Why Should I add a Side Burner to my Outdoor Kitchen?

Including a side burner is an inexpensive way to increase the versatility of your outdoor kitchen. For any outdoor kitchen build, we’d wager few appliances beat the value of a side burner, power burner, or infrared searing station. They inexpensively expand your ability to utilize cooking zones, offer separate temperature control, and add massive versatility to outdoor kitchens – especially when your kitchen isn’t built around a gas grill. Keep in mind they’re much easier to implement during the initial construction phase than the “Great, time to rework my gas plumbing and rebuild this island” phase. Though you may be satisfied now with just a grill, there’s no reason to limit your culinary experimentation or multi-tasking later. Plan a side burner into the initial design and your future cooking possibilities stay wide open.

Side Burner Advantages


Side burners and power burners empower you to prepare multiple courses simultaneously. Grill your main course and adjacently whip up those side dishes!

The Power of Wok Cooking

Wok cooking necessitates strong, concentrated heat. Strong spices, splattering oil… it’s both safer and much easier to clean up if you do it outdoors.

Keep Sauces Warm

One of our favorite side burner uses is keeping basting liquids warm. That way, you can baste delicious sauces into your BBQ across the cookout.

Keep Your Kitchen Clean

Move your usual indoor dishes outside — such as smelly or messy foods — so you can stay cooking in one place and keep your indoors sparkling.

Separate Temp Control

Cook with multiple heat levels at once: sear, simmer, boil, and more! Try it! You’ll never be able to grill without a side burner again.

Companion Cooker

Add the ease and versatility of a gas burner to an outdoor kitchen already based around a charcoal smoker, pizza oven, or kamado grill.

Cook More at Once

Side burners add secondary cooking surfaces — especially great for spontaneous entertaining or unexpectedly higher guest counts.

Backup Burner

Guests are arriving and your prep is complete. You turn on the grill… and a burner’s out. A side burner can keep the party going!

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Top Reasons to Add a Side Burner to Your Outdoor Kitchen

Do you want an easy, flexible way to expand an outdoor kitchen’s capabilities without outright buying another grill? If your answer was “Yes!” then a side burner, power burner, or infrared searing station is the easiest way to make that happen. For a more dramatic expansion, bring a side burner into any kitchen setup built around a different heavy-hitter than a gas grill — like a charcoal grill, a smoker, a pizza oven, and so on. But additional cooking versatility is just one perk of many. Want to hear more? Well, of course you do! These are our top 3 reasons for adding an outdoor burner to your setup.

Double side burner and grill installed into and outdoor kitchen bar

No More Running Back and Forth

What’s the first word in “outdoor kitchen?” Outdoor! Who wants to run back and forth between separate kitchens for supplies or cooking courses? With a side burner or power burner, forget the headache and inconvenience of manning the indoor range too; keep your cooking and entertaining with your party! Bonus perk for all our dads out there — less opening and shutting those patio doors means less letting out that precious air conditioning. Can we get a show of hands of everyone trying to cool down the whole neighborhood? Nobody…? Then get a side burner! Or change your locks. Whichever’s easier!

Steak searing on a side burner while veggies cook on the grill

Multiple Temperatures: Zone Cooking

Cooking with a great, big surface is awesome — though you’ll have to cook a few different things at once. Why juggle temperatures for the entire setup when you can add a completely separate cooking surface? While you leave your smoker to go low and slow, finish items at high heat (or apply a great sear) with an infrared searing station. Grill your main attraction over direct heat while going gentler nearby for those sidecar dishes. Take a power burner for a spin with wok cooking or boiling a large pot of vegetables! Best part? Completely separate heat controls!

Stainless steel stock pot over a large power burner, installed on and outdoor kitchen bar

Backup Cooking Surface

Let’s not mince words here — every so often, a party comes along that winds up bigger than advertised (and you’re on grill duty). Everyone who said they couldn’t make it shows up, while other guests strain the definition of plus “one.” Instead of drafting the indoor kitchen into outdoor duty, a side burner or power burner spreads your flare fare over larger real estate. This helps you feed all those hungry mouths at once. Otherwise? Grills age. Burners clog and fail. A side burner grants peace of mind against sudden grill malfunctions, and it keeps the cookout all fired up!

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Top Side Burner Brands

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Creative Ways to Use a Side Burner

Stock pot on a power burner with vegetables in it

Surf and Turf

What’s more Red, White, and Blue than pairing grilled meat with grilled seafood? That’s right — delivering it by eagle. Can’t get an eagle? Side burners still make surf and turf dishes easy with their secondary cooking environments! Meat can handle a heating beating, but seafood usually prefers a sauté or simmer. Infrared searing stations whip up juicy steaks to pair with seafood kabobs; power burners go hard with low country boils. Their wok rings can even stir-fry your sides!

Hestan freestanding grill with a side burner next to a pool

Basting Station

At BBQGuys, we think the perfect steak comes heavily basted in compound butter. If you agree, you probably understand that basting meats on the grill imparts great flavor while keeping them moist, tender, and scrumptiously juicy. Side burners are fantastic as warming stations for those basting liquids — brush butter across steaks, mop BBQ sauce over your ribs, and drizzle creamy garlic over seafood! If you’re looking to up your grill game, this technique is so much easier than microwaving sauces.

2 pots on side burners side-by-side filled with food

Smelly or Messy Foods

Whipping up a mess of leafy greens or eagerly waiting to break in amazing new spices over a curry recipe — cooking isn’t always glamorous, and it often leaves evidence. Why subject yourself (let alone your family) to lingering pungent scents when you can make that the outdoors’ problem? Frying, wok cooking, and plenty of other cooking methods happily spit and sputter oil, grease, or debris across everything near your stovetop. Take that outside and give your counters (and yourself) a break!

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