Side Burners Maximize Outdoor Cook Times

If you want to expand an outdoor kitchen, side burners are invaluable. You will increase your available options as to what and how to cook food. Additionally, you take the heat and mess of having a stove outside. Side burners are a great addition when taking what you would normally prepare indoors to the outside.

The top side burners we recommend are:

What is a Side Burner?

Like a stovetop burner, a side burner is a cooking surface for outdoor kitchens. When you use a side burner, you can create anything that you would cook on an indoor cooktop. On a grill, side burners are additional outdoor cooking surfaces or grates attached to the side of the grill. They permit you to cook additional food and sides while grilling the meat in the main area. 

Side burners are usually gas-powered. They are smaller than your grill’s primary grilling space, so you won’t be able to cook large-sized foods or big quantities. Side burners cook small foods like sides or sauces.

The types of grills that contain a side grill are gas grills and hybrid charcoal gas grills. Charcoal grills do not contain this feature.


Side burners are powered using a separate flame which means that they cook foods at different temperatures over the primary grate. Depending on your heat, the primary grate can reach between 500-800°F. While this temperature makes it perfect to cook meat, it will burn side dishes.

If you have a grill with a side burner, you can cook small foods separately at lower temperatures so that you finish cooking your entire meal at the same time. Side burners make grilling very efficient.

There should be a separate temperature control for your side burner. It can be easily adjusted to find the perfect spot for cooking food. The temperature can be lowered or raised without affecting anything in the primary grate.

Also, in case of emergency, you can use the side burner as a backup if the main burner is not working. While you won’t be able to cook large quantities, you can still cook some food- just in smaller portions.

To cook vegetables, fill a pot with water, add veggies, and put the pot on the side burner. As it heats up, the water will boil and cook your vegetables. To make a sauce, add your ingredients to a pan, and cook it on the side burner. Allow the sauce to simmer.

Gas Grill with Side Burner

Gas grills allow for more versatility with cooking. Users can cook delicate foods like vegetables and fruit directly on the grill. It won’t overpower your food with the smoke flavor that arises when using a charcoal grill. 

You can use gas grills with propane or natural gas. While there is only a slight difference between the two, neither is essentially better than the other. It just boils down to when you will use your grill.

The performance of a propane-powered gas grill will be hindered in the winter when temperatures plummet since the liquid contained in the tank is unable to vaporize. Propane does have more power over natural gas and releases less into the air. 

With propane, it is recommended that you keep two tanks on hand. However, natural gas grills never run out. You will never need a replacement if you are doing a slow-to-mid cookout. 

Best Overall: Monument Grills 35633

side burners

The Monument grill has four 304 stainless steel burners plus one side and side sear burner. Its 72,000 BTUs provide powerful performance and heat to cook your food. It has a large cooking area, and the cast-iron grates are porcelain-coated. They will provide you with even cooking.


  • Clear lid provides easy cooking viewing
  • Ignition is electronic for an easy start
  • Thermometer is built-in, and center-mounted to monitor the temperature inside your grill


  • May rust a little
  • Temperatures can be very hot

Charcoal-Gas Hybrid Grill with Side Burner

A hybrid gas charcoal grill allows you to use more than a single fuel option. With a hybrid grill, you enjoy the best in charcoal and gas grilling. You have the ease and convenience of gas when you need it but can switch to charcoal to provide a smoky flavor to your meats.

Some models have two cooking grid chambers (independent sections) with separate lids. One area uses charcoal while the other only utilizes gas. They can be used in tandem or separately. You can also run them at different temperatures. 

Some only have one chamber, meaning you will need to select one over the other. 

Gas cooking is preferred when you want a meal quickly for snacks of speed while cooking. Gas simply heats faster. Charcoal allows you to slow cook meats and obtain a smoky flavor. 

Best Overall: Char-Griller 5050

side burners

The Char-Griller offers two cooking chambers accompanied by a side burner. It quickly heats up, making grilling foods very efficient. This grill comes with an ash pan, grate lifter, condiment basket, and stainless-steel heat gauge.

The grill is double insulated to provide an even cook, and it retains heat as well. The body is heavy steel construction, and the warming racks are chrome plated. This will prevent your food from becoming cold. 


  • Easy to control temperature with adjustable charcoal rack
  • Easy to clean
  • Electronic ignition
  • Good storage


  • May rust
  • Designed for small gatherings


What can you cook on a grill side burner?

Side burners enable you to cook vegetables, sauces, or any side dishes that you would normally cook indoors. They have separate temperature control that allows you to cook your sides while simultaneously tending to your meat making grilling more efficient.

There are only two options available when considering a side burner: gas and hybrid grillers. Which one you prefer depends on you since many people debate which is better, gas or charcoal? 

The side burners are great, but the real determining factor is what type of grill you want. Many people appreciate the quick cook times and convenience of a gas grill. Then, others like the slow-cooked smoky flavor of charcoal. Plus, the dual-fuel allows you the best of both worlds. Which one you choose will depend on what your preferences are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *