Selecting the right grill for your outdoor kitchen can be simple, even if you’ve never done it before. It comes down to five questions:
- Do you cook when its cold out?
- How many people do you typically cook for?
- Do you usually grill or smoke your food?
- What foods do you usually cook?
- Will your grill be built-in?
If you can answer those questions, you have all the information you need to make the right decision.
Choose the Right Grill for Your Outdoor Kitchen
The maximum number of people you usually cook for at your outdoor kitchen is critical in determining the size of the grill you need. For example, if you generally only cook for you and your significant other, a 32″ grill would have more than enough space. If you cook for a family of four and maybe a couple friends on occasion, you might consider something closer to 42″.
Here is how the pros calculate it: Take the number of people you plan on cooking for and multiply that by 120. This number represents the total number of square inches of cooking space needed. So, if you plan on cooking for 6 people, multiplying that by 120 gives you 720 square inches. An average grill is 22″ deep, so a 36″ grill that is 22″ deep would have 792 square inches of cooking space (see below).
Grill Length in Inches X Grill Depth = Total Available Cooking Area
Number of people you cook for X 120 = Total Required Cooking Area
Total Available Cooking Area > Total Required Cooking Area
When selecting a grill for your outdoor kitchen, it’s important to take into account your geographic location. In regions with colder climates, like Alaska, you’re going to need a grill with enough BTU’s (British Thermal Unit – if the grill was a car, BTU would be equivalent to horsepower), to ensure it gets hot enough with the cold outside temperatures.
While planning your outdoor kitchen, take a minute to reflect on how you typically cook your food. Is it on a charcoal, gas, or propane grill, or do you smoke it?
70% of the time we recommend investing in a natural gas or liquid propane grill. They are easy to use and maintain. Similarly, if you like to smoke your food or enjoy cooking with charcoal briquettes, then we generally recommend a Primo Ceramic Grill (better performance than the traditional egg-shaped ceramic grills). Another common option is a pellet grill, like Memphis, that uses an agar system to pull wood pellets through a feeder and ignites them inside the grill. As a result, you get the classic grill features and use, as well as the smoke flavor.
This is what the pros do: One of each! Most grill enthusiasts have one gas grill for cooking during the week when there is more of a time constraint and a second charcoal grill or smoker for cooking on the weekends.
The foods you typically cook are often overlooked when selecting a grill for your outdoor kitchen, but it’s important. If you generally cook steaks or burgers outside, then a traditional gas grill is a great option. However, if you like to cook duck, turkey, or ham on the grill, you should select one with a rotisserie built-in. Then again, if you cook a lot of vegetables, it’s worth considering a grill with a sear-and-grill section or adding either a griddle or side burner to the kitchen.
In addition to the basics, pros look for the following: Built-in thermostat, plenty of sturdy countertop space on either side of the grill, and a smoker box to infuse some of that natural wood flavor when using a gas grill.
Lastly, are you going to build the grill into your outdoor kitchen or use a cart? If you choose to build the grill into the kitchen, which is always our preference, spend the extra money on a high-quality grill! It will absolutely be worth it! The worst thing you can do is buy a cheap grill, build it into your outdoor kitchen, and then have to replace it in a couple of years when it breaks down. You’ll end up paying for a new grill as well as rebuilding the island to fit it. Our personal favorite brands are Lynx, Fire Magic and Twin Eagles.
In conclusion, spend some time looking at various outdoor kitchens options online, determine how much space you have and how many people you’ll be cooking for, which features you would like to include, and a budget you would like to stay within.
If you have questions on how to build an outdoor kitchen yourself, which cabinet system to use, latest design trends for finishing your cabinet system, or how the outdoor kitchen should “flow,” our designer experts are here to help. We also provide a free 3D rendering and CAD drawing, with a complete list of building materials and step-by-step instructions, as well as ongoing support for customers.
Need help designing your outdoor kitchen? Looking for brand name grills below market pricing? Call us today, or submit a request below.