Outdoor kitchens are popular right now and it’s not hard to see why. We’ve embraced food culture more than probably any other time in America’s history, we have unprecedented technology to make our outdoor spaces as welcoming and comfortable as our indoor spaces, and most importantly, food cooked outdoors just tastes better. Mark my words, 400 years hence scientists will discover that cooking al fresco causes changes at the molecular level. A built-in grill can make it easier, buuuuut….
That doesn’t change one important problem with outdoor kitchens: the cost. Every drawer and every appliance you add increases the size of your outdoor kitchen, which can then mean more structure, stone or tile veneer, and countertop material. Here are just a few of the items you may want as part of an outdoor kitchen and their cost.
Given that, one area where people try to save money is the grill. After all, they’re perfectly happy with their Weber or Char-Broil or whatever. Can’t they just use that?
Can I take the legs off my existing grill and use it like a built-in grill?
The answer, in almost all cases, is no. With your higher-end grills the manufacturer may offer a cart that also fits your grill head, but most box store/consumer models aren’t built that way. Even if you could remove the legs without sacrificing the strength and integrity of your grill it may not be built appropriately for actually inserting it into an enclosure. You’re talking about a gas appliance. Unless the manufacturer recommends that kind of conversion, I wouldn’t do it.
Can I build an alcove in my outdoor kitchen to fit my grill?
Yes, you can, and I have done this for clients. You’ll want to make sure of a few things first:
- if your built-in grill has folding sides to act as a work surface you’ll probably want to remove them. Leaving them on, even folded down, causes some big unsightly gaps between the grill and the surround.
- that said, check your manual to see what the recommended clearances are around the built-in grill. Even if you’re building it into a non-combustible structure like stone and block, you may have airflow requirements so the grill works efficiently.
- If you’re doing stone veneer, wheel the grill in AFTER the veneer is up. I’ve known people who veneered around the grill and ended up sealing it in.
You should also think ahead to the next grill you think you’ll want and design the cutout accordingly. Most consumer grills in that sub-$1,000 price range only last so long. You won’t want to have to redo a bunch of masonry when it comes time to upgrade!
Can building around my grill look good?
What do you think?
The client just wasn’t interested in spending $2-3,000 on a new grill but he wanted a fun, functional, and gorgeous outdoor kitchen. I think we delivered and kept him on budget.
Looking for an outdoor kitchen that looks great AND works with your budget? Give me a call and let’s start the process. And in the meantime, don’t forget Hank Hill’s advice!