Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens creates outdoor spaces that become the hub of your home


Since the invention of fire, humans have been cooking outdoors, using everything from rocks and sticks to create makeshift cooking stations to grills and fully equipped kitchens with absolutely everything imaginable. Fortunately, we no longer must rely on our ability to rub sticks together to get a fire going. Now, we can just press a button and stand back with unjustifiable pride as flames spurt to life under the grates of state-of-the-art grills.

The grill is now only part of what has become the trend of fully realized outdoor kitchens. In fact, as the trend grows, so does the selection of products and materials, as well as features. Case in point: Once upon a time, there was one name that held the industry title as the go-to grill for cooking out. But times have changed, and options are now virtually endless when it comes to outdoor cooking appliances. From standard ovens and ranges to pizza ovens, smokers and griddles, if you can imagine it, you can likely find an outdoor version of it. In fact, recent years have shown an uptick in spending on outdoor appliances—especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outdoor kitchen contractor Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens has witnessed the great increase that has been happening over the years. “Outdoor living has been growing for several years, but the trend lately has been creating a backyard vacation,” says owner Scott Hunter, a licensed contractor and a Navy vet who spent almost a decade building houses in Columbia, South Carolina, before starting his company in 2012. “A lot of people are cooking outdoors more often than just the weekends. Now, we are seeing all meals being done outside.”

Thanks to the ways that technology has evolved, there are a wide variety of great outdoor kitchen ideas, all of which have been engineered to withstand the weather and tolerate harsh outdoor environments. The plans can be as simple as a small area with a great grill and some refrigeration or as extensive as a fully equipped kitchen with outdoor lighting. Naturally, your choices will differ according to your personal needs and your budget. “We did a job where the owner wanted the outdoor kitchen and pool area to look the same, so we did all-stone veneer sides and countertops,” says Hunter.

What makes the ultimate outdoor kitchen naturally depends on the homeowner’s lifestyle and vision—not to mention the actual space you’re working with. “We build kitchens of all sizes, but the basic kitchen should have some sort of cooking appliance,” says Hunter. “That could be anything from a grill to a griddle or a smoker. We also like to include some sort of storage, which can easily be done in five feet.”

In fact, if you’re working with a significant amount of space, you can have more at your fingertips than you would inside, simply because some of those accoutrements require ventilation not generally found indoors.

Whatever your plans, no outdoor kitchen is complete without a built-in grill. Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens offers more than 15 different lines, including FireMagic, Delta Heat, Twin Eagles and Blaze. “These are some of our most popular grills,” says Hunter. From grills that include features like a rotisserie, side burners and multiple fuel types to simple table-top grills, the options—and the brand names—abound, both in-store and on the company’s website.

After you’ve decided which features you want on your grill, you’ll need to plan the space, including ample storage to keep your tools secure, dry and clean. Storage, in fact, was the very foundation of Hunter’s foray into outdoor kitchens. “I saw several trends in Florida while working for a large developer there. Then I went to the International Home Show in 2013 and saw a cabinet company called Werever,” he says. “We started with that base cabinet line and grew from there.”

Today, the company offers names that include Naturekast, Danver and Challenger—all of which boast lifetime warranties that are crucial in Southern coastal climates. Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens also offers clients the option of aluminum frames customizable with their choice of veneer and countertops, including stone, tile and travertine. Hunter notes that they often work with DIY clients who request aluminum frames with custom specifications for cutouts of the appliances they plan to incorporate.

The company has expanded to more than simply the outdoor kitchens that were its starting focus. Garage cabinets, firepits and fireplaces have widened the scope of its services, and the company is now a licensed dealer for StruXure pergolas, making Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens a multifaceted business whose specialty is still the outdoors. You can choose from many designs and colors with automated or fixed ceiling panel options. The pergolas are made of extruded aluminum and feature state-of-the-art technology powered by Somfy and controlled by an app on a smartphone.

Grill, check. Storage, check. But while you’re doing all that space planning, consider incorporating a beverage station with an ice maker, kegerator, wine fridge or cooler paired with a small sink. After all, this is your outdoor oasis. For Hunter, creating his client’s vision is the greatest satisfaction, and giving them that wow factor in their outdoor space is what drives him. “Getting jobs done and going from an owner’s thoughts and visions and getting them to an actual functioning kitchen is my favorite part of my work,” he says. *

Liesel Schmidt lives in Navarre, Florida, and works as a freelance writer for local and regional magazines. She is also a web content writer and book editor. Follow her on X at @laswrites or download her novels, Coming Home to You, The Secret of Us and Life Without You, at and

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