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By Jayme Muller

June 9, 2021

staight rta island with built in outdoor appliances

If you’re reading this, you must be looking to tackle an outdoor kitchen project. That’s great!

Depending on what stage you’re in, you may be researching outdoor kitchen appliance options to incorporate into your design. If so, you’re in the right place. We want to help!

We are going to outline all the considerations to keep in mind when selecting appliances for your outdoor project. Understanding key points about appliances are crucial to the success of your project. You can’t have an outdoor kitchen without high-quality appliances that fit your needs.

There’s a lot to know and we understand how overwhelming that can be. Let this be your personal reference guide when deciding on appliances for your outdoor kitchen.

Let’s start with some general considerations when selecting appliances.

Find a Knowledgeable Source for Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

If you don’t mind us tooting our own horn here… We consider ourselves rather knowledgeable in the world of outdoor kitchen appliances.

It’s important to find a source that is knowledgeable on both outdoor kitchen appliances and construction of your outdoor kitchen island. Unfortunately, it’s much more common to find an expert in one category or the other… Not both.

It is our hope that in this article we can help bridge the gap between appliances and outdoor kitchen construction. You can’t have a good outdoor kitchen design without a firm understanding of appliances and why you chose them.

Grade of Stainless Steel

Of course, you want the highest quality possible for your outdoor kitchen appliances. It’s a large investment, after all!

When researching appliances, you’ll want to look for 304 grade stainless steel.

Why?

stainless steel grates for outdoor kitchen grill
304 Stainless Steel Grates
rusted outdoor kitchen grates
430 Stainless Steel Grates

Lower quality steel, such as 430 stainless steel, isn’t designed to last outdoors. Over time, it will rust and corrode.

On the other hand, 304 stainless steel is well equipped to handle the elements. Your appliances will be shiny and rust-free, year after year. It’s a beautiful thing!

Lifetime Warranty for Your Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

It’s strongly recommended to ensure your appliances have a lifetime warranty. An outdoor kitchen done right should last you a lifetime!

Naturally, you want to ensure your surround and countertops are built to last. So why wouldn’t you take the same approach with outdoor kitchen appliances?

Let’s say you bought a lower grade appliance with an inferior warranty. Eventually, it will malfunction. And with an inferior warranty… You’ll have to replace it on your dime.

outdoor grill appliance in bad shape

And what if the manufacturer doesn’t make that model anymore? You may have to alter the island to fit a new appliance. Of course, this is another added cost.

Due to the nature of an outdoor kitchen, the decision making process is a bit different than purchasing a standalone grill. You have to consider longevity to avoid future hassles.

It’s also important to maintain a cohesive look with your appliances. Outfitting your kitchen with a hodgepodge of appliances will lead to a disjointed look.

Considerations for a Built In Grill

The grill is the centerpiece of your outdoor kitchen. Therefore, it’s crucial this aspect is done correctly.

Most likely, you’re familiar with cart model grills. Built-in grills are another story. While you technically can purchase a cart model for your outdoor kitchen, we strongly recommend against it.

Why?

custom built in outdoor kitchen appliances

To put it simply… Built-in grills are designed for outdoor kitchens. Cart models are not.

Let’s provide some more detail.

Some people do incorporate a cart grill into their outdoor kitchen. However, they tend not to be aesthetically pleasing as they aren’t designed to fit in the outdoor kitchen.

Even more importantly, this can pose a safety issue. Some of these grills will not be ventilated properly when installed into an outdoor kitchen. You don’t want to run the safety risk in your backyard. If you do go this route, be sure the grill you choose can vent properly when installed.

Once you’ve narrowed this down, it’s time to discuss size and quality of the grill you decide on.

Size and Quality

In terms of a grill, size matters. It’s important your grill can easily accommodate your needs when cooking outdoors.

How do you determine this? Well, think about how many people you’ll be serving most frequently. Even if you have a family of four, you’ll still want to consider a larger grill if you plan on hosting often. The manufacturer should be able to suggest what size is best for your needs.

When in doubt, size up. Our thought is it’s better to have extra room than not enough.

Coyote 28-Inch Grill
479 sq. in Grill Area
coyote grill built in to order kitchen

Recommended for 3-6 People

Coyote 36-Inch Grill
640 sq. in Grill Area
food on outdoor kitchen grill

Recommended for 6-9 People

Coyote 42-Inch Grill
990 sq. in Grill Area
large 42 inch grill in outdoor kitchen

Recommended for 12+ People

Let’s circle back to quality.

As stated in the intro, type of stainless steel makes a huge difference. Ensure the entire grill is constructed from 304 stainless steel. Some brands will advertise 304, yet, the interior of the grill is not made of 304 stainless steel. This leads to burners rusting out after a couple years.

A quality grill should last a lifetime. It’s for this reason we strongly recommend against outdoor kitchen appliances that do not offer a lifetime warranty. A lifetime warranty is a testament to the quality of grill you will be purchasing. Plus, it is a safety net in case something does go wrong.

FUEL AND GRILL TYPE

Fuel and grill type are a large part of the decision making process. Do you want natural gas, charcoal, propane, or pellet?

Fuel type will play into your budget and how easy it is to set up in your backyard space.

Take natural gas and propane for example. In terms of cooking, this is by far the most convenient option. However, it requires more work and investment to set up. For most, the extra effort is well worth the convenience gained!

You can also hook the grill up to a propane tank instead of running a line. It’s good for retrofitting projects or those who don’t want the added expense of a direct line. However, it’s less convenient in the long run.

Charcoal and pellet grills are also easy to set up as they don’t require a direct fuel line. Charcoal is less convenient in terms of grilling. It takes time to get started each time you want to grill.

Let’s talk flavor.

While gas and propane are most convenient in terms of fuel type… They are not topping the charts in terms of flavor. This doesn’t mean you’ll get inferior food. Not at all! You just won’t get that smoky, depth of flavor grilled foods are prized for.

Charcoal grills, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They are the least convenient fuel type offering best in class flavor. If you’re a gourmet chef, a charcoal grill will provide you the best outdoor cooking experience when it comes to taste.

A good compromise in terms of flavor and convenience are pellet grills. For fuel, you just have to load the grill with wood pellets. The burning wood pellets will also provide you the classic smoky flavor you know and love. Pellet grills are also versatile for those who love to experiment with different cooking styles. You can grill, bake, and smoke all in one unit.

What are your needs?

Your cooking needs will further determine the type of grill you decide on.

Are you just cooking the basics, such as hot dogs and hamburgers? Are you interested in searing? How about a rotisserie?

If you’re interested in more complex cooking options, you’ll want an upgraded grill with added features. Keep this in mind when deciding on a grill.

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our recommendation

If you don’t mind us presenting you with a recommendation… We’d like to share with you the exclusive appliance provider for our outdoor kitchens: Coyote Outdoor Living.

36in s-series built in grill appliance
coyote refreshment center appliance
outdoor rated fridge appliance
coyote two drawer cabinet appliance
outdoor kitchen appliance - power burner

There’s a lot to love about Coyote. But here’s just a few reason they are our exclusive provider:

  • Coyote appliances are completely manufactured from 304 stainless steel. Yes, that includes the interior!
  • They offer a limited lifetime warranty on the structure and burners.
  • Their line boasts a ton of variety. You can get any fuel type grill. Plus, Coyote offers a range of storage appliances, refrigerators, power burners, and more.
  • Coyote doesn’t offer a ‘good, better, best’ option. They offer a single high-quality line that will last you a lifetime.

Considerations for an outdoor refrigerator

moks with best rated outdoor kitchen appliances

Refrigerators are a convenient addition to your outdoor kitchen space.

When deciding on a fridge, there’s one big question that must be answered…

Is it rated for the outdoors?

It may not seem like a big deal, but trust us. There is a big difference! Indoor refrigerator compressors are not designed to deal with radical temperature changes. They work well indoors because the temperature is well-regulated. Outdoor refrigerators, however, are designed to accommodate temperature fluctuation.

Indoor refrigerators are not designed to be built into an outdoor kitchen, either. Therefore, the design will not match the look of the rest of your appliances.

Make sure your fridge is ETL, UL, or CSA certified. These are certifications given to products that pass a series of rigorous tests. Outdoor performance, leak testing, and safety trials are a few examples. These certifications ensure you are picking a fridge that will work well in the outdoor environment.

moks with best rated outdoor kitchen appliances

The above is another reason why we suggest Coyote outdoor kitchen appliances. Their refrigerators are designed to last in any environment. Especially the great outdoors!

Considerations for storage

Storage is an often overlooked element of outdoor kitchen appliances. However, storage is equally important to other features of your outdoor kitchen. It simply makes sense to store all the utensils and other supplies in one place. After all, this further simplifies entertaining.

Let’s break down storage options a little further.

Perhaps you want to keep spices, paper plates, napkins, etc. outside with your kitchen. For that, you’ll need dry storage. Look for storage that has sealed gaskets. These options are designed to keep your things dry, no matter the weather.

What about utensils? Surely, you’ll want a place to keep them handy. You got an outdoor kitchen so you don’t have to run in and out of the house! For this, we recommend a combo drawer/access door under your grill.

This is beneficial for a couple reasons.

One, you can store your utensils in the drawer. Two, the door allows you access to the interior of the island for propane storage or propane/gas shutoff. Access to the interior of your island is essential if you have plumbing or a gas grill. This allows you to perform maintenance and repairs if needed.

Considerations for a outdoor sink

Sink or no sink? That is the all-important decision when it comes to outdoor kitchens. 

Many will naturally assume a sink has a rightful place in their outdoor kitchen. Considering how essential a sink is to the indoor kitchen, it’s logical to think this way. 

However, there are some nuances to installing an outdoor sink to be aware of.

Of course, a sink requires a bit of extra work. You’ll need a water line to supply water, and a drain line for the used water. Depending on your town’s laws, you may be required to hook into their septic system… Which can end up being quite involved. Pending town laws, you could simply drain to a french drain or dry well. 

Another aspect to consider is weather. If you live in an area that gets below freezing regularly… You’ll want to consider the extra effort to winterize your sink. This will protect your investment and prevent problems down the line.

dry pantry being used in outdoor kitchen in outdoor kitchen
outdoor kitchen sink appliance

There’s a lot to love about an outdoor sink. 

First, consider what you plan to use it for most. Are you just using it to wash your hands and making drinks? Or are you looking for a fully functional sink where you can wash dishes too?

There are sink options that are incorporated with a ‘refreshment center’, if you will. These may have an attached drop-in cooler or cutting board to make drinks easily and efficiently. However, this option is not great if you’re looking to wash dishes. The basin isn’t deep enough to work well in this way.

On the other hand, you could opt for a fully functional sink. You won’t get the bonus accessories for drink-making… But you’ll be able to wash dishes!

Our friends at Coyote Outdoor Living make an excellent option for both sink styles.

For a bar, Coyote’s Refreshment Center is an excellent choice. The sink is integrated with a cutting board and drop-in cooler for the perfect drink station. The only thing to keep in mind is this sink is only able to run cold water.

For a fully functional sink, Coyote offers a couple options. Their Standard Drop In Sink is perfect for those who are looking for simplicity. This offering also allows you to choose your own faucet, so there is opportunity for customization there. Coyote also offers a full sink with faucet and integrated cutting board if that’s your preference. 

Now that we’ve gone over the ‘essentials’, let’s discuss some bonus appliances you may want for your outdoor kitchen.

honorable mention: side burners & power burners

Adding a side burner or power burner to your outdoor kitchen is an awesome way to upgrade your outdoor cooking experience. These add-ons give you extra functionality and versatility when entertaining outdoors. Not to mention extra cooking space.

What is the difference between a side burner and a power burner? I’m glad you asked.

side burners

rta outdoor kitchen with coyote appliances

Most of you are likely familiar with this option already. A side burner is essentially a stovetop burner brought outdoors. Consider it a side-kick to your grill.

You can use it for side dishes and making sauces. Side burners are perfect for making reductions, sautéing vegetables, boiling pasta, etc.

The only caveat of a side burner is it doesn’t put off a huge amount of heat. That’s where the power burner comes in…

rta outdoor kitchen with coyote appliances

power burners

cooking on outdoor kitchen appliances

Think of the power burner as the side burner turned up to eleven. You’ll achieve max potential with this add-on.

What can you do with it? It has all the benefits of a side burner, but with more power. This means you can do large lobster boils or even use a wok and get into oriental cooking! Talk about versatility and variety in cuisine!

Once again, we want to put in a good word for Coyote. They offer a teppanyaki griddle accessory for their power burners. This allows you to cook eggs and bacon for the family. Breakfast outside, anyone?

Speaking of Coyote… Let’s talk a bit more about why we have partnered with them for our outdoor kitchen appliances.

why coyote and rta for your outdoor kitchen and appliances?

We’ve talked up Coyote Outdoor Living a lot in this article, and for good reason! We firmly believe they are an excellent choice if you are looking for outdoor kitchen appliances for your backyard.

Why?

First, Coyote offers a complete line of outdoor appliances that fit your needs. Want a pull-out trash? Got it. Want a fridge? Got it. Want a dry pantry? Got it. We’re just scratching the surface of the potential here.

Not only does Coyote offer a complete line… They offer premium grade outdoor appliances at an affordable price. This is truly the biggest bang for your buck in terms of outdoor appliances. Consider it affordable luxury.

They can cater to specific tastes as well. You may have your heart set on a pellet grill, but realize they are difficult to find. Well, Coyote is one of the only companies currently that offers a cart model and built-in pellet grill.

Speaking of built-in and cart model grills… Coyote offers both for all of their grill models. So if you don’t want to take on a full outdoor kitchen project, know there is still a solution available for you.

Customer service is on point as well. Coyote offers excellent support so you can feel confident in your investment. Further, Coyote offers a lifetime warranty on the burners and housing of all their products. That’s a brand that stands behind their product!

Now, what if you’re looking for a one stop shop solution? Appliances, grill, countertop, etc. An outdoor kitchen all in one shot. Look no further than RTA Outdoor Living.

We have partnered with Coyote as the exclusive provider of all our appliances. This means your outdoor kitchen project becomes completely seamless. Your outdoor kitchen and appliances are shipped straight to your door, from a single source. No need to hassle with multiple vendors for sourcing!

If you’re interested in learning more, our website is a wealth of information. To start, we recommend reading our blog titled: “Outdoor Kitchen Kits – 5 Need to Know Facts Before you Buy“.

If you have more specific questions about your project, we’d love to speak with you! You can set up a call with one of our expert designers to flesh out your outdoor kitchen project.

We hope to speak with you!

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