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Barbecue Cooking Accessories

An array of accessories can transform a simple barbecue into a sophisticated outdoor kitchen.

Barbecue Rotisserie. Photo: Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Rotisserie
Designed to fit over the length of the grill, rotisseries are generally motor-driven, though manual types are also available. If you purchase a mechanical one, make sure the electrical cord can be placed safely out of the way. And check to see if your particular model of grill has a rotisserie accessory or a brand that makes rotisseries just for it.

Beer-Poultry Roaster. Photo: Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Beer poultry roaster
Not just for beer but for any liquid such as wine or juice, a beer poultry roaster is a safe and secure device to lend moisture and flavor to a roasting chicken or other fowl. You just fill the base with the liquid of your choice, insert the infuser into the cavity of the bird, and place the infuser in the tray.

Fish & vegetable racks
Perfect for any food that could fall between the grill and into the fire, these racks offer the added benefit of being easily transportable from grill to table.[GARD align=”left”]

Barbecue Smoker & Rib Rack. Photo: Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Smoker attachment
If you prefer the no-muss, no-fuss aspect of a gas grill but want the flavor that a charcoal grill imparts to food, a smoker is the solution. Just add barbecue wood chips for that smoky flavor.

Standing racks
These racks allow food to be cooked in an “upright” position, allowing you to cook more food at one time than you would otherwise be able to. There are even kabob kits with a rack that holds the skewers an even distance apart. As with fish and vegetable racks, these racks offer convenient transport.

Barbecue Griddle. Photo: Fire Magic.

Griddle
For the perfect outdoor brunch, set a griddle on top of the grill and you’re set to make eggs, bacon, sausage, or anything else you normally would on your cooktop.

Barbecue grill basket. Courtesy Frank Gaglione.

Grill basket
As an alternative to fish and vegetable racks, you can use a grill basket, which also comes in handy when grilling sandwiches. Look for one with a removable handle if you anticipate closing the grill’s lid while cooking.

Thermometer. Photo: Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Thermometer
To ensure your barbecue is cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer. One model even comes with a remote. While you’re in the kitchen preparing the rest of the meal, it will beep to let you know your food is done.

Grill light
If you live in a climate that allows for grilling year-round, invest in an adjustable grill light that attaches to the handle of almost any grill.

Barbecue Grill Cover. Photo: Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Grill covers
Choose a heavy-duty, form-fitting vinyl cover to protect your grill and prevent water from getting into the cabinets.

Charcoal Chimney Starter. Photo: Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Chimney starter
The indispensable accessory for those who favor charcoal grills, a chimney starter will have your coals ready in 20 minutes. Simply place some newspaper at the bottom, fill the starter to the top with briquettes, and light the newspaper.

Barbecue Grill Tools. Photo: Weber-Stephen Products Co.

The right tools
The basic kit for barbecuing includes only long-handled tools to prevent burns from sudden flare-ups: spatula, tongs, fork, and basting brush. Never pierce meat when turning to prevent losing valuable juices. Use a stiff barbecue brush to clean the grill before every use.

Propane Tank Tray. Photo: Lynx.

Grill hood
Keep smoke away from the house with a ventilation hood made specifically for grills. Though it will endure damp conditions, it is a better idea to keep it covered with heavy-duty vinyl.

Slide-out tank tray
Retrieving the propane tank for refilling is an easier task if it rests on a slide-out tray.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Gas Barbecue Installation Pro

Planning an Outdoor Kitchen

Expert advice on how to build an outdoor kitchen or barbecue, with information on planning, locating, construction, connecting water and power, and local codes.

Ah, the aroma of a sizzling London broil wafting from your neighbor’s barbecue. You sneak a peek over the fence, expecting to see Herb huddled over his old charcoal kettle.

But then you see it and, once you do, your life can never be the same again. Herb has a new outdoor kitchen.

This isn’t just a barbecue. It’s a cooking center, tweaked out with a gleaming grill, refrigerator, and stainless-steel cabinets to die for. It’s solid and proud: a tribute to masonry construction. And you’ve got to have one just like it.

Jealousy will get you nowhere. But a plan, a masonry contractor, and a few thousand dollars might.

Be aware that an outdoor kitchen with a built-in barbecue is a serious endeavor. Hopefully, it’s going to be part of your yard for a long, long time.

It’s important to plan and build it with quality to ensure that it will last and serve you well. Here are a few key tips:

Location, location, location

Place your barbecue and entertaining area near the house–particularly the kitchen. Ideally, an outdoor kitchen should be sited where it has a minimum exposure to the elements and protection from the wind.[GARD align=”right”]

Because it is designed for entertaining, an existing patio is often an ideal site, but beware of flammable materials overhead, including trees, trellises, and patio roofs.

Allow for utilities

A sink will require a water supply and a drain. Electricity is needed for an outdoor refrigerator, a rotisserie, and lighting. Consider how and where these utilities will be routed from the house to the outdoor kitchen.

Design for comfort. An outdoor kitchen is like an indoor kitchen and should be designed with many of the same considerations. The countertop should be from 32 to 36 inches high and at least 24 inches deep.

Use sound construction

A large, heavy masonry barbecue will require a concrete pad–typically a steel-reinforced, 4-inch-thick slab poured over a 4- to 6-inch-deep bed of gravel.

Many have a perimeter footing that’s twice as wide as the barbecue’s walls and 16 to 18 inches deep (6 inches below frost line). Be sure you install any rough plumbing or wiring conduit before you pour the slab.

Build according to code

Before finalizing your design, check zoning requirements to make sure your outdoor kitchen will be a legal distance from property lines.

Though you may not need a building permit for the outdoor kitchen’s construction, you probably will need permits for any electrical or plumbing work. And, in most cases, a gas grill insert must be framed by non-flammable material.

Planning or Buying an Outdoor Kitchen

Expert advice on how to build a custom outdoor kitchen or barbecue or buy a prefabricated modular outdoor kitchen, with information on planning, locating, construction, connecting water and power, and local codes.

Ah, the aroma of a sizzling London broil wafting from your neighbor’s barbecue. You sneak a peek over the fence, expecting to see Herb huddled over his old charcoal kettle.

[media-credit name=”Chance Agrella | FreeRangeStock” align=”alignnone” width=”320″][/media-credit]

But then you see it and, once you do, your life can never be the same again. Herb has a new outdoor kitchen.

This isn’t just a barbecue. It’s a cooking center, tweaked out with a gleaming grill, refrigerator, and stainless-steel cabinets to die for. It’s solid and proud: a tribute to masonry construction. And you’ve got to have one just like it.

Jealousy will get you nowhere. But a plan, a masonry contractor, and a few thousand dollars might.

Be aware that an outdoor kitchen with a built-in barbecue is a serious endeavor. Hopefully, it’s going to be part of your yard for a long, long time.

Pros & Cons of Outdoor Kitchens

An outdoor kitchen can be a very cost-effective way to expand a home’s usable space. Building one is far less expensive than remodeling an indoor kitchen. As a result, building an outdoor kitchen can be a great way to add entertaining and food preparation space. Whereas homeowners might spend from $30,000 to $100,000 or more on a major kitchen remodel, they can build an outdoor kitchen for from $2000 to $10,000—or a lot more if they pull out all the stops.

An outdoor kitchen can also be a real plus for a small home. It will draw guests out to the yard, patio or deck. By opening up interior space, it takes some of the heat off of—and out of—the home’s kitchen.

Though an outdoor kitchen can add tremendously to your enjoyment and to memories of time with family and friends, if you build one, you probably won’t get 100% of your investment back upon selling your home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value study, backyard patio improvements recoup about 55% of their cost upon selling a home. So the idea is to create this kind of amenity for your own family’s enjoyment. No guarantees, but your outdoor kitchen may be just the feature that a future buyer loves about your home.

Planning a Custom Outdoor Kitchen

It’s important to plan and build it with quality to ensure that it will last and serve you well. Here are a few key tips:

Location, Location, Location

Place your barbecue and entertaining area near the house–particularly the kitchen. Ideally, an outdoor kitchen should be sited where it has a minimum exposure to the elements and protection from the wind.[GARD align=”right”]

Because it is designed for entertaining, an existing patio is often an ideal site, but beware of flammable materials overhead, including trees, trellises, and patio roofs.

Allow for Utilities

A sink will require a water supply and a drain. Electricity is needed for an [easyazon_link keywords=”outdoor refrigerator” locale=”US” tag=”hometips”]outdoor refrigerator[/easyazon_link], a rotisserie, and lighting. Consider how and where these utilities will be routed from the house to the outdoor kitchen.

Design for comfort. An outdoor kitchen is like an indoor kitchen and should be designed with many of the same considerations. The countertop should be from 32 to 36 inches high and at least 24 inches deep.

Use Sound Construction

A large, heavy masonry barbecue will require a concrete pad–typically a steel-reinforced, 4-inch-thick slab poured over a 4- to 6-inch-deep bed of gravel.

Many have a perimeter footing that’s twice as wide as the barbecue’s walls and 16 to 18 inches deep (6 inches below frost line). Be sure you install any rough plumbing or wiring conduit before you pour the slab.

Build According to Code

Before finalizing your design, check zoning requirements to make sure your outdoor kitchen will be a legal distance from property lines.

Though you may not need a building permit for the outdoor kitchen’s construction, you probably will need permits for any electrical or plumbing work. And, in most cases, a [easyazon_link keywords=”drop-in gas grill” locale=”US” tag=”hometips”]drop-in gas grill[/easyazon_link] must be framed by non-flammable material.

Buying a Prefabricated Modular Outdoor Kitchen

One way to get around building a permanent brick or stone edifice is to buy a [easyazon_link keywords=”modular outdoor kitchen” locale=”US” tag=”hometips”]prefabricated modular outdoor kitchen[/easyazon_link].  Priced from about $500 to more than $8000, you can buy a prefabricated outdoor kitchens online or through specialty manufacturers and major home improvement centers. A plethora of styles and configurations is available.

Low-end models are about 6-feet long and include a grill, countertop and one or two [easyazon_link keywords=”outdoor kitchen cabinets” locale=”US” tag=”hometips”]outdoor kitchen cabinets[/easyazon_link]. As you might imagine, high-end models are complete cooking centers that include appliances and more.

Most prefabricated outdoor kitchens are designed for quick-and-easy do-it-yourself assembly with basic tools. In most cases, assembly takes only a few hours.

How to Build an Outdoor Fire Pit & Bench

Expert advice on how to rebuild an outdoor fire pit, with illustrated DIY instructions for laying it out, running gas and drain lines, and final construction.

With its venerable stone facing and 16-inch-wide benches around it, this fire pit is a warm and inviting place to sit and chat. The pit is large enough so that people will not get too hot, and the stone surround absorbs and gently radiates warmth. A gas log lighter makes it easy to start a wood fire, or it could be used along with a set of faux ceramic logs. A drain allows the firebox to dry quickly after a rain. You can even cook over the open fire using a rotisserie kit.[GARD align=”left”]

The Design

The structure is supported by a reinforced concrete slab that is 10 inches thick around the perimeter and 6 inches thick in the middle. In an area with freezing winters, local codes may require a deeper footing that extends below the frost line, but most building departments will relax their requirements for a structure this small.

Installing an outdoor fire pit – substructure diagram

The fire pit is built of steel-reinforced concrete block, which is faced on both sides with natural stone. The walls are made of 4-inch-thick block, while the two pillars are made of 12-inch half block. This stone facing has un-mortared joints for a hand-stacked appearance. In an area with freezing winters, it is usually best to mortar joints to keep ice from forming in the joints and damaging the stones. You could also cover this structure with brick, tile, or stucco. If you want to use tile instead, build with 6-inch rather than 4-inch block. The benches and the two pillars are capped with stone slabs that were cut to fit.

Getting Ready

Build in a spot that is at least 5 feet from any combustible surface, such as a fence, an overhead structure, or tree branches. Choose a size and height that are comfortable. Most adults prefer to sit on a bench that is 16 to 17 inches high, but you may choose a different height. Buy the log lighter before starting construction and keep it nearby for reference as you work. Plan to place the lighter’s control at a spot that is convenient but which you can barricade if children are around.

How to Build It

Here are the steps to take:

1Lay Out for the Footing
When laying out for the footing, mark the ground taking into account the thickness of the stones on either side of the blocks; your concrete slab must support the stones. Use stakes and mason’s line to mark the square corners and use spray paint for the curved side.

2Excavate and Form the Footing
Dig a trench around the perimeter, following the layout lines carefully and creating sides that are as vertical as possible. Install wood forms around the excavation. The curve is gentle, so you can probably use 1-by-4 lumber rather than benderboard to form it. Check the forms for level and square. Remove the sod from the interior. Run a grid of string lines across the forms so you can check for depth as you dig the interior. When you reach the bottom of the excavation, scrape rather than bite into the soil.

3Run the Gas and Drain Lines
You could skip these amenities if you want to build fires from scratch and don’t mind mopping the pit after a rain. Otherwise, have a plumber run a gas line into the excavated area and up where it can run through a cell of a block. Install a valve, positioned so it will be on the outside of the stone wall. Continue running the gas pipe to the location of the log lighter. Also run 2-inch drainpipe into the area, poking up above the level of the firebricks (see step 6). You will cut this to height later.

4Pour the Footing
Pound 4-foot-long pieces of steel reinforcing bar perfectly vertically into the ground where they will run through the center of the 12-inch blocks. Also pound in rebar to run through a cell in each of the 4-inch blocks. Local codes may require that you also install steel reinforcing for the footing. Pour the footing and finish it with a magnesium or wood float. Allow the footing to cure for at least three days and keep it damp during that time.

5Build the Walls
Lay the concrete blocks following the instructions (to come). Where the blocks are laid in a curve, butt their inside corners together and pack mortar into the gaps around the outer face. Check the blocks for level as you work. Cut a hole for the gas pipe using a cold chisel or a drill with a carbide hole saw.[GARD align=”right”]

6Set the Firebricks, Caps, and Stone Facing
Lay the firebrick on the concrete inside the walls, using refractory mortar. Order slabs of stone cut to fit and set them in mortar on the walls and the pillar. Make sure the slabs are level in both directions. Apply stone facing as shown (to come).

7Finish
Use a hand saw to cut the drainpipe flush with the top of the firebricks. Install a grate onto the pipe. Though most of the walls are not mortared, you may want to apply a small amount around the gas valve to hold it firmly in place.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Gas Barbecue Installation Pro

 

How to Build an Outdoor Fire Pit & Bench

Expert advice on how to rebuild an outdoor fire pit, with illustrated DIY instructions for laying it out, running gas and drain lines, and final construction.

With its venerable stone facing and 16-inch-wide benches around it, this fire pit is a warm and inviting place to sit and chat. The pit is large enough so that people will not get too hot, and the stone surround absorbs and gently radiates warmth. A gas log lighter makes it easy to start a wood fire, or it could be used along with a set of faux ceramic logs. A drain allows the firebox to dry quickly after a rain. You can even cook over the open fire using a rotisserie kit.[GARD align=”left”]

The Design

The structure is supported by a reinforced concrete slab that is 10 inches thick around the perimeter and 6 inches thick in the middle. In an area with freezing winters, local codes may require a deeper footing that extends below the frost line, but most building departments will relax their requirements for a structure this small.

Installing an outdoor fire pit – substructure diagram

The fire pit is built of steel-reinforced concrete block, which is faced on both sides with natural stone. The walls are made of 4-inch-thick block, while the two pillars are made of 12-inch half block. This stone facing has un-mortared joints for a hand-stacked appearance. In an area with freezing winters, it is usually best to mortar joints to keep ice from forming in the joints and damaging the stones. You could also cover this structure with brick, tile, or stucco. If you want to use tile instead, build with 6-inch rather than 4-inch block. The benches and the two pillars are capped with stone slabs that were cut to fit.

Getting Ready

Build in a spot that is at least 5 feet from any combustible surface, such as a fence, an overhead structure, or tree branches. Choose a size and height that are comfortable. Most adults prefer to sit on a bench that is 16 to 17 inches high, but you may choose a different height. Buy the log lighter before starting construction and keep it nearby for reference as you work. Plan to place the lighter’s control at a spot that is convenient but which you can barricade if children are around.

How to Build It

Here are the steps to take:

1Lay Out for the Footing
When laying out for the footing, mark the ground taking into account the thickness of the stones on either side of the blocks; your concrete slab must support the stones. Use stakes and mason’s line to mark the square corners and use spray paint for the curved side.

2Excavate and Form the Footing
Dig a trench around the perimeter, following the layout lines carefully and creating sides that are as vertical as possible. Install wood forms around the excavation. The curve is gentle, so you can probably use 1-by-4 lumber rather than benderboard to form it. Check the forms for level and square. Remove the sod from the interior. Run a grid of string lines across the forms so you can check for depth as you dig the interior. When you reach the bottom of the excavation, scrape rather than bite into the soil.

3Run the Gas and Drain Lines
You could skip these amenities if you want to build fires from scratch and don’t mind mopping the pit after a rain. Otherwise, have a plumber run a gas line into the excavated area and up where it can run through a cell of a block. Install a valve, positioned so it will be on the outside of the stone wall. Continue running the gas pipe to the location of the log lighter. Also run 2-inch drainpipe into the area, poking up above the level of the firebricks (see step 6). You will cut this to height later.

4Pour the Footing
Pound 4-foot-long pieces of steel reinforcing bar perfectly vertically into the ground where they will run through the center of the 12-inch blocks. Also pound in rebar to run through a cell in each of the 4-inch blocks. Local codes may require that you also install steel reinforcing for the footing. Pour the footing and finish it with a magnesium or wood float. Allow the footing to cure for at least three days and keep it damp during that time.

5Build the Walls
Lay the concrete blocks following the instructions (to come). Where the blocks are laid in a curve, butt their inside corners together and pack mortar into the gaps around the outer face. Check the blocks for level as you work. Cut a hole for the gas pipe using a cold chisel or a drill with a carbide hole saw.[GARD align=”right”]

6Set the Firebricks, Caps, and Stone Facing
Lay the firebrick on the concrete inside the walls, using refractory mortar. Order slabs of stone cut to fit and set them in mortar on the walls and the pillar. Make sure the slabs are level in both directions. Apply stone facing as shown (to come).

7Finish
Use a hand saw to cut the drainpipe flush with the top of the firebricks. Install a grate onto the pipe. Though most of the walls are not mortared, you may want to apply a small amount around the gas valve to hold it firmly in place.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Gas Barbecue Installation Pro

 

Building a Brick & Tile Barbecue

How to build a brick and tile barbecue, with illustrated DIY instructions for planning and building an outdoor barbecue island.

A large grill and two-burner cooktop are set into this traditional barbecue island.

Brick-and-Tile Barbecue Diagram

Concrete-block walls are faced with brick that has been manufactured to appear salvaged; the countertop is made from ceramic tile.

Barbecue Island Design

This rectangular island has two appliances up top and two storage areas below. The structure, made from 6-inch concrete block, is built on a concrete slab that has been reinforced. The walls are faced with brick and the countertop is tiled.

The total amount of usable counter space is about 4 feet, but the design can easily be adapted if your yard can accommodate a longer island.

The countertop is substantial looking due to the 3-inch edging and 4-inch backsplash. [GARD align=”left”]

The substructure is a layer of 2-inch reinforced concrete laid over 1/2-inch concrete backerboard. The substructure of the backsplash is 4-inch-thick block, making it wide enough to hold plates or serving pieces.

Preparing for Construction

Before starting any work, buy all of the items in the prducts and materials list below and have them on hand as you construct the barbecue island. A professional-looking masonry job calls for exacting work, so you will want to test fit the grill, burners, and storage doors as you go along to ensure a good fit. Before purchasing the ceramic tile, calculate how many tiles you will need for the surface area of the counter and backplash (as well as the bullnose tiles) and add 10 percent for waste.

Brick-and-Tile Barbecue Side Elevation

1Before excavating for the footing, check local building codes to see how thick the slab must be to support the weight of the finished structure. For this island, the perimeter footing is 8 inches wide by 2 feet deep. Before pouring the concrete, run the gas line and, if you wish, electrical line to the area. Then finish the slab.

<2strong>Let the concrete cure for several days before beginning to build the island’s walls. The back and side walls will be solid concrete block; the front wall will have openings for the doors. Before setting the blocks in mortar, test fit the grill, cooktop, and doors to make sure they fit.

3Face the block wall with the brick, applying mortar to the bricks as well as to the concrete block. Take care to create straight and consistent mortar lines. When you get to the tops of the door openings, install angle irons onto that layer of brick and then brick on top of them.

4Cut concrete backerboard to form the base of the countertop. Make sure the edges of the pieces come flush with the outer edges of the brick. Then cut the pieces to accommodate the grill and cooktop and test fit the cooking units. Using a trowel, spread mortar onto the blocks and brick and then set the backerboard on top. Check for level at several points. Where the backerboard is unsupported, place 2 by 4s underneath every foot or so. Then build a form from 2 by 4s to line the perimeter of the backerboard. Mix a batch of sand-mix concrete and layer it on top of the backerboard to a thickness of 2 inches. Smooth the slab with the trowel.

5Allow the concrete to cure and then remove the temporary supports and the 2-by-4 form. Place the tiles on the concrete, make whatever cuts are necessary, and then set the tiles in thinset mortar that has been reinforced. The bullnose tiles line the front and side edges and go on top of the backsplash. When the mortar has hardened (after a day or so), apply grout between the tiles.

6Set the grill and the cooktop in place and make all the connections to the gas line. Then install the storage doors. Finally, caulk around the cooking units and the doors to make them watertight.

Materials List:[GARD align=”right”]

  • Gas grill
  • Gas cooktop with two burners
  • Doors for two cabinets
  • Gas line, shutoff valve, and connections
  • Concrete blocks
  • Rebar
  • Mortar mix
  • Brick manufactured to look used
  • 3″ angle irons
  • 1/2″ concrete backerboard
  • Sand-mix concrete
  • 2x4s
  • Countertop tile
  • Reinforced thinset mortar
  • Grout
  • Silicone caulk

Find a Pre-Screened Local Gas Barbecue Installation Pro

 

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