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MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR BACKYARD FOR ENTERTAINING & ENJOYMENT 

A Simple Guide to Building a Backyard Kitchen

Men are here, build fire, cook meat

This Phoenix winter has given us weeks of great weather, perfect for grilling.

But what about the rest of the meal? The coleslaw, the fries, the toppings. Instead of enjoying a cold beer and a refreshing sunny 75-degree day, you're inside chopping, and dicing, and mixing. Outside your window, you can see the shiny veneer of your grill, one you have fêted since it was given to you many a Father’s Day ago.

You are the paterfamilias, and yet you are stuck in the kitchen, feeling much like  Sally and I, stuck in the house, on all those beautiful sunny days.

The sun was shining

The grill was piping hot

But we had to stay in the house

And I did not like it, no I did not.


I stood at the counter

Where I sliced the bread

And I said “How I wish

I could slice outside instead!”


No room to go out

I had to stay in the kitchen

I sliced up that bread

And continued my bitchin’

man cooking

If only there was a way to prep, chop, and slice outside on those gorgeous winter days.

Well, you can use all of your paterfamilias genius to build such a thing. Just like Noah built the arch you can build an outdoor kitchen for your grill.

Constructing an Outdoor Grill

Now that we've established that you must have an outdoor grill space, and convinced you that you are somehow less of a man if you don't; let's get on with it.

Start with cleaning your backyard. And by cleaning up, let me be clear: get rid of everything in your backyard that is not live landscape. I've seen many backyards around the Valley of the Sun to know that a cluttered backyard is no place for relaxation and enjoyment. It grinds my gears a bit when I see backyards with great looking pools, patios, and built-in kitchen spaces, only to see them overrun with clutter, debris, unnecessary abandoned furniture, etc.

Getting to work: A Grill Surround

The easiest do it yourself way to make an outdoor kitchen is to build a grill surround. Obviously, it's like a kitchen island that surrounds your grill.  

grill surrounded

It's a simple structure that adds counter space to either side of your grill.

The great part about building your own surround is being able to create a cooking space that perfectly matches your landscape. For some of us that might mean using reclaimed wood, others brink or even stone veneer. Whatever floats your boat, you can work into your design.

Construction

Start out by building a simple 2 x 4 frame. This will look rectangular with a gaping hole in the middle and front to fit your grill. Decide how much space you need, maybe just a couple of feet on each side or, if you have the room, you can make your counters as long as 7 feet on each side. It's up to you.

cutting and measuring

Measure your grill so you know how wide and tall your surround frame needs to be. Measure both the wide and depth of the grill. Then add ½ inches to both measurements. You’ll use this measurement to create the space to slide the grill into.

Next measure how tall your grill is, then subtract 2 inches. You’ll need these two inches to add your countertop.

Then, use your do-it-yourself genius to construct the frame. There are several ways you can do this, either design your own or find a quick plan online.

Exterior Style

Once your frame is structurally sound and all pieced together, add some backer board to the area immediately surrounding your grill. This will help protect the frame from the heat of grilling.

Now it's time to side the frame with the materials you have chosen, either reclaimed wood or even corrugated tin. Whatever suits your backyard grilling persona. When you have sided the entire frame lay down your countertop.

Finally, slide your grill into place and prepare to cook the outdoor feast of your life.

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