You have decided to invest in your outdoor oasis! Coming to realize that planning your outdoor kitchen is more than just picking a grill. There are many accompanying products that will need to be planned for. Once you have selected the perfect Grill for your outdoor kitchen and you're ready to complete your dream kitchen with accompanying accoutrements, with so many options (as if there were not enough choices when selecting your grill), what should you choose? There are a few accessories that are must haves and there are many that are convenient luxuries.
We will show the options available as well as give our opinion on the necessities from the desires. Essentially it comes down to what you are looking for in an outdoor kitchen as well as budget. You are better off buying quality products than quantity of products.
Some sort of Access Door is a must have for underneath the grill. This is so you have access to the gas tank or gas line. You will also need a an access door under a sink if one is planned in your island. Usually a single door is used under a sink.
Doors come in three varieties : single, double doors or combo units. A single door is just one door. Double doors are a dual door access whereas Combo Units are a combination of a door and generally either two or three storage drawers. These units are great if you would like to have drawers but may not have the extra space or you would like to have the convenience of storing your grill tools underneath the grill.
We like choosing a door or combo unit size that matches the grill. This will create a visual uniformity in your outdoor kitchen. For example, if you have a 36" Grill, choose either 36" double doors or a 36" combo. Every grill manufacturer will offer accompanying doors but they are usually not branded. So, if you find doors you like from another brand, you can choose them without an identifying manufacturer.
SAFETY TIP : If you are putting Propane Tanks inside your outdoor kitchen, you are only to place ONE in the unit unless there is some sort of firewall (concrete board, block or any non-flammable material) separating the tanks.
Cooking Units are outdoor appliances other than a grill. Adding any type of cooking unit to your outdoor kitchen is more of a luxury (or convenience) verses a necessity. The possibilities of the meals you can create outdoors is endless. Even beyond what you can make indoors with all of the specialty units available.
They not only add the benefit of convenience from having to make some dishes outside and some dishes inside but they can also expand the variety of meals you can enjoy outside. For example, adding an outdoor griddle allows you to make breakfast foods like pancakes or you can bring the Japanese Teppanyaki to your home and make delicious hibachi meals.
Another cooking unit being built-in are the ceramic kamado grills like The Big Green Egg. This is a great unit to consider if you love to smoke foods slow and low.
Side Burners are an extension of your indoor stove. They are essentially stovetop burners and used for anything you would cook on your indoor stove. They come in either a double or single (depending on the grill brand you choose).
They are generally available as a slide in (where the control knobs are in the front like your grill) or drop in (countertop). They can be used to heat up sauces or boil water. Most of these burners will provide 12,000 to 15,000 BTUs of power.
They are also great in the event of power outages, making them a necessity if you live in an area that can lose power (like in those effected by Hurricanes).
Side Burners are the most popular cooking unit added in outdoor kitchens. We think that adding either a side burner or power burner is a must have in your outdoor kitchen. Helps reduce the amount of cooking some items indoors and some outdoors. The goal is to do as much as you can in one place... outdoors.
Power burners are super charged side burners. They are essentially 2 burners in one with a total BTU higher than that of a side burner. They allow for greater outdoor burner versatility. There is a smaller inner burner and a larger outer burner. Using the inner burner for sauce pans and both burners for large stock pot frying or boiling water.
Don't like the smell of grease from fried food? These burners allow you to fry outside!
Another bonus, most manufacturers have griddle accessories for their power burners so you can turn it into a hibachi or a plancha. These style burners have a bit more versatility than traditional side burners.
If you are going to include a power burner in your outdoor kitchen, we suggest installing it 6" below the countertop. It is not a requirement but, if you are planning to use large stock pots, it makes reaching them more accessible.
Griddles also known as flat top grills that expand the outdoor cooking options. These grills generally have one or two burners that heat a solid stainless steel surface. You can create an array of meals from pancakes to hamburgers or grilled cheese as well as Internationally inspired meals from teppanyaki to Mexican.
Are flat top grills worth it? They are definitely worth it if you love Hibachi or would love a plancha style appliance at home. If space or budget is an issue, we think you can get more bang for you buck by adding a power burner with a griddle. You can accomplish the same meal versatility.
A Warming Drawer is an outdoor electrical appliance that is used to keep freshly grilled food warm. Is a warming Drawer worth it? This is definitely a luxury item that we do not feel is worth it. The only time this makes sense if you entertain for lots of people or have a huge budget.
A popular item being added to outdoor kitchens are pizza ovens. They do more than just bake pizzas. Many of these ovens are being used to bake everything you make indoors. This is definitely a luxury in most circumstances unless you really want to create an extension of your indoor kitchen.
NOTE : Not all grill manufacturers offer every type of cooking unit listed above. You may want to choose your brand of grill based on the additional cooking units and accessories on your outdoor kitchen wishlist.
There is nothing wrong with mixing and matching some appliances if you want a specific grill that does not have all the extras you want. Just be sure that the look will be cohesive.
Drawers are great for conveniently storing all your grilling tools or plasticware. Often drawer units come in single, double or triple. If you are adding a side burner to your outdoor kitchen, storage drawers are a great addition underneath these units.
There are also drawers for collecting trash. The one thing you have to keep in mind when building in a trash unit is disposing of the trash. If you forget, you run the risk of inviting insects or rodents.
Having cold beverages near by can be a necessity when summer comes are your parched from being outside. This is where planning for a refrigerator comes into play. This convenience will keep everyone hydrated while enjoying the outdoors.
UL (Underwriting Laboratories) and CSA are both Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories. Since these are electrical appliances that are exposed to elements and you want to be sure that is has passed the testing standards to be deemed safe for the outdoors. We love the Zephyr 24" Outdoor Refrigerator. It is a CSA certified Product.
There are actually 2 types of ventilation in an outdoor kitchen. Island Vents which allow circulating air inside your structure and over the grill Vent Hoods. Island Vents are an absolute necessity. You must install these regardless of the gas type you are using. You do not want a gas build up inside the unit!
Vent Hoods are an exhaust for the smoke created from the grill.
First check your local city building codes. Usually if your outdoor kitchen is in an uncovered area or patio then you do not need one. If your grill is in an enclosed patio or structure, you may want to consider one to help eliminate smoke build up. A good rule of thumb to follow is if from the top of your grill hood is to the ceiling is 6 feet or less, you may be required to install a hood.
Another consideration is if your Island is up against an exterior wall. You may want to install a Vent Hood as over time, the smoke created from the grill can (not always) leave black smoke marks on the wall.
You want to choose a Vent Hood that is 6" larger than your grill. For example, if you have a 30" grill, choose at least a 36" Hood. This allows for the coverage necessary to effectively suck up the smoke. We also suggest choosing a blower with at least a 1200 CFM.
Insulating Jackets are a stainless steel insert and are a must have if you are building your structure from a combustible material such as wood. They "insulate" the heat produced from your grill and help to keep the heat from causing fire to the combustible material. The grill gets installed in this insulated jacket.
If you live by the ocean or your grill is in installed in a windy area, you may want to see if the manufacturer offers a Wind Shield. This accessory shields the wind from blowing out the burners when set to a low setting as well as keeps the flame from the burners from blowing towards the front of the grill. This can cause the knobs on the control panel to get super hot as well as it can burn the ignition or power wires in the grill.
If you have an all infrared grill, you do not need a Wind Guard. The infrared burners are the only burner that is impervious to wind as there is no open flame.
We recommend purchasing your grill and accessories from a U.S. manufacturer this ensures a consistency in manufacturing and quality.
Why would a grill company choose to import products to put their name on? Lowered labor costs generally equate to Lower quality standards. Remember Nothing Good is Cheap and nothing Cheap is Good. If you are making an investment in an outdoor kitchen, it is just that … an investment. You want it to last a lifetime.
Changing an outdoor grill is not as easy as changing an indoor stove. This is because on indoor appliances, a 30" stove is the same no matter the manufacturer. In an outdoor grill this does NOT apply. A 30" grill will most likely have different cutouts on every manufacturer. This means if you change your grill, you will need to change it with the same model (hoping it is still available. This changes often on imports). Otherwise, you will have to alter your outdoor kitchen which is more expensive than choosing a quality product from the start.
If you need any assistance putting together the perfect Outdoor Kitchen Accessory Package call our experts at -877-983-0451.by Tracy Hollander