Skip to content
Home » 5 Tips For The Perfect Outdoor Cooking Setup

5 Tips For The Perfect Outdoor Cooking Setup

  • by
5 Tips For The Perfect Outdoor Cooking Setup

Outdoor cooking is a beloved pastime for many people. There’s something special about gathering around a grill or fire pit and cooking delicious food in the fresh air. From summertime barbecues to camping trips, outdoor cooking allows us to connect with nature and each other. With the right setup, you can take your outdoor cooking game to the next level and create memorable meals.

Below are some tips for creating the perfect outdoor cooking space in your backyard.

1. Selecting the Right Grill or Cooker

The centerpiece of any outdoor cooking setup is the grill or cooker itself. There are several options to consider:

1. Gas Grills

These convenient grills hook up to a propane tank and allow you to control the temperature with burners. Gas grills heat up quickly and are easy to use. Look for a model with at least two burners and quality construction.

2. Charcoal Grills

For authentic BBQ flavor, a charcoal grill can’t be beat. Charcoal imparts a delicious smoky flavor as the briquettes burn. A kettle-style grill gives you a large cooking surface. Choose a model with adjustable vents and multiple cooking zones for even more versatility.

3. Smokers

Smokers allow you to infuse food with smoky, woody flavors for hours at low temperatures. A charcoal or electric smoker makes smoking meat and other ingredients easy, even for beginners.

4. Pizza Ovens

Take your homemade pizzas to the next level with a dedicated outdoor pizza oven. These ovens can reach temperatures over 700°F to cook authentic wood-fired pizza. They can also be used for roasting vegetables, meat, and more.

While there are multiple premium options for outdoor cooking enthusiasts, if you’re on a tighter budget and looking for cheap grills, do thorough research to ensure you get the best value for your money. Quality doesn’t always have to be expensive, but it’s important to prioritize safety and functionality.

2. Prep Table

Having a proper prep table is essential for an efficient and enjoyable outdoor cooking experience. The prep table provides space to prepare food, hold serving platters, and organize grilling tools and ingredients.

When selecting a prep table, look for one made of durable, weather-resistant material such as metal, stone, or high-grade plastic. The table should have a smooth, non-porous surface that is easy to clean and won’t harbor bacteria. Consider an adjustable height table, which can be raised or lowered to suit your needs.

Portable foldable tables offer great versatility. They can be set up anywhere and folded away for compact storage when not in use. Build a customized prep table area near your grill with counter space, shelves, and closed storage for a permanent setup.

The ideal prep table has the following:

  • Generous counter space for chopping, seasoning, and arranging food (at least 2-3 feet wide and long)
  • Shelves below to hold supplies and condiments within arm’s reach
  • Towel bars or hooks to hang utensils and towels
  • Spice racks to keep seasonings organized
  • Built-in cooler to keep beverages and perishables chilled
  • Trash bin for easy cleanup

Having a well-equipped prep table minimizes trips back and forth from the kitchen. You’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips. It makes the cooking process smooth and allows you to focus on your recipes, not running around gathering ingredients.

3. Comfortable Seating

Comfortable, inviting seating arrangements encourage people to relax and socialize. You must create a cozy space for gathering using weather-resistant, easy-to-clean patio furniture.

For all-day comfort, choose pieces with cushions – deep-seated patio chairs with removable cushions are a great option. Look for cushions made with fade-resistant, water-repellent fabrics and high-density foam filling.

If you host a crowd frequently, incorporate seating options with different styles and heights to create an eclectic, collected look.

Having ample, comfortable seating takes your outdoor cooking area from ordinary to extraordinary.

4. Shade Elements

Staying cool and comfortable is key to fully enjoying your outdoor cooking area. Incorporate shade elements to provide relief from the hot sun and expand the usability of your space.

For broad overhead coverage, patio umbrellas are a smart choice. Look for commercial-grade aluminum or wood umbrellas with weather-resistant fabric. Position umbrellas over seating areas, dining sets, and prep stations. Go for a tilting umbrella that allows you to adjust the angle and direction of shade.

Other excellent shade providers include:

  • Pergolas – Construct a permanent wood or PVC pergola. Grow climbing vines over the top for lush greenery.
  • Pavilions – Pre-fabricated metal pavilions are installed easily and offer ample shade and shelter.
  • Gazebos – Screened gazebos provide shade while protecting you from insects.
  • Sail shades – Triangle “sails” mount to posts for shade that can be angled as needed.
  • Market umbrellas – Sturdy 9-foot patio umbrellas can be used alone or lined up to create a shaded walkway.

Plan shade based on the sun’s path. Position elements to the west and south to shade from the afternoon sun. In hot climates, maximize shade for the majority of the space.

5. Serving Stations

Well-designed serving stations help streamline outdoor dining and entertaining. They provide space to set out food, condiments, and dishware so everything is easily accessible.

Construct permanent serving counters along a wall or fence of weather-resistant materials like stone, tile, concrete, or stainless steel. Include shelves and closed storage below.

For portable stations:

  • Use folding banquet tables covered with tablecloths
  • Set up wooden crates at counter height
  • Place wheeled carts or utility tables
  • Use beverage tubs filled with ice to chill drinks

Ideally, set up distinct stations for:

  • Drinks like water, sodas, iced tea, lemonade and alcohol
  • Sides, salads, and appetizers
  • Main entrees straight from the grill
  • Condiments like sauces, dressings and toppings
  • Disposables like plates, napkins and cutlery


With the right grill, tools, seating, and amenities, you can create your ideal outdoor cooking space in your home. Use these tips to plan an outdoor cooking setup that encourages you to fire up the grill and enjoy cooking for your family and entertaining guests in the fresh air.

Most importantly, have fun making memories with family and friends in your backyard.