Built-In BBQ Guide

Built-In BBQ Guide

When it comes to a built-in, outdoor kitchen BBQ, there are many options to choose from.

Our flagship built-in model is the Island Gourmet Elite. It's a purpose-built, drop in and go unit that is perfect for stylish, contemporary outdoor kitchens.

The other option is to take a standard freestanding BBQ without the legs and bolt it onto a surface. This may not be a sleek and stylish as an Island Gourmet, but it's a more than viable option for many and let's you enjoy a permanent built in BBQ experience without the fuss of building full made to sit outdoor cabinets. Let's have a look at the ins and outs of a BBQ built-in style. 



Unlike the Island Gourmet which 'drops in' to a bench top, the build-in BBQ is bolted onto a flat surface. This can be an ideal set-up for a more flexible built-in BBQ option. For example, many trailer makers often utilise this ability to attach a Heatlie to a trailer like the picture below. Some very creative and clever things have been done with trailers and Heatlie BBQs. 

bbq built in trailer

The most common installation is a recess in a bench top unit like so...                                                 heatlie bbq built in

Due to ventilation and clearance requirements, it cannot be dropped into a bench for a flat bench top finish like the IGE.


Unlike the Island Gourmet, BBQs do not have a zero clearance box that allows them to be installed directly next to combustible materials. This means there are a few installation requirements that need to be followed to ensure a safe and functional BBQ. 

First of all, let's have a look at the actual dimensions of the total BBQ unit. We always refer to the BBQs as 700, 850 or 1150, which is just the width of the cooking area itself. The actual BBQ is obviously a bit bigger. This makes a difference when it comes to where you want to install it.

The width dimensions displayed below are not including the left handle, as that is commonly removed from built in BBQs. A left handle will add roughly 100mm to the width of the BBQ. The warming drawer adds 70mm in height to the BBQ.

heatlie bbq 700 built in dimensions
heatlie bbq 850 built in dimensions
heatlie bbq 1150 built in dimensions

Clearances & Ventilation

Built-in BBQs will typically be installed either on a flat, open bench top surface with no surroundings, or a recess/cavity in the bench top. Either way, you need to make sure that the BBQ plate is at least 200mm away from any combustible surface on all sides. This includes wood, plastic, laminate, MDF etc. If your area is made from a combustible material it can use a non-combustible lining, but ensure the backing of the lining is also non-combustible. If your surroundings are made of brick, stone, cement etc., you can get as close as 10mm to the plate. 

The front part of the BBQ must be open and not enclosed. This allows adequate ventilation and airflow so that the BBQ can light properly. The bench height cannot be above the cooking plate, meaning the max height of your recess is 250mm down below the top of the bench. 

These requirements might seem annoying or nit-picky, but they actually serve to keep the BBQ functioning and to keep your surrounding areas safe from heat damage, or worse combustion.  

heatlie bbq built in clearances

Island Gourmet or Built-in BBQ?

Obviously, either choice is going to land you with an awesome BBQ, they're both Heatlie after all. However, one option might work better for some more than the other. We've talked endlessly about the IGE and its benefits on other blogs, so let's ask the question, why would you buy a build-in BBQ over an IGE?

1. Flexibility - Your build-in BBQ will come with security feet that attach to the legs and allow you to bolt to a secure surface. This makes it impossible for someone to steal your BBQ and helps it stay in place. However, you don't have to attach these security feet if you don't want to (Although Heatlie recommends it or safety purposes). If you plan on moving your BBQ around between different surfaces, it is easy to just pick up and carry. This you cannot do with the IGE as it is a permanent solution for the most part.

2. A Handy Alternative - Maybe you moved into a house with an existing stone bench top that would be a costly hassle to cut into or to bulldoze and build a new cabinet. A built-in BBQ allows you to just plop your BBQ right on top with no construction work needed while an Island Gourmet would require a large cavity to be cut away.

On top of this, as long as you adhere to the clearance requirements mentioned above, you don't need to worry about ventilation requirements through your cabinets as you do with an IGE.

3. Bigger - Island Gourmet's are only available in a 600 or 850 size. These both give you plenty of cooking area, but not enough for everyone. With a built-in BBQ, you can upgrade to an 1150 cooking plate for massive cooking capacity on your bench top BBQ.

4. Accessories - Not to say that BBQ accessories are necessarily better than IGE accessories, but they offer a different cooking experience for sure. You can add a splash back to avoid horrible greasy messes on your bench top, warming drawers for keeping large cook ups warm, end tables for more preparation room and so on. Unfortunately, you can't roast with a built-in BBQ like you can on an IGE though. 

5. Classic - Nothing beats the classic Heatlie BBQ look, feel and cook. 

Built-In BBQ Options

The key takeaway here is that the built-in BBQ offers a unique and rare BBQ set-up that is hard to refuse for many. Before making your decision, research our Island Gourmet Elite as well to see if they might suit you better. Either way, you can't go wrong with a Heatlie.

How to Order Online:

Simply navigate to the BBQs page, and in the drop-down menu for "Mounting" select "Built-In".

Back to blog