time and measure everything before you cut it. Also, go nice and slow when it comes to your welds as well, so that your grill is absolutely perfect. That way, you can make delicious meals for years to come.

References

1.
Santa Maria-style barbecue - Wikipedia
Santa Maria-style barbecue is a regional culinary tradition rooted in the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast of California
2.
welding | Types & Definition | Britannica
Welding, technique used for joining metallic parts usually through the application of heat.
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