Outdoor Kitchens

OUTDOOR KITCHEN APPLIANCES: 7 TOP OPTIONS & KEY CONSIDERATIONS

When planning an outdoor kitchen project, of course you’ll want the end product to be as functional as possible. The outdoor kitchen appliances you choose are a primary player here… As is how well they suit you and your families’ tastes. But if you’ve never ventured beyond cooking in your indoor kitchen… We know how overwhelming selecting the right outdoor kitchen appliances can seem. That’s why today, we’re here to show you how to identify high caliber outdoor appliances that flawlessly fit your al fresco kitchen ideas.

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens


(Spoiler alert, there’s a wide selection beyond just built-in gas grills!) With years of experience designing outdoor kitchens under our belt (and a partnership with esteemed appliance brand Coyote, besides)… We consider ourselves experts on the topic of outdoor kitchen appliances. So allow this article to act as your personal reference guide when deciding which components deserve real estate in your outdoor grill island. Ready to start cooking?

WHAT APPLIANCES SHOULD YOU INCLUDE IN YOUR OUTDOOR KITCHEN? TOP 7 OPTIONS

1. BUILT-IN GRILL

A built-in grill is for: Anyone with an outdoor kitchen. Grills are the most well-known and loved outdoor cooking appliances… And built-in grills make it possible to include that tried and true cooking power right within your outdoor kitchen. Because it’ll be the centerpiece of your summer kitchen, the type of built-in grill you choose may very well be the toughest decision you have to make. There are seemingly limitless options for built-in grills… Varying in size, style, quality, fuel type, cooking power, and flashy add-ons. On one hand, such a huge variety of options pretty much guarantees that there’s a built-in grill for you out there… But it also means that narrowing it down to the perfect built-in grill may be quite the tricky task. So, allow us to help you clear the air.

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens

SELECTING THE RIGHT GRILL SIZE

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens
Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens

When it comes to grills, size matters. How do you make sure the grill you choose will easily accommodate your outdoor cooking needs? Thankfully, it’s not as tough as you’d imagine. Our Design Experts always recommend about 100 square inches of grilling area per person. So, think about how many people you’ll be serving time and time again. If you host a neighborhood-wide cookout once (or twice) every single week, a larger 600 – 1,000 square inch grill is most certainly in order. But if your circle is small… Conserve some counter space on your grill island with a compact 200 – 500 square inch grill. When in doubt, size up. It’s always better to have too much room than not enough.

WHAT TYPE OF BBQ GRILL SHOULD YOU GO FOR?

Once you’ve established how spacious your grill should be… It’s time to decide what type of grill you’ll be cooking with. In this day and age… Your options go far beyond just natural gas, propane, or charcoal grills. You’ve got high-tech pellet grills… Kamado grills… And flat top griddles to sift through, as well. Our team here at RTA is made up of a mixed bag of gas, charcoal, pellet, kamado, and flat top grill owners… All of whom would tell you that their go-to built-in grill is the overall best choice. But how do you decide what type of grill works for you? In part, the fuel type you choose comes down to your budget… Not to mention, the amount of effort you’re willing to expend either running utility lines, refilling propane tanks, or hauling around bags of pellets or charcoal. But most importantly, the grill you select should directly speak to your personal cooking style and flavor preferences. To better wrap your mind around the different types of grills… Take a peek at the chart below.

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens
Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens
Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens
Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens
Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens

(Note: This is intended to provide a rough overview of each type of built-in grill, and is based on general averages and popular opinions. This is by no means an exact science, and the categories are subject to change on a brand-by-brand basis.) All in all, when selecting a built-in grill for your outdoor kitchen… Trust your gut, and select the option (or options, we won’t judge!) that most closely aligns with YOUR ideal cooking style. And don’t forget… If a built-in grill alone doesn’t tick off all your boxes, you can always upgrade with fancy grill gadgets. (Rotisserie systems, sear burners, smoker boxes, and infrared heat panels come to mind.) Or, you can up the ante in your outdoor living space with other types of built-in outdoor kitchen appliances.

2. OUTDOOR KITCHEN BURNER

An outdoor kitchen burner is for: Creative home cooks who are after extra functionality and increased cooking versatility. Along with a built-in grill… Outdoor kitchen burners are another must-have for many backyard BBQ fanatics. Including a built-in burner in your grill station is a superb way to upgrade your experience. They add working space… Make multitasking possible… And most importantly, boost versatility. Simmering sauces, boiling water, sauteing veggies, and even stir-frying become possible with an outdoor kitchen burner. But as with built-in grills, you need to decide which type of burner belongs in your outdoor living space.

WHAT TYPE OF BURNER IS RIGHT?

There are only two main outdoor kitchen burner options… Both of which are natural gas or propane powered. Side burners are essentially the outdoor equivalent of your indoor stovetop. They may not put out a ton of heat… But they’re still handy for making sauces, reductions, boiling pasta, or sauteing. Power burners are your other option. These are like an outdoor kitchen side burner, but dialed up to eleven. These larger built-in burners provide all the same benefits as an outdoor side burner, but with plenty more power. You can do large stockpot boils and deep fries… And many models also support wok or teppanyaki attachments to take your outdoor cooking escapades even further.

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens

3. PIZZA OVEN

An outdoor pizza oven is for: Homeowners who love to host… And leave their guests coming back for more authentic, charred, cheesy pies. In recent years, pizza ovens have become quite the hot commodity in the outdoor living scene. You can probably guess why. We all love sinking our teeth into cheesy dough… And an outdoor pizza oven gives you around-the-clock access to fresh pies.

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens

4. OUTDOOR REFRIGERATION

Outdoor refrigeration is for: Anyone who wants a full-on bar, chilled beverage center, or cold ingredients within an arm’s reach in their outdoor kitchen. With plenty of cooking power… What else could you possibly need in your outdoor kitchen area? Well, picture your indoor kitchen. You may spend most of your time at the oven and range… But your refrigerator is also a key player. So, why should your outdoor cooking space be any different? Including an undercounter refrigerator in your grill island will give you easy access to cold ingredients, condiments, and chilled beverages. And if you’re after something more specific… Different fridge types are available for different needs. You’ve got kegerators to store and dispense ice cold brews… Wine coolers for, well, wine storage… Outdoor fridge & freezer combos… Ice makers… And for those who’d prefer a more analog refrigeration option, drop-in coolers are another worthy contender. But when deciding on any type of fridge, there’s a big question that must be answered…

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens

5. OUTDOOR SINK & FAUCET

An outdoor sink & faucet is for: Home bartenders… And cooks who like to keep their kitchen & cookware clean as a whistle. As much as we may hope for one… Self-cleaning kitchens aren’t a real thing (at least not yet). But with an outdoor kitchen sink and faucet… Cleaning up doesn’t have to be such a treacherous task. With the right sink in your summer kitchen… Keeping hands and cookware clean is simple. But, cleanup isn’t the only thing an outdoor sink is good for… If you’d rather worry about mixing drinks at your outdoor bar than doing the dishes… There are many outdoor sink options that double as refreshment centers. In addition to a small sink basin and faucet, these will feature integrated drop-in coolers or cutting boards for efficient drink-making. But no matter which type of outdoor sink you opt for… Be prepared to install plumbing. If you plan ahead… This isn’t as tricky as it may seem. And for a little extra effort up front, the long term payoff is more than worth it.

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens

6. OUTDOOR KITCHEN STORAGE

Outdoor kitchen storage is for: Hosts who want to simplify outdoor entertaining and keep their go-to grill gadgets close by. Storage is an often overlooked outdoor kitchen appliance… Despite being equally important to every other component on this list. Think about it for a moment. It simply makes sense to store all of your utensils and grilling supplies in one place. So, let’s break down your outdoor kitchen storage options a little further. Perhaps you want to keep spices, paper plates, napkins, and other hosting supplies at your outside kitchen. This is where dry storage comes in. (Look for options with sealed gaskets to lock out moisture!) And what about utensils? Surely, you’ll want to keep those handy. For these, we suggest adding a combo drawer and access door beneath your grill. This convenient outdoor kitchen cabinet setup allows you to store your utensils… While giving you easy access to the inner workings of your island. At the very least, access doors are essential for you to perform maintenance and repairs in your outdoor kitchen if need be. But if you truly want to go all out with storage… You can factor the following cabinetry options into your outdoor kitchen layout.

Indianapolis Outdoor Kitchens

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