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How To Build An Outdoor Kitchen With A Charcoal Grill

How To Build An Outdoor Kitchen With A Charcoal Grill

Outdoor kitchens are an excellent project for lovers of outdoor cooking.

Whether you’re the master of the grill or if you simply enjoy the freedom of cooking outdoors, an outdoor kitchen is a great way to bring your home comforts into your backyard. 

Plus, an outdoor kitchen dramatically improves the appearance of your backyard and can potentially increase the value of your home.

Most commonly, you'll find a gas grill - connected to a propane tank or natural gas line, installed as the main cooking appliance in an outdoor kitchen.

However, if you're in love with the authentic, traditional flavors that only come with grilling over coals, you may be wondering if it's possible to build an outdoor kitchen with a charcoal grill.

The good news is it's quite possible, you'll just need to have the right equipment and know how to get it done.  Here is our guide on how to build an outdoor kitchen with a charcoal grill. 

Safety Considerations

Since charcoal grilling requires the building and managing of a fire, there are a few safety considerations to consider when designing your outdoor kitchen.

First is ventilation.  You want to make sure your grill is installed far enough away from structures, and also that hot air and smoke will be able to easily escape and dissipate into the air.

The second main consideration is the combustibility of the surrounding materials in your kitchen.  Especially with charcoal grills, you want to make sure you either install your grill into a non-combustible cabinet or that you utilize an insulated jacket liner to make your set up safer.

Types Of Built-In Charcoal Grills

There are a few main types of built-in charcoal grills available on the market to choose from.

First is a standard charcoal built-in grill head.  These grills look similar to a built-in gas grill but instead of burners beneath the cooking grate, you'll find a slide out charcoal tray where your hot coals cook your food.

The second type is a hybrid grill - these are gas and charcoal grill combination cookers that typically have one section of the grill over gas burners and the other section over a charcoal tray.

Finally, you may consider an Argentinian style gaucho grill as a charcoal grill option.  This style of grilling has seen a resurgence in popularity and features an adjustable height cooking grate over a charcoal fire.

What To Consider In Your Outdoor Kitchen 

To us, the outdoor kitchen essentials include a grill, some access doors, and a trash drawer.

Everything else you might want to add can be completely up to your preference, such as refrigeration, shelving, side burners, and more. 

Charcoal Grill 

Most importantly, you need cooking equipment to make up your outdoor kitchen. Charcoal grills are most popular amongst meat lovers, because the charcoal leads to more robust flavor compared to food cooked over a gas fire.

If you're purchasing a built-in charcoal grill, the manufacturer will provide cut out dimensions - which is the size of the opening you'll need to create to properly install your grill into the countertop. 

Prep Space/Countertops 

As with any indoor kitchen, you will need to build around the main cooking application with prep space in the form of countertops.


Think about how much space would be comfortable for extra prep and serving areas.

Concrete countertops are arguably the best option as they are the most durable and long-lasting, especially when used outside against the elements. Stone and tile are also good options as they are waterproof and resistant to breakages. 

While they might look appealing, you need to consider the durability and weather-resistance of wooden countertops.

Kitchen Accessories 

Other outdoor kitchen essentials include a kitchen sink, mini refrigerator, and other forms of storage such as shelving units and extra cabinets. 

Some would argue that a kitchen sink isn’t necessary for an outdoor kitchen, but this provides a lot of convenience for the chef in action, who can wash their hands while cooking without having to run in and out of the house.

The same applies to a mini refrigerator, which is great for storing drinks and food without having to constantly go into the inside kitchen. 

Of course, it all comes down to the intended size of the outdoor kitchen and its location.

You might find that you don’t have the space for a sink or refrigerator, and the outdoor kitchen is close enough to your indoor kitchen that you don’t need the extra expenditures. 

For an outdoor kitchen with a charcoal grill, it’s worth looking into a built-in cabinet or storage area that can hold bags of charcoal.

All grills need fuel of some sort, so it’s important to remain stocked up with charcoal to ensure the grill doesn’t die out halfway through your evening.  

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! If you have a charcoal grill, you can easily build it into an outdoor kitchen with either DIY or pre-bought countertops and prep space.

Questions about charcoal grills?  Reach out to our team of experts and we would be glad to assist you!

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