Like many, the time-honored BBQ is a custom that has evolved over the years – no longer confined to the summer months or limited to a standard BBQ – we’re now seeing more and more sophisticated outdoor setups extending to sinks, benches, and multi-functional cooking appliances. We’re seeing outdoor kitchens.
“Outdoor kitchens are becoming an extension of the home. People are moving away from the traditional barbie and are now honing their culinary skills on pizza ovens, smokers and open fire cooking.” – Rhys Mellor, Love Kitchens.
So, how do you create the perfect outdoor kitchen? Ultimately it depends on exactly how you intend to use the space and how much space you have to work with. But whether you’re dreaming of the perfect flame-grilled meats on an Escea cooking fire, or a more modest BBQ there are a few things your outdoor kitchen can’t do without.
With the help of Love Kitchens, we’ve put together a list of outdoor kitchen must-haves and nice-to-haves.
Consider the type of cooking you want to achieve in your backyard, will a standard BBQ suffice, or you do you want something with more functionality like the Escea EK Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen?
Storage for outdoor cooking utensils and accessories
Just like you have a place for these inside, you want to have a designated area, drawer or container to store cooking utensils and accessories. Outdoor accessories tend to get much dirtier than their indoor counterparts, so it pays to keep them separate.
Prep space or benchtop
Depending on your space, you’ll want sufficient bench space for preparing and serving food. You’ll also want to consider the elements, as certain materials won’t be suitable for some weather conditions.
Sink & tap with hot water
For a functioning outdoor kitchen, a plumbed-in sink with running water is a must. You’ll need this for rinsing food and of course, the clean-up.
You’d be surprised how many people forget about this but when the sun goes down – it’s more important than ever!
This is one you don’t want to overlook. Including a rubbish bin in the design of your outdoor kitchen – ideally, one which is hidden away under the bench or sink will keep your space looking tidy and inviting – and save you countless trips back inside the house.
Whether you’re cooking with wood, coal or gas; make sure the fuel source is close to the main event. Built into the fireplace, under bench seating or in a handy basket or bucket.
The Nice to Haves
It pays to be prepared. Whether it’s protection from the harsh sun rays, or rain clouds rolling in – designing a shelter solution for your outdoor kitchen can be a godsend. Depending on your budget it could be as sophisticated as overhead Lourves – or as simple as a trusty umbrella.
Fridge or cooler
Again, why make trips into the house if you don’t have to? While an Esky/Chilly Bin would do the trick – an ice bucket or even an outdoor fridge to keep food and drinks cool keeps everything at arm's reach of the action.
If you want to get the most out of your outdoor kitchen and extend your alfresco entertaining into the colder months, then you may want to include some supplementary heating. Consider an outdoor gas fireplace for a cosy conversation corner – or overhead heating to take the edge off.
Fresh herb garden or pots
When you’re cooking outdoors – the garden is your pantry. Consider designing a space into your outdoor kitchen – whether it’s a hanging herb garden or raised planter boxes. Not only does it give you a world of flavour at your fingertips – it’s a great visual element, too.
There’s nothing like a curated backyard playlist to accompany your al fresco afternoons and beyond and a quality speaker set up makes it that much better.
Get inspired to create your own outdoor space with our gallery of real-life outdoor kitchens.
Browse our full range of outdoor fireplaces and heating options here.