Like many backyard cooks, we use a combination of gas (for convenience) and charcoal (for flavor) grills throughout the outdoor-cooking seasons. But what’s been missing from our repertoire is a grill that can deliver the intense heat we need to properly sear steaks, chops, and burgers, or to quickly char vegetables. Most gas grills can’t get hot enough, and most charcoal grills put so much distance between fire and food that we waste a lot of fuel when we need to turn up the heat.

So we decided to make our own.

The Field DIY Konro (click here to download the free plans) can be constructed in a couple of minutes from standard fire bricks, and leaves you with a compact grill that delivers precise heat control and brings food closer to the fire, so you won’t waste a single piece of charcoal.

Although our design was by the Japanese grills used for yakitori and other skewer-based foods, you can use the konro for multiple types of grilling. Add a wire rack or grill grate and it becomes a super-powered searing machine; place a No.10 Field Skillet on top and you can bring any stovetop cooking method outside.

Ready, Set, Grill

Once you’ve downloaded the konro plans, you’ll need to source some bricks. We highly recommend using fire bricks (aka refractory bricks), which can withstand both extremely high temperatures, and won’t crack from frequent heating and cooling, like standard construction bricks might. Your best source for fire bricks will be your local fireplace or masonry supply store; you might also find them at area home-building stores. No mortar or other adhesive is needed; the small gaps between the bricks allow just enough airflow to keep charcoal burning bright. In addition to bricks, you’ll need a sturdy base—we use a sheet of ¾-inch plywood atop a work table.

After your konro is built, it’s ready to use. Depending on your desired level of heat output, you can fill the konro with 1 to 2 chimneys-full of charcoal—more charcoal means more heat. You can also create multiple heat zones by piling more charcoal on one side of the grill. (For more help on choosing the right type of fuel for your grilling needs, check out our charcoal primer here).

We’ve been grilling all season with our own DIY Konro, and are excited to share a few recipes that showcase its various uses: chicken yakitori, miso-glazed mushroom skewers, charred snap pea salad, seared scallops with creamed corn, and a reverse-sear ribeye.

While we own every style of grill you can imagine (and assume you might as well), our konro has become our favorite new piece of outdoor cooking equipment, thanks to its ease of use, superior heat delivery, and endless customization. (Want a longer or wider grill? Add more bricks!). We hope you’ll download our free plans and let us know how you use your konro by tagging us on Instagram.