Barbecuing is a popular national pastime here in the United States, and around the world. All over the world, people love to barbecue. It may not be exactly the same style of cooking, the food may be different, the recipes are not going to be the same, but the act of getting around over an open flame and cooking and eating food together is almost universal.
The first step to barbecuing is buying a grill. While charcoal grills are still very common and very popular, many people these days love the ease of cooking on gas grills. Especially for larger grill and crowds, gas grills are the only logical choice.
But what kind of gas grills should a person be looking at? The first thing to consider is how portable the grill needs to be. Does it need to be put in the back of a pickup truck often or only occasionally? Does it need to be put in the back of a car? Will it only be rolled from the garage to the patio? Or is it not going to be moved at all? Are you looking at buying an outdoor kitchen or something you can grill a hotdog or two at the park with your friends? Answering the question of portability first will help in the decision-making process.
Once the portability issue is decided, we can move on to the type of gas to be used. No, we’re not talking about gasoline. Virtually all gas grills will run off of either propane or natural gas with propane being the most common for portable grills. For people who have natural gas hookups at their house and don’t plan on moving the grill that much, natural gas may be an option. However, for the large majority of people across these United States, propane gas will be the fuel of choice for their gas grills. It’s not epically important, but it is something that should be decided and asked about before purchasing something that may not fit your circumstance.
Once the issue of size, or portability, and the type of gas being used is decided, the rest comes down to features, price and look. Because gas grills use gas, which is far more flammable than charcoal or wood, it would be wise to purchase gas grills from recognized brands and businesses. Going with a no-name brand from a hole in the wall that you’ve never seen before could be a recipe for trouble. Buy from an established business, whether in your local area or on the internet. Also, try to purchase one of the better-known brands. This won’t insure that you will purchase a quality gas grill, but it will help you on the road to a quality gas grill that you can enjoy for many years to come.
Although not of huge importance, be sure you look into grill covers, grill accessories and maybe even a grill set when you are shopping for gas grills. You may have some left over from your previous gas grill, and if you are happy with them, then great. However, some gas grills require specialized tools, so don’t be shy about buying the right accessories for them when you buy the grill. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.
It doesn’t really matter if you buy charcoal grills or gas grills. We here at Love That Barbecue think both are good in different situations. But just make sure that whatever you buy, you don’t go overboard on the price. Make a budget and stick to it. Buying a new gas grill shouldn’t be a painful experience. Just think of all the cookouts you’ll be having for years to come.
Outdoor kitchens can be a great addition to an existing home, or an interesting development in one being built. Typically built in areas of nicer weather year-round, they can be built anywhere a person loves barbecue, grilling or cooking and entertaining outdoors.
The first consideration in building an outdoor kitchen is whether or not you will continue to cook outdoors to justify the expense. In all honesty, if you like grilling and do it a few times a month, it really will end up being a big waste of money. Outdoor kitchens are not cheap, beginning at around 5,000 dollars on the low end and running up into 50,000 dollars and beyond for the extravagant ones. If you enjoy cooking outdoors and want to build something, maybe a nice deck with a new barbecue would be the best choice. Cheaper than a full outdoor kitchen, the deck could add value to your home and be the starting point if, a couple years down the road, you decide you really do want to build an outdoor kitchen.
However, if you realize that you are barbecuing and grilling several times a week or more all summer long, try to grill as much as the weather will allow during the spring and fall, and even brave the cold weather for a few barbecues during the winter, an outdoor kitchen might be just the right addition to your home. Although adapted from the Mediterranean region of Europe, they can be built in any part of the country where people love cooking and entertaining outdoors.
At its most basic, outdoor kitchens are a place to grill with a place to store the stuff you use when grilling. Of course, just this small definition could be used to spend a lot of money if you go all out. Functional and serviceable outdoor grills for permanent installation can be found in the 500 to 1,000 dollar range, but it doesn’t take much to find them ranging up in the 5,000 dollar range, or even more. Add in some custom counter space and cabinets and you’re talking about a 10,000 outdoor kitchen – one that has just a grill and nothing more. Add a refrigerator, a sink, more storage, table and chairs, a pergola, some more outdoor kitchen appliances, maybe some custom lighting, and soon, you’re in the 30,000 dollar plus range.
However, if you stick to the less expensive grills, don’t opt for custom cabinets, find your outdoor kitchen plans for free on the internet, do some of the work yourself, choose things that are on sale, and realize that you don’t have to build the entire thing at once, your costs will be much lower. Most projections for lower-end outdoor kitchens will come in around 3,000 dollars, however, in reality, 5,000 dollars is a more realistic budget. Buying used equipment and having friends help with the work can bring these estimates down somewhat. Just make sure to do everything by the book and up to code for your area. One of the great things about outdoor kitchens is their ability to add value to the house if and when you decide to sell. A hastily slapped together one with multiple code violations and safety hazards will do the opposite.
Outdoor kitchens can be great as centers for not only cooking delicious food, but wonderful memories of time spent with family and friends as well. If you really think an outdoor kitchen is right for you, take some time to look around on the Internet for outdoor kitchen plans and outdoor kitchen ideas before jumping in with both feet. Talk to people you might know who already have outdoor kitchens to gauge their feelings. We here at Love That Barbecue love outdoor kitchens. They are great social and culinary hubs for the family. However, they are not right for everyone and every location. We hate to see people spend a bunch of money on something that isn’t a good fit for themselves or their situations. So take a good hard look at your personal situation before going too far and building an outdoor kitchen when you may not really need or want one. You might save yourself a lot of frustration and expense in the long run.
However, if after exploring outdoor kitchens, you truly think that is exactly what you need to do, then have at it. Our experiences with outdoor kitchens have been overwhelmingly positive and the people we know who have built them after much consideration absolutely love them and wouldn’t consider living without them.
If you live in an area with great weather most of the year or you find yourself cooking outdoors more and more during the nice weather that you do have, you might consider upgrading your grilling situation to an outdoor kitchen. While the super deluxe ones come with super deluxe prices, an outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be terribly expensive.
But why would someone build an outdoor kitchen in the first place? Take a minute to think about the time you spend grilling. If you find yourself grilling more and more, perhaps spending half of your dinners a week at the grill, it might be time to think of upgrading from just a grill on the patio to a full-on outdoor kitchen. Having an outdoor kitchen will save quite a bit on time spent going between the kitchen and the grill and allow a more enjoyable experience outdoors. If you are already thinking about buying a new gas grill anyway, it is the absolute perfect time to explore the world of outdoor kitchens.
An outdoor kitchen at its most basic is a grill, some counter space with some storage beneath them. In fact, an outdoor kitchen does not have to be a permanent installation. There are portable outdoor kitchens which combine a nice grill with some storage underneath and some “counters” to either side of the grill. By portable they really mean rollable as that’s about all they can really do – be rolled from one area to another. Sure, they perform their function well, and they are great for those who decide on them, but in the fine opinion of the Love That Barbecue staff, they’re kind of neither here nor there. A good grill, sure, but calling them an outdoor kitchen is a bit of a stretch. And with nicer ones going for around the 1,500 – 2,000 dollar range, they are approaching the modest or budget outdoor kitchen installations. If you’re looking for a nice grill that rolls, keep them in mind. But if you’re looking for an outdoor kitchen, go the extra mile, spend a little more, and get the real thing.
So how much does an outdoor kitchen cost? Most budget ones will start at around 3,000 dollars. You can get them done for less if you do some of the work yourself or have friends or family who will be willing to help out, but if you’re paying for it to get done, expect 3,000 to be the starting price. Expect to pay around 1,000, plus or minus, for a serviceable gas grill, around 500 or so for a small refrigerator, 100 for a sink, with the balance being spent on countertops, cabinets, plumbing, electricity, and gas lines being installed. Mind, you, these prices won’t get you top of the line. What you will get for your 3,000 – 5,000 dollars will be a great outdoor kitchen that will be serviceable for some time. If you’re willing to spend more, going up to around 15,000 dollars, you will get much more. Some people spend 50,000 plus on a fully decked out outdoor kitchen complete with wood-burning oven, custom outdoor kitchen plans and construction.
If your days and nights are beginning to be filled with outdoor kitchen ideas and you’re starting to search for outdoor kitchen appliances on the internet at work, do yourself a favor and seriously look into one. That includes evaluating how much nice weather you will be able to spend at your outdoor kitchen and whether or not the whole family will want to join you in eating outside all the time. Outdoor kitchens can be great additions to the house, but like many expensive household expenditures, they could also end up being time-wasting money pits that never get used. Plan for your new outdoor kitchen wisely and you will enjoy it all the more.