How to: Make a Fold-Away BBQ Table and Grilling Cabinet

created at: 04/03/2015

This great project keeps all the basic grilling supplies close at hand, but out of the weather when the fun is done. With a large preparation space and room for the essentials it’s a great upgrade for the outdoor chef.   With spring weather in full bloom, we’re starting to cook outside more often again. From pizzas to burgers, there is always a great reason to fire up that grill Like most of you out there, the built-in flat surfaces on my grill are limited and require me to balance plates, cutting boards, spices, and utensils on the little shelf.   BBQ Cabinet Table

With that in mind, I wanted to create a surface that could be pulled out when needed, then stowed out of the way after the fire was out. I also wanted to keep spices, tools, and essentials close at hand to limit the trips into the house. This project combines a cabinet, and folding table, allowing for the entire piece to be mounted on the wall.

Cabinet Box

Step 1: Build The Box

The size of the box depends on a few key details. First, how much stuff do you plan to store outside? Don’t store liquor or other items that are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. Second, how large a table space will fit where you plan to mount the cabinet, and how high off the ground will it be. The box should be as high off the ground as the front/support is tall. This ensures the table is level when it is down because the front becomes the support. I made mine tall, planning on standing height for the table. Table size is the inside dimension of the box, as it must nest inside the cabinet when it is folded away. I built the box with simple pine, adding a few shelves and gluing/nailing it all together (be sure the shelves are set back far enough that the table top can fit inside the box flush, so if the table is ¾” thick, be sure to leave at least that much space when cutting the shelves). The corner joints can be mitered 90 degrees, or joined in any way you feel comfortable. Make a 1/8” rabbet in the back for a flush fit, or just cut the back to fit as necessary. Keep in mind that the back will support the box when mounted to the wall, so make sure it is solidly connected to the box, or add a few supports for strength.

Here's a cut list for my project. But, really: make this any size/combination you want!

Mounted Cabinet

Step 2: Build The Table

The table is designed to fit flush in the middle of the box, so dimensions should reflect the inside measurements, and be sure to leave room at top and bottom for piano hinge clearance. I crafted my table from a ¾” sheet of plywood, with a 2” strip of wood around the outside for durability and looks.

Mounted Box

Step 3: Build The Front/Support

The front of the box is what is seen on the wall so feel free to dress it up a bit. I build the panel out of simple ¼” plywood with beadboard texture and a 3” wooden border for support. I then put another board around that so the front would mate up well with the box. Make sure the panel is strong enough to support the weight, because this panel will hold all the weight of the table.

Open Box

Step 4: Assemble with Piano Hinges

With the table and panel complete, it’s time to match it all up with hinges. I used piano hinges because of their overall strength, low profile, and general easy installation. If the inside panel doesn’t fit right, simple trim a bit more off until the panels open and close easily. I put a hook closure on each side of the front panel to keep it all secured up on the wall.

Closed Box With Bottle Opener

Step 5: Finish and Mount

I threw a dark finish and outdoor protection on the outside of the cabinet, but left the inside light and clean to make it easier to see what’s in there during late evening grills. The cabinet should be mounted out of the weather, or protected with an outside layer that can stand up to the elements (that also means making the top somehow shed the water without letting it in). Mounting the box takes a bit of adjustment to make sure the table is level. I used sawhorses with a few boards shimmed underneath to get it perfectly lined up against the wall.

Loaded with Pizza!

We had this table decked out with grilled pizzas the very night I installed it, and the different an entire space made was night and day. Fewer trips to the kitchen, a stable space, and I still managed to dump one of the fully cooked pizzas on the concrete! As spring comes into season, what projects are you doing to make the patio ready for some outdoor fun?