Anybody can afford a BBQ to cook their food outside. However, there is a huge difference between a premium BBQ system and a basic bargain grill or bubble-pot BBQ. The top of the line BBQ models essentially bring the full gas range kitchen outdoors, providing a cook and BBQ connoisseur all the tools and amenities a professional cook might have inside an internal restaurant.

Backyard Island Systems

The biggest BBQ systems with the highest price tag tend to be island systems. These are permanent installations that go in a backyard with a committed gas line plumbed to the unit for fuel and heat. They frequently come with the BBQ installed into the middle or side of the island and set up similar to kitchen oven range. On either side or to one side will be a spread of counter space and even a sink for some larger units. On the opposite side will be a counter top where guests can sit or food can be placed for serving.

Additional food preparation amenities can include a side socket for installing a large shade umbrella as well a cavity and wiring to install an outdoor refrigerator or cooled keg for beer serving. The island systems also come with a variety of options, so limitations tend to be what the customer wants rather than only a few designs being available. For the truly creative outside cook who has no price limitation, custom BBQ islands can be built with all the unique amenities desired by that client.

Because island BBQ systems can range from pre-produced designs to custom constructions, their cost can range anywhere from $1,000 to as much as $10,000, depending on what is included.


Unlike traditional BBQ cooking units, BBQ smokers allow a cook to utilize charcoal and various herbs and wood to enhance cooked foods with smoke flavoring. The design of these units involves a long, rectangular bed for charcoal and then grills that can be laid on top to hold the food. These units do not come with gas burners. Normal systems involve long grills that are twice the length of a normal island grill cooking area or BBQ rolling unit. They can handle at least ten to fifteen large steaks, and smokers are frequently used to provide BBQ cooking for parties and large gatherings. Because of the size of most smokers, their price tends to be much higher than normal BBQ units, but the units themselves are very utilitarian with little in the way of cooking amenities.

Traditional Rolling Units

A level down from BBQ islands, rolling BBQ units provide the next expensive cooking appliance for outside. These rectangular grills usually come in either black or silver, depending on the owner’s tastes. They are plumbed and designed for propane gas, allowing a tank to be harnessed and connected on the side of the cart frame that holds the unit together. While rolling units come with far less counter space and room for a sink or fridge, they usually have a small, folding counter space and room or hooks for tools. A tray beneath holds more BBQ equipment. The grill area itself is wide enough to handle three to four large cuts of Tri-Tip as well as three chickens-halves and plenty of drumsticks. Most rolling units can be found at larger hardware and big-box stores priced anywhere from $300 to $800, depending on the particular model and brand.


Backyard cooks need to remember the price of the BBQ used does not automatically make the food cooked better. Granted, nicer, more expensive units come with a lot of tools and amenities that can make the time spent BBQ’ing far easier and enjoyable. However, ultimately the skill of the cook makes the difference between a mediocre outdoor meal and a blowout BBQ dinner.

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