Some people just enjoy the great outdoors. Others are concerned about making the house too hot while cooking in the summer. Whatever the reason, outdoor kitchens are increasingly popular. But what should an outdoor kitchen really have in it? Here are seven essentials your outdoor kitchen absolutely must have at the minimum.
1. Space To Prep
For an outdoor kitchen, this will typically be a tile countertop that can withstand the elements. Even if you have the area covered with temporary or permanent roofing, it needs to be something sturdier than the indoor equivalent. No painted particle board out here.
2. A Means To Cook
At a minimum, you will need a grill. It’s the outdoor version of a stove. An oven can be wonderful but it’s optional. You may also want a fireplace designed especially for cooking.
3. Trash Cans
The last thing you want to do after cooking and dining outside is to gather up trash and take it into the house. You need to have a trash can for your outdoor kitchen. If you are lucky and a little clever, you may be able to arrange to have it very conveniently near your regular outdoor bins to minimize the cleanup effort.
4. Dining Space
You will want a table and seating. You may already have this or this may seem really obvious but don’t overlook it when making plans and setting a budget. You will want them in a compatible style. Even if you currently have an outdoor table, you might want to upgrade it if you are going to create an outdoor kitchen and start eating outside regularly.
5. Easy Access to Clean Up
If you have a generous budget and plenty of space, you may want to include a proper sink or even an outdoor dishwasher. If that isn’t the case, you still will want to think about the clean-up process and how the dirty dishes and utensils will get to where they need to go.
One potential option is to have a pass-through window to the indoor kitchen so it’s easy to get them to the kitchen sink or an indoor dishwasher. This may be a budget-friendly answer or may work well as a temporary solution while you build out your dream outdoor kitchen in stages.
You might not think you need storage because you might think you will just use all your indoor dishes when you eat outside but think again. You will need fuel for the grill, you will need special utensils for the grill and other items that you won’t want to store in your indoor kitchen. If nothing else, you will want to keep children, racoons, and other potential troublemakers out of potentially dangerous items that don’t really belong in your kitchen cabinets in the house.
This might be one that would slip your mind entirely if you didn’t make a list and do a little planning. You might associate grilling outside with bright sunny afternoons and not think you need lighting. But outdoor kitchens are a fairly large investment. It would be a shame to only be able to use the space for the limited time slots that natural daylight adequately supports.