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Advice on an Outdoor Kitchen

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    Advice on an Outdoor Kitchen

    So, we are building an outdoor kitchen and are putting in an "island" that will accommodate a 40-42 inch gas grill, a Primo XL 400, and a sink with faucet. Need advice on a gas grill. The guy at our local BBQ shop believes I should get a gas grill that has ceramic briquettes. Also, other than bragging rights, is there a reason to get a "luxury" grill such as Twin Eagles, Alfresco, Hestan, etc. If it truly made a difference, I'd spend the money for the luxury brand but not convinced it will. Thanks in advance.

    I can’t address your questions about briquettes or luxury brands, but I will tell you I bought a jenn-air from Lowe’s many years ago and was very happy with it. It has cast bronze burners which held up much better than the stamped steel burners in other brands. It has a lifetime warranty and when it finally needed new burners, they sent me a set right away. I just gave it away because I’m moving, but may buy another in my new place. Not sure if they have a 40-42” size, mine was smaller. Jenn-Air was a prestigious brand at one time, but these grills were plainer. It had a rotisserie with burner, 3 zone burners and one side table burner, but no sear and no IR burner. Still it worked very well for me for a long time.

    good luck with your decision,
    Last edited by Bruceski44; January 31, 2021, 05:44 PM.


      It is a great question. I do not have experience with the grills you mention. I have experience with two gassers. Blaze and Weber. If my Summit went tomorrow, I would purchase another one. I would also spend the money on the luxury brand as well, but I just cannot justify it. This is all my opinion. I am sure the others are great cookers.

      I hope this helps.
      Last edited by DavidNorcross; January 31, 2021, 07:51 PM.


        Right now if I was doing a true outdoor kitchen as you describe, I would really consider a built in flat top (griddle) rather than a traditional gas grill. I really love cooking on my Camp Chef FTG900, and think a flat top would go well with your Primo. The Primo has smoking and grilling covered, and the flat top would cover everything else. Griddle cooking is fun, and more forgiving in many ways than cooking on a regular gas grill.

        For built in options, I've seen a lot of nice stainless steel flattops.
        Last edited by jfmorris; January 31, 2021, 07:31 PM.


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Attjack good to know! I will only have room for 2 grills if I do the L shaped outdoor kitchen I am considering, out by the pool and pavilion. So the Genesis and Performer will have to live elsewhere. Heck, I have 5 cookers. No way to get them all into one area unless I want to be relegated to the end-yard by the woodpile and trashcans.

        • Attjack
          Attjack commented
          Editing a comment
          Bobmcgahan That's how I tend to use my Primo. My Blaze is great for fast cooks or grilling where charcoal isn't going to give you much of an improvement over gas. Even when I want to grill over charcoal I prefer using a kettle over the kamado.
          Last edited by Attjack; February 1, 2021, 03:28 PM.

        • Attjack
          Attjack commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris I quickly realized that there was no way a guy like me was going to fit all my cookers into my modestly sized outdoor kitchen. I'm still debating if I want 2 or 3 cookers in there. So my plan is a second covered area adjacent to the kitchen. I may not make my final decision of what to include in the kitchen until I get that second zone setup. If I just go with 2 cookers I have to decide between the Primo XL and EVO.

        I have been happily grilling on a six burner that I bought off Ebay over 15 years ago. The equivalent name brands around at the time were over five times the price of this one. I drilled out the jets to 2.5mm to suit the mains gas I was lucky to have available when we built this place.

        50:50 CI flat top & grates, fitted with a cheap arse rotisserie that just won't quit. I forget how many flame tamers and grates that I have fed this thing. Upgraded to GrillGrates on the grill side last year after reading about them here and couldn't be happier with the results as I'm learning them.

        I must admit that I haven't used a name brand gasser, but this sucker still gets used 2-3 times a week with no issues.
        As a well known tight arse I wonder at the wisdom of forking out heaps of cash for a name brand, maybe I was just lucky


          From what I've seen 'luxury' grills won't really cook that much better, but a lot are made with quality steels that will last much longer than the grills you'll find at box box stores. If I had the resources and lived in the climate that was really outdoor kitchen friendly, I'd be looking hard at Blaze, Fire Magic, TEC, American Outdoor, and Twin Eagles. I really haven't seen much positive press saying Heston was anything really that special.

          There are also several premium pellet grills that offer built in solutions. You'll have some trade offs vs gas, but get more flavor in your cooks. If you can happen to stumble across old stock of a Memphis Elite that was made in USA, they are pretty fine grills, though you have to be very mindful of grease if you smoke on it.

          If you are going to do a Primo it's hard to say if a pellet grill instead of a gasser would be the most satisfying though. In general a quality gasser is going to get hotter and faster than anything popping wood turds.


          • Sweaty Paul
            Sweaty Paul commented
            Editing a comment
            +1☝️. Now I love my Yoder and it does sear well when I remove the diffuser door and crank it up with Grill Grates in place. However, it’s surface area for that kind of sear isn’t huge. I think a large high quality gasser would be good and I like my Saber. That said Napoleon had some nice looking large rigs too.
            Also a big fan of my large Blackstone.
            Apparently I’m not much help!😉😃

          That's actually a really good question for resident guru of grills Max Good . What DO you get when you step up from say a Weber Summit to a Twin Eagle? Is it just better materials, or is there a real difference in how one cooks over the other?


            willxfmr Summit is excellent. As should be and usually is the case, you get what you pay for whether it's meat, golf clubs or cars. Twin Eagles is just a step up.


              Let's break that down. If I have to drive 50 miles, sure, I'd rather drive in a Lincoln than a Toyota Corolla. The ride will be smoother, more comfortable, etc. But I'm not seeing how that translates to a grill. I get that a Twin Eagles is probably engineered like a Mercedes and will probably last forever. But, since I'm not going to live forever, I'm not convinced I should pay the premium. Incidentally, I'm not sure anyone has opined on the most important question I posed -- ceramic briquettes or no ceramic briquettes? Does it make a difference in taste (I understand better heat distribution and fuel efficiency with ceramic briquettes)?


              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                Say no to ceramic briquettes. It will make for more maintenance and cleaning headaches.

              • Attjack
                Attjack commented
                Editing a comment
                I would personally avoid ceramic briquettes. I cleaned my Blaze the other day and it was very easy to scrape it down to shiny steel. It also wasn't very dirty for how many miles I've put into it since buying it.

              Bobmcgahan I've got a Weber Genesis gas grill that is 19 years old. Then again, I don't expect the Weber Genesis II I bought in 2019 to last nearly as long - it just doesn't seem to be built out of metal that is as thick.

              I would look at construction, and for longevity, stainless if possible, knowing that stainless can also get "stained" or discolored over time. That is one advantage to something like a porcelain enameled gas grill lid - especially in black - it doesn't discolor like stainless or lighter colors over time. With my stainless stuff, just keeping it clean is key.

              Having used a LOT of gas grills over the past several decades, I would steer clear of anything that used ceramic briquettes, and look for something that uses stainless "flavorizer" bars or tents over the burners instead. The briquettes, like the lava rocks the grills all had long ago, is a place to trap crud that make sit through the grate, and will make deep cleaning the grill a lot harder than just lifting out the grate and some flavorizer bars or heat shields.

              I was looking through all the high end built-in grills on BBQguys.com, such as Blaze, Napoleon, and the Weber Summit, and none of them use ceramic briquettes. Personally, if its in budget, I would look hard at the Weber Summit, seeing that they sell options for built in use. I've just had such good success with Weber gas grills since my dad bought his first Genesis in 1985.

              That said - if *I* were building an outdoor kitchen, and its a possibility, I would probably be going more budget, or seeing how I can buy a 4-6 burner gas grill from Home Depot and build it into my kitchen. I am currently pondering building a true outdoor kitchen using my new Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado and my Camp Chef 6 burner flat top. The key with the gas grills is of course not using the legs or cart, and coming up with a way to mount it into the counter area with enough ventilation.

              I too would shy away from the Twin Eagles, and look lower end, like at the Blaze and other options...
              Last edited by jfmorris; February 1, 2021, 08:32 AM.


                I'm pretty happy with my mid-grade Blaze. But I would probably be even happier with a high end gas grill.


                • Bobmcgahan
                  Bobmcgahan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ah, but why? I understand the temptation -- you want the best-of-the-best to say you have the best-of-the-best. But will you really notice the difference? Not that bragging rights and peace-of-mind aren't important, mind you.

                • Attjack
                  Attjack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good question. It's not about bragging rights for me. I think it boils down to the fact that my Blaze has a lifetime warranty so I may never have to replace it. 10 years from now will the extra couple of thousand dollars I spent bug me for something I cook on multiple times a week? The other factor is features. For instance, I wish I had a bigger sear burner but mine is only so big while the pro version is bigger.

                I should have mentioned that I was already set on getting the Napoleon Prestige Pro 825 or 665. But then the guy at our local outdoor kitchen/grill shop had me questioning whether that was the right way to go. And, to be clear, he wasn't really trying to upsell me on the higher end brands like Twin Eagles or Alfresco. Rather, he was suggesting I go with their lower end cousins, Delta Heat and Artisan, respectively.
                Last edited by Bobmcgahan; February 1, 2021, 11:37 AM.


                  Originally posted by Bobmcgahan View Post
                  I should have mentioned that I was already set on getting the Napoleon Prestige Pro 825 or 665. But then the guy at our local outdoor kitchen/grill shop had me questioning whether that was the right way to go. And, to be clear, he wasn't really trying to upsell me on the higher end brands like Twin Eagles or Alfresco. Rather, he was suggesting I go with their lower end cousins, Delta Heat and Artisan, respectively.
                  Window shopping and looking at the Delta Heat and Artisan options on BBQGuys.com, and comparing to the Napoleon Prestige Pro 665 and 825, I personally like the Napoleons much better. I am just not a fan of having to deal with all those ceramic briquettes when you decide the grill needs a deep cleaning. Also, the Delta Heat and Artisan options seem to use U shaped burners, so there are fewer overall burners, since each covers the area of two burners on the Napoleon, along with the back of the U. This may matter if you want to setup different heat zones, and it seems the back of the U burner makes for a hotter area long the back edge of the grill, unless the heat deflectors cover it fully.

                  Like Attjack said before - with the Blaze grill he has, or the Weber gassers I've had, you can just take out the inverted V flavorizer bars and heat deflectors and scrape them clean if you need to. Same is true for the Napoleon. With those briquettes, it looks like they nestle into a frame that holds them, and you may end up having to handle each one if you break the grill down for spring cleaning.

                  I get what the local guy is saying about the briquettes possibly evening heat out. I don't think heat retention is as big a deal in a gasser. I do think that with the deflectors and such, the Napoleon you are looking at ought to spread the heat out pretty evenly, even in the areas that are not directly over a burner. That is my experience on Weber gas grills with similar design.

                  The free side of this site has a review of a lower model Prestige 500 series grill:


                  That seems to indicate it has great construction. Meathead noted that it had some hot spots at the very rear of the main cooking grate.
                  Last edited by jfmorris; February 1, 2021, 03:51 PM.


                    Well...can’t offer too much insight other than to say that I’ve had my Summit (Platinum D6 - their top o’ the line at the time) since 2005. It’s a great grill and has served me well for many years. It still functions and pretty much looks like it did when new.

                    That said, if it went toes up tomorrow I’m not sure that I would replace it with another Summit...even if that is still their top gasser. The materials have changed and I’m not fully convinced that they’re of the same quality that they were back in 2005. A Napoleon Pro has caught my eye...but looks alone won’t make me part with my cash...and I have zero experience with their build. I’d honestly be a bit adrift if I had to replace my gasser. That’s a long way of saying that I wouldn’t simply rush out and replace it with the same brand.


                      Let's start with "Master of the obvious" stuff. Each purchase is based on a value equation.
                      What is it that is of value to you? The extremes are the person with only one criterion, price. At the other end is the one who's got all manner of rationalizations, enough to boggle the mind. Most of us live in that range somewhere in between.

                      Here's where I came down on your query when I was in a similar position, you choose what from my priorities fits you. I purchased a Summerset TRL-44, not commodity cheap, not take your breath away expensive (although they've gone up quite a bit since I bought mine 4 years ago). I like quality feel and durable materials with workmanship qualities that show a level of construction above the run of the mill. That last point is somewhat nebulous because it hangs, mostly, on life experience. The body of the Summerset is all 304 grade stainless. Too many folks haven't learned that not all stainless steel is equal and don't realize there are some grades that aren't very rust resistant. 304 is pretty high grade for general consumer use, and is generally acknowledged as very corrosion resistant for homeowner use outdoors. In looking at the Napoleon units you referenced I didn't see any statement of what grade ss it's fabricated from. BBQ Guys usually make a point of highlighting grade and they didn't show it that I could see. So, if I were looking at those to purchase I'd be digging deeper on that. If it turns out they're using, lets say, 430 grade, then their units are overpriced for the material used at their price point. Not slamming Napoleon, just saying it's a point of curiosity. Along with the body shell material, the grates should be 304 as well, and the rod size matters if it's a high btu cooker. In this price range the rod size should be around 3/8", or metric equivalent. Burner material matters. My bias is that tube types burn out quicker, again material matters, so stainless and wall thickness of the tube matters, but still, as a generality, tubing is short lived usually. I had a Dynasty grill with cast iron burners which were very durable, but still needed replacement once during the 23 years I used it. The Summerset has cast stainless burners that I expect to get very long life from. That was important to me.

                      I'm a bit befuddled by the above expressions negatively toward the ceramic pucks. Since the lava rock comparison was made, that might explain it, though to me it's apples vs. oranges. Yes, the lava rocks are very porous and hold "gunk" and are probably impossible to get clean if desired. The ceramic pucks are very smooth by comparison, so any drippings are mostly on the surface. I hit mine with a blast of high heat and then brush with a stiff bristle brush when cooled. Pretty easy to clean in my experience. Perhaps the setup of mine being captive in a two piece platform makes all of that easier than envisioned by others. Sometimes folks can imagine more issues than actually exist if they haven't had first hand experience. After all, that's why we have gas grills as some folks can't stand "all the mess and fuss of charcoal" (a notion that might seem laughable to most on The Pit).

                      The rest of the "higher end" features, zone baffles, multiple lights, individual igniters without batteries, rotisseries, double wall shells, quality hinges, and so on are mostly subtle features that only experience can teach to appreciate. Necessary? Only if you think they are for you. I will say, infrared burners (at least one) are the bomb for certain "get 'er done" processes.

                      I'm not touting the Summerset other than as a reference for "mid level" gasser quality and features. There are probably other similar choices, maybe even some better within the price range. Would I buy it for features and price again? Maybe not one this big simply because I rarely use all of the grate space on any occasion any more. Partly the Covid thing, entertaining has gone down considerably. But, individual criteria again, I also have a bunch of cookers to play with and enjoy the wood induced flavors more so than not. Just the same, a gasser has it's place, and is good for spur of the moment (for example) cooks where wood fire set up is impractical, or is useful as an adjunct cooker if doing a good size entertainment scenario. Nice to have choices............



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