Get the answers to all your outdoor kitchen storage frequently asked questions in my outdoor kitchen storage FAQ. Learn more with the Grilling Life Q&A.
If you’re passionate about outdoor cooking, there comes a tipping point when your setup becomes much more than just a typical backyard grill or smoker —you have a full-on outdoor kitchen.
But the best outdoor kitchen isn’t just a collection of appliances. The ultimate outdoor kitchen has plenty of storage to make sure you have exactly what you need to create meals outside, right at your fingertips.
Of course, creating your ideal outdoor kitchen can be a bit more complicated than your average kitchen remodel.
After all, these counters, cabinets, and finishes have to withstand the elements, whatever they may be in your neck of the woods.
We put together this frequently asked questions guide to help you design your ultimate outdoor kitchen and storage setup, from drawers to cabinets and everything in between.
Our outdoor kitchen storage guide will help you create an outdoor storage solution that fits your space, style, and favorite methods of cooking perfectly.
We’ll also share tips to make sure your outdoor kitchen storage is safe and secure, so you can get years of great use out of it.
As always with our FAQ guides, be sure to check back often as we add new questions and update the answers with more current information!
If you’re ready to take your outdoor kitchen to the next level, let’s get into these outdoor kitchen storage FAQs!
In This Article, We’ll Explore:
Click a topic below to be taken directly to that section.
What Is Outdoor Kitchen Storage?
Outdoor kitchen storage is a permanent, functional space to help you keep organized, save space, and keep everything you need for outdoor cooking right at hand. The best outdoor kitchen storage options will withstand the elements all while being aesthetically pleasing to the eye and matching your kitchen setup.
Why Should You Install Outdoor Kitchen Storage?
Outdoor kitchen storage allows you to store and organize your cooking supplies by your grill, smoker, or pizza oven, freeing up counter space and allowing you to whip up entire meals outside. Plus, it looks awesome and is a smart investment that adds plenty of value to your home!
What Should You Know About Outdoor Kitchen Storage?
The main thing to keep in mind is that outdoor kitchen storage has a big responsibility: not just looking and working great but being able to put up with whatever Mother Nature throws at it. Look for high-quality materials that won’t wear down or rust easily, like stainless steel, PVC, or marine-grade aluminum.
What Are Access Doors & What Do They Do?
Access doors are an essential part of an outdoor kitchen — they allow you to easily reach any important plumbing, shutoff valves, and anything else that’s necessary to maintain and safely run your kitchen. The best access doors blend seamlessly into your outdoor kitchen setup all while being functional.
What is the Difference Between a Cabinet & an Access Door?
An access door is simply that — a door that gives you access to plumbing, gas, and water lines, but no storage. A cabinet provides you with not just a door, but a place to store tools, equipment, kitchen essentials, and even food inside. The sky’s the limit for storage options.
Do You Need an Access Door Under Your Grill?
Yes, your outdoor kitchen should have an access door within 6 feet (or whatever distance your local codes require) of your grill’s shutoff valve. That means it doesn’t have to be right under your grill, but most people choose to put theirs there for convenience and because it looks nice.
How Do You Install Access Doors?
How your install your access doors all depends on what material you’re using to create your outdoor kitchen. Most access doors will only come with handles, so they can be installed with whatever hardware your material of choice requires. Most will come in kits and are easy to install.
What Can I Mount Access Doors To?
You can easily mount your access doors to wood or metal frames, as well as a brick setup if your door comes with internal flanges.
What Size Cutouts Are Needed for Drawers & Doors?
Whatever doors or drawers you purchase will come with details on the size of the cutout that you or your contractor will need to create in order to fit them. If you are still unsure, reach out to the manufacturer’s customer support and they should be able to help you.
Do I Need an Access Door Under My Sink?
Yes, you will need an access door under your sink. An under-sink access door is essential to reach the sink’s plumbing and maintain it or fix any issues. Without the plumbing being easily assessable, you are asking for trouble and most plumbers will charge you extra should you need one.
Can I Put a Cabinet or Drawers Under My Sink?
Yes, you can put a cabinet under your sink, but keep in mind the critical plumbing that provides the sink with water will take up most of the space under your sink. Just like the space under your indoor kitchen sink, that plumbing doesn’t leave much space for storage.
Do Doors, Drawers & Cabinets Need to Be Sealed?
If you plan on keeping food or anything that needs to be protected from weather or critters in your outdoor kitchen, your doors, drawers, and cabinets should be sold as either a “dry-storage pantry” or “water-resistant.” If they’re not, they won’t be sealed, and you’ll likely see small gaps between the door panels (the kind of gaps pests love to investigate).
Can I Put a Trash Drawer Under a Side Burner or Power Burner?
Check with your local code — some local governments don’t allow a trash bin to be placed under a burner in an outdoor kitchen. Even if they do, consider the fact that that area will heat up and make any lingering garbage smells even worse than they normally would.
There’s a good chance your trash drawer will be too tall to fit here anyway.
How Should You Store a Propane Tank?
When not in use in your outdoor kitchen, your propane tank should be stored in an upright position, with its valves turned off and the regulator disconnected. Try to keep them outside, in a well-ventilated area where they can still get some protection from the weather.
How Far Away From the Grill Does a Propane Tank Need to Be?
It’s usually recommended to keep your propane tank at least 10 feet away from any ignition source. But, as with most of our advice here, you’ll want to check with your local codes and guidelines first, as they may have a specific distance you need to stick to.
Will Access Doors Keep Bugs & Critters Out?
Access doors will do a great job at keeping bugs and other pests out of your outdoor kitchen storage, but you can’t rely on them alone. They will likely be able to get into your storage from other spots if they’re not sealed well and rated for dry storage.
Can I Store an LP Tank Under My Grill?
Most manufacturers won’t allow you to store a propane tank under your grill or anything else that produces heat, so the short answer here is no. The long answer is why would you want to? The heat plus a propane tank could equal not a fun time.
What Are My Outdoor Kitchen Storage Options?
Outdoor Kitchen Access Doors | Outdoor Kitchen Storage Drawers | Access Door & Drawer Combos | Propane Tank Enclosures | Trash & Recycling Pull-Out Bins & Chutes | Full-Size Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets | Enclosed Dry Storage Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets | Outdoor Kitchen Warming Drawers | Charcoal & Pellet Storage Drawers | Outdoor Kitchen Paper Towel Holders | Ice Bins & Ice Chest Drawers | BBQ Island Spice Racks | Grilling Island Cutting Boards
When it comes to designing your outdoor kitchen storage solution, the options really are endless. You can choose styles that match your grill, backyard setup, or just match each other. Depending on your budget you can opt for standard styles, or premium options loaded with helpful features and a slick look.
With that in mind, here are the most common outdoor kitchen storage options and their uses.
Outdoor Kitchen Access Doors
Access doors will be the most important feature of your outdoor kitchen storage since they’ll allow you to reach your water lines and gas connections.
You should have a point of access for any appliance that uses gas or water and make sure the door is placed within six feet so you can easily reach the connections to perform maintenance or make repairs.
Outdoor Kitchen Storage Drawers
Drawers are another essential element of outdoor storage, giving you a place to organize and store your grilling tools, kitchen accessories, thermometers, silverware, spices, dishware, towels, and more.
You’ll usually see these come in two- or three-drawer options. Most drawer options will come totally enclosed and can be ordered to be water-resistant or even insulated to keep food hot or cold.
Access Door & Drawer Combos
If you’re short on space, this option gives you both access and a bit of storage, with anywhere from two to four drawers. Just like standard access doors, you’ll want to install this within six feet of your grill or appliance, but they’re usually installed directly beneath the grill.
Propane Tank Enclosures
Propane tank enclosures provide a safe, secure place to store your propane tank, with vents to ensure proper airflow. These usually include slide-out rails so changing your tank is easy, plus it hides the tank, so your kitchen has a cohesive look. Just be sure not to install it directly under your grill.
Trash & Recycling Pull-Out Bins & Chutes
In the same way that a propane enclosure can help eliminate the eyesore that is a naked propane tank, trash and recycling bins will offer a way to hide your unsightly garbage situation. You won’t need a standalone can, or to run back and forth into the house disposing of stuff while cooking.
These typically come in single or double configurations that slide or tilt out, while the chute option means you never have to open the bin unless you’re emptying it.
Full-Size Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
If you live in an area where you aren’t too worried about the elements, you can opt for full-size kitchen cabinets that function just like the ones in your house. These will bolt together and can come with toe kicks, pullouts, and full-glide drawers. Most options will be made from metal, plastic, or wood.
Enclosed Dry Storage Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
Dry storage makes a great addition to your outdoor kitchen, especially if your kitchen is set far enough away from your house that coming and going for supplies is a pain.
Enclosed dry storage cabinets ensure water and pests will stay out, and your cooking essentials like dishware and spices stay in. You’ll find these types of cabinets with adjustable and pull-out shelf options, and a variety of sizes to fit whatever space you’re working with.
Outdoor Kitchen Warming Drawers
Whether you need to keep your grilled food warm or warm up things like side dishes or buns, a warming drawer makes a useful, flexible investment for your outdoor kitchen. As a bonus, if you have a pool, you can always toss some towels in there to make sure your guests are cozy after they swim!
Charcoal & Pellet Storage Drawers
If you have a charcoal or pellet grill in your outdoor kitchen, consider installing a storage drawer to make sure your fuel stays dry and is always right at hand. Keeping your wood-based fuel dry and moisture free is a must for the best burning and cooking performance.
Outdoor Kitchen Paper Towel Holders
If you’re cooking and serving drinks outside, you’ll inevitably need to clean up a spill at some point. Outdoor kitchen paper towel holders ensure your roll of towels is nearby but can be folded away to stay out of the elements and save space on your counter.
Ice Bins & Ice Chest Drawers
If you plan on hosting parties in your outdoor kitchen, an ice bin or drawer will be a must-have. Ice bins can hold ice and drinks directly, while an ice chest drawer will store a standard ice chest inside of it and can pair great with an ice maker.
And when they’re empty, you can use them as additional storage!
BBQ Island Spice Racks
Make sure your favorite seasonings and sauces are close at hand (but not taking up valuable counter space) with a slide-out spice rack. Not only is the super convenient by saving you countless trips back and forth from your inside kitchen, but it is also sure to impress on your next cookout.
Grilling Island Cutting Boards
Since the name of the game here is saving counter space, cutting boards that sit inside a drawer and slide out when you’re ready to use them will be your new best friend.
Does Outdoor Kitchen Storage Offer Soft-Close Drawer Options?
Yes, outdoor kitchen storage does offer soft-close drawer options! Just as soft-close drawers are becoming popular in regular kitchens, this trend is picking up steam for outdoor kitchens as well. And they’re not just cool — soft-close systems can help extend the unit’s life by reducing the amount of stress put on the drawer slides and protecting the finish of the island, counter, drawer, and any items inside.
Are There Reversible Doors Options?
Yes, outdoor storage does offer many reversible door options. For ultimate installation flexibility, you can get reversible doors that can open to the left or the right and work with whatever space you have. With reversible door options, the sky is the limit on design options.
Can I Buy a Complete Drawer Kit for Outdoor Kitchens?
Yes, many retailers do offer complete drawer kits. These can range from your basic four-drawer storage systems to premium packages with drawers, cabinets, appliances, and more. Plus, buying an entire kit may save you money overall compared to buying each piece individually. It always pays to explore your options.
What Are the Most Popular Outdoor Kitchen Storage Materials?
The most popular material for outdoor kitchen storage is stainless steel, since it’s durable and will hold up great to whatever Mother Nature throws at it. Marine-grade aluminum, masonry, PVC, and resin round out the most common kitchen storage materials thanks to their sturdiness and ease of maintenance.
Wood is also an option, just know that it can fall prey to the elements and takes a lot of upkeep to look great.
Final Thoughts on our Outdoor Kitchen Storage FAQ Guide
If you’re thinking about upgrading your backyard space with an outdoor kitchen, or renovating one you already have, we hope this FAQ guide helped answer your storage-related questions! From the materials you can choose from to the different storage configurations available, this guide should give you the information you need to start designing an outdoor cooking space of your own.
An outdoor kitchen is more than just a convenient way to eliminate those pesky trips to move ingredients, tools, and food between your house and grill. A well-designed outdoor kitchen with plenty of storage space can turn your backyard into a culinary oasis, and help you level up your outdoor cooking game.
Whether you’re simply adding a few drawers to store tools for your built-in grill, or you’re ready to invest in a full-on entertainment zone with an ice chest to serve up drinks, we believe the ultimate outdoor kitchen is the one that fits your personality, cooking style, and space.
If you’re curious about something we didn’t answer in this guide, or if you think of any new questions, let us know by sending an email or sounding off in the comment section below. We’ll do what we can to get you an answer, and you may even end up contributing a new question to this guide!
Now It’s Your Turn
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