My ODK Build in Houston


Well-known member
Jan 7, 2013
Friendswood, TX
BBQ Build

The build happened a few years ago. I have a detailed thread on another forum but will transfer the relevant information here as that forum seemed to have gone silent.

Brief description:
15'x15' covered patio with a 15'x20' concrete slab.
11'-6" Straight Island (on the 5' uncovered portion of the concrete)
One end of the island is against my house
Frame from BBQ Coach 20 gauge galv, screwed together with zinc coating on all screws and cuts
Trex base
1/4 Durock Cement board on all sides
1/2 Hardie on top
Granite Tile on countertop, laid with thin set, smallest grout lines possible, grouted with silicone
Thin Austin Creme limestone veneer all sides
All appliances are LP and island will be vented
Blaze 32" Gas grill
Blaze Double Side Burner
Primo Oval XL (still under consideration)
Various BBQ Guys stainless steel doors

Here are some design drawings done in Visio

Overall Plan:

Kitchen Detail Elevation:

I framed it in my garage and then carried it out back for installation on the concret pad. Various photos at steel frame construction stages:



Test fit grill:

Test fit doors, grill, and side burner. Doors not at proper elevation due to not knowing what counter top material I am going to use and how much height to compensate for:

All modules built. The Primo cutout isn't yet installed as it hasn't arrive to get proper dimensions yet.

I have moved it around back (sorry no picks. It is freezing and wet in Houston) and covered it with 3.5 mil plastic due to the rain.

Here are pictures in place:


And what I am thinking ant for the concrete countertops.

Progress for the day:


and a little test run:

Got some progress done today. Finished the cutouts for the doors, side burner, vents, and primo. Finished the Cement board all around as well. Haven't decided how I am going to finish the primo. I am leaning towards open front because of easy access. Need to order rock to get the counter overhang right then install the top 1/2" hardi for the concrete counters.




Ok guys... First real issue I haven't been able to think through. I am trying to do cast in place concrete counters and am tying to figure out how to frame them.

On top of the studs is 1/2" hardi, not an issue. The problem is attaching the edge boards. The walls will be rocked with 1.5" limestone using probably 1/2" of thinset, then I need a little overhang maybe 1", then I am using silicone edge moulding that is 1.25" thick. So the total overhang is 4.25". After the councrete is set I will cut the hardi overhang off and rock right up to the concrete.

Here is a detail:

This creates two issues:
1) How to support the overhang? I believe I could construct a frame with wood studs under the hardi that is temporary.
2) How do I frame the edge pieces on to the 1/2" hardi? I did a couple test screws and the hardi splits every time. Do I frame into the under support for the overhang?

I was trying not to make it too complicated, but this is the best I could come up with. Since I can't make the counter substrate out of 1" plywood (which is **** near self supporting with a 4" overhang) which I could screw right into, I am in a little pickle.

- - - Updated - - -

Molds and stain for concrete came in. Framed the countertop with cutouts for Primo, Grill and side burner.


Rounded outside corners.

Rough Rock detail

I bought the edge mold from Expressions LTD along with the acid stain. They have quite a few videos on YouTube.

As for leveling I shimmed under the 1/2" Hardi. Figured that was the easiest. All I was looking for is a level of the edge molds. The area inside the mold can have highs and lows and it doesn't matter.

I shimmed it so there is a slight pitch to the back as the island isn't under cover.
I pulled the edge off a couple of days ago to help it dry. Not too bad. A few pinholes all around that I might hit with a slurry this weekend. I used a reciprocating saw, without the blade, on all the edges over and over to work out a lot of the bubbles. Due to the nature of the silicone edge I used, rough rock, some bubbles were still traped but not many.

I also started to cut the 1/2" hardi from the overhang. Lining the overhang top with wide box tape worked perfectly! The hardi isn't attached to the concrete at all. It is a little messy getting the hardi off though. I was able to get the grill in place last night. I created small cut outs of the concrete (put extra wood in there) so that the grill slide into the edge a little. I think it looks good.

This was the first time I tried to make concrete smooth. It was difficult and it did not come out perfect. I have a few spots that are great but it is definetly not garage floor smooth. I didn't order the diamond pads when I got the stain and edge so I started to sand with 220 grit regular sand paper last night. Just so you know a 4x4 square of 220 sand paper from Home Depot is good for about 2 square inches before it gets burned up. Unfortunately HD doesn't carry diamond paper so I will have to order it.

Anyway... Here are some progress photos.

Edge detail with Thin Limestone piece

Rounded outside corners. The inner edge here is smooth because it is where the Primo will sit. I thought rock face might look funny.

Front cutout is Primo, middle is grill, far is side burner

Grill set in place. It slide nicely into the form.

The space below the grill is a little large. I will need to modify the hardi before I do rock face.

Actually I have made some progress. The sanding pads did in fact come in. 200 400 and 800 grit dry 5" diamond pads. I started with the 200grit and used maybe half a pad. Then hit it with 400. I read that sometimes at 800 the acid doesn't etch as well so I never used them.

After sanding to where the aggregate started to show I stopped. Not the look I was going for. No pics of the sanding sorry. I will say it wasn't that hard. I waited maybe 10 days after pour and it sanded really easy.

I then started the rock while I was waiting for the remaining 18 days (28 total) recommended curring days prior to stain.

I draped 3.5mil plastic around the island and did the acid stain. It was really easy as well.


Here is the stain prior to ammonia / water neutralization and wash.

I waited roughly 48 hours before sealing with a matte sealer. Also very easy. It was applied with a short nap roller in no time.

Here is the same spot with sealer as before.

And on other area.

I then adhered the remainder of the rock in place with construction adhesive. Little harder than tile but same concept. Cutting the rocks was the hard part because I was using a tile saw that couldn't cut the depth of the rock in one pass.

Here are a few pictures of the rock up.


I am now working on the mortar in between the rock little by little. Here is the end with finished mortar.

Then mount the lights in place and I am done!

So I finally finished it. Rock, Mortar, counter, plugs, lights, etc..... 100% by me.



Front at night with grill light on


Back at night with grill light on

Grill light off

Front grill light off

All in all it turned out just how I imagined it when I started planning in December. Took long but seeing as how my third kid was born in February I think the delay is quite justifiable.

I hope people get to learn from what I did and benefit.

When we built our house a year ago I asked the builder what an outdoor kitchen would cost. What they would have provided is much less than what I built. Their estimate price was $15,000!!! I did all the labor my self, it took working a few days a month from December to May (1 month for the countertop to cure prior to sanding and staining), and I waited on materials a lot as I didn't order anything till I knew exactly what I wanted.

So here is the final cost breakdown:

Gas Grill, Side Burner, and Doors - $2,100
Primo - $1,361
Rock - $1,077
Steel Frame - $439
Concrete Countertop Edge, Stain, and Pads - $483
Cement Backer Board and Screws - $200
Low Voltage Lighting and Transformer - $193
Concrete Adhesive - $148
Electrical Supplies - $118
Trex Footing and Anchors - $98
Countertop support, frame, and tools - $97
Mortar - $40

Total Cost $6,355

So it's been 8 months and I have smoked/grilled hundreds of pounds of meat for days and days. Figured I would add a few comments since I have been using it.

I really like the Blaze Grill and Primo smoker!! Only melted the primo gasket once when it hit 950*!!

Couple of things I modified:
Drilled holes in the drip pans to add a drain via 1/2" poly Tubing to one of the lower vents
Purchased the IR burner for the Blaze

Things I would do different:
I would add pull out drawers or shelves to at least one of the doors
Place the low voltage transformer on the inside
Add a layer of waterproofing on the hardibacker

Things that kinda don't work:
The side burner doesn't work as well as the stove inside. I guess with the wind it doesn't get hot enough.

Things I love:
Having all the low voltage lights
Multiple outlets
A huge space between the grills for prep
Ah one more tip.

I used an 18V recipricating saw with the blade removed as underneath the hardi to help force air bubbles out. Since I have the silicone mold (really suggest you do this it looks awesome) I went down the edges as well.

This also helps work the aggregate down and 'cream' up so that when you sand it you don't expose rock (unless you want that look).

I think I only sanded with 400 and 600. I used less than 1/3 pad each. Got them from the same place I got the edge and stain from.

If you have an overhang more than 6-8" I would think about putting 1x2 under it to help support. My did start bowing with the weight of the concrete in on corner.

And don't start smoothing too soon. Get the nicest tools you can for smoothing the concrete to get the perfect finish. I probably waited almost an hour till I smoothed mine.

The good thing is, if you don't like it your only out the cost of the concrete and you can start over.

Good luck!!


Well-known member
Jan 7, 2013
Friendswood, TX
I like my Blaze grill. It is the house brand of The gas grill will get to about 600* at the grate in the back. There is a large air vent at the top rear. I have often thought about adding some stainless sheet metal to close it off, but haven't yet. If I want super hot I fire up my primo!

The IR burner for the blaze grill does get hot, but it is so low below the grate that you can't use it affectively.

The side burner is a nice novelty but kind of useless in my backyard. It is real susceptible to wind. If you have any sort of wind or draft near your kitchen the burners are just simply not large enough to bring something to a good boil or do vegetables for fajitas.

I would definitely buy a Blaze grill again but would look for something with a higher BTU burner.


LifeTime Supporter
I recently ran a gas line to my patio for a NG grill and got the Weber Spirit E310. When you turn on the gas it sounds like a jet plane flying over the house. It's the hottest grill I've ever owned. :D And surprisingly does not burn the food.


Well-known member
Jan 7, 2013
Friendswood, TX
Thanks everyone. Now that I know how to do it I would definitely do it again.

When we built our house the builder would make one for roughly $15,000. Of course it would be as nice either. Rediculous how much these things can cost.

chris fox

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2013
Phoenix area
Nice work! I am starting my bbq island build this week - not as massive as your island. I am also will be using a Blaze grill(32").
Looking for a couple of pointers on a few things:
1. I am looking at a 30" double door just below the grill for tank storage. But thinking of a tank pullout drawer and drawers to hide bbq tools, paper towels etc. My island length is only 84". Any suggestions on access?
2. I live in phoenix, and looking to add a drop in ice chest vs. fridge. My understanding is the island fridges only get about 30 below ambient so when its 115 my beverages wont be cold! The issue with a drop in cooler is loss of counter top. Or I could walk 20 ft to the kitchen. Anyone here use a mini outdoor fridge on their island or drop in ice chest? suggestions?

thanks in advance...Chris


Well-known member
Jan 7, 2013
Friendswood, TX

I have a mini fridge from Homedepot that is under shade and protected from rain. It gets much colder than ones in a BBQ island. The ones in the island also will generate heat in the enclosed space which makes them run less efficient. Mine is like $100 and they last 3-4 years before I replace them. I would not give up counter space of you have space protected from rain where you can stick an independent fridge.

As you can see I have a single door under my side burner. That is the propane access door. The double doors hold tools, charcoal, wood chunks, etc.

I don't know what your layout is but a drawer for the propane bottle is not efficient. If your supply hoses are long enough you can stick the bottle more toward the back and just pull it out when you need to. It's hard to reach around the tank to get tools.

However the one thing I wish I did (and might retrofit) is a sliding drawer for tool and charcoal storage. It would be very helpful. In addition at the minimum try to build a raised base. If your island can get wet the mortor, door frames, grill edges will leak and the inside floor can get wet.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


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chris fox

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2013
Phoenix area
Thanks Paul,

All great points. I decided not to do the drop in, after further layout and loss of counter top wouldn't leave me hardly any area left up top.
A fridge below could always be added on the side opposite of the grill. I like the idea of a drawer and found 2 on the bbqguys website. just need to figure the distance below the grill while maintaining a 36" counter.


LifeTime Supporter
Jun 19, 2014
Sanger, TX
One other thought related to the fridge (and depending on what you planned to use it for) - but we almost opted out of the fridge in lieu of using an old fashion (looking) ice cooler. Like the ones that have Coca Cola or in our case Texas memorabilia as a standalone cooler. it would mean you'd have to put toppings likes onions, lettuce etc in Tupperware before sticking in the ice cooler. Because that would require planning ahead - we ended up sticking with the fridge but I just wanted to throw that out there. - Karen


Well-known member
Nov 13, 2013
Pearland, TX
For the "drop in" style cooler in the island I would be hesitant because of condesation especially in Texas. I wonder if there would be a wet mess inside the island becuase of humidity and condensation.


LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2011
Friendswood, TX
For the "drop in" style cooler in the island I would be hesitant because of condesation especially in Texas. I wonder if there would be a wet mess inside the island becuase of humidity and condensation.
The drop-ins are fairly well insulated. It's not a problem in my experience-been through lots of ice over the years! But, heck if you have the space, a mini fridge is awesome. But I'd also have a drop-in as well.

chris fox

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2013
Phoenix area

One thing I forgot to ask, a few post above you show a detail C. What are those yellow details below the steel stud framing of the grill. It appears to be a spacer to let water flow below and or water to run out, prevent collection of water.
If this is the case what did you use?
Thanks everyone for the input.

I moved away from a drop in cooler because of space. And leaning toward a ceramic(primo) next to the Blaze 32" and no side burner. I should have some room for prep. Like you have Paul, I will drop the structure off one end(part furthest from the house structure since its considered open flame) for the primo jr.


Well-known member
Jan 7, 2013
Friendswood, TX

The two yellow pieces are composite decking boards that run the whole length of the island.

Water does penetrate the island. Very little through the Rock and mortor, some through the gaps of the door frames, and then if the gas grill drip pan overflows (that is why I drilled a hole in mine and used plastic tubing as a drain). Even though the 20ga frame is galvanized I didn't want it to get wet. It simply raises it up off the concrete.

If I did it again I would raise it then make the whole floor inside raised so nothing sits on the concrete. I have lost a few bags of charcoal and wood chunks when the bag gets wet.

chris fox

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 3, 2013
Phoenix area
Great feedback Paul,

This was my concern too, don't get much water here but when it rains it pours. I think I will add a inner floor off the edge of the steel stud and also raise the island using trex or resin wood like you have done. I plan to coat the durock with Hydroban before the stone goes on, leftover from my pool rebuild project.
One other issue came up today while building, the cutout depth for the grill? BBQguys site is not specific relating to face stone, etc. Their diagram only shows what appears to the island box(stud + durock or like). So the question I have is, did you base your cut depth on the thickness of the limestone too or the island box?

Thanks again for your help...


Active member
Nov 17, 2013
Sacramento ca
Great read again Paul. I need to thank you again because your countertop project provided me valuable info when I did mine.

I agree with the fridge assessment. I deigned my odk so that the fridge would be under shade, and I also insulated the cavity with polystyrene foam board fom the rest of the island to guard against any heat buildup from inside the island. Then, to help with heat dissipation from heat generated by the fridge itself, I added a vent to the exterior of the iland where the fridge motor was located. It gets up to over 100 degrees in the immersion here, but I have never pulled a warm beer from the fridge.

As for the grill cutout, it's always a good idea to ave all the opponents on site before you start framing, that way you can verify cutout dimensions. I had to modify my grill opening to account for my stone sides and the 1/2 of mortar


Well-known member
Jan 7, 2013
Friendswood, TX
The depth of the grill cutout is based from the front edge of the limestone. The overhang sticks out father so I did a cut in on that as well so the grill is recessed in the concrete top.

If you zoom into this picture,

You will see that the grill and side burner are recessed in the countertop and flush on the limestone. To do this right you definitely need your rock on hand prior to forming the countertop.

That is why I did the rock prior to the stain. The concrete needs to cure for 28 days prior to staining and I still wanted to make progress. I used 3.5 mil plastic to cover the rock so it didn't get stained.


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