Built-in BBQ Grill Ideas to Help You Design Your Dream Outdoor Kitchen

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Last Updated on April 17, 2021
Doug Stephen

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.

If you love hosting family barbecues and backyard gatherings and enjoy grilling an assortment of food on your patio during the summer months, you should consider investing in a built-in BBQ grill.

You’ll have to buy the grill, and you can also invest in a brick, steel, or concrete enclosure around this barbecue to create a classy built-in unit. If you want to take your hosting game to the next level, you can use this barbecue grill as the starting point for turning a section of your patio or porch into an outdoor kitchen area.

Investing time and effort in designing and constructing a stylish outdoor grilling space allows you to chat and socialize with your friends and family as you prepare lunch or dinner.

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What is a Built-in BBQ Grill, and Why Should You Invest in One?

A built-in barbecue grill is a durable, weather-resistant structure that contains a heating element and grill rack for cooking and smoking food outdoors. You can choose to construct your own enclosure for your built-in barbecue, or you can invest in high-quality outdoor kitchen units for this backyard cooking space.

When you invest in a built-in BBQ grill or outdoor kitchen, you’ll increase the overall value of your property. You’ll also create a social hub where you can spend valuable time with your friends and family during the summer months. If you love to host barbecues or patio parties regularly, you should purchase a weatherproof, built-in grill so you can cook for guests without having to wheel out a freestanding grill or prepare all your food inside.

Tips for Making Your Built-in BBQ Grill Space

Here are some built-in BBQ grill ideas and tips to consider when you’re designing and building your own outdoor kitchen space.

1. Check whether you need a permit

You should always check whether you need a permit for installing your barbecue grill, particularly if you’ve invested in a propane, natural gas, or electric unit. In many states, you need to apply for a permit if you’re planning on installing any new electrical and gas supply lines from your house to your outdoor area. Contact your local municipality for advice before you decide what type of barbecue grill you want to get.

You should also research your local district’s fire code regulations before deciding where exactly you want to put the built-in grill in your backyard.

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2. Think about the look of your built-in BBQ area

Try to consider the style you’re going for with your built-in BBQ grill area. If you want to create a minimalist, pared-back vibe on your patio, opt for exposed brick and metallic construction. You could also reflect Scandi-style design by building an enclosure with a natural and refined look by incorporating light hardwood into the design with oak or maple countertops.

One of the most common materials that companies use for built-in barbecue enclosures is red brick. These long-lasting and heat-resistant construction blocks lend your backyard area a contemporary, industrial-style decor. Avoid wood when choosing the primary enclosure for your BBQ as it is neither heat-resistant nor particularly durable.

When you’re buying cabinets and countertops, choose similar materials to the ones used to construct your house. For example, if you live in a concrete building with a smooth gray exterior, opt for a built-in BBQ unit constructed with sturdy concrete blocks.

If you want to create a modern, contemporary-style vibe with this outdoor area, invest in a sleek grill unit with stainless steel construction and a smooth, straight-edged design. You can also purchase modular outdoor kitchen cabinets that have a stylish, state-of-the-art metallic aesthetic.

Go angular

When you’re laying out your plans for your built-in grill and outdoor kitchen space, consider using lots of angles and countertops to create an area that’s spacious and open. This design method allows you plenty of room to prepare, cook, and plate food while your friends and family stand nearby. 

If you have limited space on your patio or in your yard, an L-shaped outdoor kitchen area maximizes the usable space by providing you with a surface to cook and a second surface to prepare. Counter-height bar stools placed on the opposite side of the prep counter allow you to cook and converse simultaneously.

Consider multiple cook surfaces

If you are a serious pitmaster and regularly grill for a crowd, an outdoor kitchen with two or more cooking surfaces allows you to multitask like a pro. This kitchen layout style typically has a U-shaped or L-shaped design to provide ample counter space for food prep and grill installation.

Consider placing a conventional charcoal grill on one surface and a smoker or Kamado-style grill on a second surface so you can quickly sear kabobs and sliders as appetizers while cooking brisket or ribs low and slow as a showstopping main dish. This would also mean that you’ll need to buy the right grill that would match your grill space. We’ve done a review about the top-rated built-in gas grills that will guide you.

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3. Think about where to place the grill in your backyard

The first thing to consider when deciding upon the barbecue’s placement is safety. Make sure you’re not putting the grill anywhere near bushes or trees: when you light up your barbecue, it may transfer heat to nearby shrubs, causing these plants to ignite.

Consider where you want to put your grill and outdoor kitchen in relation to your outdoor seating area. You don’t want to put this unit directly next to your tables and chairs. One of the most important built-in BBQ grill ideas is to leave 5-6’ of space between the seating area and the cooking area, as you would in a kitchen.

4. Get creative with finishing touches

Think about adding a few stylish flourishes to your outdoor kitchen and built-in barbecue area to create a unique and personalized entertainment space. You could invest in a kitchen countertop that comes with an integrated gas fire or add a small wood-fired pizza oven to this alfresco area.

Opt for cabinets with stained oak counters or distressed metal doors to add some characterful depth to your outdoor kitchen space. You could use weatherproof tiles to create a backsplash behind your built-in grill or stove, lending the whole area a farmhouse, rustic-style ambiance.

Doug Stephen

Doug Stephen

Design a Stylish Outdoor Cooking Area

Investing in a stylish built-in barbecue grill area can be expensive, so you need to make sure you consider this unit’s look and durability before you install it in your backyard. You should also think about where to set up this built-in grill and outdoor kitchen and take some time to add a few personalized touches that add to the overall character of this space.