The Outdoor Kitchen: 101
The coastal low country enjoys such wonderful weather for so much of the year; it’s only natural that you’d want to take advantage of being outdoors as much as possible. One great way to achieve that goal is with an outdoor kitchen. Especially as we are spending more time making meals at home, having a custom outdoor area for preparing food can be a great way to break up the potential monotony. There are a variety of appliances and accoutrements you could utilize to create your dream set up. Let’s take a look at a few of the basic items you should start with as a base for building a great outdoor cooking space.
This is a staple for any outdoor kitchen. If you like that natural smokey flavor in your grilled food, a charcoal grill is the way to go. If you prefer quick starts and easy clean up, a gas grill might fit you better. Both do an excellent job of cooking a variety of foods and can be incorporated into a temporary or permanent outdoor kitchen layout. Whether you’re cooking for one or to feed a crowd, you can find both charcoal and gas grills in a variety of sizes. You’ll need to do some research to decide exactly what type of grill will be best for your needs.
You’ll want some sort of flat horizontal area to set tools on, possibly a drink, and to use for simple food prep. It can be something as basic as a folding table or as intricate as a granite countertop fixture. You may want multiple surface heights, for use while standing and sitting. Size will be a factor but you don’t have to have a huge work surface to have a comfortably functional countertop.
If possible, adding a sink can be a huge time saver. It can be inconvenient to have to continually run inside for running water in the middle of cooking outside. Even just a small sink for handwashing can be a great addition for efficiency and accessibility.
Incorporating a mini-fridge into your outdoor cooking area is a great way to keep perishable ingredients close at hand. A portable cooler can work in a pinch, if you don’t have the ability or budget, to run electricity outside. But a small refrigerator fixture is a wonderful way to make sure you always have a cool drink readily available.
Last but not least, you will definitely want a seating area so friends and family can hang out while you act as chef. A simple set up of table and chairs works, so does a bar and stools. You can go farther by adding decorative pillows, side tables, a fire pit (for chilly evenings) and even an outdoor rug for a pop of color. Create an inviting environment to ensure you won’t have cook alone (unless of course that’s how you prefer it…).
When shopping for outdoor appliances and furnishing, it’s important to keep durability in mind. Even if you add a covering to your outdoor kitchen, everything out there should be built to last through all kinds of weather.
Cooking and enjoying a meal outside, with all of the essentials at your fingertips, is a great way to take advantage of all of the space your home has to offer.