A few years ago, most people hadn’t even heard of an outdoor kitchen; now they are becoming a staple in backyards everywhere. An outdoor kitchen makes sense if you like to entertain, and it sure beats preparing everything inside and dragging it outside. A well-planned outdoor kitchen will give you a place to store, prep, cook and serve. Outdoor kitchens can, and should, be as unique as the chef who is utilizing them. However, there are some universal items that can make cooking in the fresh air a real delight.
Think about your indoor kitchen and how you use that space and make sure that your outdoor space has every amenity that you utilize inside.
Every kitchen needs a sink and an outdoor kitchen is no exception. This drop-in sink with a faucet will come in handy for any number of reasons.
Another necessity is a cutting board. Why not add a space to keep one stored out of the way. Then it’s right there when you need it and still at hand when you don’t.
If you are like me, there are never enough places to keep everything; remember this when you are planning your outdoor kitchen. There are many options for outdoor storage, like this Triple Storage Drawer or this Three Drawer Combo that comes with an attached access door. Another option is to go with something like this outdoor serving cart which will provide you with storage and serve double duty as a portable serving cart/bar.
And speaking of bars, imagine how handy a bar caddy or, even better, a bar caddy with a sink will be when you have your friends over for cocktails.
Outdoor entertaining usually involves beverages; a drop-in ice chest will come in handy. If those beverages involve alcohol, this built-in beer dispenser will solve one problem very easily.
Another built-in, good for slushy summer adult beverages, is this Margarita center. You can use the blender for other things as well; whip up some gazpacho or a morning smoothie. If wine is your drink of choice, an outdoor wine “cellar” is just the ticket.
Of course cooking is central to outdoor entertaining and is really the point of having an outdoor kitchen. Just like an indoor kitchen, an outdoor kitchen should afford you options; not everything can be grilled over a charcoal or gas grill. A rotisserie makes a nice alternative; you can roast whole chickens and large cuts of meat with ease. Another nice addition is a smoker; smoked meats have an appeal all their own, and that tender texture is impossible to replicate any other way. There are stand-alone options for smokers like this unique unit. You haven’t had a real Thanksgiving until you’ve served up a smoked turkey. Trust me on this.
One other fantastic addition is an outdoor over; yep, an oven. You can opt for a built in oven or get a standalone. You will be able to make wood-fired pizzas, bake bread, and even serve up a cobbler!
Remember outdoor storage presents its own distinctive problems; that paper towel holder on your counter won’t be so effective outside in the rain. Consider adding a convenient paper towel drawer or paper towel holder. This one comes with a towel bar that is extra handy.
Another problem is where to put the trash. If you’d rather not have a trash can tempting flies and bees, you can opt for a built in trash drawer. Keep it stowed away, out of sight and out of smell.
Another issue that will arise over and over is the need to keep things cold. There are a variety of items that you will use in outdoor cooking that won’t fare well sitting on the counter in the hot sun. And think how convenient it will be to keep items like butter, salad fixings, dressings, and similar products right at hand. One possibility is a built-in cooler holder where you can hide away an unsightly cooler and use it as needed. A step up might be an outdoor refrigerator or this locking version. An outdoor fridge means you don’t have to be concerned about keeping the cooler filled with ice.
Ice - there are options for that as well. Check out this outdoor freezer or ice maker below. No more emergency runs to the corner store to grab a bag of ice!
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