How to Build a Masonry Cinder Block Outdoor Kitchen?

If you’re trying to build an outdoor kitchen with cinder blocks for your Santa Maria or Argentine Style Grill, everything you need to know is included in this guide.

An outdoor kitchen island can be built on your patio using rectangular cinder blocks of various sizes.

Santa Maria BBQ Grill Drop in frame inserts are the proper style of grill for this style of BBQ island.

Caution: Before beginning excavations, call 811 to check for underground utilities. 

Also check local building codes, ordinances, and homeowners’ associations guidelines to make sure that wood fire grills are allowed. 

When choosing a location make sure to pick a spot located away from your house, low hanging limbs, or anything else that could catch fire. When using tools make sure to wear proper protective equipment.

Total time to build a grill island: 5 days


  • Cinder Block
  • Fire Brick
  • Portland Cement and Fire Clay
  • Veneer
  • Countertop materials
  • Rebar
  • Santa Maria Grill frame Or Argentine Grill Frame


  • Trowel
  • Tamper
  • Squares
  • Trowel
  • Tape Measure
  • Leveler
  • Shovel
  • Grinder and metal cut off wheel for rebar
  • Wet Saw and circular saw with concrete blade
  • Personal Protective Equipment

1. Measurements:

Take your own measurements. Measurements below are just examples.

  • Take the size of the Argentinian grill and add half inch to width and length. ex. 36 in. x 24 in. is 36.5 in. x 24.5 in
  • Measure the width and length of cinder blocks ex. 16 in. x 8 in. x 8 in.
  • Measure thickness of firebrick ex. 9 in. x 4.5 in. x 2.5 in
  • Also take into account mortar behind and on sides of blocks. ex. 3/8 in.

example math for length: 36.5 in. + 8 in. + 2.5 in. + 3/8 in. 47.375 outer dimensions. Do the same for width.

2. Cinder Walls & Footer

Choose an area in the backyard for your outdoor kitchen island. We will not go into How to lay cinder block in this example:

  1. After stacking cinder block to desired height, width and length, fill all cinder block cavities with cement.
    1. Use scrap rebar to push cement into all cracks of cavities.

Veneer Outside:

  • Veneer outside of island with non flammable material.
    • Stucco
    • Natural Rock
    • Corten
    • Ceramic Tile

Add Fire Brick:

  1. Fill interior firebox cavity up with paver gravel
    1. 5 inches at a time, wet and tamper making sure its relatively level.
    2. continue until you have 18″ of space from the top of the counter.
  2. Poor 2″ of refractory cement over paver gravel.
    1. Trowel flat making sure the surface is level.
    2. Wait for refractory cement to cure.
  3. Once fully cured, mortar full firebrick to the firebox floor use a wet saw to cut firebrick.
    1. Use a small leveler to make sure the firebrick is level when cutting.
    2. Make sure to wear proper safety equipment.
  4. Now mortar the 4 sides of the firebox with firebrick.
    1. Careful not to add more mortar than accounted for in STEP 1.


For best appearance make sure that the countertop covers half the exposed firebrick on top of the firebox. The Drop in frame lips will cover the rest of the gap.

There are several types of countertops that can be used such as:

  • Granite
  • Cement
  • Ceramic Tile
  • Metal
  • Rock

Note: Seal countertops to stop oils from staining.

Caution: Do not use flammable materials as a backer to the countertop.

Install The Grill:

Place Santa Maria Grill or Argentine Grill inside the opening. Keep in mind that drop in style Santa Maria BBQ gas grills and charcoal grills are the ideal choice for a cinder block BBQ island. 

Benefits of a Cinder Outdoor Kitchen

There are many benefits to a cinder block outdoor kitchen. Not only is it a great entertainment space for friends and family, but the cinder block construction itself has added benefits.

Durability: Cinder blocks are a sturdy and durable material that can withstand the elements and harsh weather conditions.

Affordable: Cinder blocks are much more affordable when compared to stone veneer or bricks.

Easy to Customize: Cinder blocks can be easily customized to fit your specific design needs. You can create different shapes, sizes, and designs based on your preferences.

Low Maintenance: Cinder blocks require little maintenance compared to other materials. They don’t need to be sealed or painted, and they can easily be cleaned with soap and water.

Fire Resistant: Cinder blocks are naturally resistant to fire which automatically makes them a great choice for your cooking area.

Get started on your cinder block outdoor kitchen project today. When you’re ready, shop our collection of Gaucho Grills and other options for your outdoor BBQ!