When is a grill not just a grill? When it's part of an entire outdoor kitchen setup!
While some backyard barbecuers are content to have a grill-on-wheels on a patio or porch, others want to bring all the comforts of an indoor kitchen—and more—outdoors.
The simplest way to achieve an outdoor kitchen is by buying an all-in-one unit that combines a grill and storage space. At the very least, it'll have counter space and storage for tools, spices and sauces. More complex units feature side burners for boiling water, ice buckets for holding cold drinks and cutting boards for intense preparation. Higher end units have built in refrigerators for keeping fresh food outdoors.
Spend some more and you'll find drop-in grills that sit on specially made platforms or custom-built masonry. Most of these run on natural gas and can be complemented by outdoor refrigerators, brick ovens and granite counters.
Even if you love to grill, think before adding an outdoor kitchen. If you live in a climate where snow is an issue, it may require more upkeep to maintain than you expected. Also, if you're planning on moving soon, an outdoor kitchen installed in a cold climate area may affect your home's resale value as not everyone likes cooking in fresh—but freezing—air.
Still, with the right budget and in the right climate, an outdoor kitchen can be a perfect place to entertain family and friends.