A gas grill is a given in most outdoor kitchens. But a study by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, shows nearly one-third of all outdoor kitchens now include a second grill. Often that second grill is a charcoal-fueled, ceramic kamado cooker.
The versatile kamado brings a lot to the table (pun intended!). Because the ceramic material retains heat and moisture, a kamado can smoke, bake, roast, and grill, while adding delicious charcoal flavor and succulent tenderness to food.
But, including a kamado in an outdoor kitchen can also bring design challenges.
For one, an elliptically shaped kamado is taller than the average built-in gas grill. That means it must be positioned lower in the outdoor kitchen, so the grilling grid is level with the counter and at a comfortable height for cooking. Recessing the kamado in the island also makes it easier and safer to maneuver the cooker’s heavy lid.
Because charcoal-fueled kamados have air vents in the base – and some models even include wood chip drawers, fuel change-out inserts or ash clean-outs in the base – the cookers cannot be built into a standard, fully enclosed cabinet. Its vents must be exposed and accessible to allow for proper air-flow and temperature control.
Another consideration when incorporating kamados into outdoor kitchens: how to store all the gear that goes with them. As pretty much anyone who has one can attest, kamado owners tend to collect a lot of accessories (we’re looking at you, pizza stones, heat deflectors and double-decker grilling racks!). Not to mention charcoal, fire starters, wood chips, ash tools, and other essential paraphernalia that you’ll want to keep handy but out-of-sight.
It’s a good idea to inventory your collection of kamado accessories, as well as those on your wish list, to determine how many and which type of storage cabinetry units to include in your outdoor kitchen. For storing flat gear like perforated grilling grids, pizza stones and griddles, a drawer system might make sense, while bulkier kamado accessories are best stowed behind cabinet doors with shelves. The goal is to ensure enough storage space to keep everything in one place and avoid trips to the garage or shed to search for what you need.
The Valiant Series Kamado Storage Drawer & Shelf from Renaissance Cooking Systems is a new turnkey approach to integrating a kamado in an outdoor kitchen. Combining smart design and practicality, the unit features a platform that sits about 28-inches off the ground – the optimal base height for most kamados in an outdoor kitchen – and sturdy enough to support up to 600 pounds. It incorporates a soft-close storage drawer that can stash a sizeable assortment of kamado accessories, protected from rain and dust behind a double-walled door.
Made from durable 304-stainless steel, the unit is backed by a lifetime warranty. Its sleek design coordinates with other stainless-steel built-in access doors and drawers, making it a smart solution for new outdoor kitchens, or a seamless addition to an existing outdoor kitchen, if you’re looking to add a kamado as grill #2.