What Makes a Complete Outdoor Kitchen?
The summer might be over, but it’s never too early to start planning home improvement projects for the next year. And an outdoor kitchen is a good place to start. Wait, are you saying you already have an outdoor kitchen? Sorry to disappoint, but a grill on your deck doesn’t count as a kitchen—it’s much more involved and elaborate than a typical grilling station. Let our Maryland outdoor kitchen experts at Outdoor Specialties guide you through the key components of a complete outdoor kitchen.
An outdoor kitchen has its own permanent dedicated location. Quite often, it’s a part of a patio and is connected to other entertainment areas, such as a pool, deck, gazebo or your home. Outdoor kitchen and dining areas are usually separate, but kitchens often have a high bar with seating off the prep area, so that guests can chat with the chef while the food is being cooked. Check with your local zoning laws, as they could have regulations on positioning of outdoor cooking appliances in regard to flammable objects.
While a grill alone doesn’t make a kitchen, it’s an important part of it. A grill is an equivalent of your kitchen cooktop and is the primary outdoor cooking device. Many outdoor kitchens have a grill built into the counter, so it’ meant to be stationary. Make sure to choose a grill with storage options, so that you have room for all your tongs and brushes.
Food Prep Area
An outdoor kitchen is intended to be fully independent and is meant to reduce the need for frequent trips back to the house. And a sufficient food preparation area, usually in a form of a counter, an island or a table, is essential for comfortable cooking. The only trip you might have to make is to grab your ingredients—the rest can be completed outdoors. Make sure to allow yourself enough room to move around between different areas and appliances. Outdoors is not the place to have a cramped kitchen.
Good Lighting and Shelter
Like any kitchen, an outdoor kitchen needs good lighting, especially after sunset. Simple task lighting is sufficient, but if you want to wire up the entire area, go ahead. As for the shelter, we are talking mainly about shade, as you are unlikely to be cooking outside in the rain. A strategically placed umbrella can make all the difference, but if you want to go all out, install a pergola or a gazebo. Not only will they offer relief from the burning sun, but they will also add to the aesthetics of your outdoor kitchen. If your kitchen is located off the side of the house, an awning could be used to provide shade.
A sink adds a huge convenience factor to an outdoor kitchen. With all the barbeque sauce, greasy meat and dripping condiments, there are plenty of situations that call for a sink. Running inside to wash your hands every time is not very convenient, especially if your bathroom/kitchen is on the other side of the house. Having a sink in your outdoor kitchen is also handy for washing ingredients before cooking, as well as for cleaning your grill and accessories. Keep in mind that in order to have an outdoor sink, your plumbing will have to be extended to connect to the new fixture. Depending on your plumbing system, this can add up to several thousand to your budget.
Besides the grill, there are several other appliances you can install in your kitchen to add both function and style. Be sure to purchase appliances designed for outdoor use:
- Beverage fridge will keep your drinks cool and ready for a hot summer day.
- Warming drawer will keep the leftovers warm for guests that are running late.
- Beer tap is a handy beer dispenser perfect for your high bar.
Fireplace and Pizza Oven
Adding a fireplace to your outdoor kitchen is a perfect way to increase its usability beyond summer months. With a fireplace, you can come to your outdoor kitchen in fall or winter to carve pumpkins, watch the stars and make tasty s’mores. A pizza oven can be built into the fireplace to give you even more cooking power. It’s not for everyone, but if making authentic pizza is your thing, then you have to have one of these.
And, of course, an outdoor kitchen is not complete without you, your family and dear guests. Are you looking forward to building this amazing addition to your outdoor entertainment space? Outdoor Specialties can design the layout, supply all necessary components and perform a quality installation.
Contact us at 410-374-0431 to talk about your outdoor project!