If you like cooking outdoors, no one needs to tell you how much better food tastes when it’s had a chance to gain a hint of smoky flavor from the fire or the grill or how much more relaxing the experience of cooking is with fresh air and sunshine in the mix.
This being said, even the most obsessed with cooking outside might not know how far along outdoor kitchen amenities and options have become. The following will explore a few tips you can apply to spruce up your outdoor kitchen.
No matter what stage your outdoor kitchen is, whether you’ve got a fire pit that you toss a metal grill atop or you’ve got a whole station set up, a lot can be gained by looking at some outdoor kitchen inspiration. Seeing how other people have set up their kitchens outside can help you figure out what yours might be missing; it can also help you see innovative ways to use your limited space.
If you’re someone who loves cooking outside, you’re probably someone who loves being outside, and this means that you probably don’t want to mess too much with the slice of nature you have. It can also help with design questions you might be having.
In standard kitchens, you’re matching things with the rest of the kitchen, but when it comes to outdoor kitchens, you want your aesthetic choices to blend in with the environment.
Weather And Animal Proofing
One of the ways your outdoor kitchen can get problematic quickly is if it’s too accessible to animals and insects or if harsh weather is wearing out your surfaces and tools far faster than is ideal. When updating any part of the outdoor kitchen, ask yourself about the materials you’ve chosen.
When looking at countertops, for instance, find ones that are going to be able to take the battering of the elements and still look pristine. A complete guide for countertops should let you know which ones are the hardiest.
There’s also always the option of installing some sort of cover over the kitchen area that can help protect it from the elements.
Another aspect of weather and animal proofing is careful consideration of the sealing of things like plumbing. If water drips down in between elements, this might cause problems later on down the road.
This is especially important to keep in mind when dealing with anything electrical or hooked up to the house.
Get Creative With Cooking Surfaces
One of the best parts of an outdoor kitchen is how free you are when it comes to cooking surfaces. Dutch ovens over open fires, smoke boxes or rooms, wood-heated pizza ovens, and grills galore are all possibilities.
Think about what heat sources you’ve always wanted to cook with and research them. With an outdoor kitchen, there are far more possibilities as you have way more ventilation than you would have indoors.
Keep in mind that many heat sources you’re not used to might require a bit of trial and error as you figure out how to best employ them. You might also want to look up new recipes that can only be cooked with alternative heat sources to figure out all the possible meals available to you.
Understand The Law
Just be sure to look up the local fire regulations in your area. Because some locations tend to get dry during certain seasons, the risks of fire are greater, and so the restrictions are tighter.
Before making any purchases, research the rules as you might find that some outdoor kitchen elements and features are not allowed; you might find that others are allowed only if they meet certain criteria. This can help you ensure that you’re able to use your outdoor kitchen as much as possible. You might not even need to go in the house at all in the summer.
Think About Seating
If you’re cooking outside, you’re probably going to be spending more time outside than usual. You might also find that when you have friends over and are cooking for them that they also hang out outside while you cook.
Finding a seating arrangement that welcomes larger groups can be a big help with an outdoor kitchen, especially as it seems to be a place where people congregate.
The above tips should help you add a little something special to your outdoor cooking situation. Always be sure to clean up after yourself if you don’t want to attract animals and keep an eye on things that could harm unsuspecting critters, doing thorough check-in vents and other such places before turning any items on.