12 Outdoor Kitchen Ideas that Will Help Turn Your Yard into an Entertainers Dream
DO YOU LOVE TO COOK outdoors but are getting tired of having nothing more than a gas grill to cook on?
Do you get tired of having to keep running in and out of the house to get everything you need to prepare the meal?
What about those meals where you need to make several dishes all at the same time?
If these scenarios sound like you, then a few of the simple outdoor kitchen ideas can give you a great place to entertain. Not only will your family and guests be pleased, but an outdoor kitchen can add significant value to your home.
Choosing the Right Outdoor Kitchen Ideas for Your Home
An outdoor kitchen means more than having a fancy brushed stainless steel gas grille out on your deck or patio. It means having the ability to cook a wide range of meals. It also means turning your backyard into a serious outdoor entertainment. An area where you, your family, and countless guests will enjoy the many gastronomic delights you will be preparing.
Getting started is not as easy as you might think, it means creating a workable kitchen that is in the thick of the action. It can help you come up with your perfect design by looking at outdoor kitchen ideas, taking something from each of them and creating the perfect outdoor space to fit your needs.
What you choose to include or exclude from your design should be based on your needs and wants. Rather than what someone else thinks is a good idea. It took me several months of looking at hundreds of designs and items to come up with my design. But in the time since my outdoor kitchen has been finished, I have spent countless hours cooking amazing food. On top of this, I have continued to add to my kitchen since then. My latest addition is a wood-fired pizza oven.
Here are some ideas for your outdoor kitchen that are worth considering:
Overhead Cover or Not?
Let's start with the basics, like do you want a roof over your work area or not. Most outdoor kitchen ideas offer you the option. The choice is yours and you may want to match your final decision with the weather where you live. For example, a pergola offers shade, but won't keep the rains or snows at bay.
If you want complete shade and protection from the elements, you may want to build a full roof over your kitchen. You may also need to factor in the cost of building the roof in your original estimate.
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If you think you are likely to be outside cooking after dark, your outdoor kitchen is going to need some type of lighting. The first thing you need to think about is will your outdoor kitchen have electricity running to it. This can affect the type of lighting you can use. LED lights make the best choice no matter whether you have electricity or battery power.
Try to avoid propane lanterns or candles as they add to the risk of fire. Instead, consider a range of both directional and non-directional lighting fixtures to ensure you have plenty of light both where you are cooking and where people may be sitting to eat.
An Outdoor Pizza Oven
While an outdoor pizza oven may not be one of the first pieces of equipment you buy, it can make an amazing addition. These ovens can be purchased as wood fired, electric, or gas fired based on your tastes and the availability of fuel.
They can be used to make an incredible array of dishes, including pizza. But since they can be quite expensive, you might want to leave space to add one later in your final plans.
ZacsGarden – 3 Steps in Finding the Best Outdoor Pizza Oven
The Barbecue Grill
Of all the equipment you are likely to include in your outdoor kitchen ideas, the BBQ grille is probably the most important. Outdoor grilles come in many forms and designs. They can run on propane, natural gas, electric, charcoal, wood, wood pellets, and those that can be used with multiple fuels.
They come in a variety of sizes, numbers of burners, with infrared cooking areas, the list is endless. You have to decide what type of cooking you plan to do before you spend the money on a grille.
Have You Considered Adding a Smoker?
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For those of you who truly love the taste of slow-cooked smoked meat, consider adding a smoker to your outdoor kitchen. Like grills, smokers come in an incredible range of styles and sizes.
They burn wood, charcoal, gas, electric, and more. There is nothing like the taste of freshly smoked meats so you may want to add a smoker into your plans to make the most of your outdoor kitchen.
What About a Refrigerator?
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If you are going to become an outside kitchen chef, you should include a refrigerator in your plans. Your choices include basic refrigerators, simple refrigerated drawers, wine chillers, beer kegerators, beverage centers, ice makers, and combination units.
Be sure you buy a fridge that is rated for outdoor use. Otherwise you may end up wasting your money when the rains or snow kill your fridge.
What About an Ice Bath Area?
Whether you need somewhere to keep your condiments chilled before you serve them or a place for your cocktail garnishes, there are several different types of ice tray available.
Some even come with individual “buckets” that are designed to fit inside the main ice tray so that everything stays separated and chilled until you need it.
There was a time when the only “countertop” you had when cooking outside was some kind of table. Today's outdoor kitchen ideas include countertops that look just as good as the ones that adorn your indoor kitchen.
They can be made from concrete, Corian®, granite, marble, or any other material that can handle hot pans coming off the grille as well as they can handle rain and snow. Choose a material that is going to look as good five years down the road as it did the day you installed it.
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If you are going to build an outdoor kitchen, you are going to need plenty of storage space. The last thing you want to have to do is keep running back and forth to your indoor kitchen for basic supplies.
There are many different styles and designs for cabinetry that can be used for your outdoor kitchen and will stand up to the elements.
What About a Sink or Running Water?
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As long as you don't mind running all of the dirty dishes into the kitchen and having to carry water out to your outdoor kitchen, then you don't need running water or a sink.
But, if you prefer to make your outdoor cooking area complete and fully functional, you can run a fresh water line out to your kitchen and install a kitchen sink. You can even add in a small hot water heater if you want hot water on demand.
Image courtesy of Australian Outdoor Kitchen
Now that you have at least the basics when it comes to outdoor kitchen ideas. You need to have somewhere for everyone to sit when they are eating the gourmet meals you have prepared for them.
You can simply use picnic tables or you could go with tables and chairs. Of course, if you are going to the trouble of building your own outdoor kitchen, why not go all out and build your own tables and seating?
Image courtesy of Better Decorating Bible
Now that you have the perfect outdoor kitchen put together to cook gourmet meals for your family and friends, have you considered what you are going to do about entertaining them after the meal is over?
Consider adding a fire pit for everyone to sit around or maybe a big LED television or projector that can be used to create outdoor movie nights. At the very least you should consider having an entertainment system with a radio and CD player to keep the party going.
All of this is just the beginning. I have friends whose outdoor kitchens far surpass the ones they have inside their homes. There are so many different “specialty” items you can add to your outdoor kitchen ideas to make your kitchen more suitable for your personal cooking style.
These include items like extra burners, tandoors, recessed blender stations, wet bar inserts, and many, many more.
This Is Just the Entree
All of this is just the beginning. The more I look at the many different outdoor kitchen ideas, the more I consider tearing my current kitchen apart and rebuilding it. When it comes to designing your outdoor kitchen, the sky is literally the limit. I would follow my dreams and completely rebuild mine. However, as my wife says, “I have Cadillac dreams on a Pinto budget”. So instead I sneak in a few upgrades here and there. Eventually, I will have the outdoor kitchen of my dreams.
I hope that the information above helps you get the outdoor kitchen of your dreams and that it offers you a good start to building your dream outdoor kitchen.
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