Prefab outdoor kitchen kits are in demand again. They are one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to build an outdoor kitchen.
These BBQ island kits simplify the entire process of designing and building an outdoor kitchen by providing all the components and appliances you need to put the kitchen together in one convenient set.
They include components such as grills & ovens, refrigerators or beverage coolers, cabinets, options for countertops, bar centers & sinks, dining space, and more.
However, while they simplify the building process considerably, they come in such a variety of designs, it can still be a little overwhelming to select the right one.
I'd like to help you narrow down and simplify your decision-making process by chunking the vast selection of options into a few categories.
I'm going to group the various types of prefab outdoor kitchen kits into three general categories, based on convenience and customization:
- Finished Outdoor Kitchen Islands
(most convenient, least customizable)
- Modular Outdoor Kitchen Kits
- Pre-Framed “Ready-to-Finish” Kits
(a.k.a. “BBQ island frame kits”—most customizable, more work)
Here's a breakdown for each type—with an example product at the end of each breakdown—to help you determine the best way to get that outdoor kitchen project started:
Finished Outdoor Kitchen Islands
These all-in-one solutions are about as close to one-stop shopping as you can get when designing and building an outdoor kitchen.
Just about ALL the design decisions are made for you—from the countertop and side-finishing, to the grill and appliances—and construction is simplified to the point where many people can build it themselves.
All this pre-work makes them an easy choice and, feature-for-feature, your least expensive option.
The outdoor kitchen island is based around the grill—the most basic and central point of any kitchen.
This is where you as the host, or your head chef, will be based, preparing all the delicious goodies you'll be feeding your guests.
These all-in-one outdoor kitchen islands come in all shapes and sizes—from something as basic as a simple grill and storage cabinet, to a fully equipped kitchen with multiple grills or ovens, refrigerator, sink, storage cabinets, and seating area.
Some of the more expensive options can include roofing for shade, special lighting for entertaining at night, and even a media center with a TV.
When choosing one of these grill island kits (sometimes called “bbq island kits”) start by looking at the grill as the main component. Make sure it's large enough and has enough burners for your entertainment needs.
Be sure to check the options for fueling your grill. Will it require you run a natural gas line to the grill? Or, is there an option to use propane tanks, freeing up the possibilities for where you build your kitchen?
Then, look at the additional extended features around that. Counter space for food prep, an outdoor refrigerator for food or beverage cooler for drinks, cabinets for food storage, sinks, and other amenities.
RTA Outdoor Living 8 Ft Outdoor Kitchen Island
(varies w/ customizations);
Weight: 1,084 lbs;
4 finishing options; 3 color palettes; 4-burner natural gas OR propane grill (separate models); 4.1 cu. ft. refrigerator; Garbage bin drawer/cabinet; (appliance upgrades available)
Here is a basic, mid-range example of a finished outdoor kitchen island kit.
RTA Outdoor Living and Coyote are partners in providing complete prefab outdoor kitchen kits. Coyote provides the grills and cooking appliances, while RTA provides the island frame & construction. You'll see the kits branded as both Coyote and RTA (as in “Ready-to-Assemble”) online.
The 8′ wide, 3′ deep counter gives you over 17 sq. ft. of preparation space after you take into account the size of the grill. Making larger gatherings that much easier.
The standard grill for this island is the Coyote 36″ C-Series Built-In Grill, which is available in either natural gas or propane. (Be sure to choose which model when you place your order!)
The grill is made of 304 stainless steel construction, and features four burners with up to 80,000 cooking surface BTU’s; 875 sq. in. of cooking area, and interior lighting.
Like many outdoor kitchen islands, the interior is completely hollow, allowing for maximum use of the space under your grill.
These quality 31″ double access doors feature duel hinges for smooth operation, beveled trim, and constructed completely from 304 stainless steel.
Keep your food and drinks cold in the 4.1 cu. ft. 21″ outdoor refrigerator. It features automatic defrost, and as with all the appliances and doors on this island, it's built from 304 stainless steel construction. Choose from a right or left hinge option.
Finally, at 8′ wide, this grill island has space for the 13 gallon pull-out trash drawer – with a professional style handle and rollers to make operating smooth, and make clean up even easier.
If you're looking for something a little smaller, Coyote & RTA make a smaller 6-foot option, similar in style and options, for about $850 less.
If you want something larger, or want to expand your kitchen later, Coyote & RTA make bar islands and other add-ons that will perfectly match the finishing and color schemes of their grill islands.
These add-ons can be combined to add sinks, storage, a refreshment bar, and so on to further increase the utility of your outdoor living space.
Modular Outdoor Kitchen Kits
This is where you start to get a little freedom in your outdoor kitchen's design.
A modular outdoor kitchen kit is one where each component of your kitchen (refrigerator, grill, sink, storage cabinet) is its own separate section, or module.
The modules match in style, and each one fits together with any of the other modules in a variety of configurations.
Similar modules, Different layouts
The two great advantages are:
- You can purchase only the modules that you want or need.
- They can be arranged in a variety of ways.
You prefer that the refrigerator be on your left side of the grill rather than the right? You can arrange it that way.
You don't need an outdoor refrigerator because you'll be close to your indoor kitchen? Don't buy the fridge section.
You want an L-shaped or V-shaped island rather than a straight one? There's likely a module that will help fill-in that corner for you.
The first 30 seconds of this video gives you a pretty good example of what I mean:
Usually, these modular outdoor kitchen kits are created and sold by an outdoor kitchen appliance manufacturer. So, you're limited to that one brand for your outdoor fridge, grill, oven/stove, smoker, cooler… and everything in between.
Which, again, is not necessarily a bad thing! It helps to make the decision easier, and—when it's a solid brand—it gives you the extra assurance that everything will match and work together properly.
Usually, these modular designs come “pre-finished.” Meaning that it comes with a nice finished outer surface. It could be stone, or wood, or stainless steel, etc.
The other option is to purchase it unfinished, or “ready-to-finish“—another desirable option for the do-it-yourselfers out there.
This means that you get the framework or structure with the appliances, but without the countertop or siding.
It's basically the skeleton that holds up the counter, grill, cabinets, fridge and so forth, which all fit in perfectly.
Then you, or a designer, can decide on and finesse the details of the finish later by selecting countertop material or pattern, and color and textures for the sides.
Pre-Framed “Ready-To-Finish” Outdoor Kitchen Kits
Expanding on the “ready-to-finish” concept, this category allows for much more customization that the previous two.*
*(Although there is a little overlap with the other two categories here.)
These BBQ island frame kits for you if you know exactly what you want—from top to bottom, from appliances to function and layout—and willing to spend a little extra money and time to have it all.
You have the freedom to finish the kitchen island with a material of your choosing, and in a material that matches your outdoor space.
So, you choose your desired grill, refrigerator, sink, cabinets, countertop space, and so forth, regardless of brand. Then, you purchase a set of pre-framed cabinets to accommodate them.
The frames simplify the process of setting up your kitchen by providing a structure into which you can put all your appliances, furnishings, and decorate with your desired finishes.
These cabinet frames are constructed from steel or light-weight aluminum for strength and stability, with cement board or other paneling for the sides.
Adjustable arms and rails allow for cutouts to fit grills and components of various widths and sizes.
While the cutouts and adjustments will require some accurate measurements and work (as will the countertop and siding) the cabinet frame itself can be very quickly and easily assembled with simple tools.
Many companies will help you pick out the exact cabinets you need. Some will even structure and custom-cut them for you before shipping, so that you'll have an easier time assembling your kitchen once it arrives.
Lynx Grills is a popular “premium-level” brand for stylish stainless steel cooking equipment. Their products are featured on television cooking shows, and you'll find them in some of the more upscale outdoor kitchens and famous commercial kitchens around the world.
The Sedona Series is their more affordable mid-tier line, brining professional-level design and quality to a wider range of consumers.
This ready-to-finish package includes an L-shaped, easy-to-assemble, ready-to-finish structure, in which to put a select set of high-end appliances that include:
- 42″ Sedona Series grill
- Door drawer combination
- Double side burner
- Trash center
- Paper towel dispenser
- Double utility drawers
- Outdoor Refrigerator
The main island structure is made up of two island legs: a Grill-Island leg and a Counter-Island leg.
The Grill-Island leg houses the grill and double side-burner, the trash center, and door-drawer storage combination, while the Counter-Island leg houses the paper towel dispenser, double-utility drawers, and outdoor refrigerator.
The Counter-Island leg is 3′ wide by 7.5′ long, giving you 22.5 square feet of uninterrupted counter space for food-prep or serving.
*(Remember, this is ready-to-finish. So, you'll need to get your own countertop and side-finishes.)
Some quick feature points…
- Two Stainless Steel Burners and one Infrared Burner combine to provide up to 69,000 BTU;
- Direct spark ignition with battery backup;
- Dual halogen grill surface lights, and blue back-lit control knobs for night visibility;
- External temperature gauge;
- Easy opening Hood-Assist;
- Dedicated rotisserie back burner, motor, spit rods, and forks;
- 1,049 square inches of cooking surface;
- Two burners can turn from low simmer up to intense heat at 12,500 BTU;
- Spark ignition system;
- Stainless steel cover to protect the burner when not in use;
- Burners and burner basin are sealed and easy to clean;
- Backlit blue control knobs;
- 4.1 cubic feet of storage;
- Seamless stainless steel cabinet and door are UL listed for outdoor use;
- Adaptable to built-in or freestanding use;
- Convertible to left-open alignment with reversible door kit (included);
- 3 adjustable wire shelves;
- Adjustable leveling legs;
If you don't need the huge grill, Lynx also makes similar packages with smaller grills. The L5000 comes with a 36″ grill, and L6000 comes with a 32″ grill. Both available in natural gas (NG) or liquid propane (LP).
Those other packages are also available at these stores:
Well, I hope that this article has helped you to recognize the various types of prefab outdoor kitchen kits, and how each one can get you closer to making that outdoor kitchen of your dreams a reality.
If you'd like to see a few more examples from each of the categories in one place, take a look at my article 3 Solid Prefab Outdoor Kitchen Island Kits.
If you have any questions about the information in this article, or anything to add for other readers, please add them in the comments below.
Thank you for reading!