Selecting a grill for your kitchen is the first thing to consider before setting up an outdoor kitchen, after which you will need a grill framework that will support your grill and hold it in position.
The commonly used materials for the grill surrounds are stucco, concrete, stone and wood.
Wood offers a great aesthetic view especially when a rough or a really shiny surface is the final product for the grill surround.
However, the idea of enclosing your grill in an airtight container is not great, you need to leave space for your grill to cool off.
It is designed for the outdoor, this means it is not installed with a massive non-conductor that prevent heat from reaching the surrounding as indoor appliances do.
Instead, it releases heat to the surroundings.
Encasing your grill in an airtight box will also lead to its malfunctioning or worse still, cook up the wood gradually until it burst off into a ball of fire.
This is caused by burning wood indirectly for a long time leading to the formation of polymorphic carbon.
Polymorphs of carbon are other forms of carbon that results after long-time exposure to heat. This process leads to the formation of natural oil and gas from plant material deep in the earth’s interior.
Imagine having a good time preparing a barbecue and then have your grill burst into flames. Pressure-treated pine wood is therefore recommended for this type of conditions, it can withstand heat and have a great aesthetic look.
The materials needed for construction should be heat resistant especially at the rear side of the fridge. Some materials to consider are bricks, stone, stucco, and concrete. ‘Hardie’ is another material that is quite heat resistant and made of fibre but it resembles wood.
Marine-grade glass and PVC are also heat resistant and makes a beautiful grill area. However, not all of them are cheap to purchase and you can do some of them with reclaimed wood and other items, which makes them cheap to build.
There is also an outdoor kitchen that can be built right into your deck and it is likely to have everything that you need to entertain outdoors.
You can, of course, pick and choose what you include and the type of finish you want to; wood. It is pretty quick and easy to build and if you don’t have a deck to build it on, you can build a small patio section pretty easily.
Pressure-treated pine, it is preferred to normal wood because it can withstand the heat emitted by the grill, it is also not affected by weather and can last for several years before a replacement need arises.
A cement backer board should be installed on both sides of the wood to provide some insulation.
Depending on your taste and the aesthetic goal you can either have the rugged appearance of wood or decorate using common materials like marble, stucco, stone or tiles.
You can order for a prefabricated countertop from the local distributor or can custom make one yourself using available materials. You should slope the countertop a bit to ensure fluids flow and don’t stagnate.
The process of preparing a grill surround of wood
the grill is expected to fit in the grill support, therefore, the size and dimensions of the grill will tell you the length of your wood and of course the outdoor kitchen. The size of the grill should be taken into consideration during purchase taking great consideration on your available patio or outdoor space.
Measure the dimensions of your grill taking into consideration gas and electric lines that are located at the rear side of the grill. To ensure that some space is left between the grill and the wooden surround increase the dimensions by ½.
You should also make the vertical pressure-treated pine studs about 2 inches shorter to cover the space that will be taken by the countertop.
Three times the width of the grill gives a countertop surface that is equal on both sides of the grill, including the sink to ensure uniformity, and also provide enough storage space in the cabinets.
This is the place where your grill fits. Create the base of the island frame leaving an opening where the grill can be slid in or out with ease.
Fasten the four treated pine studs to the frame using wood screws to provide a framework for the grid surround.
The creation of the island frame offers a starting point from where other construction can follow. Some of these materials come prefabricated and might not need carpentry or joinery skills.
Erect pine studs for the corners taking into consideration the thickness of your countertop.
Fix then together using wood screws to attain firmness. You should also consider the width of the island frame when designing the vertical studs. The countertop and the grill top should be at the same level at the end of your construction.
Attach the island frame to the verticals and the verticals to the corner frame firmly using woodscrews to attain a complete framework.
Ensure that the framework is level by adding furniture levelling feet to all the corners and two in the middle of the framework.
Layout the complete framework to the final position ensuring that it is level, where an existing patio veranda is located the concrete is most probably level. You can use the spirit level to ensure that your framework stands on level ground.
A grill awaiting mounting on the complete frame
Install the countertop
Install the countertop into position if you are using a prefabricated one you can also custom build one from available materials like concrete with marble finishing or stucco. Add mortar or glue to attach the countertop to the framework.
To provide room for storage and the refrigerator you need to fill in the spaces in your framework using either wood or other preferred materials like stone, bricks, and stucco, but for the complete wooden experience, pressure-treated pine studs can be used.
Fix the doors and various storage compartments.
Fix the grill
Fix the grill into the complete grill surround taking care not to damage the gas or electrical connection provisions at the rear. Ensure that there is space around the grill to ensure air circulation.
A complete wooden grill surround
Prepare your grill for its initial cooking by seasoning it. It prepares the grates for you to place your meat on top, it also prevents your food from sticking on the grills.
When you have installed and connected the gas and electrical connection or added charcoal according to your grill’s energy requirements, clean it to remove dirt and stickers that might melt in the heat, then preheat it to sanitize it.
Before your first grilling experience spray the cold grill with a high heat cooking oil and later turn on the heat to melt the oil for about 10 minutes.
Advantages of using wood for a grill surround
- Wood is cheap to obtain, you can use recycled wood or simply buy from the local timber yard. As compared to investing in manufactured products like stucco, concrete and steel wood offers an amazing final look which varies with the type of tree.
- Wood is easy to work with, as compared to other materials you do not need learned skills to perform simple joinery using wood. When using bricks, stones, and stucco you might need a mason to have it all done.
- Tensile strength, wood has more tensile strength than other materials like steel or concrete. This is the ability to support its weight which means less support is required for wooden structures.
- Electrical and heat resistance, at standard moisture content level, wood is a naturally occurring non-conductor and is effective. It can stop more heat from reaching your outdoor refrigerator and protect the surroundings against extreme heating.
- Beauty, wood offers a variety of final designs you can go for a smooth or rough final look. It also offers a variety of acoustic, mechanical and thermal properties that differ with the choice of wood. Pressure-treated hardwood tree poles that are treated to the right moisture content provide all this.
- It is renewable, some conservationists claim the need for preserving our forest by stopping the use of wood products, but wood is more readily available as compared to other building material. It is readily available in a usable state and the overall environmental effect of obtaining wood is safer as compared to processing other materials like cement or aluminium.
- Wood is biodegradable, construction waste for wood is biodegradable as compared to others like concrete and steel that cannot decompose.
Grilling versus regular cooking
- The health benefits of grilling outweigh the fun of grilling in the summer with mouth watering aromas.
- Grilling means less fat, fats tend to drop down the grates when you prepare your meat either barbecue or roast meat. During regular cooking, the fat from the food is absorbed by the food as compared to grilling where the fat cooks off or melts away.
- Grilling retains more vitamins and nutrients in food when cooked over the grill. The vegetables come out looking fresh when they are placed wrapped in tinfoil on the grill. In meat, it preserves more thiamine and riboflavin both of which have numerous health benefits.
- Grilling preserves more moisture in food as compared to regular cooking. If you cook your food right on the grill you will have juicy meat slices and sweet vegetables.
For an effective grill, you’ll need a few basic tools, but in general, it’s a good idea to have at least some basic tools like scalloped edge, rubber handled set of metal thongs, meat thermometer, meat spatula, grill brush, heat-resistant cooking glove, aluminium foil for making steam and a fire extinguisher.
Safety should also be considered when building the grill. Whether the cooking is to be done outside or inside, it is always important to keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Fire safety when grilling also means making sure the area around the grill is clear of any flammable objects. Another fire safety measure is checking the grills grease collection tray and emptying it regularly to avoid grease fire.
Choosing the right wood for your outdoor grill is the first thing to consider before deciding to build a grill surround of wood, this takes into consideration its tensile strength, moisture content, treatment method, availability, and cost. You can now go out there and build your grill surround of wood in those simple steps.
You can replace the wooden grill surround after several years of use, preferably 10-20 depending on how regularly you use the grill and the type of treatment done on the wood. This is sure a lifetime of grilling. Wood Is a good material for your grill surround because it is easier to work with for example of you purchase another bigger grill you only need to make small adjustments this is unlike in other materials like concrete and stucco.