Building an outdoor kitchen is a fun but daunting task, and sometimes some hard choices have to be made to keep things on budget (and on schedule). But you don’t have to be chewing on pinecones or eating tree bark in the backyard to make some questionable decisions (both things we wholeheartedly don’t recommend, just to get that one down in writing). No matter how long you’ve been in the lifestyle, even the most seasoned grill masters can easily fall prey to unfortunate planning decisions when it comes to their private culinary kingdoms.

We asked our outdoor kitchen customers about their deepest design and planning regrets, and over 5,000 responded. You can learn from their mistakes, make the most of the space you have, avoid costly renovations, and end up with an outdoor kitchen that truly meets your needs. To learn their hard-won wisdom and help yourself make the best decisions when planning your upcoming project, read below for what they had to say. We hope to help you steer away from impending outdoor kitchen regrets of your very own.

Many of our Outdoor Kitchen Customers Wish They Had Included:

Outdoor dining space with sling chairs around tables and an outdoor TV on a wall

An Outdoor TV

Even in big-budget outdoor kitchens stocked with polished marble countertops, consistently branded appliances, six different categories of grilling surfaces, and enough cooking equipment to catch Gordon Ramsey’s breath — your guests tend to run out of things to marvel at. But not when there’s outdoor-rated television mounted on a wall! Incorporating a large 4K screen designed for the elements into your kitchen offers a few big perks: enjoy having more say in where the party stays, watching the big game while you sear up supper, and plenty of Netflix and Grill all around. Shop Outdoor TVs
Product image of a rollout trash bin holder with 2 trash bins in it

Trash/Recycling Bins

Even if the cluttered countertop is your grilling aesthetic, chances are you'd rather keep them cluttered with what you need: prepped food, BBQ grill tools, and your ice-cold beer. Precious real estate buried under unsightly rubbish is more room for crisp refreshments, wouldn't you say? Why not outfit your outdoor kitchen with a sleek trash receptacle in stainless steel, brushed aluminum, or whatever else strikes your fancy? Many manufacturers design appropriate bins that tuck away into your grilling island to hide that rubbish. Think of it like a grease management system, but for popped bottle caps and packaging! Shop Trash & Recycling Bins
Side burner next to a stainless steel grill on a white brick cabinet

Side Burners

Did you think extra side burners were simply for the no-expenses-spared kitchens? Not so! From sauces and sides to sears and more, side burners make a valuable addition to any outdoor kitchen. If you’re planning to cook for a crowd, you’ll especially appreciate the extra space provided by a power burner, a sear burner, or even a double burner! They give you room to fry up a few more onion rings or warm up appetizers for those hungry guests. If you’re keeping the guest list small, they make an excellent spot to fry up bacon or warm a homemade dipping sauce. Shop Side Burners
Blackstone griddle loaded with food on the grates and accessories on side shelves

A Flat Top Grill or Griddle

Want to spend summer mornings whipping up breakfast? Simply craving extra cooking space? A flat top grill or griddle can easily be an essential part of any grilling kitchen. Besides the grill hood, griddles are usually the largest and heftiest piece of equipment in your grill — and it’s easy to see why, as they can cook a wide range of foods. Griddles are designed to heat evenly and resist warping at high temperatures, making them ideal for prepping everything from full breakfast platters and sizzling stir fries to a borderline pallet of burgers. Plus, with no cooking rods to scrub, clean-up is often a snap! Shop Flat Top Grills & Griddles
Open Camp Chef smoker with smoke billowing out of it

A Smoker

Pork butt and brisket are familiar names to grill enthusiasts — and with good reason. They’re the superstars of many a backyard BBQ, but many agree that the true potential of those thick cuts of meat can’t be truly realized until they’ve been smoked. Smoking can be just as much a cooking process as a form of preservation, and a great smoker can transform otherwise tough cuts of meat into tender, succulent morsels that literally melt in your mouth. And while smoking takes a bit more preparation than traditional grilling, it’s a skill that’s easy to learn and easy to love. Shop Smokers
Open refrigerator on a reflective surface

Outdoor Refrigeration (Or More Refrigeration)

When it comes to cold storage, a cut corner is often grief waiting to happen. Outdoor-rated refrigerators, freezers, and wine coolers will keep your food fresh and your spirits high — and they can easily be added to most outdoor kitchens, especially while still in the design phase. Want to keep your beverages chilled? You’ll need outdoor beverage centers. Just keeping a few dinner items cold? Stainless steel refrigerators are the perfect option for small items. Interested in serving up a fine vintage? Wine coolers keep those bottles at the perfect temperature. We find storage, especially cold storage, often isn’t the place to get reckless with budget cuts. Shop Outdoor Refrigeration
Patio heater on a fancy deck with tables surrounding it

Patio Heaters

When the weather drops, the party stops. That’s why you need a patio heater in your outdoor kitchen area — to ensure your hosting goes toe-to-toe with any sudden chill. Luckily, there are plenty of heating options on the market, with infrared heaters being one of the most popular types of patio heaters. They’re designed to warm you up but not the space around you; that way, you stay nice and toasty without wasting energy or dealing with the maintenance or rigamarole of stoking a crackling fire pit. Plus, the heat up a wider range of square footage, too! Shop Patio Heaters
Outdoor sink installed in a cabinet, with lights behind it

An Outdoor Sink

What’s that sinking feeling? Why, it’s that mounting pile of BBQ tools and dishes, only growing ever higher! A sink attached to your grill island is a massive convenience for outdoor cooking — and many outdoor kitchen owners consider it a crucial need. Rinse your dishes and clean your grilling equipment without having to step away from the hot surfaces and the grilled food to your indoor kitchen. Plus, it’s great for prep work: wash fruits and veggies, professional BBQ cutlery, and your hands — all without having to make a trip indoors. That’s not where your outdoor party is! Shop Outdoor Sinks
Pre-fabricated cabinet island with a stainless steel grill built into it

More Counter Space

Whether you’re rocking just a built-in grill with a few island accessories or a full spread of equipment — we’re talking griddles, smokers, pizza ovens, and more — it’s really no surprise that outdoor kitchens quickly feel smaller than they actually are. Everyone needs room to work that grilling magic; if you’ve got the space, consider adding bonus countertop area to your outdoor kitchen for valuable prep space. Most customers we surveyed agreed: they wished they’d invested more into their outdoor kitchen surfaces, because cooking up for the crew can turn simple prepping and grilling into barely-contained chaos. Save the space micromanagement for what’s going on under the lid. Shop DIY Kitchen Islands
Ooni Karu pizza oven on a table, with string lights behind it

Pizza Ovens

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: pizza is king. That makes pizza ovens the royal processional. Slice up that wood-fired pie and it becomes full-fledged royalty, the center of attention at the party. When you’re the homeowner with the pizza oven in your outdoor kitchen, a little preparation will make those pies instantly become the talk of your events. Plus, it’s the perfect complement to your outdoor kitchen. Not only does it kick your cooking to the next level — at least, for those who love a good slice — but it’s also an impressive and unique showstopper. Shop Pizza Ovens
Blaze grill on an island with wooden storage doors and drawers

Bonus: More Kitchen Storage for Accessories

Wood adds a smoked accent to your meal and can really enhance your grilling experience. Try filling a smoker box with your favorite wood chips to spice things up on the grill, infusing smoky aromas of hickory, apple, pecan, and more. The BBQGuys Signature Smoker Box can be used on either charcoal or gas grills to provide layers of delicious flavor to food. Shop Kitchen Storage

How BBQGuys Can Help

Need to get started? Why not check out our our Outdoor Kitchen Checklist for kitchen ideas suiting any budget? Take it a step further and browse our outdoor kitchen buying guides, covering everything from how to buy outdoor refrigeration to outdoor kitchen storage and more. Narrow down your choices with our top-rated products lists, like our best outdoor refrigerators. And if you need inspiration, we’ve always got featured spaces, benefits articles, and more under our Outdoor Kitchen Ideas page.

We’d be remiss to not mention our free outdoor kitchen 3D design service. Simply fill out our easy design form, let our design team contact you, and receive fantastic 3D renderings depicting your dream outdoor kitchen in high-quality imagery. We’ve got example kitchens posted covering small spaces, the essentials, bar connoisseurs, and much more. For questions and more, give our incredibly knowledgeable outdoor living experts a call at 1-877-958-0195!