Gas Grill Grief? Food on Fire? Gas grill conversion for old, basic BBQ to Ceramic Briquettes. Easy DIY upgrade

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Firefighters putting out grill on fire

Does your old or basic grill look like this when you’re cooking?


Gas grill problems? Especially hot spots, flare ups and flames where you don’t want them. Up against difficult to control the heat? If so, you probably also find the food is either burnt, or undercooked and disappointing. 

Without a doubt, you are not alone! Many old or basic grills don’t come with any way to keep the flare ups and flames at bay. Convert your gas grill to use ceramic briquettes, or lava rock, for about $50 and half an hour’s time. 

What’s more, this modification is super easy to do, requiring only the most basic of tools.

The problem:

The grill is on fire again! Burnt food, flare ups, flames, hot spots, grease fires and dry, overcooked barbecued meals can ruin the best planned get together! You spent all that time and money to make great tasting food, but the grill can’t be controlled, and the results are a real letdown. 

Are you experiencing grill envy, eyeing grills with heat tube burners, heat shields, heat plates, or heat grates inside? Certainly, these features keep flames at bay, and promote controlled, even cooking, resulting in moist, flavorful bbq foods. 

With this in mind, maybe you are thinking that the only way to get these nice features is to buy a new, but expensive grill. 

That is, until you see the prices of some of these that are actually great to cook on! Then, you’ll probably ponder simply putting the grill out on the curb, waiting for it to be hauled away! 

Instead, revive your gas grill rather than replace it!

Experiencing Gas Grill Envy?

Water blaster hose nozzle on SCRAM device

The Solution:

Don’t trash your old or basic propane grill! Convert and upgrade with ceramic briquettes or lava rocks, modifying it into an even heating, controllable, high performance outdoor grilling machine! This super easy modification is easy, inexpensive and uses only simple tools. And, it works for almost any grill.

As long as you have a bit of space between your burners/heat plates, and the cooking grate or surface, you can transform your grill into one you actually want to cook on!

In other words, take your grill (and your cooking) from zero to hero!

Summary of Steps: the video shows these steps in greater detail

  1. Determine if you have space to add a new rock grate between your burners/heat plate and the cooking surface or grate. 
  2. Idealy, there should be 1/2″ to 2″ between the burners/heat plate and the new rock grate. Also, there should be 2″ to 3″ between the new rock grate and the cooking surface, or grate.
  3. If you have that space, you can add the new rock grate to the grill. Sometimes, you can rest it on the heat plate(s). If not, you can drive screws into the grill body to support the grate.
  4. Layout your ceramic briquettes on the rock grate.
  5. Then, fire up the grill, open a beverage of your choice, and barbecue!

As shown in the video, it really is that easy!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission on items bought using them. These are the same recommendations I would make regardless of any compensation. For products that I have older versions of, I recommend the items that I would replace them with if I were buying them new. 

Resources for Grill Upgrade 

These are the tools and supplies I used to modify my gas grill and turn it into a high performance BBQ. Alternative and optional tools are listed below in addition to the main components. You do not need all of them, so feel free to substitute.

Ceramic Briquettes, Set of 50

From Amazon
This is where the magic happens! Great heat dispersion and retention

Automatic Center Hole Punch, Adjustable Impact

From Amazon
You can use a hammer and nail for this as an option

16 oz. Fiberglass Claw Hammer

From Amazon
Every DIY toolbox needs a solid hammer. Option to Automatic Center Punch

Handle Mount LED Grill Light

From Amazon
How did I get this far in life without this awesome light? 😀


Krylon High Heat Spray Paint

From Amazon
You’ll love your “new” grill so much, you’ll want to make it pretty!

Kobalt 24V MAX Brushless 1/2″ Drill/Driver

From Amazon
Drill, charger & battery. If you need a drill, I highly recommend this one!

Kobalt 24V MAX Brushless 2 Tool Combo Kit

From Amazon
If you’ve considered an impact driver, this combo kit saves money compared with separate tools. Comes with both the impact driver, drill, and charger & battery


Now that you’ve got a spiffy gas grill that works properly, the result may be more guests wanting to taste some of that tasty food. In the event that you run out of seating space, check out this video showing how to make Removable Countertop Extensions


There are more DIY projects in the works, so stay tuned to Uncharted DIY. Feel free to comment, post photos of your “new” high performance grill, or ask questions about this project.

Uncharted DIY is for DIY enthusiasts tackling uncommon projects, utilizing common tools and often on a limited budget

Uncharted DIY is for DIY enthusiasts tackling uncommon projects, utilizing common tools and often on a limited budget