1. Should you choose a custom build or stock solution?
There’s no limit to your options with a custom-built outdoor kitchen. Want a specially shaped countertop finished with flecks of gold? You can do it—it just might cost a bit more. Whatever you do, make sure to use non-combustible materials and to protect your grill with an insulated grill jacket.
On the other end of the spectrum, a stock outdoor kitchen provides a great balance between cost and customization. Stock outdoor kitchen manufacturers offer plenty of pre-made options and layouts, allowing you to find something you like without breaking the bank.
2. What appliances do you want?
A grill is essential, but there are also refrigerators, sinks, storage drawers, bars, side burners, and even pizza ovens. Remember that your outdoor kitchen appliances are an investment in the future—we recommend getting high-quality ones so they’ll last. You’ll also want to make sure that they’re outdoor-rated, so they can withstand tough weather conditions for years to come.
You may also want to consider buying a grill with a built-in safety system. A safety system adds effective protection against gas buildup and uncontrolled combustion.
3. What should the layout include?
Cross-ventilation is a must. Air needs to be able to move through your kitchen island so gases can escape. Beyond that, make sure you include 8-inches of space between your appliances and service access doors in key areas (i.e., below your grill).
4. Where will you install your outdoor kitchen?
Don’t place your outdoor kitchen anywhere it might create a fire hazard. Your kitchen island can’t be installed underneath a covered patio without a grill vent hood. It can also never be installed within an enclosed patio.
5. How will you handle delivery and installation?
Have a plan in place for moving your kitchen island from its delivery location to its installation location. Depending on the size of the island, you may need to have a forklift on-hand to get it off the delivery truck.
Also, make sure your installer knows what utilities your outdoor kitchen requires, as well as the total BTU ratings of all your appliances to ensure your gas supply can handle the additional output.
6. What maintenance is required?
Cover your grill when it’s not in use. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll also want to winterize your outdoor kitchen at the end of the fall—turn off your gas supply, clear your gas lines, and bring your refrigerator into the garage.