Chapter 3 — Outdoor Kitchen Guide
An outdoor kitchen layout can range from a simple grill and countertop setup, to an elaborate kitchen with multiple cooking zones and outdoor refrigeration. If you’ve read through the first two chapters in our ultimate outdoor kitchen guide, you already know how much planning goes into designing your outdoor kitchen space. Now that you have the general layout figured out, it’s time to decide on what appliances you’ll want to install.
In this chapter of our LanChester Grill & Hearth Outdoor Kitchen Guide, we’re highlighting a variety of appliances that we commonly see featured in outdoor kitchens.
No outdoor cooking setup is complete without a grill. In fact, you probably already have one sitting on your deck ready to fire up for your next cookout. Not only do grills offer a healthier way to cook your food, but they also give you an excuse to get outdoors and soak up some vitamin D. If you’re looking to include a grill in your outdoor setup (which we highly recommend), you’ll discover a wide range of selections at LanChester. With built-in options for your outdoor kitchen, any grill you include can blend seamlessly with your design.
When it comes to how you want to grill your food, charcoal is perfect for providing even cooking and the assurance that everything is fully cooked every time. Charcoal is also great for smoking your foods, giving your food that nice earthy flavor. It can sometimes be a bit messy and takes more cook and clean-up time, but overall, we have always loved cooking with charcoal here at LanChester.
Having a gas grill sometimes intimidates people, but there are many benefits to cooking with gas. For one, it tends to be cheaper than charcoal and less messy. You can also easily hook up the grill to an existing gas line so you don’t have to switch out propane tanks all the time. Gas may not cook as hot as charcoal, but the ease of its use is why so many of our customers look at these types of grills as the favorable option.
While some grills (especially charcoal) allow for smoked meats and vegetables, home cooks tend to run into a few problems with this cooking method. For one, charcoal grills tend to not have enough space for larger meals. Most of the time you also have to babysit the grill and make sure the temperature stays consistent. When you buy a dedicated smoker as one of your outdoor appliances, you can control the temperature, “set it and forget it,” and really imbue your meats with that great smoky flavor.
If you’ve never enjoyed a pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven, you are truly missing out. With the hot flame temperatures crisping up your crust, the taste of your homemade pizza is raised to an entirely new level. Most of the time people don’t think they’ll make enough pizza to justify this addition to their outdoor kitchen, but pizza ovens were being used to cook virtually everything else before pizza even came along. With extremely fast cook times and their ease of use, fire pizza ovens are becoming a much more popular choice in outdoor kitchen cooking appliances.
Having a built-in cooktop in your outdoor kitchen brings all of the conveniences of your indoor kitchen to the back yard. Whether you’re using electric or gas, being able to have pots or pans on a burner while you’re grilling can make outdoor meal prep that much smoother. Why bother running back into the house to finish up your meal when you can just make it all outside?
At LanChester Grill, we’re huge fans of having outdoor refrigeration in our kitchens. On those hot summer days when you’re sweating over the grill, being able to reach over to grab an ice cold drink can make the job much more enjoyable. In addition, you can store meats and vegetables safely until you’re ready to cook them instead of letting them sit out in the sun. We also like to use outdoor refrigerators to store side dishes and leftovers when we’re entertaining!
Speaking of entertainment, what better way to enjoy the company of friends and family than with a nice cold beer? If you’re worried about your refrigerator not having enough bottle space, we suggest investing in a keg tapper for your outdoor kitchen. Cold draft beer always tastes better from the tap than from a bottle, so if you’re a big entertainer, this may be a great investment for you.
If you’re not a beer drinker, another option for keeping “adult beverages” on hand is to have a wine chiller installed in your outdoor space instead. It’s easy to bring your wine outside, but unless you have a way to keep it cool, you’ll constantly have to run in and out to refill your glass. Keep your wine chilled at the perfect temperature with a wine chiller that’s right at your fingertips for every outdoor party.
After grills, sinks are probably the second most useful outdoor fixture to incorporate into your outdoor kitchen. If you try to imagine your indoor kitchen without a sink, you’ll see why a sink is important in your outdoor setup. All of your food prep, cleanup, and messes can be contained to one area, making it much more convenient for cooking and entertaining. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll have to winterize your outdoor sink, but most of the time this as simple as having a shutoff valve.
No matter what outdoor appliances and structures you decide to include in your kitchen, LanChester is here to help. Not only will we help you in designing your outdoor kitchen, we have access to all of the best appliance names and brands in the business that will help you complete your backyard oasis. Reach out to our experts today to help you decide on the right equipment and configurations for all of your outdoor cooking needs.
Also check out Chapter 4 in our outdoor kitchen series: Preparing Your Outdoor Kitchen Landing Areas & Storage.