Options for Outdoor Kitchens for Your Home

Design Considerations

When looking to build an outdoor kitchen you should keep a couple of things in mind. Space needs to be used wisely.

  • Put 36 inches of work space on either side of the grill and burners.
  • Keep 18 inches to 24 inches of open space on either side of the sink.
  • Allow 36 inches to 42 inches between the edge of the dining table and whatever is around it, so people can walk behind the chairs. Place the table well away from any stairs.
  • If you're including an eating counter, allow 24 inches of width per stool and 15 inches of leg room.

Additionally, you will want to leave space for people to watch as you cook. You will want to be sure that there is space for people to converse away from the cooking area. You will also want to leave plenty of space around the grill and cooking area for foot traffic.

Remember you’re outside. Make use of the space and give yourself space to use.

Items Available for Your Outdoor Kitchen

Obviously a grill is one of the main items you will want to have in your outdoor kitchen. As a matter of fact you will probably want to start with the grill and build everything around it. If you plan on moving or changing the outdoor kitchen, getting a grill with wheels is a necessary step.

If you don’t plan on moving or changing your kitchen, then select a drop in grill, then choose your kitchen items and accessories from there.

Outside kitchens are about more than just the grill. Due to better technology appliances and cabinets are made better and better suited to withstanding the elements.

When thinking of an outdoor kitchen most people think grill. The grill is definitely the basis of the outdoor kitchen but there are many more options and choices than the grill. Below are some items possible today in the outdoor kitchen:

Choosing Your Grill

Free standing or built-in

If you wish to move your cooking to different areas of the deck or patio then you’ll want to have a free standing grill. If you have designed your kitchen with appliances and cabinets and don’t plan on moving the cooking area, the built in grill is the way to go.

Gas, Wood or Charcoal

Your grill choices used to be charcoal and gas. Now you don’t have to limit yourself to one or the other. You can also add wood burning as another choice. Hybrid grills will burn gas, wood and charcoal. You can even burn charcoal and wood at the same time.

Outdoor Pizza Oven

Baking the pizza of your dreams is what the outdoor pizza oven is all about. With none of the heat or mess inside your house, the outdoor oven is all positive with none of the negatives.

Outdoor pizza ovens come in stainless steel or brick and can be gas fired or wood burning.

Refrigeration Choices

Today’s refrigeration units are well built and extremely energy-efficient. Many units have variable-speed compressors, forced air cooling and advanced insulation. The same improvement in efficiencies in the appliances in your home make refrigeration in your outdoor kitchen not only a possibility but a great addition to every outdoor gourmet’s kitchen.

Outdoor Warming Cabinets

If you’re entertaining a large number of guests, you’ll be cooking a large amount of food. More food than can be cooked on your grill at one time. The warming cabinets are made for just an eventuality. With amenities such as water trays and adjustable shelves, these outdoor kitchen add ons can save everything from hot dogs and brats to whole turkeys and roasts from getting cold or drying out.

Outdoor Cabinets

Setting up for an evening’s outdoor entertainment can be time consuming. Bringing items from the house and back again can become tiresome and cut into your relaxation time. Outdoor weather-tight cabinets are the answer. Storing spices, dishware, linens and serving pieces in a weather-tight cabinet guarantees that they will be clean, dry and ready for use anytime you wish to use your outdoor kitchen.

Dishwasher

You’ve got your cookware and dinnerware outdoors in your weather-tight cabinets, now you can wash them outdoors as well. With your grill, cabinets and refrigeration there is no need to stock and prep your outdoor kitchen every time you use it. Now there’s no need to bring the work of cleaning up indoors with an outdoor dishwasher.

Outdoor dishwashers are designed to not only handle everything that Mother Nature can throw at them, they are also designed to handle the larger cooking items that are inherent in outdoor cooking and grilling.

Ventilation

If you are designing your kitchen with any type of weather protection overhead, venting your grill is required to control the grease and smoke. Ventilation of your outdoor grill makes it easy to design your kitchen to be used whatever the weather.

Outdoor ventilation hoods are designed to handle the smoke conditions produced by wood, charcoal and gas. These hoods are specifically designed to withstand outdoor conditions and outdoor cooking. Additionally, these hoods are lit and help extend cooking time after dark.

Lighting

Outdoor lighting comes in many different varieties. Work areas can be lit with direct light and clip on lights. Clip on lights are a great choice to shine into your grill if you haven’t designed your kitchen with a ventilation hood.

Indirect lighting and softer lighting is preferred in eating areas and conversation areas.

Patio Heaters

After you’ve created your perfect outdoor living space, you will want to extend the time it’s usable. Outdoor heaters help you get as much from your investment in your outdoor living space as possible. Manufacturers are responding to this need by creating a wide assortment of heating appliances that can help keep you cozy through cooler springs and falls.

Fire pits and outdoor fire places are an excellent choice, but if you’ve designed your area without one of these, then patio heaters are the choice for you. These run on natural gas or liquid propane and can produce from 35,000 to 45,000 BTU’s and create heat that you can feel out to 20 to 25 feet in all directions.

Most patio heaters are free standing. It is possible to get table top units. These smaller units generally product about 10,000 BTU’s of heat.

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