Using Side Burners on the Grill: What Are the Benefits?

Using a side burner on a grill offers enhanced flexibility and efficiency in outdoor cooking. This feature allows you to prepare multiple dishes at once, streamlining the cooking process.

A side burner functions similarly to a stovetop burner, ideal for preparing sides, sauces, or any dish that requires high temperatures quickly. Its main advantage is keeping you outside, engaged with your guests, rather than running back and forth to the kitchen. This feature is particularly useful for those who enjoy hosting BBQ parties or are avid outdoor cooks.

However, it’s worth noting that a side burner is not a fundamental necessity for grilling. Its value largely depends on your cooking style and needs. If you often find yourself wishing for more cooking space or want to make side dishes without leaving the grill, a side burner will be a significant addition.

On the other hand, if your grilling is straightforward and focused mainly on the main dish, you might not miss having one.

Certain grills come equipped with a side burner, while others offer the option to add one. If you’re considering an upgrade, check if your grill model supports this feature. Keep in mind, though, that using a side burner means sacrificing some workspace, as it typically replaces one of the side tables.

For those who enjoy searing meats, a searing burner, which is different from a standard side burner, might be of interest. While a side burner is versatile for various cooking tasks, a searing burner is specifically designed to quickly reach high temperatures ideal for creating a crisp, caramelized exterior on meats.

Is a Side Burner on Grill Worth It?

Assessing the value of a side burner on a grill depends on individual cooking styles and needs. For those who regularly host outdoor events or enjoy diverse cooking techniques, a side burner is a valuable addition. It allows for multitasking, enabling the preparation of sides or sauces while grilling. This feature is especially beneficial for dishes requiring different cooking temperatures or methods that would be challenging to manage on the grill alone.

The side burner keeps the cook engaged with the outdoor environment, avoiding frequent trips to the indoor kitchen. It’s perfect for simmering, boiling, or sautéing, expanding the range of dishes one can prepare outdoors.

For grill enthusiasts looking to elevate their outdoor cooking experience, investing in a grill with a side burner or adding one to an existing setup can significantly enhance their culinary capabilities.

However, for those who primarily grill basic items or have limited outdoor space, a side burner might not be a high priority. It’s an additional expense and can take up valuable space that could be used for preparation or serving.

Searing Burner vs Side Burner

Searing burners and side burners, while both useful, serve different purposes on a grill. A searing burner is designed for high-heat cooking, particularly for creating a caramelized crust on meats. It’s perfect for steak enthusiasts who aim for a restaurant-quality sear. The intense heat quickly cooks the exterior of the meat, locking in juices and flavor, which is difficult to achieve with a regular grill burner.

On the other hand, a side burner functions like a regular stovetop burner and offers versatility in cooking. It’s ideal for preparing side dishes, sauces, or even boiling pasta, which complements the main course being grilled. The side burner allows for better heat control, suitable for cooking that requires simmering or sautéing, tasks that are challenging on a standard grill.

While a searing burner is specialized and caters to specific grilling techniques, a side burner offers broader culinary applications. Choosing between the two depends on what you typically cook. If searing meat is a frequent activity, a searing burner is invaluable. For more diverse cooking that includes sides and sauces, a side burner is the better choice.

Searing Burner vs Side Burner

5 Best Uses of the Side Burner on Grill

1. Simmering Sauces: The side burner is perfect for simmering BBQ sauces or marinades, which require constant temperature control, something hard to manage on a grill’s main cooking area.

2. Boiling Vegetables: Easily boil vegetables or potatoes on the side burner while grilling meats. This helps in efficiently managing different components of a meal simultaneously.

3. Sautéing Onions and Peppers: Sautéing vegetables like onions and peppers for toppings or sides becomes convenient, adding to the flavor profile of your grilled dishes.

4. Cooking Seafood: Delicate seafood, which might not fare well on the main grill, can be perfectly cooked on a side burner, providing an alternative cooking method.

5. Making Side Dishes: Prepare rice, pasta, or other side dishes right on the side burner. This helps in keeping all cooking activities in one outdoor area, making for a more social and engaging cooking experience.

Learn More: Using Infrared Grill: Pros and Cons

Add Side Burner to Weber Grill

Adding a side burner to a Weber grill can transform your outdoor cooking experience. It’s an excellent way to expand the capabilities of your grill, allowing you to cook a wider variety of dishes.

With a side burner, you can manage side dishes or sauces without having to leave the grill. This addition is particularly useful for those who frequently host BBQ parties or enjoy preparing elaborate outdoor meals.

Before adding a side burner, ensure your Weber grill model supports such an addition. Installing a side burner requires technical knowledge, so it’s recommended to consult with a professional or refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

The investment in a side burner should be weighed against how often you’ll use it and the types of meals you plan to prepare.

For grill enthusiasts looking to make the most out of their outdoor cooking space, adding a side burner to their Weber grill is a step towards a more versatile and enjoyable grilling experience.

Using Side Burner on Grill: Pros and Cons


  • Increases cooking versatility
  • Enables multitasking
  • Keeps all cooking activities outdoors
  • Ideal for preparing a wide range of dishes
  • Useful for dishes requiring precise temperature control


  • Additional cost
  • Takes up space on the grill
  • Not essential for basic grilling needs
  • Requires maintenance

Common Questions About Using a Grill’s Side Burner

1. Can I Use Large Pots on a Grill Side Burner?

Yes, most side burners can accommodate large pots, but it’s essential to check the burner’s size and weight capacity. Large pots are usually fine, but avoid overloading the burner to ensure safety and efficient cooking.

2. Is It Safe to Use Aluminum Pans on a Side Burner?

Using aluminum pans on a side burner is generally safe. However, it’s crucial to use cookware that is compatible with the burner’s heat output. Aluminum heats up quickly, so monitor the cooking process closely to avoid burning your food.

3. How Do I Clean the Side Burner?

To clean a side burner, first ensure it’s completely cooled down. Remove any detachable parts and clean them separately. For the burner itself, use a grill brush or a sponge with soapy water to remove grease and food residues. Rinse thoroughly and dry before reassembling.

4. Can I Fry Foods Using the Side Burner?

Yes, you can fry foods on a side burner, similar to how you would on a regular stove. It’s ideal for outdoor frying as it keeps strong odors and splatters outside. Ensure the pot or pan is stable on the burner and maintain a safe distance while frying to prevent burns.