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Outdoor Kitchen

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I wanted to upgrade my outdoor area to make it a little more livable and fun.  So, I decided to build an outdoor kitchen.  Threw out some ideas and finally decided on building a kitchen area with a grill, side burner, and a fireplace.  It has been a lot more work than I first envisioned, but when I am finally finished it will all be worth it in the end.


First problem was where to put it and what to include.  I knew that I wanted a built in grill and fireplace at a minimum.  Also considered a sink, fridge, ice cooler, and pizza oven.  The small available location wasn't going to be able to accommodate my smoker and didn't think the neighbors would like the low smokestack since it would be pretty close to their house.  Since my kitchen is only 40' away and up some stairs to the deck, I decided not to go with the extras and having to winterize any water supply.  There is room for a future pizza oven if I want to add one.  I ended up tearing out a small block retaining wall and moving the wall back about 3' and then building a cast-in-place concrete wall right next to a sidewalk.


Second question was how to fire it up, wood/charcoal, propane or natural gas.  In the end it would have been easiest and cheapest to just go with propane.  The only way to get gas to the location was to bury a gas line.  It is a 165' run and required an 20" deep trench.  I wanted to use CSST until I ran the numbers and needed a 1.5" φ  pipe and figured out what it cost just for the pipe and then to find someone to install it.  I originally was thinking I could just run a 3/4" pipe but the friction losses for a low pressure run going that far are too great.  I ended up using poly pipe with 1.25" φ for  huge cost savings.  I also thought I could get this done in a weekend.  It ended up taking me around 3 weeks to get it done.  The trenching was a nightmare.  Most of the run was in a tight area, had to move rocks, ground was extremely hard and uneven, and even when I had a nice level straight run the wheels kept on slipping.  I started by getting a sod cutter thinking I could just put it back and save some money.  Since it took 3 weeks, the sod all died and I had to buy new.  The trench width wasn't wide enough to get anything into it to be able to clean it out.  I ended up grinding down a hoe so it would fit and then dragging the dirt to an area I dug out wider so I could then dig it out.  I would probably do it again though for not having to mess with the propane tanks.  Yes I got a permit.  First one I have ever gotten...the county was good to work with and very willing to answer questions and get everything pushed through.  My biggest problem was listening to the plumber I hired to hook up the gas line.  I was running the pipe through a pvc sleeve underneath the wall footing into a handhold blockout.  He told me a 2" pipe was sufficient....it wasn't.   So had to come up with a different solution and tearing out the wall wasn't one of them.  So I had to hand dig a tiny trench directly behind the wall stem and the sidewalk...fun stuff...not.  But I did get it done and then cored through the stem and ran the pipe through then filled the hole with grout around the pipe.  There were other issues with the connections of the poly to the riser too...but I wont get into those.  Lesson learned is never trust a plumber...


So I tore out the little retaining wall and built a CIP concrete wall.  This part went well.  I rented a concrete mixer and used bagged concrete to pour the footing one day and the stem another.  Built the forms and bent the rebar.  It was just me or I would have just had them deliver the concrete in a truck and probably saved some money that way too.  For the stem I dumped it into a plastic kiddy pool and then shoveled it into the forms.


I am forming the kitchen base using metal studs with cement board facing.  The stud work sits on some composite decking to prevent rusting.  Since the footing slopes to match the patio for drainage, every stud is a different length so I can make it level.  I am cutting the studs using a grinder.  I bought a blade for my miter saw but it leaves sharp edges at the cut and I had to grind it smooth anyway so abandoned that.  Very time consuming but probably the best way to go since wood is combustible and metal isn't.  You can use wood if you utilize insulating blankets.


I am in the process of installing the cement board right now.  I just have one piece to go but haven't taken pics yet.  I will start on the fireplace and wood storage this weekend.


Here are some pics.


Formwork and reinforcing for wall and fireplace footing.  Can see the old wall blocks against the fence in the 2nd pic




Can see the handhold here that was later abandoned and filled.


This is where the fireplace goes.  Had to tear out one of the wife's planter boxes.  cut the corner off the patio to make it fit.



Wall complete and gas line through stem.  Starting framing.





Front view.  Can see blockout for grill and sideburner.

post #2 of 29

Looks like a good start so far, You will enjoy it I am sure.... When your done you can come and do one for me. 


Can't wait to see the final pics 


Good luck 


A full smoker is a happy smoker



post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

Havent had much time to work on it lately.  Yesterday was the first day since I posted.


Got the cement board attached...possible granite sample for countertop...




back side...blocks are putting a little pressure onto the mortar where the board attaches to the concrete..


location of the fireplace on left...blocks and base is just sitting there for now.



Now to get to work on the base for the fireplace....

post #4 of 29

Lookin good so far!! 



post #5 of 29

So where is the smoker go? If it is a out door kitchen shouldn't it be able to do stuuf that you wouldn't do indoors?

It would be nice to see a cold smoke box also. But that's me and it's no my build. It does look like alot of care is going into this build. 

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

There isn't room for my smoker to fit in the space I have or else it might be there, it is too big (Lang 48" patio) and would be too close to my neighbors house for the smoke intrusion blowing inside his house due to the stack height.  My grill is crowding my smoker in front of the deck where it is located now, so it will be nice to have a smaller cart to set things by the smoker instead of the grill and have the grill here.  I am not quite sure what you mean by the "outdoor kitchen should be able to do stuff you wouldn't do indoors"?  I don't grill indoors...it will have a grill and side burner.  It will also have a fireplace and wood storage.  There is also room on top to place a future wood burning pizza oven, but don't have the $ for that right now.  I like the cold smoker idea...wish I would have thought of that...currently just use my MES for that.

post #7 of 29

Looks like you are doing a good job in setting up the outdoor kitchen. When we bought our new home in Toronto I was very specific about wanting an outdoor kitchen. At first I only looked for houses like that but then I understood that it is not easy to get a house like that so I started searching for houses with a backyard so that I can build a kitchen there. I finally found a house like that and after I signed the home agreement I bought outdoor kitchens accessories like grills and special cooking range from Best Brand Appliances. I am not a DIY person so I could not have put up all these myself. But hats off to you for pulling out this.

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

Made a little more progress this weekend.  Not as much as I like with soccer and sick kids (which equates to grumpy wife, so had to keep the peace and not work on it)....but soccer has ended so hoping to get everything ready for the drystack rock facing by end of next weekend.  The rock may have to wait until spring since it is getting cold out.  Had to spend an hour on the phone with the grill maker because the gas connection pieces (pipes, regulator, flare adaptor) weren't included for the side grill.  The lady didn't understand what I was missing...guess if you don't have a part number they cant figure it out....so the grill and side burner didn't get hooked up.


Built the base for the fireplace and the bottom portion of the fireplace.  Installed the bottom portion of fire brick.




If  you look closely to the portion on the right, you can see that I got the granite installed too.  to the right of the fireplace, I will build some wood storage.


post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

Worked on it a couple of  hours yesterday after work...looks more like a fireplace now.  Have to break out the ladder now and maybe get some help because I can't reach the chimney.  It has to still go up two more feet.




Grill and sideburner about ready to be installed.  Hopefully get to that this weekend so I can get the gas line permit closed out.


Close up of the granite.

post #10 of 29
Looks great! I'm jealous! I spent a lot of money and time at my last house to do something similar and and had to move! But we have a lot of great memories and BBQ get togethers because of it so it was worth it. I'm sure you will have the same!
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 

Had a very nice weekend, but limited time to work on it...but making progress.  More snow coming tonight and getting pretty cold, so won't get to veneer til spring, but it gets delivered this week.  Should be able to shovel snow and finish the framing in next couple of weekends...have a long weekend over Turkey Day (ham at our house though this year).  But should be able to work on making the doors over the winter months along with my mantel project for inside in the living room.


Got the chimney topped off with last four courses...little over 9' tall.



Fire brick installed.  Was a lot more cutting than I originally thought due to the angled sides.  They gave me more than twice what I needed...anyone in Denver area need some firebrick?


Installed the grill and side burner...didn't grill anything though...maybe some steaks this coming weekend...need santa to bring me a cover for it....accepting Grill Wraps gift cards for presents this year...need one for my smoker too....


This is the side cart...repurposed the cart, the grill used to sit on this from the store.  They made me buy it along with the grill since it was a closeout item.  I will add a facing to the open spot just below the granite and put it next to my smoker so I have a place to put stuff.

view showing everything together...

just need to finish the wood storage framing and around the fireplace, rock veneer, backsplash, and doors...

post #12 of 29

It will be fun to see what foods are cooked here! I love cooking off the back deck!

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

made some progress in last couple of weekends while working between makeup soccer games due to the crappy spring and all the snow and cold weather we have been having...it is ready to put on the stone caps and rock veneer....the rock has been sitting on the side of the house all winter long...







post #14 of 29

Looking good so far,, can't wait to see the final progress


A full smoker is a happy smoker 



post #15 of 29
I'm liking it... did you design it or is it a store bought package with the metal studs ??
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

I designed it and cut and screwed everything myself.  Working with the metal studs is a lot more work and took a lot longer than I anticipated.  In the end, the metal studs were the best way to go over using wood.  There are companies that sell precut modules that you just screw together...I wasn't willing to spend that kind of money especially since my time is free and what I paid for all the studs is pretty close to what just one module would cost.  Another negative against the modules for me was I was going to have to custom cut half the verticals anyway because the back portion sits on top of a small retaining wall I built.

post #17 of 29

Wow, that is going to be some fantastic kitchen when you finish it.



post #18 of 29
Can't wait to see if your done by full summer! I hope you get some use soon!
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

Talk about tedious...this should be the definition...putting drystack stone on the kitchen and foundation...have to cute every piece to square it off and make it fit nicely.


Scratch coat on the cement board



Stone veneer applied under counter


Very dusty work...the grill and counter covered in stone dust from cutting


Foundation wall...went with a different rock to counter the busy strip stone on the kitchen



back of kitchen with scratchcoat...can see one of the vents for air circulation.


Have to find time to make more progress...storm lightening strike knocked out all our electronics and gfi outlets in the house earlier this week...been dealing with that, but been very peaceful not having any tv, radio, internet, playstation...kids actually have to go outside and play for a change...talk about a headache dealing with insurance...caps are sitting around waiting to be installed....

post #20 of 29

Looking good so far,,, So what kind of insurance do you need for an outdoor kitchen??? Because it is connected to the house or what??


So when you get done what are you figuring you will have in this for a cost if you don't mind me askin..


What ever the cost it will be a dandy!!! and well worth every penny I'm sure 


A full smoker is a happy smoker 



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