That’s really a relative question, with the answer being different for every homeowner. If you could build (or have one built) an outdoor kitchen, what would you include in the design? Would it have all the bells and whistles of your indoor kitchen? Or would you just focus on having a great grill and a food prep area?
Naturally, a good way to start a project this size is with a budget, and then a wish list for what features you want to include. Maybe two lists would be better – one for ‘I’d love to have that’, and one for ‘I’d love to have that, but we really don’t need it’. Reality checks are always helpful!
When you think of the idea of an outdoor kitchen, do you think about one like this?
Or, a more compact one. Even with a modest budget, or limited space, you could still get a great looking outdoor kitchen – I think this is a great example of a scaled-down kitchen, and sometimes that’s all you need –
So, what would your outdoor kitchen look like?
The first ‘essential’ for me would be a grill. What would an outdoor kitchen (or any kitchen for that matter) be without some appliance for cooking! Natural gas, charcoal, or propane?
Today’s grills are pretty spiffy looking, with all that shiny stainless steel. And they can be expensive. But don’t be put off by the $3500 grill that someone you know bought (have seen some for more than twice that – are they kidding?) – there’s a grill out there for many budgets. I saw a few at a home improvement store for around $500 – $700, along with some that were more expensive. Besides the quality of the grill, a lot of it depends on the size of the grill, and how many features it has.
There are so many more features you can choose to include in an outdoor kitchen besides the grill, you’d think you were designing an indoor kitchen! So, what other appliances would your outdoor kitchen include? A small bar sink? How about a dishwasher – now that would be nice! But, I think before I had a dishwasher, I’d have an under the counter fridge.
Something to keep in mind, is that having to run utility lines for electricity, a water line for a sink and dishwasher (and a return pipe), and a gas line for a natural gas grill will add extra cost to an outdoor kitchen project!
Now here’s a topic near and dear to every cook’s heart – How much counter top space would you need? It’s always great to have a surface to set things on like utensils, seasonings, and a plate of burgers waiting to be grilled. If the counter top is large enough, you could use the space as a buffet to serve food and drinks.
I’d be happy with an outdoor kitchen that size! And this next one is right up my alley, too. I think I’d change it a bit, though – instead of those burners on the right of the grill, I’d opt for more counter space and a fridge beneath. This is compact, but it’s one of my favorites –
Would you want your entertaining to be focused around the outdoor kitchen? Nowadays, when you have guests over to your house, everyone seems to congregate in the kitchen – it’s a happening place! The same can be true for an outdoor kitchen, and high counters with chair stools for gathering around the cooking area could be a great design concept.
Here’s an alternative to the outdoor kitchen that uses a standard grill. This kitchen (wow, look at all that counter space) was designed for a kamado type grill (like the Big Green Egg).
Sometimes you get to have a unique feature all its own. Check out this attractive custom cooler that was built into the outdoor kitchen’s counter from House Beautiful. I would love this. And everyone could get their own drink!
These fabulous outdoor kitchens, big and small, are a good indication of how much our country has fallen in love with the idea of outdoor living!
Whether a dream or reality, have you decided on your basic essentials for your outdoor kitchen, yet? What would your outdoor kitchen look like?