How to Make a Drip Pan/Tray (2 Methods)

Is there any sound more beautiful than the sizzle of the meat juices falling on the drip tray while you’re barbequing? We don’t think so. 

A drip pan is a valuable piece of cookware that serves many purposes.

It collects all the flavorful meat juices while grilling, which can be used for the stock or gravy, and it prevents those juices from falling on the fire and causing flare-ups. 

Now that you know the benefits of a drip pan, we’re sure you want one. Here’s how you can make a drip tray yourself.

Method 1: Make Your Own Heavy Metal Drip Tray

This is slightly harder to do, but for true BBQ enthusiasts, this will be the best method for making a drip tray.

Normally, the drip trays you get with grills are not always of the best quality. They might claim to be stainless steel, but they are not stainless steel all the way through. 

Therefore, they tend to rust quickly and become useless or don’t perform well. Similarly, if you go ahead and try to buy a new drip tray, you’d find out that they don’t come cheap. 

So, unless you’re willing to sell a limb or two for it, that’s not an option either.

Therefore, you’re left making your own heavy metal drip tray that won’t cost you as much and will outlast other low-quality drip trays as well. Here’s what you need to do to make it.

Step 1: Gather the Materials You Will Need

First off, you will need to gather all the supplies you need to make the drip tray. You could do without some of the tools mentioned here, but they can make the whole job a lot easier. 

Again, this method is a bit hard and complicated, but the results will be worth it for those who are heavily invested in creating the perfect grilling experience. Here are the things you’ll need:

  • 16 gauge heavy metal sheet (according to the size of your grill)
  • Bar stock
  • Grill paint
  • Corner notcher
  • Sheet metal brake
  • Angle grinder
  • C clamps
  • Hydraulic shear
  • Turret punch
  • MIG welder
  • Sandblaster
  • Hammer

Step 2: Cut Out the Sheet Metal and Mark-It

Next, you want to cut out an adequate size of the sheet metal according to the size of your grill.

Leave a few inches extra on the edges as these will fold up and form the walls of the drip tray. Depending on what else you plan to use the tray for, you can keep high or low walls of the tray. 

Once you have cut out the sheet metal according to the size you want, mark it along the fold lines where you will create the walls and the drip hole, which you’ll cut later on.

Marking the sheet metal will help you easily track where you need to fold and cut and give your drip tray a perfect shape.

Step 3: Use the Marking to Make a Drain Hole

At this stage, you’ll be making the drain hole in the drip tray. While the drip tray catches all the grease drips and meat juices, the drain hole will help carry it all away into a separate can or container.

This makes the whole cleaning up process a lot easier, and you’re saved from hours of scrubbing. 

To make the drain hole, you will need to use a turret punch to punch a hole in the metal sheet.

You can keep this hole as big or small as you want. However, we’d recommend punching a hole of about 1 to 1.5-inch diameter.

Step 4: Cut Out the Extra Bits of Metal from the Corners and Along the Center Line

Before you actually get to folding the walls and center of the drip tray, you will need to cut out the extra bits of metal at the corners and center of the metal sheet.

This ensures an easier and cleaner fold for a better-looking drip tray.

Otherwise, you might face difficulty in folding the metal sheet over the corners as they will overlap and not give you that clean finish either.

To cut out these extra parts, use a corner notcher to cut out the squares and triangles neatly from the corners and center edges. 

Step 5: Fold the Tray Edges and Center

By now, you’ll get to see your drip tray finally coming together. In this step, you will fold the edges of the drip tray to create its walls and slightly fold it from the center to create the sloping edges. 

The sloping edges will help carry any grease drips and juices from the edges to the middle of the tray, where it can eventually reach the drain hole and drain away.

The sheet metal brake helps in making straight and clean folds in the metal sheet. 

However, you have to be careful in starting to fold in the right order, or else the metal sheet won’t fit in the brake.

Start from the shorter edges first and fold the sides to 90 degrees. Then, slightly fold the center to give the drip tray that V shape. Finally, fold the long edges of the tray up to 90 degrees for the walls of the tray.

Step 6: Make the End Brackets of the Tray

Depending on which style of grill you have and its interior design, you might need to make two end brackets for the drip tray that will help hold it up inside the grill.

According to the shape and size of your drip tray, cut out two end brackets from another metal sheet and cut and fold them to match your drip tray.

Step 7: Weld All the Pieced Together

Weld all the pieces together so that you have one final drip tray.

The welding also helps in sealing all the edges and corners of the drip tray to prevent any grease from leaking out from anywhere.

Make sure you prepare the drip tray for welding by sanding and cleaning it beforehand. 

You should also use the bar short to create a hook and weld it at the bottom of the tray, just below the drain hole. This hook can carry a can or bucket that will catch all the grease and drips from the drain hole.

Step 8: Paint the Tray

Finally, paint the entire tray with high-temperature paint to add a layer of protection over it and slow down any rusting or rot.

Make sure you clean the tray before painting it.

Method 2: DIY Drip Tray

Needless to say, that was a pretty lengthy and complicated method of creating your own drip tray.

Moreover, not everyone has the time, skills, or resources to make an entire drip tray from scratch like that. That’s why we have another, easier method of making a drip tray yourself. 

This drip tray doesn’t take more than a few minutes to make, and you can easily dispose of it and make a new one when you want.

Depending on what kind of grill you have, you might have to change it up a little. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Gather the Materials You Will Need

For this DIY drip tray, you don’t need a lot, and you will find most of the things at home. Here are the things you’ll need:

  • Aluminum foil
  • A shoebox (preferably men’s)
  • A plank of wood
  • Glue

Step 2: Cover the Shoebox with the Aluminum Foil

Spread out a large sheet of aluminum foil and place the shoebox over it. The thicker and sturdier your shoebox, the better your drip tray will be.

Use the aluminum to cover the entire shoebox. Fold it on over the edges of the shoebox and then cover all the inner edges and walls instead.

You can do it multiple times to give it a nice thick layer and completely seal the shoebox.

Step 3: Glue the Shoebox to the Plank of Wood

Turn over the aluminum-covered shoebox and add hot glue at its bottom.

Then, stick the shoebox firmly to the plank of wood so that it doesn’t budge.

Step 4: Fix the Plank with the Shoebox Under Your Grill

Finally, fix the plank of wood under the grill so that it can easily catch all your drippings. 

Drip Pan Substitutes

Alternatively, you can also opt for a drip pan substitute instead. For example, you can use disposable aluminum foil pans as drip trays.

Just place them below your grill or between the mounds of hot coals. While you’re grilling, the pan should catch your meat grease and juices and prevent any flare-ups

Wrapping Up

Due to its multi-purpose nature and a grilling essential, a drip tray is a must-have cookware for any kitchen or BBQ enthusiast.

While most BBQ grills do come with a drip tray, if you didn’t get one or it’s not usable anymore, you can refer to the steps mentioned above to fashion a quick drip tray for yourself.

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