DIY Outdoor Wood Stove, Oven, Cooker, Grill and Smoker

How to build your own DIY Outdoor Wood Stove,Oven, Cooker, Grill and Smoker. Materials list and step by step photos.

We find ourselves needing to heat up some odd stuff around here from time to time so we wanted to make an outdoor cooker that could do all of them. We heat up banana type leaves to wrap tamales in (see our tamale video here) so it had to be long enough. We roast cacao beans so we had to have ample cooking space and we LOVE pizza so we needed an oven as well. We asked around and found a cast iron place that makes entire pot-bellied stoves and also 2 or 3 hole cook tops. An entire stove would have been a lot easier but the oven space was basically just a warming rack. We decided on a 3 hole cast-iron cook top. Barry searched the internet a morphed a few designs into one and waalaa we have an awesome outdoor oven that utilizes all of our tree waste and deadwood.

DIY over stove


A big advantage to building our own was being able to use refractory bricks (known as fire bricks) for the firebox interior.The 2.5 inch thick bricks refract the heat off of the stove wall, directing more of the heat up for cooking purposes.These are the same type of bricks used in Italian Pompeii pizza ovens.

Supply List for the Oven:

  • 40 Refractory Fire bricks 2.5x4x9 inches
  • 40-60kg High Temperature Mortar Mix, like Reframix or Perlite
  • Cast Iron Cook top or any cooking surface you desire to use in your stove. Get creative and call a welder.
  • Chimney Stovepipe 5.5 inches wide. You may need elbows, a rain cap and self-tapping screws with this.
  • 1 bag common mortar mix (cement and sand)
  • 60-70 Red Bricks  You can also use standard 8-inch cement block or other types of brick for your exterior.
  • Optional: a few pieces of tile, ceramic adhesive and grout so you can give it a finished look.

For the Base:

  • Concrete slab to build your stove on at least 32×52 inches.
  • Concrete blocks 4.5 inches wide. Enough blocks to create a base at least 3-4 block high by 32×52 inches.
  • Cement and Sand (Mortar)
  • Rebar and Wire

Step 1 – The Base

DIY Oven block

Step 2 – The Stand

We want our Fire brick floor level with the cement stand, so we poured a level recessed cement slab 5 inches below the height of the base, that gives us 2.5 inches for the fire brick floor and 2.5 inches for the Reframix base beneath that.

In order to pour the concrete base on the inside we added concrete blocks and scrap lumber so that we could pour a 5-inch concrete slab. We drilled holes in the walls of the concrete so that we could put rebar in a crosshatch pattern, wired together to strengthen the floor. We then poured the concrete base and let it sit for 24 hours.

In hindsight, I would have left the front of the base open to create a space for drying and storing wood.

The Stove Construction

You should now have a concrete base with a table recessed about 5 inches.

Step 3 – Reframix

Reframix is a high temperature concrete like mixture that has a doughy consistency and color.  The box contained two separate bags that need to be mixed together before you add the water, add water and then get the lumps out to start working.

Only mix as much as much Reframix as needed, mine came in 10kg bags, so I only mixed 10kgs at a time. We also made a rectangle mold out of wood off to the side, that way if I had extra Reframix I could pour it in the mold, this later made a lintel over my stove opening, which increased the baking area.

*Tip – The same sponge hawk that I use for grout was a great tool for leveling and smoothing the doughy Reframix.

Add and level out enough Reframix so that you have an exact 2.5-inch recess left in the base.  This will allow the 2.5-inch thick firebricks to exactly line up with the height of your base.

DIY oven brick

Step 4 – Firebricks

Lay out your floor and wall pattern in firebrick.

DIY oven base

Our cooktop was 11×34 inches, so I needed the firebricks to be a little smaller than that area so they could hold up the cook top at 10×32 inches.

We laid out the floor, which took 16 firebricks at 18×36 inches and then stacked the wall bricks at 9 inches high or 1 brick high standing tall. This may seem like a small firebox but remember grilling and stovetop height should not be to far from the fire. Plus the size of the firebox and the efficiency of the firebrick allow you to cook with a smaller fire using less tinder.

While erecting the walls of your firebox decide where you want the mouth of your stove. I chose the side because it fit the layout of the room better but I think most people would put the opening at the front. I made the mouth 9×13 inches or exactly 3 bricks wide standing side by side.

Step 5 – Red Brick

DIY outdoor oven assembly

Without disturbing the wonderful job you have done creating your firebrick firebox start laying mortar and red bricks around the outside of your oven leaving a 2.5 inch gap between the firebrick and the redbrick.

outdoor oven top view

Step 6 – Fill the Gap

Fill in the gap between the red brick and the firebrick with heat resistant Reframix (a soupy consistency is best). Let stand for 24 hours.

Step 7 – Finishing Touches

Add finishing touches to your project such as the chimney with a concrete or brick base around it to help hold the chimney in place. You can also tile to some of the surface areas of your stove.

Step 8 – Curing

All the concrete work should be wet down with water for 3 days 2 times a day while curing to help strengthen the concrete. Let the oven dry out thoroughly for a week or two then build a small fire in it. Over the next 2 consecutive weeks build larger and larger fires in the stove to help get the moisture out of the stove without cracking it.


For grilling you can stack a small grill top on top of 2 firebricks inside the stove and cook atop it.

For baking, get a hot fire going for a good 45 minutes, this will really heat up the refractory bricks, move the coals to the back of the oven then place your bread pizza or baking dish inside the firebox. You can trap the heat inside by using extra firebricks to close in the oven opening or have an insulated door made by a welder. Additional cement bricks can be added to the stovetop for more insulation while baking.

Barry’s Dad, Peter, came down to help us with this project. We couldn’t have done it without him. He unfortunately had to go home before we were able to start a fire in it. There is nothing more enjoyable than doing an outdoor project with family members there to share! Enjoy the outdoors! If you made it to the end of this post you deserve a free tip.

*Put dishwashing liquid on your fingertips and spread across the bottom of the pan you are cooking with. The black soot will wipe right off, even after a whole day of cooking!

  Get your grilling accessories here . Happy Grilling. Buffalo Grilling Apron

14 comments on “DIY Outdoor Wood Stove, Oven, Cooker, Grill and Smoker”

    • Kimberly Beck Reply

      Devin – In CR, we got this one at El Colono. We have seen others at Mom & Pop hardware stores in Limon. There is also a cast iron shop in Cartago. The have entire stoves and parts. The name is Industrias Perfection S. A. in Ochomogo just north of Cartago. I hope this helps.

  1. Rita Reply

    Where did you get refractory bricks in Costa Rica? We live in the southern zone…..and are building a smoker this rainy season….

    • Kimberly Beck Reply

      Rita – We ordered them from El Colono. We had to wait a month to get them but they were in good shape when they got here.

      • Rita Reply

        Thanks for the info and the heads up on ordering the bricks..and I am guessing the reframix
        mortar will need to be ordered a head of time as well..?

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  4. Marlene & Caryn Reply

    We want one to grill on!! Also, could we smoke a Turkey in it???

  5. darby Reply

    You two just amaze us. The things you figure out and create. The new foods and all that you research and eat….congrats. g’ma

  6. Aunt Patty Reply

    Refractory is used in the furnace where I work to heat steel to 2000 degrees to make it pliable in order to form into re-bar, I never would have thought to use it to make an oven for cooking food. You so impress me everyday, thanks for sharing your dreams and your lives.
    Love you both!

  7. carolyn tait Reply

    this is totally cool! what kinds of things have you made in and on it? hey are you interested in plans for a solar oven? i had one made in madagascar (similarly sunny perhaps?) and used it a lot. to cook beans, rice, etc, to bake bread. very cool and quite easy…. let me know and i’ll get the plans to you. <3

  8. Nicki Reply

    NIIIICE! Thanks for sharing the how-to. I totally want one!!!

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