What better way to spend the summer period than winding down and spending time with family and friends? This sweet gathering becomes more enjoyable when nature is added to the mix. Imagine having long, sun-kissed cookouts with friends and family. 

It is indeed a wonderful experience that can be made possible with a built-in outdoor grill. By choosing an outdoor grill design, you can enjoy your grilling activities outdoors while enjoying the outdoor sights as a bonus. For a start, let’s first go over what an outdoor grill is 

What is an Outdoor Grill?

outdoor grill

A grill or a barbecue grill (known as a barbecue or barbie in Australia) is a device that cooks food like meat or vegetable by applying heat usually from below. Grilling is an effective method for cooking meat or vegetables quickly since a significant amount of direct, radiant heat is applied.

In the 17th Century, the Arawak tribe of Hispaniola used to cook or roast meat on a wooden structure called a barbacoa in Spanish. The name was later changed to “barbecue” because the former name referred to the wooden structure used in grilling the meat and not the act of grilling.

Grill or barbecue was originally used to slow-cook meat, especially pig but it is now used to prepare varieties of food, like hamburgers and hotdogs in different areas around the world.

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Categories of Outdoor Grills

There are different categories of outdoor grilling devices depending on the type of material that powers it up. Some of them include:

Charcoal Grill: Charcoal Grills are the original and classic grills that give your meat  that authentically cooked outdoor flavor. They usually require either charcoal briquettes or natural lump  charcoal, lighter fluid and a light source to power up. 

The charcoal changes into embers when burned and the embers then radiate the heat necessary to cook food. The high heat produced makes them ideal for searing steaks, fish and large cuts of meat.

Charcoal grills are not as expensive as the other types of grills, they are constructed in a way that makes it difficult to spoil easily. When using a charcoal grill to cook, you do not need to worry about working parts, gas lines, or electrical outlets. 

However, the cons of using a charcoal outdoor grill design makes it a less preferred choice than gas grills. They take much longer to heat up (30 minutes at least) and require a lot of effort to clean. 

Under charcoal grills we have pellets, braziers, portable backpacks, portable charcoal, tandoor oven, ceramic cooker, cart, shichirin (hibachi), kettle, barrel, and square charcoal.

Firewood Grill: This type of grill is also known as pellet grills, and similar to a charcoal grill except that it uses wood as heat source and not charcoal. It usually has an electronic feeding system that distributes  the right amount of wood into the grill, controlling the temperature needed to do the cooking.

In addition, the grill uses a fan to pull in air from outside, speeding up the time it takes to cook the food while the smoke released gives the food flavor just like a charcoal grill. However, the wood grill is one the most expensive type of grills and they also cannot function without electricity.

Gas Grill: The gas grill was invented in 1954 by Don McGlaughlin, owner of the Chicago Combustion Corporation. This type of grills are often used for commercial purposes because they do not take much time to cook  and since they often have temperature control knobs, heat can be regulated easily.

Gas grills are powered by either liquid propane gas or natural gas and require little clean up after cooking. Unfortunately, they are more expensive, their parts like valves, burners, vents require regular maintenance and food cooked with them have less of that typical barbecue flavor.

Electric Grill: Electric grills do not need gas or charcoal to work, just electricity. They are generally affordable and the best choice for those who wish to grill indoors since they do not present the same fire risk as other models. The electric grill becomes useless in areas without electricity.

Ceramic Grill: In the 1980s, Bill Best added ceramic burners to the models of grills. It is another model of grill that is powered by charcoal thus, giving off that barbecue flavor. But instead of using steel for the charcoal basin and lid of the grill, ceramic is used.

Ceramic grills have dampers at the bottom of the grill and on the lid that controls the airflow through the grill. You can increase the temperature by opening the damper or reduce it by doing the opposite. They are, however, expensive, as ceramic is a premium material.

Best Built-in Outdoor Grill Design Ideas Using Natural Stones

While grills can be portable, many individuals choose to go with the built-in grill idea because it eliminates the stress of moving your grill all the time. There is something alluring about built-in grills, it is like a valuable addition to your home.

Better yet, it is less expensive to build a simple barbecue pit than to buy a fancy new gas grill. Having a built-in grill on your patio beautifies it, gives it a homely look and also creates a gathering spot.

Due to the size of typical built-in grills, they are more ideal for feeding a crowd than your standard-size portable grill. In addition, built-in grills, especially ones constructed with natural stone pavers, last longer, are weather resistant, and have a warmer feel than grills made with stainless-steel. 

To get the best results from built-in outdoor grill designs, it is advisable to build with natural stone pavers. There are different designs of natural stone fire pits depending on the types of stone used in making it. 

Below are a few of some built-in grill ideas made with natural stones:

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1. Granite built-in outdoor grill design

granite

Granites are known to be very durable and resilient. When you choose granite for your natural stone fire pit, it will last longer, due to the fact that it can withstand harsh weather conditions, heat without getting scratches, showing signs of wear,  or fading.

They are also good at absorbing odors and are easy to clean or maintain. To clean, simply hose down your granite and then use a detergent that’s not harsh while maintaining the granite in order for it to last longer and prevent build up of grime, cover it with a roof.

2. Slate built-in outdoor grill design

slate

Slate, with its non-porous properties and toughness, makes it an ideal material for built in grill ideas. It can withstand the harsh winter conditions, heat during the summer, heat produced during grilling, and they are easy to clean. Since slates vary from type to type, ensure to choose the types that are dense and will last long.

Some slates that are more porous will easily have stains, cracks or scratches much easier. This can be prevented by applying a sealant on a yearly basis and keeping up with routine cleaning. Since they are also affordable, you can give your grill a long lasting and elegant look without spending too much.

3. Tile built-in outdoor grill design

tile

Another material that can be used to make grills is tile. Tiles are made from different materials like porcelain or unglazed ceramic. A better version of the tile to use for grills are porcelain tiles since  unglazed tiles, because of their porosity, are unsuitable for a barbecue countertop.

Porcelain tiles are water and scratch resistant. They are very hard and impenetrable because during production, they are fired at high temperatures. They are fit for the outdoors because they are resistant to stains, mold and moss growth.

They are also easier and cheaper to install. A disadvantage is that the grout between the tiles can become stained, discolored or be infected with bacteria but this problem can be solved with the application of grout sealant.

4. Stone veneers built in outdoor grill design

Stone veneers can come in either natural or manufactured types. Natural stone veneers are rarely common because they are difficult to install and usually heavy.

The manufactured ones eliminate the problems of the natural stone veneers, they are easy to install, easy to access and can come in different forms, mimicking other stones.

You can stone veneer in the form of bluestone, ashlar slate, river rock, limestone, cobblestone, or  fieldstone. They are manufactured in a way that they look like the real thing. 

5. Brick built-in outdoor grill design

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Using bricks for your built-in grills can accent your patio beautifully, and beautify your garden since their different designs can blend well with any garden setting. 

Since it can be powered by charcoal or wood and not electricity or gas, it gives your food the typical barbeque flavor and at the same time saves energy. Bricks are also known to last long and are weather resistant.

The grilling space of brick barbecues makes it suitable for family gatherings and outdoor parties. A brick outdoor grill design can either be built with mortar or not. The former is not very stable and durable while the latter ensures durability and is permanent. Building without mortar makes it easy to take down when you want to relocate.

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