Barbecue Islands or Outdoor Kitchens

, also called grill islands, are basically outdoor kitchens. They can either be built around the BBQ, or there are models available that already have pre-built spaces for the BBQ. Avid grillers love these islands because they make all the 'stuff' you'd need easily accessible, rather than having to keep running into the house to grab something else.

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Pre-built outdoor kitchens are convenient and relatively quick to assemble. You get to start enjoying all your grill time fast! But if you're pretty handy, there are many books available that offer tips on building your own barbecue island - one that's completely configurable to your needs. Stuff you might want to consider (whether you're buying pre-built or you're building your own):

  • Counter space. Work space is a definite must if you don't want to be juggling sauces, raw and cooked foods, BBQ tools, plates & platters, while also trying to dodge kids, dogs, friends, and the spouse.

    Look for a countertop that can resist high heat and that is easy to clean. If you really want to get fancy, look for one that's high enough and large enough so that stools can be added for seating. Besides, it's good for the ego to have people watching and drooling while you grill up dinner.

  • Chopping block / cutting board. It's nice to have one right there when you need it. Again, it should be easy to clean or else removable for easy cleaning.

  • How about a side burner? It's a nice extra to have, since you can cook or keep side dishes and sauces warm there until you're ready to serve.

  • Refrigerator. Wouldn't it be great to be able to just reach over and grab a cold beer? Oh yeah, you can store sauces and marinades (or marinating food) in there too.

  • Drawers or storage space. Keep all your barbecue tools, extra grates, smoker boxes, wood chips, spices, outdoor kitchenware, etc. conveniently stored here. You can even hide bags of charcoal or propane from view.

  • Sinks and beverage centre. Having a sink right at your fingertips is obviously handy since you won't have to go back in the house to wash your hands (no more trying to open the patio door with your elbow!). A beverage centre can include stuff like an ice drawer and storage space for things like a blender.

  • Trash drawer. Keep it handy, and keep it hidden from view. Makes clean-up a lot easier.

  • GFCI electrical outlet. Plug in your own stuff.

  • Light. It's something small, but often overlooked. Having a light that illuminates the grill is useful, especially if you tend to BBQ in low- light conditions like dusk or evenings. Being able to see what you're cooking makes it easier to cook properly.

There are actually an amazing number of things you can do to customize an outdoor kitchen... this is just a start! Add extra burners or grills, add helpful accessories like a paper-towel holder... plus islands can be built in all sorts of shapes - fit into a corner, made into a U-shape or an L-shape, or just a regular straight kitchen.

Barbecue islands are great for those of us who do lots of outdoor grilling... and we'd love to have one ourselves, but alas, for now we just have to make do with our "budget outdoor kitchen" - namely, the cart we built for our Big Green Egg and a $40 portable table we use as overflow space (we have a friend who has the most amazing BBQ island that he built himself, from scratch. I think I hate him.). We can only dream!

Check out our collection of BBQ tips.



This website offers tips on how to BBQ as well as some of our favorite barbecue recipes. We barbecue with a charcoal grill in an outdoor kamado-style cooker called The Big Green Egg. We love food and we love the grill, and hope you enjoy our recipes!