If you love entertaining and cooking outside, there’s no doubt that you’re a grill and barbecue aficionado. Whether it’s a summertime party or a simple family meal, having a grill and barbecue station will transform your patio into a gourmet lover’s backyard paradise. From smoked meats to classic burgers and hot dogs, the right type of grill and the right space will make cooking outdoors a wonderful experience any time of year. Check out these helpful tips that will inspire you to create your very own backyard paradise with a custom DIY grill station built just for you.
Types of Grills
Before you design your new grill and barbecue station, it’s important to choose a grill that will suit your needs, your space, and your unique cooking style. Here are some examples of the most popular types of grills so you can determine which option will work for you:
Gas and propane Grill. These grills are the most popular choice for most American households, mainly due to their ease of operation. A gas or propane grill runs on fuel, and you can purchase a refillable tank as needed for a minimal cost. These fast-heating grills can use one to four burners on an average-size grill and put out approximately 40,000 BTU of heat on average.
Charcoal Grill. A charcoal grill is a classic choice that’s easy to use. Charcoal is inexpensive and easy to find, but you may need lighter fluid in order to get it to burn. Some people complain about using lighter fluid, since it may affect the taste of your food. A small hole in the bottom of these grills allows ash, burnt food, and grease to escape. Always be sure to properly put out your charcoal grill to avoid any accidents.
Wood Grill: If you love the taste of smoked meat, a wood grill is a great choice. You can pick your favorite type of wood to use as a fuel source, and the smoke seeps into the meat to create a delicious, smoky flavor that’s tasty for chicken, pork, and beef.
Kamado Grills: This egg-shaped grill is constructed of thick ceramic and has a heavyweight of around 150 pounds or more. Kamado grills are a high-end version of a charcoal grill, and the ceramic walls trap heat nicely, so you get a grill and smoker all in one.
Pellet Grills: This type of grill uses small pellets as fuel, and they’re best for foods that need to cook for a long time such as pork roasts, whole chickens, or brisket. Pellet grills are making a comeback, but you’ll need to be patient since they tend to produce lower heat than other grills, which means cook times will take longer. So before buying one search for the best ones on the market!
Open Grill: Open or open-pit grills are basically a large, wood-burning fire pit with a grate for cooking food. This primitive-style grill is a lot of fun to use, and cleanup is easy since you can bury everything in the ground once you’re done. If you really want to get wild, consider cooking your meat on wooden stakes rather than on a metal grate directly over the top of the open grill.
Electric Grills: If you live in an area where traditional grilling is prohibited, an electric grill may be right for you. This grill uses electricity to heat up, and it’s similar to a traditional stovetop in terms of operation.
Portable Grills: If you enjoy camping or hiking, a small, portable grill is a great way to enjoy fresh, hot food on the trail. These compact-sized grills are lightweight and can collapse down for easy transport. Most use a small propane tank, charcoal, or wood to operate.
Covered Grill: More of a cooking style than an actual grill, covered grills simply include a lid or cover for low and slow heat. This cooking method is ideal for thick tuna or steaks, since it traps the heat inside when the cover is on.
Vessel Grill: Vessel grills have thick walls and are typically made of heat-resistant ceramic. You can cook foods like bread directly on the walls of a vessel grill, or try meat placed on a vertical spit for slow-cooked goodness.
Rotisserie Grill: Perfect for slow-cooked foods like rotisserie chicken, this type of grilling involves rotating food on a turnspit directly over a flame. The slow-cooked method of rotisserie creates mouthwatering, tender foods that have tons of great flavor.
Pizza oven. If you’re planning to cook pizza outdoors, consider the different styles of pizza ovens available. A stationary brick oven is a great feature, or you can try smaller, portable pizza ovens if you don’t want to build something permanent.
Others: Consider other types of grills if you like to cook specialty foods, such as a smoker for barbecue or jerky, or a tandoor oven for delicious Indian cuisine.
Tips for Designing Your DIY Grill Station
Designing and building your DIY barbecue station for cooking outdoors is a fun project, particularly if you’re still stuck on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can hire a professional to build your station, or if you’re handy, you can do most of the construction yourself. This is a fun DIY project that will be extremely rewarding when it’s complete. Here are some tips to help you create the ultimate barbecue station in your backyard.
Design first. Draw the design of your grill station on paper before you begin. Remember, you can customize the size, layout, and design depending on how much room you have in your patio or backyard. Play around with a few different layouts and sizes before you start the build.
Try different woods. If you’re using a wood grill or a charcoal grill, remember that you can mix and match different species of wood for delicious flavor. Try apple, cherry, mesquite, oak, or cherry just to name a few. The wood or charcoal briquets will add richness and a unique depth of flavor to all kinds of meat like beef, chicken, pork, and salmon.
Consider ovens and smokers. Consider building a simple brick oven or adding a smoker if you want to cook a larger variety of foods. Brick ovens are great for delicious homemade pizzas, and they’re also a good choice if you like to cook fish on the grill. This type of outdoor oven is a good option for those who enjoy vegan or vegetarian cooking, too. A smoker is perfect if you love your foods cooked low and slow, and they make barbecue and just about any type of meat taste smoky and delicious.
Vegetarian and vegan cooking: Meat isn’t the only thing that you can cook on the grill. If you enjoy veggies or you’re a vegetarian, there are lots of fantastic vegetarian recipes online. Portobello mushrooms are delicious on the grill and make a wonderful substitute for burgers.
Make it comfy. Add some comfortable furniture to your barbecue station. You can build your own custom furniture using old wooden pallets, or feel free to upcycle older patio furniture to give it a new look. The sky’s the limit when it comes to outside furniture, so have some fun picking out new items to create a nice, relaxing area for your guests.
Add unique touches. Upgrade the look of your grilling station by adding some unique features like stone veneer or tile around the grill, pizza oven, or even fire pit. Corrugated metal is also fun to give the station a rustic look. Design and build your custom counters, and top them with a slab of stone, like marble or granite, for a beautiful touch. Don’t forget to add some custom-built storage for grilling tools and accessories, and be proud to show your outdoor living showcase!
Hire it out. While your new grill station can be completed DIY, you can also hire a handyman or other professional if you need a little help. Major upgrades like installing new plumbing, custom cabinetry, or building a structure onto your home are best handled by the pros. Get at least three estimates to ensure you’re getting the best job for the best price.
Don’t Forget the Accessories
Once you’ve decided on the layout, design, and type of grill you plan to use, it’s time to include some important accessories to make your new upgrade complete.
Grill cart. Add a durable, weather-resistant grill car to your station to help you transport food and other items to and from the grill. Make sure the cart has wheels so you can easily move it throughout your backyard or patio area.
DIY coolers and furniture: Consider building your own custom cooler and furniture to save money and to do things DIY. You can upcycle old furniture or create your own. Look for materials that can easily be repurposed into a nice cooler to keep foods and beverages cold.
Decor. Make your grilling station unique by adding some of your own décor. Bring some outdoor lighting to the station like solar stake lights or string lights. A nice patio umbrella will keep you cool under the shade. Don’t forget to add some comfortable chairs or other patio furniture, too. A patio dining table will make eating food outdoors easy and fun.
Accessories for the griller inside you: You’ll need lots of accessories to ensure that your grilling is a success. Don’t forget to grab things like an apron, spatula, tongs, and a grill cleaning kit. You might also need accessories for specific foods, like a pizza wheel or a rotisserie kit.
Whether your outdoor space is big or small, designing a DIY grill station is a wonderful outdoor project. Make good use of your current patio furniture or grill by upcycling what you have to get everything done on a budget. With your new barbecue and grill station, or even an outdoor kitchen setting you’ll look forward to outdoor fun and summertime gatherings. It’s a perfect way to enjoy a meal and entertain, especially during these uncertain times.