Summer is grilling season, and there’s still plenty of time left to build your dream grilling station and start using it before colder weather sets in. If you’ve just been using an old setup with an ancient grill that struggles to keep up with entertaining, it’s time to upgrade to a complete grill center. Not sure where to start? There three basic categories you’ll need to consider:
- The Perfect Grill:
Obviously, a complete grill center needs a grill to be complete. Since this grilling center will be stationary anyway, you may want to consider a natural gas or propane grill; some people swear by the flavor offered by charcoal grills, but gas grills are much more convenient. Keep in mind when placing the grill that (just as with outdoor fireplaces) you want to be close enough to the main entertaining space to socialize without worrying about setting your outdoor furniture or any vegetation alight. When choosing your grill, don’t get too distracted by bells and whistles you won’t use; the most important thing is that you’ll have adequate space and plenty of heat control.
- The Prep Area:
The biggest problem with most grilling setups is that there’s nowhere to prepare food or set down platters and such while you’re grilling. For that reason, your grilling station should have a fair amount of prep space — at least a few feet of countertop space. If you want this space to double as an entertaining feature, you can extend it a bit farther and add a bar-level countertop, too.
- The Appliances:
If you have the space, you may also want to include a few more appliances in your grilling center. A mini fridge is perfect for keeping meat at a safe temperature as well as chilling drinks; if you don’t want to run electrical outside, you should at least build in a spot for a cooler so that you’re not constantly tripping over it. Some people also choose to have an additional burner included in their grilling station, which can be handy if you’ve got the space. That way, you won’t be running between the grill and the kitchen if you’re making sauces and sides in addition to whatever you’re grilling.
What would your dream grilling center look like? Discuss in the comments.