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Outdoor Kitchen Grill: In-Depth Review of 4 Brands, & Your Best Choice

By James King

May 15, 2024

When you imagine an outdoor kitchen… There’s a 99% chance that the island you picture has a built-in grill head.

It makes total sense. Outdoor kitchens and built-in grills go together like ribs and BBQ sauce… And some would say that you can’t have one without the other.

So when planning your own grill island… One of the first things that comes to mind is probably: “Which outdoor kitchen grill should I choose?”

It’s an important question, and we’re here to give you nothing but honest answers.

As an outdoor kitchen company ourselves… We’ve been studying the best built-in grills for years.

outdoor kitchen grill with kebabs cooking

So today, we’re going to share our refined knowledge on the topic with you.

But first, we need to fully grasp what an outdoor kitchen grill is…And all the different ways to go about getting an outdoor kitchen and grill setup in 2024.

Let’s dig in.

What is an Outdoor Kitchen Grill?

coyote s-series grill in outdoor kitchen

An outdoor kitchen grill goes by many names.

Drop-in grill, built-in grill, grill insert, grill head… The list goes on.

All of these terms refer to the same thing: A grill that’s specially designed to be built into the structure of an outdoor kitchen.

Easy enough to understand!

When getting an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill, there are two common paths you can take.

  1. You can choose a fully premade outdoor kitchen kit, complete with a built-in grill head.
    Or…
  2. You can design and build an outdoor kitchen from scratch… And select a built-in grill to pair with your custom outdoor cooking station.

If simple and convenient are more your speed… The former is probably the solution for you. All you have to do is buy a pre-designed outdoor kitchen… Without having to worry about all the small design details and spend time agonizing about which built-in grill brand is just right.

But if you’re all for custom bells and whistles in your BBQ station… You probably already have a specific vision for your ideal built in grill and outdoor kitchen design. Choosing a built-in grill head to place in your scratch-built grill island surround is the better path to take.

In either case… You’ll need a good baseline to kick off from.

So with that, let’s review some of the best outdoor kitchen grill and grill island brands on the market today.

Interested in a custom outdoor kitchen grill?

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The Best Outdoor Kitchen Grill Brands of 2024

We don’t know about you… But when we shop, we like to be able to get everything in one place.

So for the purposes of researching an outdoor kitchen grill… We’re going to be presenting brands that offer both pre-manufactured island structures and come with the grill.

Let’s take a look.

Bull BBQ Islands & Grills

bull grill logo

Bull is well known in the grilling industry for their line of built-in and freestanding grill heads… But not everyone knows that they also manufacture prefabricated outdoor kitchens.

For the unfamiliar… Prefab outdoor kitchens are fully constructed ahead of time, and delivered to your home in this manner. (Sometimes, a crane is required to drop them into your backyard.)

Currently, they have several options at your disposal… But we’ll only be doing a brief overview here.

That said, layout, appliance, and finish selections are pretty similar across the board.

Read on for a quick summary of each category below.

Regular Program Kitchens

bull outdoor kitchen grill island

Although not the most exciting name in the world… It’s perfectly descriptive of Bull’s bread and butter prefab islands.

These outdoor kitchens are made from a combo of steel frames, cement board, and your finish of choice (quartzite or stucco).

As for countertops, you’re able to select from several shades of porcelain tile.

Layouts are arranged in either linear or L-shaped formations of different sizes. You can get an L-shape if you want a little bar top… Or stick with a linear island for a straight-up grill station.

We’ll admit, appliance selection is pretty limited.

Each island can accommodate a different size built-in gas grill from Bull… But there are currently no options for a charcoal grill.

Some islands will include a small side burner as well… But that’s where your cooking appliance options begin and end.

Aside from this, refrigerators, storage, and pull out trash bins are the other features on offer.

Faux Rock Outdoor Kitchens

bull grill island with faux rock finish

Bull’s Faux Rock outdoor kitchens are virtually identical to the Regular Program selection… The only real difference here is the finish and layout options.

Rather than a quartzite stone finish… This category offers two colors of a Genstone finish. This faux stone is more lifelike, and may be preferable if you appreciate a rustic aesthetic.

Just like the Regular Program, porcelain tiles come standard here.

Currently, only two layout options are on offer. Both are linear, including a gas grill, side burner, refrigerator, and access doors.

Solid Surface Outdoor Kitchens

bull outdoor kitchen with fridge and stucco finish

Once again, this category is a spin-off of Bull’s Regular Program.

The same steel frames, cement board, and stucco finish is used… The only difference here being the countertop.

Instead of regular porcelain tile… You’re still getting porcelain tile, but in a solid piece. Which means no grout lines or joints. (This is an improvement!)

Otherwise, only two linear layout options are available. Both will include a gas grill, refrigerator, and storage… The primary difference between them is size.

Durabull™ Outdoor Kitchens

bull outdoor kitchen grill island in marine blue finish

Bull’s new Durabull™ prefab islands marks a significant departure from their other outdoor kitchen grills, primarily in construction.

In this line, Bull abandons the steel frame construction and opts for HDPE cabinets instead. This is a far more durable material overall, and won’t be subject to issues like rust and corrosion.

However… HDPE is a combustible material and you must use an insulated grill jacket for safety. We were unable to determine if Bull includes one, so reach out to them to confirm.

Aside from this, the Durabull™ line includes upgraded granite countertops as well. This is great to see, as granite is a stellar material for outdoor applications.

As per usual, layout options are pretty basic. There are four options in total: two linear designs, and two L-shaped designs.

These islands will include a gas grill and refrigerator… With wall-to-wall cabinets throughout the rest.

Bull Product Highlights

outdoor kitchen close up with condiments and grill

Price: $6,000.00 – $23,000.00

Island Materials: Steel frame and cement board or HDPE

Warranty: 1 year for islands, Appliances vary

Overall Thoughts: Bull’s Regular Program, Faux Rock, and Solid Surface kitchens are budget-friendly, but leave much to be desired in terms of quality. Framed islands are susceptible to rust, corrosion, and finish deterioration. Bull’s Durabull(TM) line is a strong step in the right direction, but the extremely short warranty stops us short from a glowing recommendation on that series.

Cal Flame Outdoor Kitchen Islands & Grills

cal flame outdoor kitchen brand logo

Cal Flame has been manufacturing outdoor kitchens since the late 90’s… And has made quite a name for themselves in this time.

That said, for the most part… Cal Flame’s prefab islands are similar to Bull in many ways.

Materials are similar… Appliance options are similar… And they also have three categories to select from.

Let’s take a closer look.

Patio Series

cal flame linear outdoor kitchen grill on patio

Cal Flame’s Patio Series is designed for small spaces. Each outdoor kitchen grill layout is modestly sized… So if you don’t have much space to work with, this may appeal to you.

Each island is constructed with welded, 16-gauge galvanized steel, covered with Hardibacker ceramic tile backboard… And finished with ameristone stucco or faux wood. (We can’t confirm what this wood finish is made from.)

While it’s good to see welded frames… This construction method still proves to be problematic in harsh climates, where rust and corrosion are an ever-present risk.

As for countertops, natural stone tile or porcelain stone tile are your options.

That said, what about the grill? What fuel type can you get?

Just gas.

That’s great if that’s what you’re looking for! But charcoal fans might be feeling a little left out in the cold here.

But that’s pretty much all there is to the Patio Series islands. You have three layout options (linear or small L-shape), a gas grill, and an access door underneath.

Escape Series

outdoor kitchen island with grill and patio chair

Overall, Cal Flame’s Escape Series is pretty much identical… The only difference being layout options and finish options.

Construction type and materials are the same.. Apart from the fact that you can select a cultured stone finish in some cases. (Some layouts also can be upgraded to a granite countertop.)

The Escape Series offers 8 linear and L-shape layouts in different configurations.

All of them will include a 304 stainless steel gas grill, refrigerator, and access doors.

You have a little more counter space for food prep… And one layout offers a mini bar top for serving.

Not much to report here!

Premium Series

u shaped cal flame outdoor kitchen grill with side burner

The Premium Series offers the “best and brightest” from Cal Flame’s outdoor kitchen designs.

You get the same materials, countertops, and finish options as before… Just more of it.

The Premium Series places three layouts at your disposal.

One is a pseudo U-shape, with a mini bar top on either side of the island. Another is a classic L-shape… And the third is an L-shape type layout, with a corner forming the bend.

Once again, you’ll encounter Cal Flame’s 304 stainless steel natural gas grills across the board. Additionally, each island will have an outdoor refrigerator, access doors, and propane tank storage.

Beyond this, each layout will have a slightly different appliance offering.

  • La Jolla has a double side burner
  • Carmel has an outdoor sink and single side burner
  • Laguna Q has a sink with refreshment center for serving up cocktails

There’s certainly a bit more variety with Cal Flame’s premium series… But what if you really want to go all out with your outdoor kitchen grill?

Product Highlights

outdoor kitchen with extended countertops in tropical backyard

Price: $4,000 – $12,000+

Island Materials: Galvanized steel frame with Hardibacker cement board

Warranty: Lifetime Structural Warranty on Island, Appliances Vary

Overall Thoughts: While we appreciate the inclusion of durable 304 stainless steel appliances and a palatable price… Cal Flame’s less than stellar construction quality and design limitation leaves more to be desired. Could be a decent short-term solution in more dry or arid climates, where moisture is less of a concern. That said, the lifetime structural warranty is encouraging.

Coyote x RTA

coyote outdoor living and rta outdoor living partnership

Yes, it’s true. We’re throwing our hat in the ring and bragging about ourselves a little bit.

RTA (hey, that’s us!) has partnered with Coyote Outdoor Living to create a one-stop outdoor kitchen solution you’ve never seen anywhere else.

Our outdoor kitchens are ready to assemble, which is slightly different from a prefab island.

Rather than getting a fully constructed island delivered to your home… Our islands require light assembly that takes just a couple hours to put together.

This allows us to be much more nimble when it comes to customization and personalization. We do have plenty of pre-designed islands you can choose from… But if you want an outdoor kitchen that’s truly unique to you, we can do that too.

Every RTA outdoor kitchen is constructed with high performance concrete. This means our islands are impervious to rust, corrosion, and damage from freeze thaw cycles. (Northerners, rejoice!)

Countertop options will be either that very same high performance concrete… Or nearly-indestructible solid granite tops.

The included Coyote appliances are 304 stainless steel construction across the board, and depending on what route you go down… You’ll have access to their entire suite of outdoor appliances.

Without further ado…

RTA Quick Ship Kitchens

rta outdoor kitchen with modern concrete bright finish

If you appreciate the simplicity of having an outdoor kitchen grill already designed for you… The Quick Ship line from RTA is what you’ll prefer.

This is our selection of all the most popular layouts we’ve designed over the years.

In total, there are 18 unique layouts on offer with 8 different finishes and color options available. (Stacked stone, weathered wood, reclaimed brick, and modern concrete are the textures to choose from.)

Throughout the line, every island will include a natural gas or propane grill with an access door underneath. (Don’t worry charcoal-lovers… We can do custom!)

Beyond this, appliance selection comes down to the specific layout you choose. The Quick Ship category offers pull out trash bins, refrigerators, outdoor sinks, power burners, electric grills, kamado grills, side burners, and even pellet grills.

We even offer a separate stand for a kamado grill or pizza oven, if you wish.

Point is, even in our pre-designed series… You’ve got a lot of options. But we don’t stop there.

RTA Custom Outdoor Kitchen Grills

rta outdoor kitchen grill with pizza oven and refreshment center

If our pre-designed outdoor kitchen components simply don’t speak to you… Custom is where your dreams can really shine.

Do you want an outdoor griddle for breakfast al fresco? What about a gas grill with a high BTU sear burner or rotisserie burner? What about a dual fuel hybrid grill that is fully equipped for gas and charcoal?

All of the above appliance options are unlocked with the custom process.

But you also unlock a nearly-unlimited amount of outdoor kitchen designs.

Linear, L-shape, U-shape, galley, grill islands, bar islands, a mix of both… Whatever it is, our custom process makes it possible.

You’ll start with either crafting a layout in our design tool, or hopping straight to a call with one of our Design Experts.

Either way… We’ll work one-on-one with you to ensure your outdoor cooking space is truly a dream come true.

Product Highlights

rta charcoal plank outdoor kitchen on patio with pizza oven and power burner

Price: $5,700 – $18,000+

Island Materials: High performance concrete

Warranty: Limited Lifetime on Structure & Appliances

Overall Thoughts: What can we say? We’re not the cheapest option. But… With RTA, you get premium grills, virtually-indestructible concrete construction, a limited lifetime warranty across the board, options for complete personalization… It speaks for itself.

Ready to take the leap?

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Mont Alpi Outdoor Kitchen Grill Islands

mont alpi grill and outdoor kitchen logo

Mont Alpi released their modular grill island line around 7 years ago, and they’ve been growing in popularity ever since.

Traditionally, modular islands are separate units you put together to create the layout you want.

Although Mont Alpi does offer modular units that you can arrange yourself… They primarily advertise their pre-designed island layouts. So for our purposes, this is the type we’ll focus on here.

Original Series

mont alpi outdoor kitchen grill island

As the name suggests, this is Mont Alpi’s tried and true original line.

Every island will include their 6-burner 304 stainless steel gas grill with a bottle opener, backlit knobs, and optional rotisserie kit.

Their outdoor kitchen cabinets feature complete 304 stainless steel construction as well… And the countertops are made from granite composite. (A blend of crushed quartz, stone dust, and acrylic resin.)

So as far as the finish goes, it’s just plain stainless steel. All the countertops will be white as well.

Aside from the liquid propane or gas grill… Each Original Series island will include an infrared side burner and drawer storage.

Additionally, some layouts will include a sink, glass door refrigerator and/or kegerator.

The Original Series has 9 configurations to choose from, being a mixture of linear and L-shape designs.

Black Series

mont alpi outdoor kitchen in black with refrigerator and grill

Can you guess what’s different about this outdoor kitchen grill insert? That’s right, they’re a different color.

And that is actually the only difference! (Well, layout options are a bit different, to be fair.)

So if you prefer your outdoor kitchen to have a sleek, black finish… You’ll prefer the black powder coat in this line.

Otherwise, there are 10 unique configurations on offer, ranging from linear to L-shape.

Appliance options will include that same 6 burner gas BBQ grill, side infrared burner, and drawer storage. Beyond this, some layouts will also include an outdoor sink or glass door refrigerator.

That’s all there is to it!

Compact Series

mont alpi outdoor kitchen grill on patio with dining table

Short on space? Mont Alpi’s Compact Series provides you with the same design, just on a smaller scale.

Once again, materials will be identical to the previous options. 304 stainless steel construction on the island and grill, with composite granite tops.

To save on space, these islands will come with a 4 burner grill, powder coated in black to match the island finish.

Currently, only two layout options are available. Both are linear layouts. the only difference is one will include a mini fridge… And the other will not.

Deluxe Series

mont alpi linear grill island with storage and grills

On the other end of the spectrum… Mont Alpi allows you to deluxify your outdoor kitchen.

But you might not actually notice the difference at first! Rather than standard composite granite tops… They’re actually waterfall countertops for a more luxurious look.

Besides that, what makes these islands deluxe are the extra features. You’ll get a full-sized island cover, granite chopping board, and a rotisserie kit for your grill (this is an upgrade in other series).

A whopping 36 layout options are made available for purchase… So you can almost certainly find a design that speaks to you.

You can choose from layouts that are linear, L-shape, or L-shape with a corner unit.

Aside from the grill, infrared side burners, and drawer storage… You can select layouts that include a glass door refrigerator, kegerator, or outdoor sink.

Product Highlights
mont apli outdoor kitchen grill with illuminated grill knobs
Price: $2,700 – $12,000

Island Materials: 304 Stainless Steel

Warranty: Limited Lifetime on Island, Appliances Vary

Overall Thoughts: Complete 304 stainless steel construction is durable and overall a good choice. However, if you live in a coastal climate a 100% steel outdoor kitchen may be cause for pause. The limited lifetime warranty is great to see. Limited finish and design options may not appeal to everyone.

The Best Outdoor Kitchen Grill Brand

the best outdoor kitchen grill brand

Now that you’ve seen a few of the most prominent outdoor kitchen grill brands… Which is best?

Well, we’ll respectfully abstain from voting, since we’ve included ourselves in the lineup.

However, we will say this… The best brand to buy comes down to what you’re looking for.

Are you interested in a simple, short-term solution that won’t break the bank?

Cal Flame or Bull’s regular offerings might be a decent choice.

Do you want something impermanent, but still constructed with high quality materials?

Mont Alpi might be speaking to you.

Do you want an outdoor kitchen that’s rock solid, personalized to you, and designed to last a lifetime?

Well…

Get Started Now on Your Own Outdoor Kitchen and Grill

If you’re intrigued by what RTA has to offer… Allow us to provide you with a little direction.

As we mentioned earlier, most homeowners interested in RTA start with our free online design tool.

This simple little designer allows you to start crafting your dream design in mere minutes. Plus, you’ll be rewarded with a 3D rendering of your layout immediately! (Talk about instant gratification.)

From there, one of our Design Experts will take the baton to refine your design. They’ll work one-on-one with you to nail down every last detail. (Grills and all!)

Once you’re over the moon with your design and blueprints… Our manufacturing facility in Cambridge City, Indiana will get to work.

At the same time, you’ll be connected with a Project Manager to oversee the rest of the process.

While you wait patiently for your outdoor kitchen grill… Your Project Manager will educate you about preparing for installation, delivery, and be available to contact on the day of your install.

We won’t let off the gas until you’re happily grilling with your new DIY outdoor kitchen!

It almost goes without saying, but… We’re with you every step of the way.

And if you’re ready for the full-service experience RTA can provide… Submit your design for free, and we’ll be in touch.

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