As the land of Texas BBQ… It’s clear that outdoor cooking is a deeply valued custom in the Lone Star State.
Sure, you could always hit up your local BBQ joint to get that smoky fix… But what if you’re looking to try your own hand as a true Texas pitmaster?
Well, with an outdoor kitchen… You can perfect your craft and share your culinary creations with those who matter most.
Just picture it… Your very own outdoor oasis, a social hotspot, and a hidden retreat right in your own backyard. What’s not to love?
But before that daydream can come to life… You’ll need the lowdown on planning your outdoor kitchen in Texas.
What should you know… And where do you even start?
We’ve assisted countless Texan homeowners in achieving their dream outdoor kitchen designs… And in this article, we’ll share some insider insights to help you get started on yours.
So from the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle… Let’s talk about how to craft the ultimate custom outdoor kitchen.
Essential Elements For The Ultimate Texas Outdoor Kitchen Design
Living in Texas, you know that BBQ is no small deal… It’s a way of life.
So, of course you’ll want an outdoor kitchen that speaks to your state’s deep-rooted love for smoking meats.
To fire things up… Let’s take a look at some outdoor kitchen components perfectly tailored to the heart and soul of traditional Texas grilling.
Embrace Slow Smoking With A Pellet Grill
Plain and simple… You can’t have Texas BBQ without distinctly wood-smoked flavors.
Texans have long enjoyed the art of low-and-slow cooking brisket, sausages, and ribs over mesquite, hickory, oak, and pecan wood… Achieving oh-so-tender, melt-off-the-bone goodness.
But while traditional Texas BBQ saw meats cooked over wood-fueled fire pits… Today, those authentic flavors can be achieved with a built-in pellet smoker.
Pellet grills are able to hold consistently low temperatures over extended periods of time… Plus, they can be paired with your favorite mesquite, hickory, oak, or pecan-flavored wood pellets.
And the best part? They’re remarkably easy to use.
Most models can get going with just the press of a button. (So all you have to do is enjoy your food when it’s done!)
Oh, and did we mention that pellet grills have convection oven-like capabilities? Even, top-to-bottom heating opens the door beyond traditional BBQ… Allowing you to whip up delicacies like wood smoked pecan pie or Texas-style peach cobbler.
Want to bring your idea to life?
Never Lose Sight Of Your Favorite Spice Blends
Texas is a melting pot of many culinary traditions… And as a result, the state’s cuisine is not adverse to diverse spice blends.
So as a Texan… There’s a good chance you don’t shy away from spicy, well-seasoned foods. (That is, unless you live in central Texas, where a simple salt and pepper dry rub reigns supreme.)
To better embrace those flavorsome medleys… Why not include a pull-out spice rack in your outdoor kitchen design?
You’ll always have your go-to’s within reach… Making cooking al fresco that much easier.
Whip Up Sweet & Tangy Texas BBQ Sauce With A Side Burner
From Eastern to Southern Texas… It’s no secret that y’all like your smoked meats smothered in sauce.
And whether you’re after the tangy tomato BBQ sauce of east Texas…
Or that sweet molasses-based BBQ from the south…
Welcome West Texas Tradition With A Built-In Gas Grill
When it comes to the Texas BBQ scene… West Texas is in a league of its own.
This region embraces quick, direct heat grilling over an open flame… A feat best achieved with a tried and tested built-in gas grill.
While wood-smoked flavors aren’t quite as robust, here… Don’t be fooled. They’re still a staple.
Specifically, west Texas BBQ showcases hints of mesquite wood… Which can be added with the help of a smoker box accessory on your grill grates.
Keep Fresh Beers On Tap With A Kegerator
It may not be BBQ… But if there’s one thing Texans love almost as much as wood-smoked meats, it’s beer.
And luckily, you don’t have to go without at your outdoor kitchen!
Including a kegerator in your design will ensure that cold, fresh brews are always on tap.
But why stop there?
Overcome Climate Curveballs With The Right Outdoor Kitchen Materials
Now that we’ve covered a few Texas outdoor kitchen ideas… The next step is accounting for your climate.
This’ll give you an idea of what materials to use in your backyard kitchen (and which to steer clear of).
But since we’re dealing with a whopping 268,596 square miles… It’s safe to say that not every corner of Texas is host to the same climate conditions.
The bulk of the state can be characterized as humid subtropical… With scorching summer temperatures, high humidity, mild winters, and frequent rainfall in certain regions.
Western locales experience arid conditions… With searing daytime degrees, and occasional extreme temperature dips come sundown.
North Texas is also no stranger to dramatic temperature fluctuation. There’s extreme heat in the summertime… And come winter, you’ll want to break out the heaters.
But whether you’re struggling with stifling humidity, bouts of rainfall, or drastic temperature drops… There are a few “Dos” and “Don’ts” to successfully counteract these climate challenges.
Don’t: Wooden Outdoor Kitchens
Texas or elsewhere… Wooden outdoor kitchens are always a poor choice.
With near-constant humidity throughout the state’s subtropical regions, decay is inevitable.
Within just 1-6 months… Wood exposed to high levels of humidity will start rotting, leaving your kitchen’s structure in shambles.
And even in Texas’s dry and arid regions… You should give wooden outdoor kitchens a wide berth.
Though exposure to moisture may be minimal… The blistering Texas heat inflicts its own damage: thermal expansion. In as little as 1-3 years, wood exposed to consistently high temperatures can warp, swell, and shrink.
But wait… There’s more.
Even if the heat and humidity don’t get to your kitchen… The pests will. Texas has the highest concentration of termites in the country!
Let’s just say you won’t be the only one enjoying a meal at a wooden outdoor kitchen.
And there’s one final blow… Safety.
We all know that wood and heat are a terrible match-up.
The combustible nature of wood coupled with the intense heat from your outdoor grill and other appliances could quickly lead to catastrophe… And the last thing you’d want to do is invite a safety hazard to your home.
But, we digress.
What else can’t hold a candle to the Texas climate?
Don’t: Metal Outdoor Kitchen Frames
In Texas, metal outdoor kitchen frames should be kept at an arm’s length… And here’s why.
Again, humidity and rainfall are the major culprits.
Constant exposure to moisture invites rust and corrosion to gnaw away at a metal frame… And if you’re living on Texas’s Gulf Coast, the salty air will only expedite the rusting process.
For those shielded from humidity in Texas’s arid regions… You may be wondering if you can get away with a metal frame.
But lo and behold… Excessive dryness poses its own set of challenges.
Come springtime, dry air from the Rockies flows down to Texas’s northern regions… Allowing “temperatures to warm up quickly during the day, and cool down very quickly at night.” (According to a report from the Fort Worth Star Telegram.)
This can result in substantial temperature fluctuations of 50 degrees or more… Meaning “temperatures could be in the 30s when residents leave for work in the morning, and warm up into the 90s by the time they return home that afternoon.”
Cement boards are no match for these extreme temperature swings!
They’ll frequently expand and contract, which can cause pieces of your kitchen’s exterior finish to crack or fall off… And force you to spend time and energy maintaining your grill island. (What a headache!)
Do: Opt For An Island Structure As Sturdy As Concrete (Literally!)
It’s clear that metal and wood are out of the question…
So, how can you construct an outdoor kitchen that defies the elements?
For those in humid subtropical zones, where moisture can be a menace…
Those on the Gulf combatting the coastal air…
And everyone up north dealing with extreme temperature swings…
There’s one material that’s well suited to tackle the crazy Texas climate, year-round… And that’s concrete.
It won’t rot, rust, swell, or corrode… In fact, it isn’t really affected by moisture at all!
Plus, concrete is non-combustible… Helping to keep your outdoor living space secure.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that not all concrete is cut from the same mold.
Similar to cement boards, certain types of concrete will be susceptible to cracking when exposed to sudden temperature fluctuations… And as part of its natural curing process, concrete will develop hairline cracks over time.
For these reasons, choosing high-performance, engineered concrete composite is key! This will have improved resistance against cracking, and will endure for a lifetime. (It’s what we use for our own RTA Outdoor Kitchen panels!)
Do: Include Long-Lasting Countertops
Next, it’s time to consider the best countertop materials.
Now, why fix what isn’t broken? Just as high-performance concrete composite is a great choice for your kitchen’s structure… It’s also a sturdy solution for topping off your grill island.
With durability, heat resistance, and unwavering toughness… You really can’t go wrong.
Yet, you may be after something with a bit more visual interest for your outdoor entertainment space… In which case, a simple concrete countertop may not cut it.
Enter granite… Another solid choice for your outdoor kitchen Texas!
It’s heat, chip, stain, and scratch resistant… And will introduce an upscale look to your outdoor kitchen space.
Do: Select The Right Stainless Steel Appliances
Now, let’s turn our attention to the lifeblood of your grill island… The appliances.
It’s important that the accessories you choose have what it takes to hold up to the Texas weather.
And while you might think you’re set with stainless steel components… There’s more to the story.
Not every type of stainless steel is cut out to endure harsh weather conditions. Grades 201 and 430 stainless steel in particular are often used for outdoor appliances… But will quickly rust, corrode, and tarnish when left outside.
To avoid the hassle of replacing worn out appliances (trust us, this isn’t a fun task!)… It’s crucial to invest in high-quality, 304 stainless steel options from the start.
304 stainless steel stands firm against rust and corrosion, regardless of your climate… Ensuring your appliances stay in their prime (and continue to shine) for years to come.
Outdoor Kitchen Contractors In Texas (Are They Really The Best Choice?)
Now that you’re ready to tackle the Texas climate… Who’s going to turn your vision into a reality?
If you’re after a custom design… Hiring an outdoor kitchen contractor may seem like the obvious choice.
The good news is, finding local outdoor kitchen builders in Texas shouldn’t be a challenge, no matter where you’re residing.
But though they may be easy to find… That doesn’t automatically mean they’re well suited for the job.
When considering a contractor to build your outdoor kitchen… There are a few critical factors to keep in mind…
Are They A Specialist Or A Generalist?
When considering an outdoor kitchen contractor, the first question you should ask yourself is: Do they specialize solely in outdoor kitchen construction, or do they offer a broad spectrum of outdoor living services?
Many contractors have generalized experience with a range of outdoor living services… And their area of expertise is rarely on outdoor kitchens alone.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that crucial details may be overlooked.
They may also be tied up in multiple other projects… And if yours isn’t a high priority, it could quickly turn it into a weeks- or even months-long affair.
Can You Pin Down Positive Reviews?
Next, you should be on the lookout for plenty of positive reviews.
High ratings often indicate both superior craftsmanship and good customer service… Which is what you’re after!
But even if they’re all positive… They also need to speak to outdoor kitchens, specifically.
Do They Have A Portfolio Of Past Work?
An extensive portfolio or photo gallery showcasing past outdoor kitchen projects is always a plus. (And bonus points if they have a showroom to visit!)
These resources will give you an idea of their project history, design preferences, and their ability to execute your ideal kitchen island.
Is Their Build Method Made Clear?
Before signing any contracts… It’s important for your outdoor kitchen contractor to clearly specify their build method, as well as the materials they’ll be using for the island structure and countertops.
A lack of detailed information may imply a lack of experience or attempt to cut corners… Which would leave us with a sour taste in our mouth.
Are Appliances And Accessories Addressed?
While some outdoor kitchen contractors will source appliances and accessories for you… This isn’t always the case.
If you don’t want to be stuck researching and sourcing your own (or ending up with lower-end options that aren’t ideal for you)… It’s crucial to confirm whether or not your contractor has accounted for appliances and accessories before making any commitments.
Is Outdoor Kitchen Safety A Priority?
Your safety is no joke… And the builder you hire should take it seriously.
They should know to follow standard safety regulations, always use non-combustible materials, and incorporate proper ventilation…
And you should never have to remind them to do so.
In our eyes, these are the bare minimum requirements a quality outdoor kitchen builder should meet… And we’d never suggest settling for less.
But before you start searching for a contractor who checks all these boxes… Here’s a word of caution.
Over the past few months, our team has conducted thorough research on outdoor kitchen contractors in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin… And we’ve yet to find even one builder who fits all of the above criteria.
That’s not to say there are no good outdoor kitchen contractors in Texas!
We’re merely suggesting that finding the perfect one can quickly turn into quite the daunting task.
And honestly, life is busy. Finding time to vet local contractors can be downright impossible.
So, where does that leave you?
A Top-Tier Texas Outdoor Kitchen Solution
If you’re hesitant about hiring a contractor to complete your outdoor kitchen project (or if you simply don’t have the time to find the right fit)… You may be feeling lost.
How do you proceed?
Fortunately, we have an answer.
Here at RTA Outdoor Living, we provide a durable, convenient, and custom outdoor kitchen solution across the country… Including every corner in the Lone Star State.
And not to boast… But we always strive to leave no stones unturned when it comes to our outdoor kitchens.
Outdoor Kitchens Are Our Bread And Butter
Outdoor kitchens are what we do… Plain and simple.
Unlike many Texas contractors… We don’t have our hands in various other outdoor living services.
So, all of our energy is dedicated to honing our sole craft: convenient, customizable outdoor kitchens.
It’s our realm of expertise… And when you plan your Texas outdoor kitchen with us, perfecting your dream design (down to the smallest detail) becomes our top priority.
Early on, you’ll be connected one-on-one with one of our Design Experts… Who will ensure that you’re never left in the lurch.
And until the end, our streamlined process means your project will never drag out longer than need be.
We’re Upfront About Construction & Materials Used
Especially when facing the wacky Texas weather… You want to feel confident in the quality of your kitchen.
We get it!
That’s why we’ll never gatekeep details about our build method and materials.
While you can find even more information in our Learning Hub… We’ll give you a quick synopsis here.
Our frameless kitchen islands are constructed with monolithic, high performance concrete composite panels… And that’s it.
There’s no internal metal or wood frame… No cement board… And the finish is already seamlessly integrated into the concrete.
As for the countertops… We offer high performance concrete composite or granite options.
From the ground up… Our product is built to endure, no matter the climate. (And we back this claim up with a limited lifetime structural warranty.)
Curious About Appliances? We’ve Got You Covered
When it comes to sourcing appliances for your outdoor kitchen, we won’t leave you high and dry.
Rather, all of our islands come equipped with your choice of premium, 304 stainless steel components from Coyote Outdoor Living.
This includes everything from built in pellet, gas, kamado, and charcoal grills… Tons of outdoor kitchen storage options… Sinks, refrigerators, coolers, and so much more. (We’ve also teamed up with Alfa to offer top-of-the-line outdoor pizza ovens!)
Selecting your choice of appliances is a breeze… And can be done in just five minutes with our free online design tool.
And with Coyote’s lifetime warranty on your side… You should never have to worry about replacing components down the road.
Your Safety Is Our Top Priority
When it comes to safety… We take things seriously.
Not only are our concrete panels completely non-combustible… Each and every one of our designs also goes above and beyond with ventilation.
To be exact, you can expect your island to feature seven individual vent openings… Exceeding minimum ventilation requirements for Coyote appliances.
With RTA, you’ll never be left questioning the safety of your island’s structure… And you can rest assured that your kitchen is a secure space, right from the start.
We Have Hundreds Of Happy Customers (And Counting)
When working with an outdoor kitchen builder… Of course you’ll want them to have copious experience under their belt.
Here at RTA… We’re happy to report that we’ve helped countless Texas homeowners turn their outdoor kitchen dreams into reality.
Take the photos above, for instance. These are a sampling of past projects we’ve pulled off for customers across the state of Texas!
But don’t just take our word for it.
Let’s hear some specifics from one of our Texas-based customers!
Outdoor Kitchen Texas Showcase: High Praise From Happy Homeowners
Ray and Christie are two happy RTA customers living in the Southeastern Texas Gulf Coast.
Their outdoor living area boasts a stunning covered RTA kitchen and bar island with a stylish stacked stone finish and granite countertops… With cabinetry, a built-in pellet grill, and a power burner from Coyote Outdoor Living.
They love using their grill island year round to host friends and family.
But… What did their road to their perfect outdoor kitchen entail?
Before diving in, they knew their outdoor kitchen needed to hold up to the Texas weather. Wood was out of the question… And they needed components that would stay corrosion-free.
So, Ray and Christie set out to hire a local Texas contractor… But the contractor’s sky-high bid left them less than pleased.
Deciding to take the project into their own hands, Ray and Christie’s online research brought them face to face with RTA.
Our composite concrete panels and Coyote’s 304 stainless steel components caught their attention… And the rest is history.
Ray and Christie worked with one of our Design Experts to craft a custom island that would maximize their space… And when their custom kitchen arrived at their door, they took on installation themselves.
Ray remarks on installation, saying: “The assembly was simple, any questions I had were answered by your support staff quickly.”
(Note: Not a fan of DIY projects? We also have a Pro-Installer Network to do the installation for you!)
From beginning to end, RTA allowed Ray and Christie to take the project into their own hands, for a third of the cost of a local contractor.
And the end result is a beautiful, functional grill island that can be used year round, and for years to come.
What’s not to love?
Get Started On Your Own Texas Outdoor BBQ Kitchen
You’ve heard it firsthand… RTA is an ultra-durable, convenient solution for your Texas outdoor kitchen.
So, what are you waiting for?
Give our free online design tool a spin, schedule a call with our team, and unleash your inner Texas pitmaster with a brand new BBQ island!