There is no shortage of freestanding grill models on the culinary market and no shortage of advice on how to choose one.
When it comes to built-in grills, however, available options and guidance on the selection process are slightly scarcer. This is unfortunate because, for fans of smoked meat, a built-in grill is definitely the best option.
Installing a built-in grill outside your home will ensure the longevity of your appliance because built-in grills are typically designed to last longer and hold up against more wear and tear than your average freestanding unit.
A permanent, built-in grill will also minimize the amount of set-up you need to do before each cookout.
Maneuvering and setting up a freestanding grill and transporting all of your utensils to and from your home can really take the fun out of grilling and smoking, turning what should be a simple and rewarding task into something of a chore.
We believe that grilling and smoking meat should never be a half-hearted experience. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best built-in grills.
Make sure to scroll down and read through our buyer’s guide for pointers on choosing your ideal built-in grill.
In first place on our list, we have the Napoleon Built-In Prestige Natural Gas Grill.
As its name suggests, this grill really is a prestigious unit, and we would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a high-performing, beautifully constructed grill at a reasonable price.
This built-in natural gas grill from Napoleon is a powerful model, rated at 66,000 BTU. Given that this grill measures 500 square inches, that works out as 132 BTU per square inch.
This is significantly higher than the 80 to 100 BTU range needed for consistent heat, which means that this grill will cook or smoke your ingredients quickly and efficiently.
The heat generated by the Napoleon Prestige grill is distributed across 4 burners, the rearmost of which is an infrared burner.
Combined with the large cooking surface area, the 4 burners ensure that the Napoleon grill is suitable for cooking large quantities of food and catering to larger parties.
Infrared burners are known to be more efficient in terms of fuel and in terms of heat distribution. Therefore, the presence of an infrared burner at the back of this grill increases the efficacy of the unit overall.
Napoleon’s Built-In Prestige Natural Gas Grill benefits from its steel construction in the sense that it is very durable and wear-resistant as well as easy to wipe clean after use.
The roll-top lid, meanwhile, is easy to handle and lift, thanks to the long, ergonomically curved handle.
Something else we noticed and really liked about this grill is that the dials and knobs are fitted with SafetyGlow lighting so that they can easily be seen even in low light.
While we don’t have any criticisms of the grill itself, we did find that the instructions for assembly are a little unclear and that the assembly process could be facilitated by a more comprehensive instruction manual.
- Stainless steel construction – Durable and easy to clean
- 4-burner design – Suited to cooking large quantities
- Infrared back burner – Highly efficient
- Roll-top lid – Ergonomic
- SafetyGlow knobs – Safe for use in dim light
- Assembly instructions could be clearer – Assembly can be confusing
Our choice for the runner-up spot in our top 5 is the Natural Gas Grill from Lion Premium Grills.
Made from welded premium stainless steel, this natural gas grill will hold up against the elements. Since stainless steel is also easy to clean by hand, so it’s an ideal material for built-in grill construction.
This is a large grill featuring a cooking surface measuring 830 inches. The 75,000 BTU rating of the grill as a whole comes to approximately 90 BTU per square inch, which is exactly in the middle of the recommended range.
Because the heat of the Lion Premium Grills unit is distributed across 4 burners, the temperature of the grill will be evenly distributed across the cooking surface for consistent, reliable results.
Moreover, the infrared rotisserie burner is a nice touch that makes this natural gas grill specifically suited to cooking meat in the most effective, time-efficient way possible.
Something else we think is worth mentioning is the fact that the warming rack is adjustable, so it can be repositioned to make the best use of space and create the most ergonomic cooking environment.
Unfortunately, there have been a few reports here and there of grills arriving damaged due to ineffective or insufficient packaging.
- Welded stainless steel build – Hard-wearing
- 830 square inches – Large cooking surface
- 4 burners – Even heat distribution
- Infrared rotisserie burner – Fast cooking times
- Repositionable warming rack – Flexible use of space
- Insufficient packaging – Some reports of product damage on arrival
A built-in grill can be a very expensive investment, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
This Built-In Propane Gas Grill from KitchenAid is significantly less expensive than the other options on this list, so if you’re trying to save on this purchase, this grill is the best choice for you.
The construction of this grill relies almost entirely on stainless steel, which is perfect for a built-in grill since it ensures durability, easy cleaning, and rust resistance.
4 of the burners are made from steel, while the back burner is made of ceramic and is specifically designed as a rotisserie burner. Like our runner-up pick, it’s clear that this grill is well-suited to cooking and smoking meat.
The KitchenAid Built-In Propane Gas Grill features an electronic ignition system, which starts up much more quickly than traditional grill ignition systems.
If you’re a beginner at grilling and smoking and are looking for a grill that will provide an easy and intuitive experience, this unit is perfect.
Although this is primarily a propane grill, the unit comes with a natural gas conversion kit included, which means that you get some flexibility in terms of how your fuel your built-in grill.
Finally, we wanted to touch on the fact that the KitchenAid built-in grill benefits from a very large cooking surface area, measuring 930.8 square inches.
While this is excellent for cooking for large groups of people, please bear in mind that the total BTU for this grill is 71,000, which equals 76 BTU per square inch.
This is just under the recommended range, so you may experience longer than average cooking times.
- Made of stainless steel – Highly durable construction
- 930.8 square inches – Extensive cooking space
- 4 steel and 1 ceramic burner – Effective heat distribution
- Electronic ignition – Easy to start up
- Includes natural gas conversion kit – Flexible fueling
- Only 76 BTU per square inch – May result in longer cooking times
On the other end of the pricing spectrum from our budget pick, we’d like to introduce you to our premium option: the Blaze Premium 5-Burner Built-In Natural Gas Grill.
If you’re somebody who likes to cook or smoke a lot of different meats or other ingredients at the same time, this is definitely the grill that we would recommend.
The 915 square inch cooking surface area not only provides enough space to cook vast quantities of food but can also be divided up into different heat zones so that you can cook various foods at their optimal temperatures.
The heat from this grill comes from a total of 5 burners. This number of burners ensures even and consistent heat distribution across the entire surface.
Meanwhile, the triangular searing rods spaced out across the grill surface help to create the perfect sear on meat products for professional-looking steaks.
All burners and heat zones can be controlled via the user-friendly LED control panel, which provides an intuitive interface for cooks of all abilities to navigate.
However, this grill is not one that will cook through and sear your food in a matter of seconds. The total 70,000 BTU of the grill distributed over 915 square inches of cooking space yields a BTU rating per square inch of 76.
This is only 4 below the recommended range, but it’s still worth bearing in mind that this is a grill designed to enhance your outdoor cooking – not necessarily speed it up.
- Separate heat zones – Ideal for multitaskers
- 5-burner design – Optimal heat distribution
- Triangular searing rods – Suitable for intense searing
- LED control panel – Clear and intuitive
- Halogen lighting – Safe for nighttime use
- 76 BTU per square inch – Not built for super-fast cooking times
Finally, we’d also advise you to check out the Lonestar Select Liquid Propane Drop-In Grill Head from Bull Outdoor Products, which is designed for us in built-in grill units.
Like all of the other grills in our selection, the Bull Outdoor Products Lonestar grill is made primarily from stainless steel, delivering excellent resistance to wear and tear as well as easy maintenance.
The Bull Outdoor grill features 4 bar-style burners that traverse the width of the 810 square inch grill for completely balanced heat distribution.
You can rely on the Piezo igniters built into this unit to provide an effortless start-up experience that won’t hinder your grilling or smoking endeavors.
The built-in twin lighting system ensures that you can continue to grill safely even in low lighting conditions, including at night.
What’s important to note about this grill, however, is that its total of 60,000 BTU spread across the cooking surface equals 75 BTU per square inch, which doesn’t yield the fastest cooking times.
- Stainless steel construction – Impressive wear-resistance
- 4 bar burners – Balanced distribution of heat
- Piezo igniters – Easy ignition
- Built-in lighting system – Ensures clear visibility
- 810 square inches – Spacious cooking zone
- 74 BTU per square inch – Under the recommended range
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Built-In Grill
A built-in grill is even more of a high-stakes investment than a freestanding unit because once it’s been installed, it’s a lot more difficult to change your mind.
This is why it’s important to carefully consider the fundamental features and functions of built-in grills before making your decision.
If you don’t know where to begin, you can start right here! This buyer’s guide has been put together specifically to help you make the best choice for your outdoor cooking area.
If your search for a built-in grill is bringing you more confusion than clarity, it might be helpful for you to get a little more specific with exactly what kind of grill you’re looking for.
Most built-in grills you’ll find through online retailers will be gas grills, but these can be either natural gas or propane-fueled. A natural gas grill is an excellent choice if you want a really clean burn with minimal resultant pollution.
You also don’t need a gas canister for a natural gas grill, so it takes up less space. Unlike with freestanding grills, where the need for a gas outlet can compromise portability, this doesn’t matter with a built-in grill.
Natural gas is not as flammable as propane, so there’s a safety benefit to consider as well. Plus, it’s cheaper to run on average.
With that being said, a built-in propane grill will also provide you with a clean burn and will get hotter than natural gas, so if you want to speed up your cooking times, propane may be your best bet.
You may have to make sacrifices in the pricing area, though.
Stainless steel is without a doubt the best overall construction material for built-in grills.
A stainless steel construction will ensure that your built-in grill is durable enough to last for many years, which is extremely important with something that you’re permanently installing on your property.
Stainless steel is resistant to multiple forms of wear, including impact damage and moisture-related corrosion.
Moreover, because you can’t usually put built-in grill components in the dishwasher the way that you often can with detachable freestanding components, stainless steel is the best choice since it allows for a quick wipe-down cleaning process.
Burners (Temperature and Heat Distribution)
Temperature and heat distribution are, of course, two of the most important factors to think about before your purchase a built-in grill.
However, working out how to measure the efficiency of your grill’s heating system can be confusing if you’re not used to assessing or purchasing grills.
Before you start looking into the burners and BTU ratings, it’s a good idea to start by simply verifying the size of the cooking surface.
This will normally be expressed in square inches, and there can be a lot of variety in built-in grill sizes, ranging from 500 square inches to close to 1000 square inches.
The size of your cooking space will be important outside of temperature ratings because it dictates how much food you can prepare at any one time.
Grill sizes are also important because the surface area of your grill is directly related to how quickly and efficiently it will cook your food when combined with its BTU rating.
If your grill has a total BTU rating of 70,000 and your grill has a surface area of 500 square inches, you will need to divide 70,000 by 500 to work out the BTU per square inch. In this case, the calculation comes to 140 BTU (which is very high).
For context, most experts recommend prioritizing grills that have a BTU rating of between 80 and 100.
Ratings higher than this are great for ensuring speedy cooking times, but make sure you are able to monitor the cooking process so that your food doesn’t overcook.
You will also want to consider the number of burners built into the grill. We recommend at least 4 for effective heat distribution, or 5 if you really want to churn food out quickly.
Remember to verify whether the built-in burners are infrared or not. Having at least one infrared burner can significantly increase the efficiency of your grill, both in terms of cost and time.
If you frequently host barbecues or cookouts in the evenings, it’s worth prioritizing grills that come with built-in lighting systems.
You can find built-in grills that come with hood illumination, while others will focus the lighting on the controls so that you can easily access the settings in all lighting.
Speaking of controls, an LED control panel can go a long way towards ensuring an intuitive cooking experience, especially in dim lighting conditions.
LED displays are easy to read, so if you struggle with reading displays close up, an LED screen could be exactly what you need on your grill.
If you’re choosing a propane or natural gas grill, it’s also worth verifying whether the grill comes with a conversion kit to switch between fuel types.
This isn’t always a necessary feature, but if you’re worried about installing a gas outlet for a natural gas grill, the ability to convert it to a propane grill could be a lifesaver.