Options for an Affordable Outdoor Kitchen
While creating a complete outdoor cooking space can be expensive, you can still put together a great outdoor kitchen without spending a fortune.
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"Running gas lines, electricity and water to an outdoor island is fairly expensive," says Mike. "If you're on a tight budget, you might want to consider using propane bottles to fuel your grill."
Buy a hardy grill.
It's counterintuitive, but you have a better chance of sticking to a budget if you sink money into a high-quality grill. "I can't tell you how many times customers end up calling us back a year later to replace a low-quality grill," says Burt Stavinoha of Kooda Exteriors, an outdoor kitchen retailer and contractor in Garland, Texas. "They're going to burn out on you."
Mike strongly recommends a grill made from high-grade stainless steel. "Look for a model made from at least 304 grade stainless steel, interior and exterior, because if the inside rusts out there's nothing you can do to save the rest," he says. His favored options include grills manufactured by his own company, Texas Pit Crafters, and also Fire Magic, Tec and some Viking models.
Try a prefab brick oven.
Even the quintessential luxury centerpiece for an outdoor kitchen, the brick oven, can cost less if you choose carefully. "The easiest and fastest way to build a wood-fired oven is to build a small foundation, three masonry walls and a support shelf and then install a good quality pre-fabricated oven kit," says Sergio de Paula, president of Fogazzo Wood Fired Ovens and Barbecues. "Then surround the oven with masonry, and add a chimney system and a simple roof."
According to Sergio, even the average do-it-yourselfer can finish an oven in about a week and professional masons or contractors can do it in just a few days using a prefabricated oven kit. However, having an oven built brick-by-brick can easily cost several times more. "That can take a do-it yourselfer up to one year and a professional mason several weeks," Sergio says. "Another factor to consider is that, brick by brick, ovens are typically larger than pre-cast oven kits and therefore need more wood to reach cooking temperatures, which makes them cost more to operate than the prefabricated models."