Summer season is around the corner and barbeques are out and ready for some serious grilling. Can you smell the yummy barbeque smoke? Well, if you can’t, you surely don’t have an outdoor kitchen. Ummm…Yeah, you can still have a barbeque setup in your indoor kitchen, but the fun and unmatched experience of cooking and eating outdoors with friends and family members is something you don’t want to miss out on. In this article we will be discussing about how you should plan your kitchen and we’ll also share some of the best outdoor kitchen designs and ideas for inspiration as well.
Every year when summer season arrives, millions of people get into the groove of outdoor cooking. They light up their grills with charcoal, prepare for barbeque recipes and arrange barbeque parties for friends and loved ones, but for that they all need a well planned and nicely designed outdoor kitchen that is perfect for cooking outdoors, because it doesn’t make sense when you feel uneasy and uncomfortable when cooking in kitchen that is not properly planned and built with functional aspects in mind. After all cooking outdoor is for fun and enjoyment.
The way homeowners used to grill has completely changed now because families prefer having an outdoor cooking space because it is perfect for summer barbeque parties. In a way we can say that outdoor kitchen concept has epitomized the outdoor oasis as it brings in everything together from entertainment to cooking and socializing with your friends, guides and family members in the oath of fresh air.
To get the best out of your kitchen, you can incorporate necessary kitchen appliances such as pizza over, large size grill, Kitchen Island, beer tap and wine cooler as well. However, you may have to customize your kitchen to have them all without making it look less specious.
If you are in the process of designing and planning of your outdoor kitchen or perhaps trying to persuade your husband or wife to have one, this information guide on outdoor kitchens will certainly assist you. Have a look at this info-graphic, it has all the important information they may require for their first outdoor kitchen project. Everything you can possibly think of is present in this graphic.
Outdoor Kitchen Designs and Ideas
If you’re looking for inspiration, please have a look at these beautiful designs and ideas that you can use to implement in your project or else customize with your own design and plans.
So let’s begin with the outdoor kitchen designing phase of the project…
Before you start off with your project, you have to carefully analyze and asses the location of available outdoor space to make sure it is ideal for building your kitchen and can it be sheltered by from sun, and most importantly will you be able to use your indoor kitchen’s utilities in it? All these small-small points are important and must be considered before we start planning our kitchen.
In that aforementioned info-graphic it defines different parts of contemporary outdoor kitchen so that you can easily make your mind about how you would like to arrange kitchen equipments, amenities and other important accessories. Although they are just a small section of the entire project, but these steps are as important as buying right kitchen appliances, grills and other barbeque essentials. Other things like countertop size and dimension, kitchen cabinets, preparation area and proper lighting are also need to be considered. We generally neglect these design concepts and their importance and then end up regretting that why didn’t we plan for them earlier. For instance if you build an outdoor kitchen with no island, adequate amount of space for food preparation, and no cabinets, it would be the last thing you should be doing.
Having an outdoor kitchen packed with all the required appliances and equipments is not the only thing we need to emphasize on, but we also have to ensure that our kitchen has adequate amount of shelter or overhang that provide shed to your guests during inclement weather. Shed structure in an outdoor kitchen may include lighting fixture, curtains and ceiling fans that will make your kitchen area look luxurious. Additionally you can also have a wall mounted fireplace, because that would completely transform it into a comfortable living area. However, make sure you fellow the safety instruction when adding a fireplace in your kitchen to protect yourself, kids and guests.
If you like working on do-it-yourself type of projects, have a look at this video to learn how you can build an outdoor kitchen yourself:
Outdoor kitchen Accessories, Equipments and Other Important Items
The list of essential items you should install in your outdoor kitchen is way too long, but still if you have to prepare a check list, this would definitely help.
Gas grills, Pellet, Charcoal, Electric, Ceramic, Teppanyaki grills, Infrared grills, Sear Zone Grills, Indirect flame grills, Smoker grills, Power burners, Insulated jackets, Side burners, Single and Double built-in grills.
Doors & Drawers
Single doors, Double doors, Door drawer combo, Horizontal doors, Pantries, Utility cabinets, Vertical doors, Single drawers, Triple drawers, Trash drawer, Combo drawers with paper towel holders, Knife drawer, Warming drawer combo units, Paper towel holders, Propane tank drawer, Upper storage cabinets, Dual trash center, Insulated drawers and Recycle center.
Sinks and Sink Faucets
Small sinks, Bar Sinks, Large sinks, Built-in & Drop-in, Farmhouse sinks, Pull out cooler drawer, Tilt-out ice chests, Drop-in ice chests , Cocktail centers, Under mount sinks, Wash basins, Freestanding, Dual use faucets, Pot filler wall mount, Spray faucet, Pull out faucet and Bar faucets.
Large/Mid Size Refrigerators, Freezers, Ice makers, Beer dispensers, Dual zone refrigerators, Fridge & ice maker combos, under grill refrigerators, and wine coolers.
Ventilation & Exhaust Systems
Ceiling Fans, Island Hoods, Vent hoods, Duct covers, Food warmers with storage, Roof mounted blowers, Vent panels, Stainless steel food trays, Sterno units, Cold storage, Deep fat fryer, Hot dog cooker and warming drawer.
Ovens & Baking Equipments
Gas ovens, Brick Ovens, Wood fired pizza ovens, Electric pizza ovens, Tabletop gas ovens, Commercial pizza ovens, Gas fired pizza ovens and Customized pizza oven kits.
Outdoor BBQ Islands
Custom Barbecue islands, Prefab BBQ islands, Modular islands, Kitchen Cart Islands, and Stainless steel BBQ islands.
Phase 2: Outdoor kitchen planning
You must think carefully and plan before you jump on to buying built-in smokers or grills for your kitchen, because it may look stylish and classy, but that space can be used for countertop and then you can purchase an additional standalone smoker or grill. Wondering why? Let me explain you…
Just for an example imagine that you have bought a built-in gas grill that is 30” x 22” in width and height, but then after few years of hardcore use the grill gets rusty and now you have to replace it. Or perhaps you don’t like the sear burner and want to buy a more powerful one instead. Or you have changed your mind and want to replace it with a charcoal grill. Or you’re a gadgets and latest technology fan and recently you saw a new grill launched with thermostat control that can be managed with your Smartphone. Or now you believe that you need a bigger grill or smoker so that you can throw in summer outdoor barbeque party to your office colleagues, friends or family members.
After all these possible situations, you are stuck with a 30” x 22” grill hole, so whatever option you’ll go with must fit the vacant space. Most probably you won’t find a perfect size grill that fits in the hole. Given the fact that these grills and smokers are usually not standard sizes just like we have ovens in our indoor kitchens, it makes it difficult for us to customize that space.
Other point to consider is that if you find yourself in a situation when you have to shift to some other state or city, you won’t be able to shift your grill with you. Therefore it is better to go with standalone smokers and grills because they are easy to install, you can place them anywhere in your kitchen and most of all they are very easy to replace as well.
Nowadays kitchen accessories companies are also emphasizing on offering range of outdoor kitchen equipments, items and essential components like they have always offered for indoor kitchens. For instance you can buy rainproof kitchen cabinets, drawers systems, outdoor island, countertops that won’t break when it freezes, dishwashers, outdoor entertainment systems, refrigerators and large size grills and smokers as well.
Where is the perfect place for building an outdoor kitchen?
If you are aiming to build a kitchen that will be self sufficient and well equipped with all the necessary features like running, refrigeration, grill, etc., then you can install or build it anywhere in your outdoor space. But if you are not building it as a proper separate kitchen, then try to build it as close to your indoor kitchen as possible, so that you can use the sink, fridge and other things easily.
Select a place in your outdoor space that can provide you with privacy, and also should not pose fire danger to the main house or other outdoor construction like patio deck or screened in porch. Also make sure that ground or soil is stable enough to provide solidity to the construction, because it needs to be leveled. Will there be proper surface drainage? In which direction wind will be blowing the smoke? These are some important factors that you need to consider.
Do I need construction permits?
It entirely depends on which state or city you are living because local municipal rules and regulation may or may not ask you to take permits. In 90% cases people will need to take permit if you are going to add water, electricity or gas to a permanent outdoor structure. You must double check with your local municipal or city building department before you begin with any construction work. You may face initial hiccups due to setback requirements. If your outdoor kitchen is located close to your main house building you must ensure that all fire codes are thoroughly considered.
Bringing in running water in your outdoor kitchen is going to be tricky. Pre-decide on whether you want hot and cold both or only cold water. If you want running hot water, then you can go with under-counter water heater installed underneath the sink, and it will be a cheap alternative to having a running water line from your main house.
Waste water management is also important. Generally people prefer installing simple sewage ejector pump to drain waste water out to city sewer pipelines. To accomplish that you will need assistance of a professional plumber and also don‘t forget to check the building codes.
Unless you are only planning to have an outdoor kitchen for occasional outdoor cooking, chances are you will definitely need electricity in it. For standard appliances like coffee grinder and blenders you must have a separate circuit in your kitchen. You will also need to have outlets below the counter for important equipments like refrigerator, barbeque lights, water heaters etc.
Specially for outdoor kitchen setup, companies are coming up with nicely designed small size refrigerators that can surely make your life a lot easier, because without a refrigerator you cannot survive in any kitchen. Make sure you have a dedicated circuit installed for your refrigerator because they generally require more amperage.
If you are planning to build a complete outdoor entertainment hub along with your kitchen, you must have a TV in there to enjoy your time while cooking. You can buy an outdoor rated TV with HDMI cable so that you can attach it with your set-top box.
Specialized Kitchen Accessories and Equipment
Without a doubt, you’re going to have a grill, because without a grill or smoker it doesn’t make sense building an outdoor kitchen. However, before you buy it, you must consider the kind of food you going to cook and how many people you are cooking for. Ask yourself these questions first:
Are you a professional cook? Or just want to do basic grilling for burgers, steaks and seafood?
Would you prefer low and slow smoking?
Are you a wok cooking fan or fine with stir frying?
Are you going to make pizza, cake or breads?
Are you going to do crab, fish, and lobster boiling?
Would you like have proper wine storage in your outdoor kitchen?
Do you have kids or it is just for you and your spouse? Or are you planning for a big 4th of July outdoor party?
All these questions and worries are well covered with modern outdoor kitchen equipments and you have them available everywhere these days. However, make sure your grill or smoker is NSF tested and certified for security measures.
Given the fact you are going to add a grill, you have to plan for ventilation and exhaust system to manage smoke and food particles from the grill. For that you may consider a range hood with ventilation system with a remote fan installed inside the hood. It is always better to have 304 grade stainless steel made outdoor kitchen components, and it is also one of the most common materials used for manufacturing of lower to middle end equipments for kitchen.
Our top barbeque suppliers include Alfresco, Twin Eagles, FireMagic and Bull BBQ. Their quality of products is top notch and according to their warranty statements they will last for long period of time.
If this is your first project, start doing and stop dreaming is what I’d say! Use aforementioned information as a guideline to plan and design your kitchen. Good luck!