Grilling outside is one of our favorite activities in the summer. Why would you want to hang around inside the house in a hot kitchen while all your guests or your family are outside enjoying the fresh air? So if you don’t have a grill, it’s high time to consider investing in one.
There is no problem with using a regular grill in an outdoor setting. You will want to ensure that the grill surface is weatherproof and that the extreme temperatures will not harm the finish of your grill. And it is always advisable to cover both the grill surface and the controls.
You may be considering this question for the first time and are wondering what the advantages of each type of grill are. This is what you need to know.
What is the best type of grill for an outdoor kitchen?
- Charcoal: If you set up an outside kitchen then you have the opportunity to choose to grill over charcoal. Why would you do this? These are the main reasons:
- Taste! Everyone has their favorite way of grilling outside, but let us just say upfront that there is no better taste than meat that has been grilled over charcoal
- Heat. Charcoal, if set correctly will burn way hotter than propane, ensuring that crispy outside surface while maintaining the juiciness within the steak or burger.
- Value. A simple charcoal grill will set you back a lot less than the typical propane gas grill.
- Propane: Hold my beer says the propane grill owner. That is all very well, but here are some fine reasons to stump up the cash for a gas grill.
- Easy to light. Most gas grills will light up at the press of a button and come up to cooking temperature much more quickly than charcoal grills.
- Super convenient. You don’t have to go out every weekend to buy charcoal and firelighters. The gas grill is always ready to go. Until they run out of gas.
- Controllable temperature. You can set aside an area of the grill for hotter cooking or for just heating the food. The choice is yours.
- Easier and quicker to clean. This is, for most people, the clincher. While the grill surface should be cleaned in both types after use, cleaning charcoal ash out of your grill is never a pretty job.
Our tentative recommendation, in light of this, is to favor gas grills for their convenience. But it is a close-run thing and you may still prefer to grill over charcoal.
The point is, that you will want to be grilling outdoors as often as possible during the summer months and the ultimate convenience of a gas grill will ensure that you look forward to the experience rather than making excuses as to why it may be better to cook lasagna on the range in your kitchen.
Why are outdoor kitchen grills so expensive?
They are not all on the high side of expensiveness. Freestanding outdoor grills are generally less costly than the built-in or drop-in versions. One of the main reasons is the quality of the materials used. Freestanding grills are mostly manufactured from a combination of metal and plastic parts, whereas built-in gas grills more often use high-quality stainless steel. The relatively small amount of plastic used in their construction is restricted to the controls and for aesthetic purposes.
For the cost of an outdoor kitchen it is worth investing in a good cover to protect both the kitchen from the elements but also add a level of shade for you to make your outdoor space more usable all times of the year.
Can you use a regular grill in an outdoor kitchen
Yes, you can. In fact, if you are trying to lower the cost of the outdoor kitchen and still want the versatility of being able to bring your grill with you where ever you go than a regular grill may be the best option for you. All you have to do is ensure that the design of the kitchen will allow for moving the grill in an out which is much simpler as regular grills are lighter and easier to move in addition to being less expensive.
Can you put a charcoal grill in an outdoor kitchen?
Yes, of course, you can. And for all the reasons mentioned above. We haven’t even discussed the satisfaction of building an actual fire and cooking food over it for family and friends.
It is almost a rite of passage for men to gather around a roaring fire in anticipation of providing cooked meat for the family. Stories are told and legends are made around the flames. Gathering around a propane gas grill on the other hand? Well, not so much.
It goes without saying though, that open flames are a hazard and that you should never erect a charcoal grill under a thatched roof or under any roof for that matter. Charcoal grills produce a lot of heat and smoke and, of course, flames. These things cannot be restricted by a roof or a ceiling and it is for that reason that we advise that charcoal grills are only ever to be set up in an open-air kitchen. Do not fire one up on your covered patio.
What is the best type of outdoor grill?
There are passionate advocates for both charcoal grills and propane grills. The best type of grill for you depends entirely on the type of person you are.
Time: If time is a factor then you should lean more towards cooking over a gas grill. Charcoal grills require a trip to the store to purchase both charcoal and the firefighters to get the charcoal to catch, This requires planning and if your mind is not on the task then you could find yourself without the wherewithal to get your cookout on the go. So if you lead a busy life and have little time over the weekends, then go for the gas.
You generally require 20-30 minutes for a charcoal grill to get fully up to temperature unless you have a chimney, and then you can get it ready in under 15 minutes.
Gas grills will obviously also require a bit of forward planning but the average propane gas canister will last for many sessions and, if you are clever about it, you will have a spare canister for when the gas runs out.
On top of the traditional factor, there is no denying that meat cooked over charcoal has a more smoky flavor than that grilled over gas. The surface of the meat will also be more flavorsome and the texture will be better as the smoke can impart its flavor into the meat.
Some final words
Gas or charcoal, flat griddle or open vented grill, cooking outdoors is a great pastime. Our best advice is to buy the grill which seems right for you, build that outdoor cooking area around it and start cooking.