When we’re helping people plan their dream outdoor kitchen at Fire Farm, a lot of people ask, “Do I really need a side burner?” Of course, there’s a difference between “need” and “want” but the truth is, if you’re building your perfect outdoor living space, you’ll find you might want a side burner to expand your outdoor cooking possibilities.
Imagine you’ve worked hard to plan your outdoor room perfectly. You’ve got a beautiful patio or deck, a portico to keep the elements at bay, a fireplace for cooler nights, a TV above it for baseball games (or Netflix!), and the perfect outdoor kitchen within reach. You’ve got a grill worthy of a steakhouse, a kegerator for the best pours, a beverage station to serve cocktails (or mocktails). Above your head you even have those string lights giving the perfect glow to the space.
You don’t even need to go out anymore. You have everything you’ve ever wanted for outdoor entertaining. The right atmosphere, the right grill, everything!
As you’ve built your kitchen, you’ve also been working hard on your grilling skills. It’s not mere hot dogs and burgers anymore, you’re rolling out the gourmet @#$%. You’re set up for multiple courses. Different meats. Sauces planned. Vegetables from your own garden. You’re even grilling freakin’ dessert.
All your friends (or family) are there and having a blast. But what are you doing? You’re running in and out of the house because you don’t have room for all of it on your grill. And it turns out the sauce for the teriyaki burgers requires a low flame while you’ve got all the meat cooking, so you have to make it inside on cooktop. Your homegrown zucchini ends up charred beyond and aesthetic level (bordering on inedible). And when it comes time to grill those peaches and pineapples, you’ve run out of energy and room.
Enter the side burner.
6 reasons you’ll want side burner in your outdoor kitchen:
Certainly your burgers could taste fine without teriyaki sauce. And certainly, buying a teriyaki sauce from the grocery store would probably be just fine…. but how much more awesome is it if you can make your own? However, you can’t make your own and man the grill at the same time, unless you have a handy side burner to simmer a sauce on! Most side burners have one or two burners and can be adjusted to low or high heat, just as you would adjust your burner on the cooktop inside. Perfect for getting any accompanying sauce to the right temperature (and keeping it there) while cooking the main course. Going full steak house and basting your steaks in butter? Keep it handy on your side burner.
Wok, Boil or Pan Fry
Use a wok to stir fry veggies while you’re grilling. Boil or steam vegetables. Cook rice. Pan fry something else. A side burner gives you room to cook differently while still manning the grill.
Ditch the grill yet keep your options open
Maybe you’ve realized that you’re more of a pizza chef or you like smoking meats, and you want to center your outdoor kitchen around a smoker or a pizza oven. Certain side burners will allow you to still grill some burgers and brats for those people who just don’t appreciate the finer points of well-smoked meat. Happily, with those burners you don’t have to sacrifice the option to grill while you devote the majority of space in your outdoor kitchen to cooking the types of foods you really love.
More space and different temperatures
Although some grills are better than others when it comes to zoning (Saber grills are famous for truly zoned cooking), it’s not always easy to truly get different temperature zones when you’re grilling. Utilizing a side burner means you will absolutely be able to control one area of temperature, whether you use the side burner for high or low heat.
Bonus outdoor cooking
Do you ever grill in the winter? If you’ve taken the time to set up your outdoor kitchen and living area just right, you don’t have to confine your outdoor cooking to just summer time. Not only that, you don’t even have to confine it to a cookout. Keep your kitchen clean by doing your pan frying outside, or cooking those more odiferous meals in the open air. There are some delicious meals I rarely make because they leave a lasting mark on the air of my kitchen (I’m looking at you, garlic shrimp). With a side burner, I can take that stuff outside and keep my indoor air sweet smelling. Your family will thank you for it.
Having a side burner allows you to stay outside with the party
The best part of having a side burner is being able to stay in one place and not run back and forth to the indoor kitchen. If you’ve taken the time to set up your perfect outdoor space, stay and enjoy it! You’ve got your spices, utensils, beverages, a sink, the grill you’ve always dreamed of… don’t abandon all of that to watch a pot boil inside (which we know will never happen!). Bring the whole party outdoors with a side burner.