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Buyer’s Guide: 7 Must-Have Outdoor Kitchen Appliances
Every homeowner should have an outdoor cooking space, whether a small grill on the grass outside the kitchen or dining room door or a fully furnished outdoor kitchen on a patio or deck.
Cooking outdoors during the warm months is a special experience. The more effort a homeowner puts into setting up their outdoor kitchen, the better the experience. Some people are lucky and have an existing patio or deck to add outdoor cooking appliances to. Other homeowners have to start from nothing.
If a Homeowner is Starting From Nothing
If a family purchases a home with no outdoor living space, they have to start somewhere. Planning an outdoor living space with an outdoor kitchen can be a fun family project.
Good planning involves doing a little research into outdoor kitchens and living spaces. Go online or to outdoor living magazines and see which setups are most in line with the family’s needs and budget.
You will need appliances for your outdoor kitchen. Purchase the ones you will use regularly and pass up the rest. The seven best outdoor appliances to consider are:
- A good-quality BBQ grill is the first appliance to consider, and this is where the biggest investment should go. The grill to purchase depends on the cook’s grilling style and the foods that will be prepared. A basic grill is good for hamburgers and hot dogs. But, what if a cook wants to grill whole chickens, sear foods, or do more complex cooking? Make a list of what types of grilling will be done and compare that list to the features offered by different grills. What accessories come with the grill, and can other accessories be purchased?
What fuel does the homeowner want to use for the grill? Choices include natural gas, propane, pellets, electricity, and charcoal. Is a free-standing grill best, or should cooks look for a built-in grill?
- An outdoor refrigerator is often overlooked when furnishing an outdoor kitchen. But, this is one appliance that will be well worth the investment for food safety and convenience. An outdoor refrigerator will save trips to the kitchen or having to buy ice for a messy cooker. This does not have to be full size but can be an under-the-counter size.
- An outdoor ice maker will save a homeowner trip to the store for bags of ice for outdoor entertaining. It will save a person the inconvenience of lugging ice from the indoor refrigerator out to the deck or patio.
- Dedicated outdoor grillers should consider adding an outdoor smoker to their grilling arrangement. Smokers are for slow cooking outdoors and can be built into a countertop or purchased to stand alone. You can get small to large ones, and they can be pretty basic or come with lots of bells and whistles.
- Do family members like pizza? Homemade pizza is often much better than frozen or take-out pizza. The whole family can take part in making pizzas. Family members can make personal individual pizzas with their favorite ingredients or add toppings to a family-sized pizza. You can use healthier ingredients when the pizza is made at home. An outdoor pizza oven is convenient and does not heat the house or mess up the kitchen.
- A warming drawer will help the outdoor cook keep hot food hot when multiple items are being prepared. Warming drawers keep food warm without drying it out, and they keep food at a safe temperature. They can be installed under the counter.
- Everybody will love an outdoor beverage center as it saves people multiple trips inside. The beverage center keeps drinks at the right temperature without messy ice and is installed under the counter.
Once the family decides on the appliances, it is time to build a setting to install them in. A patio or deck will need to be large enough to hold the grilling appliances, counters, tables or counters for eating, and other furniture for relaxing. Patios are built on the ground and are less expensive to build and maintain.
Decks are built on a wood framework off the ground or off a higher-level dining room or kitchen. Decks are more expensive to build or maintain but add value to a home and are more versatile.
An outdoor kitchen should have an electrical source for appliances and lighting. Any outdoor outlets should be rated for outdoor use. It is also worth the investment to install counters to tie all the appliances together and include an outdoor sink and plumbing. Do not try to build and equip an outdoor kitchen without professional help.
Outdoor Kitchen Appliances: Build an Outdoor Kitchen in the Right Order
There is a correct order to do things that will avoid wasted money and time:
- Make plans for the outdoor kitchen and hire the needed contractors;
- Check on permits and get the needed ones;
- Order the materials and get them on-site;
- Run any needed utility lines for electrical, gas, or plumbing;
- Get the hardscaping installed;
- Buy the appliances and have them delivered;
- Add the built-ins, like counters, and install the appliances;
- Hook up the lighting and other electrical outlets or appliances;
- Add the accessories and finishing touches.
Consider starting with a portable grilling center if there is an existing deck or patio and a small budget. It can be stored next to the house and rolled out in the middle of the patio to use. Add a rolling cart with shelves for a little counter space and storage. As money becomes available, you can add built-in counters and other appliances.
Don’t Forget These Features
Every outdoor cooking and living space should have additional items such as a trash receptacle, ventilation, comfortable seating, lighting, and counter space for food preparation. Everything used in an outdoor living space should be weatherproof and easy to maintain.
A well-planned outdoor kitchen and living space will be worth the investment of time and money when the family enjoys the time outdoors in the fresh air. These spaces are great for entertaining friends and family without messing up the whole house.