There’s nothing like feeling a cool evening breeze while preparing dinner for family and friends. Crafting a custom outdoor kitchen is a great way to take advantage of extra space and add value to your home. Designing an exterior eatery isn’t as easy as shifting appliances from indoors to outside. There are certain things that every backyard scullery needs to not only be an effective kitchen, but a beautiful space to enjoy your leisure time as well!

1. Burning for Barbecue

For many people, the only way to cook outside is with a grill. Almost ubiquitous as a backyard accessory, grills are the perfect starting point for your external kitchen. You’ll want to choose one that allows you to cook the way you prefer, especially when considering fuel sources. Charcoal grills are great for adding that extra smokey flavor, but the coals tend to heat unevenly and the temperature is difficult to control. 

Propane is a much cleaner option and can have other uses as well. A quality custom outdoor kitchen should have at least one side burner, which would need a separate fuel source if the primary grill was charcoal-powered. Side burners are excellent additions because they allow chefs to cook a wider variety of meals instead of relying on the grill alone. Other accessories like pizza ovens or smokers are nice to have but not as useful as the basics.

2. Sinking Feeling

What’s the point of cooking outdoors if you don’t have the space to get anything done? Instead of cutting, dicing, and rinsing inside and rushing to throw everything onto the grill, create an efficient workspace right next to it. Adding a countertop will give you plenty of room to cook, but having too little is almost as bad as having none at all. Make sure you plan for enough counter space because you’re sure to miss it in the future!

Adding a sink to the work area is another step towards custom outdoor kitchen perfection. Being able to wash up while in the midst of meal prep is essential, and filling pots for stews and clam bakes has never been easier. Other great modifications to an outdoor countertop include a trash compactor or dishwasher to help make post-party cleanup a breeze!

3. Liquid Refreshment

It’s a good idea to have something to keep your guests entertained while you work your magic on the grill. A backyard bar will help provide a focal point for entertainment and can be incorporated into your external kitchen with ease. A sink is an excellent inclusion for cleaning tumblers and blenders, as well as providing hydration for guests not interested in libations. 

Some bartenders love to have a refrigerator and freezer on hand as a way to store mix-ins for cocktails and keep colder drinks chilled. Of course, some backyard barbecuers have a dedicated beer fridge or kegerator on hand to keep their beer nice and cool for those hot days in the summer sun. A wine chiller is another great option to ensure nothing spoils in the heat of the day.

4. A Place for Everything

There’s no sense in having an outdoor kitchen if you spend half of your time running inside for supplies. One of the best reasons to have a kitchen setup right outside is so there is room to store all of your cooking and dining essentials. Installing cabinetry and drawers below the countertop will make the best use of otherwise wasted space, giving you room to store foodstuffs, spices, and utensils. 

When it’s time to eat, dedicating space to cutlery and plates means no lugging dining gear to and from the house. Instead, everything from cups to cooking utensils is right at hand in your custom outdoor kitchen, ready when you need them. Consider adding a dishwasher outside, too, so no one has to stay up scrubbing at the end of the night.

5. If Looks Could Grill

Even if your cooking is Michelin quality, few will notice if your kitchen doesn’t look the part. When designing your outdoor kitchen, remember to think about ambiance. Spend some time on lighting, finding the perfect places to illuminate work areas while also keeping the outdoorsy mood. Incorporating a fire feature will provide light and atmosphere, crackling away while you cook.

You’ll also want to provide some shade for daytime cookouts and to protect your prep area from the elements. A pergola or roofing section is great for blocking out the sun and bad weather, while an awning can be rolled in place if things start to get rainy. Don’t forget mood music, either, as well-placed speakers can make all the difference for backyard entertainment.

Is a Custom Outdoor Kitchen Right For You?

An outdoor cooking area custom-built to your specifications can change the way you look at your home. It can transform your backyard into a new entertainment space as well as provide you with a new way to relax and prepare your favorite meals. When it’s time to create your own outdoor eatery, remember that it’s meant for you to enjoy. Think about how you want to utilize the space, and create a custom kitchen that will have you feeling like a true master chef!