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An outdoor kitchen can provide you a great way to spend more time with your family!

In many parts of the country, this time of year is prime time to start thinking about outdoor entertaining! You can enjoy everything your yard or garden has to offer with an outdoor kitchen!. It helps to first understand the basic elements of what an outdoor kitchen includes, to how you cook items, to where things are stored.

Cooking and Grilling Surfaces

The first thing you need for an outdoor kitchen is somewhere to cook your food. Most outdoor kitchens have a built-in or portable barbecue grill. Usually the grills are gas, but you may prefer charcoal. This allows you to cook a lot of different foods, from vegetable kabobs to chicken, steak, and fish. If you are going to use the outdoor kitchen for parties, get an over-sized grill so you are able to cook a lot at one time. Some other cooking appliances to consider include a smoker, deep fryer, and/or pizza oven.

Countertops and Prep Stations

You also need an area to prepare your meals, such as chopping vegetables and marinating meat. This is where the countertops come into play. If you are going with a pre-fabricated outdoor kitchen, it should already include some countertop space. However, if you are getting it custom-made, you will need to choose the countertops on your own. Since it is outdoors, go with materials that are weather-friendly, such as those made from steel or concrete. It is also a good idea to have a sink connected to the outdoor kitchen so you aren’t constantly running in the house.

Storage

An outdoor kitchen also contains storage for food ingredients and leftovers, cookware, kitchen accessories, and dishes to eat with. Many outdoor kitchens have either a mini-fridge, wine fridge or full-size refrigerator. This keeps outdoor eating separate from indoor eating. You’ll need cabinets for storing your utensils, cutting tools, and serveware. Also have a place for storing cutting boards, skewer sticks, pots and pans, cups and plates, napkins, and other accessories you will need. Depending on space and your layout, an outdoor kitchen island may work for prep space & storage.

Accessories and Dining Area

Lastly, don’t forget about other accessories, dining furniture, and decorative elements for the outdoor kitchen. Get a good dining table with chairs or benches. Set up the dining area like you would inside, with proper lighting, decorative features, and area rugs. Also include some accessories such as measuring cups & spoons, serving dishes, storage containers, tongs, and various utensils. You might also want baskets to grill vegetables and different bottles of marinade and sauces for your meats.

Some factors to think about include your yard size, climate/weather, entertaining frequency, and budget. You’ll find many outdoor kitchen plans & ideas online or even at your local home & garden store.  Whether it’s a prefab outdoor kitchen or custom built, you’ll get many years of enjoyment from it when built to fit your personal needs & style.

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