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Outdoor Kitchens: The Great Outdoors Just Got Greater

Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor cooking can conjure images of an activity that’s a non-starter for some: camping. Besides the bugs and the bears there are those less-than-luxurious sleeping quarters. (Although an organization like Glamping.com definitely makes this pastime more palatable with “a highly curated collection of ‘glamorous camping’ properties around the globe.”)

In the traditional sense, outdoor cooking was once limited to either a fish, a hot dog, or a marshmallow skewered with a stick. We might be overdramatizing a bit here, but the evolution of the outdoor kitchen has gone beyond anyone’s expectations. The designs and amenities easily rival indoor kitchens – some outdoor kitchens are more robust than their interior counterparts. Dining outside, is really in!

Fire Pits

If you’re not ready to sign that contract and hand over a deposit on a new outdoor kitchen, here’s a very interesting alternative that will still get you outdoors for dinner.

There’s every argument in the world for embracing the most modern technologies to develop that precious open-air square footage of your home, but Old World Garden Farms serves up a delicious possibility: a fire pit you can cook on.

In recent years we have seen fire pits take center stage at backyard parties, and even on a quiet Tuesday evening they make the perfect hearth to gather with your family.

But Old World Garden Farms exclaims, “Fire pits have become all the rage over the last few years. For one, they are an excellent way to extend the outdoor season on cool, chilly nights. But they can also be an excellent way to create wonderful outdoor meals. From simmering soups and stews, to fire-grilled chicken, steak, sausage and vegetables, there is hardly anything we won’t try to cook over open flames.”

Whether on a cooking bar or a cooking grate, you’ll be amazed at what you can do with such a simple palette.

Where to Place Your Outdoor Kitchen

If this is your new project, have patience as the choices are mind boggling. From finishes to fixtures to appliances, you have hundreds of decisions to make.

Your first and best one is the location. Here are Six Placement Considerations for an Outdoor Kitchen courtesy of LandscapingNetwork.com.

  1. Proximity – An outdoor kitchen should be located close to the home. The closer your outdoor cooking area is to your home’s backyard entrance, the more convenient it will be for food preparation and transport. You don’t want to be so far from your indoor kitchen that it is a hassle to go back and forth; this scenario often results in rarely using the outdoor kitchen.
  2. Views – Consider what the views will be from your outdoor kitchen. A correctly placed outdoor kitchen will take advantage of the views in the rest of your backyard landscape. An incorrectly placed outdoor kitchen will leave guests to look at a wall or fence.
  3. Wind – Place your outdoor kitchen so that smoke from the grill will be carried away from dining and living areas.
  4. Utilities – An outdoor kitchen must be placed in an area where gas and electricity can be accessed.
  5. Privacy – You will enjoy your outdoor kitchen more if it has a private feel. Pick a location that will you will be able to easily shield from neighbors by plants and/or structures, such as trellises, walls or fences.
  6. Shade – To ensure that your outdoor kitchen is as comfortable as possible during the day, place it in a location that has shade. Shade for an outdoor kitchen can be provided by trees, a patio cover, pergola, or umbrella.

Outdoor Kitchen Amenities

As far as determining location, you may not have a wide variety of choices due to the confines of your existing space, but fear not as you are in control of a wonderful assortment of options.

In that spirit, Earth, Turf & Wood Inc. show off 9 of the Coolest Outdoor Kitchen Appliances We’ve Installed. You’ll certainly find some inspiration from these stunning spaces. Do check out the link for images of some of the features you can incorporate.

  1. The Grill

Of all of the outdoor kitchen appliances, the grill is clearly the most important. It’s where you’ll likely do the majority of your outdoor cooking and for that reason, it’s pretty essential to the whole space.

  1. Flat-Top Grill

While it is in fact another type of grill, a flat-top or Hibachi-style grill is unique enough that we gave it its own category. This is an opportunity to make cooking into entertainment. Whether you’re making a stir-fry or some crepes, cooking on a flat-top grill can be an experience, much like dining at a Hibachi restaurant.

  1. Power Burner

This high-intensity burner can bring a huge pot of water to boiling temperature in just a couple of minutes. Homeowners love using it to boil their corn or clams outside while simultaneously grilling their meat nearby.

  1. Smoker

If you’re someone that loves smoking meats, then you might include a Big Green Egg, or another type of smoker, as one of your outdoor kitchen accessories. Building it into the countertop is a great option.

  1. Pizza Oven

Imagine a backyard pizza party where friends and family gather and help assemble and bake their own pies. With a pizza oven as one of your outdoor kitchen appliances you can create an entire destination around cooking.

  1. Sink

A sink can add a lot of convenience to your outdoor kitchen space by allowing you to wash your hands after touching raw meat or even giving you a place to wash the dishes before putting them away. This eliminates having to cart everything back to the house when it can be washed and stored right in the outdoor kitchen.

  1. Outdoor Refrigerator

On a hot day, instead of having to run back into the house or keep a cooler filled with ice, you’ll be able to grab a cold beverage any time from your outdoor refrigerator.

  1. Warming Drawers

If you typically entertain a lot of people, then a warming drawer would certainly make your life easier. That’s because you can keep your already-cooked foods warm as you continue to cook more. It’s a nice touch to your outdoor kitchen that will greatly simplify your ability to entertain.

  1. Trash Receptacle

With a built-in trash receptacle like this, you can be certain that trash has a place to go without having to be on display (or stinking up the party). Adding an adjoining recycling bin also provides a spot for those cans to get neatly tucked away until it’s time to empty the bins.

Whether on a cooking grate over an open flame or on a Blaze LTE 30″ Built-in Gas Griddle with LED Lights, perhaps a new Thanksgiving tradition will be born this year. Bon Appetit!

Providing pool and home improvement loans since 1979, Lyon Financial loves backyard pools… and outdoor kitchens. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about installing your corner of paradise.