Imagine spending time in your beautiful new outdoor kitchen, connecting with family and entertaining friends. What is integral to that outdoor experience? The grill, of course.
While it is ultimately just one piece of the outdoor kitchen for your Harrisburg, Lancaster or York, PA backyard, it’s a pretty crucial part. After all, you’ll use the grill to prepare your meals and that’s typically why you’re gathering outside in the first place. Even the act of grilling is an experience, and it’s fun to have family and friends gather round while you cook up something delicious.
Knowing the importance of the grill for your outdoor living area, you want to be sure that you choose the right one. A grill that is short-lived or unreliable isn’t going to cut it in your beautiful new space. Of course, you’re not a grill expert and you aren’t exactly sure what you should be looking for when it comes to choosing the right one.
Advice from the Grill Experts
Fortunately, we know the grill experts. We work closely with Bowman’s Stove & Patio in Ephrata, PA and asked them to share some of their best tips on what to look for in outdoor kitchen grills.
Choosing a Grill to Last
When you are building a grill into your countertops, the last thing that you want is to choose a grill that isn’t going to stand the test of time, says Kelli Gehman of Bowman’s. It’s definitely worthwhile to invest a little more money into your outdoor kitchen grill so that it will hold up. Many of the quality grills these days even have lifetime warranties.
Kelli says that when it comes to a quality grill, you want to choose something that is both easy to use and easy to clean. These are non-negotiables when it comes to choosing a grill.
Brands to Consider
Kelli recommends Fire Magic and American Outdoor Grill (AOG) as two of the best brands. She says that even the most basic grill by one of these brands is going to be high quality and built to last. Both brands have rave built-in grill reviews from real-life customers.
Fire Magic and AOG are owned by the same company but operate as separate divisions. Kelli says that while AOG grills are a bit more of your basic brand—some bells and whistles and all stainless steel—Fire Magic is going to be a bit more high-end with more of the added features that are available. Both are good choices but Kelli says it really comes down to some personal questions to determine the best one for you.
She says to ask yourself the following questions in narrowing down your options:
- Which added features in my interior kitchen do I like, and would actually use in my outdoor kitchen?
- What types of food do I like to cook the most?
- What is the biggest number of people I would be cooking for?
Kelli says that while people often think they want a lot of added features, the truth is that they might not be the type of person to actually use them. If you don’t use the extra features on your home’s oven, for instance, perhaps you aren’t going to be as inclined as you think to use them on the grill.
In addition, knowing what types of food you plan to cook and how much you need to cook at once will also help you narrow down your selection in terms of the size and features of potential grills.
Features to Consider
When it comes to added features for your grill, there are a lot of options. The higher end the grill, the more bells and whistles that are available. Kelli shared a few of the most popular features that she says you might want to consider in outdoor kitchen grills.
Automatic Shut-Off Grill Timer
A safety timer is an added feature that allows the grill to automatically shut off gas flow at a pre-set time. It’s a simple feature but it provides extra peace of mind.
An infrared burner is a popular feature in that it can cook food in half the time. With an infrared burner, the heat of the flame is converted into infrared energy, a much higher and more persistent heat than a traditional grill burner could produce. By cooking with such a high, intense heat, the burner sears food, locking in flavor in less time.
A power burner is a nice side-by-side companion for outdoor kitchen grills. This additional burner is a high-intensity burner that allows you to bring a huge pot of water to boiling temperature in just a couple of minutes. This is a great way to cook your corn or prepare some clams outside, while also cooking your meat on the grill nearby.
On some of the higher end grills, you can actually have heat zone separation, allowing you to cook an assortment of foods at a variety of temperatures at the same time. If you’re someone that cooks for a lot of guests and makes several types of meat at the same time, this would be a valuable feature.
While a grill is just one piece of the overall outdoor kitchen cost for your Harrisburg, PA (or Lancaster or York) home, it’s an important piece. Therefore, you should anticipate investing in a quality grill. While a cheap grill from the box store will likely start to deteriorate in little to no time at all, an all-stainless-steel and higher quality grill is going to stand the test of time.
When you’re investing $25,000 to $75,000 or more on your patio alone, why would you want to not spend a little bit more on the grill (just one small part of the overall budget) so that it lasts? With an inexpensive grill from the box store, you’ll like need to replace it in five to 10 years, leading to more headaches than it’s worth.
To give you some idea of what you can expect to spend, here are three price ranges. These prices are for the grill alone and do not include the installation or any additional construction of the kitchen.
Keep in mind that even the most basic grills, in this case, are still going to be much higher quality than what you would buy at a big box store. In other words, you can’t go wrong with even a basic grill listed below. Bells and whistles, as well as grill size, will add additional cost.
Basic Grill (no bells and whistles): $1,500 to $2,600
Mid-Level Grill (some bells and whistles): $3,900 to $5,100
High-End Grill (all the bells and whistles): $5,700 and up
Design Considerations for Outdoor Kitchen Grills
As you begin to think more seriously about your outdoor kitchen ideas and the right grill for that space, it’s important to recognize that there’s more to the process than just finding the perfect grill. Everything from where the grill is set up within the space to the features that surround it, all have an impact on the overall functionality and enjoyment that you will get out of it.
Just a few, of many, design considerations to keep in mind as you consider outdoor kitchen grills and their set up, include:
- How much countertop space will surround the grill? How much prep space will you need on either side of the grill?
- Where within the kitchen space will the grill be positioned? For instance, if you have a nearby swimming pool, you might want to be able to cook while also watching the kids swim.
- What kind of material will be incorporated into your built-in grill? Do you plan to use natural stone for the base or man-made materials?
- Will you add a pavilion and lighting so that you can be outside grilling night or day, regardless of the weather conditions?
- What about other appliances such as a dishwasher, sink, refrigerator, pizza oven, or more? There are so many features that can help make your outdoor kitchen complete.
And there’s even more to consider than just these points. That’s why when thinking of outdoor kitchen contractors to use for this project, that you choose someone with experience. You want to choose someone who has a long history of experience building outdoor kitchens so that every single aspect of the project, including the grill, is right.
Your Wise Choice of Outdoor Kitchen Contractors
At the end of the day, you ultimately have three choices.
- You could go the DIY route and choose a cheap grill from the local box store to use in your new kitchen. You might save some dollars on your grill on the front-end, but like everything else in life, “you’ll get what you pay for” and need to replace it when parts start wearing down.
- You could choose an outdoor kitchen contractor who does not have a lot of experience and wind up with an outdoor kitchen for your Harrisburg, PA (or Lancaster or York) home that you don’t completely love—or even worse, one that has problems such as a lower quality grill that needs to be replaced.
- Or, you could make the wise choice and opt for an experienced contractor who knows just what it takes to design and build a kitchen of your dreams. That includes a quality grill that is going to have a long life as part of your beautiful new kitchen.
By choosing the best professional for the job, you can be sure that everything from the built-in grill to any other aspect of the project is done right. With a project as important as your outdoor kitchen, that’s the kind of peace of mind that you want.
If you’d like to talk about making your dream kitchen a reality for your Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Hershey, or Reading, PA home—complete with the ideal grill—then contact us for a free consultation and get ready to see your ideas come to life.