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Outdoor Kitchens - everything you need to know

Depending on where in the world you are located, having an outdoor kitchen can really enhance the way you use your outdoor space. It eliminates the need for trips to your indoor kitchen and allows you to cook dinners while friends and family are nearby and of course can make your garden parties unforgettable. An outdoor kitchen can make a statement in any home and can blend easily in its surroundings. And, despite what most would believe, it can also be suitable for the British outdoors.

1. Design your Outdoor Kitchen

Planning your outdoor kitchen is essential. The location within your garden and what features you want your kitchen to have (for example the type of oven/grill) are important as are the shape and overall size, which will affect the price. A typical outdoor kitchen may include some or all of the below:

  • cabinets for storing utensils and crockery

  • built-in bbq/grill with or without side burners

  • fridge

  • sink

  • oven

2. How long does it take to have an outdoor kitchen installed?

Initial planning to project completion of a Modular Outdoor Kitchen is typically 1-2 months. Some companies have longer lead times, so research what is available and be sure to check with the vendor about current lead times.

3. What grill to use

The type of grill you will choose is something to consider carefully. While most people go for a traditional gas BBQ grill, you might wish to try something alternative like a Kamado Grill.

Kamado Grills use wood lump charcoal which results in a tasty smoke and charcoal flavour that is classically associated with grilling. Ceramic charcoal grills also do a tremendous job at retaining the moisture of whatever you are cooking. The are more efficient with fuel and work like a wooden stovem where air enters from the bottom of the grill, passes by the charcoal fuel source, and leaves out the top. This also creates the amazing smokey flavour.

The Big Green Egg is one of the most popular Kamado ovens (images below). A lot of outdoor kitchen manufacturers can design your ideal kitchen with space dedicated for a Big Green Egg!

You can also consider dual fuel grills (gas and coal) or add a rotisserie.

4. Should I add a Pizza Oven?

Personally, I love pizza and love the idea of a modern looking, free-standing wood-fired pizza oven. These ovens can range in size, they can be freestanding with their own base or can be placed on an table top and can use a variety of fuel sources, reaching up to 500°C in little time. They can also be used to cook pastries, bread and other delicious meals. Cooking a pizza takes around 2 minutes in such ovens. A worthy investment in our view!

5. Adding utilities like water and electricity

If you want o reduce trips to your house kitchen and even do a pre wash up outside or wash vegetables and meat outdoors, you should consider adding access to a water and having a sink. Similarly, you could extend access to electricity, especially if your outdoor kitchen sits under a pergola that you'd like to see lit up at night.

6. Outdoor worktop solutions

Most outdoor kitchens have worktops that can withstand harsh weather and UV rays. As such, you can opt for harder and more exotic woods like Iroko or you can try stainless steel (careful as this is very reflective on sunny days) or for powder coated steel. You can also create a base upon which you add porcelain tiles (very hard wearing). There is plenty of choice provided you decide first on the look and feel of your kitchen as well as the colour way.

7. Ready made or built by you

Plenty of companies offer a turnkey service, where they design the outdoor kitchen of your dreams and this is installed over a day or two by them. Or, you could build the base yourself and then install units (like the BBQ/oven or fridge) separately. This could keep the cost down.

8. Durability of outdoor kitchens

Having an outdoor kitchen can be a great investment for your home and it will be thoroughly enjoyed by all. But as with any investment, you need to take care of it. Regular maintenance of outdoors furniture is needed and you should consider covering your kitchen during the months it is not used, to ensue it lasts longer. Always ensure that BBQs are cleaned carefully and then dried up before placing cover on them - the last thing you want is mould growing over BBQ grills over winter!

9. Examples and providers of outdoor kitchens

Scroll to the end of this article for a list of suppliers and fitters of outdoor kitchens.

Cambridge based Grillo Outdoor Kitchens offers flexibility in design as well as a number of pre-designed layouts. Grillo's Forge kitchen is a turnkey solution, designed, built and installed by their craftsmen. Their website offers complete transparency on their pricing, to avoid surprises. Of course though, they can also design an outdoor kitchen, totally configured to suit your space.

Made of Iroko hardwood and attractive porcelain work surfaces, they manufacture the outdoor kitchens offsite, allowing a quick onsite assembly and can also include a full suite of accessories. These beautiful, practical and very hard wearing outdoor kitchens will be a perfect socialising space.

Project examples (images: Grillo)

All images - GRILLO

Another provider of outdoor kitchens is My Outdoor Kitchen which is ran by Swiss Lindstrom & Sonden. Their website offers complete packages or individual items (e.g. cabinets).

Capo Cuoco’s outdoor kitchens (shown below) are renowned for their durability, and can resist any kind of weather. High-grade raw materials, cutting-edge storage technology, covering solutions and meticulous production processes ensure your perfect enjoyment of your outdoor kitchen 365 days a year, season after season.

Above: Draco Grills 6 Burner Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen with Sear Station, Double Fridge and Sink with granite sides, around £4,400, with 5 Years Limited Warranty.

Image credit: Gordon Stone

Outdoor kitchen providers List


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