What Do You Use a Side Burner on a BBQ Grill for?

  • By: Peter Allen
  • Date: 09/24/2020
  • Time to read: 9 min.

A side burner helps you create more helpful recipes and have a full outdoor grill experience by creating tasty meals and cookout memories. Find grills with side burners in different shops, including Amazon.

Every grill has a primary grate on which to cook food. However, some grills have an additional cooking grate attached to them on the side, known as a side burner. A side burner is a gas-powered cooking surface connected to the side of a gas grill or on a hybrid gas charcoal grill. However, not all types of gas grills have side burners because some grilling experts argue that it is not an essential component. This idea overlooks the many benefits side burners put forward during grill and outside cooking. Most grillers underuse this outdoor cooking equipment because the grillers are not sure of what to do with the equipment or choose to use their kitchen stoves. A side burner offers you convenience as you cook because while you are cooking, it is right there and so you don’t have to go inside the kitchen to warm up food or cook corn using the oven or stove. The truth is, even though a side burner is designed to work like the burners in the kitchen, it is a bit small compared to the main cooking grill burner, thus limiting their ability to prepare large meals or amounts of foods. This write up will provide you the uses of a side burner in a barbeque.

Uses of Side Burners on a BBQ

A side burner separates temperature control.

This serves to be the most significant use of a side burner on BBQ. The side burner offers a supplementary cooking surface with split heat control. This is because of different flame power a side burner from the primary grill allowing the food to cook using different temperatures separate from the temperatures used by the grilled food on the main grate. Usually, the primary grill’s burner can reach high temperatures because it has to grill large items such as chicken, steak, and ribs. Unfortunately, other items such as vegetables cannot tolerate such high temperatures and end up burning. Fortunately for barbeques with a side burner, the griller can grill vegetables and other small foods in the right temperatures offered by the side burner. The side burner helps you cook vegetable and small items because it comes with a detach temperature handle used to adjust the temperatures. This makes it easy to reduce or increase the side burner’s temperatures, providing the griller with the benefit of outdoor stovetop cooking besides grilling.

Cook different foods

Most people are now becoming vegetarians. However, for those converting into veganism but initially loved grilling, this proves to be a challenge considering that most grills grill main courses involving meat of some kind, whether ribs or chicken. This is where the side burner comes in and helps by making it possible to cook various foods, some of which can accommodate meatless diets. The griller can cook other foods at the same time grill meat in a barbeque.

In barbeques, where there are many people and want to enjoy the different foods, a side burner can be of great help. The side burner helps hosts in barbeque to ensure that all the guests get their favorite meals without going to any trouble of cooking separate dishes inside the house. Below are some of the various foods one can prepare in a grill side burner alongside the main course, which is grilled meat.

  • Rice and vegetables
  • Pasta salads
  • Vegetable fajitas
  • Vegetarian antipasti

For the most part, the side burner functions like a stove in the house. This makes it easy to create more options for all types of eaters.

A side burner is used for cooking side dishes.

Since a side burner is supposed to work as a gas stove, they are used for cooking side dishes to go along with the primary course being prepared on the grill. A side burner makes it easy for outdoor cooking for both grill and handling indoor cooking tasks simultaneously with the same equipment. Most outdoor cookeries comprise of main dishes such as ribs, steak, fish, or chicken. However, the barbeque side dishes must be paired with the main dishes and sometimes are provided as potluck events by guests. A side burner gives the griller convenience to prepare indoor meals outside.

Used to prepare sauces and glazes

A grill with a side burner allows the griller to prepare delicious sauces and glazes used to compliment the primary courses. The ingredients used to make sauce and glaze are added to the pan and placed on a side burner. Also, the preparation of sauce or glaze requires lower temperatures than those prepared in a grill. This makes the side burner ideal to cook sauce and glazes because it has separate temperature control. The griller can let the accompanying sauce boil or retain its warmth while the main course grills.

A side burner is used to boil vegetables.

A side burner allows you to simmer your vegetables on your grill. The heat generated by a side burner can heat water for the vegetables such as fresh corn while the primary course cooks in the main grill burner. This allows you to have healthy, delicious vegetables to compliment your primary meal without boiling them inside the house with a stove. Apart from cooking vegetables, a side burner is also used for frying food. This helps those who love fried food but cannot keep up with the residual odors that come with it when frying is done indoors. This is because no matter how your house’s ventilation system is, there is a chance that you will never eliminate all the smells that accompany fried foods. The side burner can help you fry your foods outside and rids your house of odors.

Benefits of a side burner on a BBQ

A side burner is usually located beside the grill burner. The two burners are based on two distinct surfaces. Most people know the benefits of a grill burner but miss out on the information concerning the benefits of a side burner. Admittedly, a side burner has many benefits to the griller over the other types of burners. Below are five benefits of a side burner.

A side burner adjusts its temperatures.

A side burner provides you with a different cooking surface with varying temperatures of cooking. Unlike the main grill that uses high temperatures, the side burner cooks on another surface, and the temperatures can be controlled to the needed temperatures. A grill burner usually uses high temperatures because of the nature of the foods that are cooked on it, such as ribs, chicken, or beef because, for these food items to cook first, they must be exposed to high temperatures. However, such high temperatures are not suitable for other food items such as vegetables. Instead of cooking the vegetables, such temperatures can burn the vegetables. With a side burner, you can comfortably cook your vegetable while grilling the main course in the grill burner.

A side burner is a surface for backup cooking.

It is a terrible feeling to prepare for a cookout or BBQ, only to realize that the grill burner is not working anymore. BBQ or grilling of food is a strange feeling in most parts. Sometimes, the entire party can be ruined because of the terrible situation caused by a failure in the grill burner. In a situation where the main grill burner fails to work, the side burner will serve as a backup cooking surface. Instead of people getting disappointed and having to stop their fun, the side burner ensures that everything is normal and the party goes as planned. This means that the side burner will work as your backup grill burner in times of need. Of course, as said earlier, the side burner will not be ideal for preparing large food items because of its size and capacity. However, it is a useful option for preparing small amounts of food when the grill burner is not working.

It offers a feeling of the outdoor cooking experience.

When the grill is made, a side burner helps in speeding out the smell outside the kitchen. In most cooking, only two people are appointed to do the cooking, meaning that the rest of the people have to sit tight and wait for the food until it is ready. However, with a side burner in place, the outside people can also smell the food being cooked and understand how delicious the food will be. This means that all the people can experience the feeling of cooking even if they are staying outside the kitchen.

It offers the griller a full outdoor cooking experience.

Most grillers or those hosting a barbecue complain about the inconvenience caused by grill burners since one person will be outside grilling and mingling with guests and everyone else. At the same time, the other is forced to work behind closed doors because they must prepare the extras for the main course. Fortunately, with the grill side burners, all the people involved in the cooking can share the full outdoor cooking experience because the need for indoor cooking is eliminated. Now the main courses and the extras can be prepared at the same time outside using the grill burners and the side burner.

Energy saving

The side burners can save energy in terms of power and human effort. A side burner to prepare additional foods eliminates the need to use the kitchen appliances such as the stove for cooking. This helps conserve either gas or electricity used in powering the cooking device. Also, most people choose to grill when the weather outside is warm. As a result, they will need less energy or electricity to run fans or air conditioners hence saving energy and power. Apart from the electricity and power from the machines, side burners also help save human energy by alleviating the need to move forth and back to use the kitchen stovetop. Usually, you get tired trying to cook outside and at the same time inside the house. Using a grill with a side burner will save you a lot of energy and effort.


A side burner saves time for outdoor cooking in many ways. The side burners can help you save time by multitasking and preparing many dishes at a time, for instance, the main course and side dishes such as vegetables and sauces. The side burners also keep your foods that cook fast warm as the other meals are cooking until they finish. The capability to grill and, at the same time, cook your other small food items is advantageous because, in a little time, you will be able to cook almost all your meals. Also, since you will be doing all the cooking at one central place, you will save the time you would have wasted moving from the BBQ to the kitchen and back. You will not have to run inside and look after the food cooking at the stove at the same time supposed to grill outside.

To sum up, a side burner is one of the underused equipment on BBQ. Most people overlook its benefits and strictly focus on using the main burner. With such equipment, you have many opportunities to make you feel the outdoor grilling experience and cooking memories. When you design for your outdoor kitchen, make sure to get components that make your life simple and easy, one of them being the need for a grill burner with a side burner. Use a side burner on a barbecue always so that you can appreciate its benefits. A side burner will help you cook fast, different meals at a time, and be able to adjust the temperatures to the required amount. You will also save you a lot of time and effort in moving from the BBQ to the inside kitchen because you need to babysit the food in the kitchen. This is because, with a side burner, you will be preparing all the food outside.