Planning an outdoor entertainment area in your backyard? If you’re considering installing an outdoor kitchen, consider these outdoor kitchen must haves. Choosing some or all of these will ease some of the hassle to outdoor entertainment. No more running back and forth with food from the indoor kitchen! Cook, chat, and socialize while still being with the people that matter the most. Plan ahead, even if you don’t have the budget now for all of these items. Run the wires, lines, and pipes that you will need and add to it as your budget allows.
15 Outdoor Kitchen Must Haves For Your Home
- Refrigerator – What’s a kitchen without a refrigerator? Having condiments and marinated meat close to the grill and staying cold is a huge time saver. Outdoor refrigerators vary in size, so choose the size that will work best for the area and your needs.
- Ice Maker – The ice maker is a convenience you and your guests will enjoy. Having an ice maker right there in your outdoor kitchen allows for easy, and cool, drinks without going inside the house and then back out. Ice makers come in a variety of sizes and types. Smaller ice makers cost less than $200 while the more expensive ones will cost you upwards of $1,000.
- Beverage Refrigerator – If you and those you entertain are wine aficionados, consider purchasing a dedicated wine refrigerator. If not, a dedicated beverage refrigerator will take care of all of your outdoor entertainment drinking needs. They are convenient if you do a lot of outdoor get-togethers with friends and family. If you only do occasional gatherings, you may be fine with just one refrigerator for all of your needs.
- Built-In Beverage Cooler – If you’re looking for a less expensive and more casual way to keep your drinks cold, consider installing a built in cooler. Make sure the cooler has a drain plug so that it can empty easily when the ice melts.
- Direct Draw System (Kegerator) – If you entertain a lot of people that enjoy a good draft beer, investing in a beer dispenser, or kegerator, might be what you need. Obviously, not everyone will want or need one of these. However, those that enjoy a good draft beer, installing one of these into your outdoor kitchen is a must have. It is actually cheaper to purchase a keg for your beer dispenser than buying many cases of beer -and better for the environment too.
- Bar – What is an outdoor kitchen without a bar? For those that entertain and enjoy mixed drinks, consider having a fully stocked bar. Instead of taking up real estate on your outdoor kitchen counters or tables, you can store the liquor, mixers, and glasses in the bar. Not to mention, it becomes a place to congregate during your outdoor gathering.
- Double-Sided Grill – It may sound redundant to have a double-sided grill, but there are a lot of advantages to this. There are many people in today’s world that are vegan or allergic to certain things. Having one side of the grill 100% dedicated to meats while the other side is dedicated to everything else, helps with cross contamination. Even if this is not an issue, having a double-sided grill just makes sense when you are cooking for a large group of people.
- Warming Drawer – We all know some food cooks faster than others. Not everything can be timed perfectly. Having a draw that will keep your food warm until the rest of the meal is complete is a great thing to have. Convenience is a life saver when it comes to cooking large quantities of food!
- Burners – Sometimes, the grill just isn’t enough to complete a meal in an outdoor kitchen. There are some items that still need to be made inside. For example, a simple cookout with hamburgers and hotdogs is sometimes served with baked beans, sauerkraut, and chili. It’s hard to cook on the grill and on the cooktop inside! Having burners available in your outside kitchen can be a life saver.
- Outdoor Pizza Oven – Who doesn’t like pizza? Turn regular Friday night pizza night into a homemade pizza night on the backyard patio with your very own pizza oven. You can go as simple as a portable pizza oven that can be placed on the counter, one that rolls out when you need it, or go all out and have one built into the outdoor kitchen layout itself.
- Smoker – A die-hard griller will absolutely want to have a smoker installed into their outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchen designs with a smoker is a pit master’s dream. Someone who really enjoys grilling outside will quickly become addicted to the smoker. We’ve seen absolute novices dedicate hours of time trying new recipes and smoking new things in their smoker. Not to mention, your neighbors will stop by unexpectedly wondering what deliciousness they are smelling
- Blender – Did you know that you have options when it comes to blenders? Obviously, you can just bring out the blender from your indoor kitchen when you need it outside, but did you know that you can also have one built in? If you’ve already gone ahead and installed a full bar for mixed drinks, this is also something you may want to invest in.
- Storage – What is an outdoor kitchen without storage? At the very least you’ll need a place to put your outdoor cooking items. If you entertain outside a lot you might consider investing in dedicated dishes for the outside as well. If you do, you are going to need places to store them outside. Cabinets as well as drawers should be added to your outdoor kitchen layout for convenience and organization.
- Dishwasher – Your outdoor kitchen setup probably will include a sink in which dishes can be done, but if we are dreaming, wouldn’t having an outdoor dishwasher be amazing? This will allow you more time to spend with your friends and family instead of standing at a sink cleaning everything up.
- Garbage Disposal – Although not a necessity for an outdoor kitchen setup, having a garbage disposal might be a good idea if you plan on doing a lot of prep work outside or rinsing dishes before they go into the dishwasher. It's a convenience you’ll enjoy.
Convenience Equals Outdoor Kitchen Must Haves
While these items listed above may not be absolute necessities in outdoor kitchens, they add convenience that will make a world of difference. When we entertain friends and family in our backyard we do it not only for their enjoyment but for ourselves too. We enjoy cooking for people we care about, we enjoy seeing everyone’s smiling faces. We want to spend time with them and just enjoy being around everyone we care about. Having these items makes the entire process of entertaining everyone so much easier and more convenient. Plan, design, and continue creating the outdoor space you will enjoy for years to come.