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Outdoor kitchen must-haves for 2023

Outdoor kitchen and entertainment area


A functional and stylish kitchen indoors can produce some special meals but an outdoor one will make cooking awesome. The outdoor space is for family time and entertaining, especially in summer when all we want to do is be outdoors.


And a well-maintained and well-kept outdoor kitchen will only add value to the house when it’s time sell.


If designed smartly, an outdoor kitchen layout can be planned for any type of space, whether angular or straight cut. To give it a personal touch, pick an outdoor kitchen design idea that reflects your personal aesthetic. That way, your indoor cooking space can match with your outdoor cooking area.


Custom outdoor kitchen trends aren’t just about the appliances, but they’re also about choosing the right colours, textures, materials, and finishes. Our top outdoor kitchen layout tips include making the external cooking space an extension of the indoor one or incorporating one into your patio or deck.


Here are some top features for outdoor kitchens that you will see become a trend in 2023.


Outdoor grill options: Two-sided grill

What’s an outdoor kitchen without a grill? When you’re building an outdoor kitchen, you can have the grill built in for intuitive use. So you’ve got your standard grill, but a double grill can give you a choice between gas, charcoal, or even both fuels at the same time!


A double grill will also give you more surface area to cook on. Everyone’s cooking preferences can be catered to and that too simultaneously.


Grills are great if you’re cooking with pans or cast iron skillets, which heat up evenly and retain the heat. Similarly, cast iron pans allow you to cook pretty much anything on a grill.


Outdoor kitchen with built-in griddle

Where you’re building in a grill, it’s easy to build in a griddle. This option is an upgrade from cast iron, and gives you a more even cooking surface. Griddles heat up nicely and maintain cooking temperature, giving perfect cooking results time after time. And you can cook a variety of items on griddles, like pancakes, toast, brioche buns, shrimps, or even burritos for game night.


Outdoor kitchen with built-in smoker

If you’re a barbecue super chef, an outdoor kitchen without a smoker is non-negotiable.


You might want to move this outdoor kitchen feature higher up on your list when remodeling the outdoors. A smoker is a beloved classic for barbecuing, and it’s here to stay. Having it built in to the outdoor kitchen space with a grill can give you extra cooking space for a variety of menu items.


Outdoor kitchen pizza ovens

Ovens do more than pizzas, but who would say no to pizza anyway? A wood-fired pizza oven just takes it to a new level. Add a glass of wine and you have the perfect movie night with friends.


You can turn cooking time into family time by getting everyone involved. That means quality family time with quality homemade pizza.


Don’t let the variety of models confuse you. Choose one depending on the available outdoor space. If you have enough room, you can have a larger one built into the cooking space. And an oven can also have a grill on top, so once again, you’re maximizing your cooking surface.


Outdoor kitchen with bbq area and small fridge


Outdoor kitchen fridge

What’s the point of having an outdoor kitchen if there’s no fridge to help store your ingredients and drinks? None. You won’t waste precious time running back to the house every five minutes when you have everything stored in an outdoor fridge.


Not only is it a great place to keep ingredients leading up to when you will cook them, but it also works if you want to marinate something overnight. And if you have leftovers, you don’t have to worry about carrying everything inside to store them. Just put it away in the fridge that’s within arm’s reach.


Where a fridge will keep things cool, a built-in warming drawer will help heat up leftovers on your grill, oven, or in the smoker.


Outdoor kitchen sinks and faucets

Some of us don’t really like this part of dinner…well, most of us don’t, especially if you must haul things in and out all the time. Doing that requires some balancing and accidents can happen, especially if you have kids or pets running around. An outdoor kitchen sink really takes that problem right off the table.


Pick a nice faucet that is touch activated and you won’t have to lay a dirty hand on it.


Soak the dirty dishes in the outdoor kitchen sink right after eating and you can wash them as you go.


Doing the dishes outdoor could also become a novelty activity for kids, so maybe they will pitch in and help out.


Outdoor kitchen worktop space

An outdoor kitchen is your workshop, and workshops need ample worktop space for crafting. An outdoor kitchen works smoothly when there is enough space for not only preparing food but also serving it.


Look for surfaces that are strong and durable, also heatproof, stainproof, weatherproof, scratchproof, and non-bleaching. You can pick from quartzite, soapstone, tile, or granite.


Large, modern entertainment area


Outdoor kitchen cabinets and storage

When you’re spending time outdoors in your new backyard kitchen, you’ll need space to store important items nearby, too. Cabinets and storage space isn’t just for keeping barbecue tools, it’s also for plates, pots, pans, and glasses — all items you will need when you have friends and family over.


You’ll have plenty of room to plan for separate space for your barbecue tools, and your plates, cups, and glasses.


Remember, spiders, dust and damp will find their way into pretty much any outdoor cupboard unless it’s completely sealed. So if you want to store items in your outdoor kitchen cupboards year round, consider airtight plastic boxes to keep things in top condition.


Outdoor kitchen icemaker.

Summer can get really bad these days, so no matter your budget, an ice maker has to be part of your outdoor kitchen. This feature is complementary to the fridge, which will be used for storing drinks, which will need the ice from the ice maker.


The ice maker also goes nicely with what we’re about to recommend next.


Outdoor kitchen garden bar

Mixing drinks at the bar as you get the ice from the ice maker is just the cherry on top when it comes to hosting backyard gatherings. An outdoor kitchen with a garden bar is excellent for informal get-togethers, drinks and nibbles, pizza and prosecco evenings… it opens your backyard to an array of socializing possibilities.


And who can deny that BBQ’s and bars are a perfect match.


Patio with BBQs and dining area for guests


Outdoor kitchen seating

You can have some fun with this much-needed outdoor kitchen feature. The bar should have barstools – naturally. But you can go stylish, contemporary, or luxurious with the rest of the seating. Benches with storage are a great idea if you have an area for kids. But cushy chairs, maybe made of wicker, can be a good touch for the dining area. You can also look into getting a picnic table with benches around it if you’re one that entertains big groups.


And don’t forget the couch set for when you want to take a nap outdoors or just put your feet up and read a book.


Outdoor kitchen with herbs and planters

If you’re becoming one with nature through your outdoor kitchen, it’s a good idea to bring your grocery store home, too. Plant a garden close by to add a beautiful aroma and visual accent to the outdoor space.


In terms of cooking, having fresh herbs and vegetables at hand makes it that much nutritious. If your outdoor kitchen is taking up a lot of your backyard space, no worries, you always have the option to plant a vertical garden along the house walls. It’s, in fact, helpful because it helps absorb the heat so the house walls don’t warm up.


Compact outdoor kitchens

If you want to use your backyard space in a more versatile way, you can do a compact kitchen. It will have elements to allow you to cook outdoors, but perhaps not the bells and whistles a full kitchen might have.


We recommend building your compact outdoor kitchen around an island. You get your cooking appliance, worktop surface, and a congregating space. You can create seating space by adding barstools to the island, which will also have room for cabinets and drawers for your barbecuing tools.


Islands are very diverse, because they have enough room below the surface to allow for a fridge, too.


The island can also accommodate a sink, pull out trash, and access door.


Outdoor kitchen maintenance tips

In addition to choosing long-lasting surfaces and appliances, here are some steps you can take to maintain your outdoor kitchen.

  • Clean the grill regularly and cover it after it’s been used for the day

  • Cover your patio furniture

  • Disconnect utilities when they’re not being used

  • Keep all appliances clean and serviced for enduring performance

Dan Boyer at 9:00 AM
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