Consider adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard for easy entertaining and alfresco cooking.
Q. We have spent the last couple of years converting our small backyard into a relaxing, wonderful retreat. We spend most of the summer out there and entertain as much as possible. I have invested in a large barbecue and we have an outdoor fridge but the missing link is an outdoor kitchen. I am not looking for anything fancy, simply something that will provide weather-proof storage, a prep area and ideally a small sink (even if it means a reservoir and pump to keep costs down). Is there such thing as a pre-made one in existence?
A. First of all, let me congratulate you on the work you've done on your backyard — it truly looks like an inviting spot for relaxation and for cooking and dining alfresco.
After doing some searching around the web, I came across a few all-in-one outdoor kitchen units that incorporate the elements you are looking for.
At the low end of the price range is the Backyard Gear Deluxe Barbecue Station. Made of durable plastic, this portable unit features a fold-away sink and faucet, ample storage space and two fold-out prep surfaces. This item can be ordered from Par Pool & Spa and while it may not be as sleek as its stainless steel counterparts, the $200 price tag makes it attractive.
If you prefer the look and quality of stainless steel, these units start around $2,000. Stainless steel's resistance to corrosion makes it a preferable material for outdoor use.
One of the more economical stainless steel outdoor kitchen islands is the Lynx Freestanding Cocktail Station which is equipped with a sink and filtration system, an insulated ice bin, two fold-down shelves, storage space and costs around $3,000. Visit lynxprofessionalgrills.com to find a list of retailers who carry Lynx appliances in your area.
My third Web find was the Liberty collection from DCS by Fisher & Paykel. These impressive units are made of weather-hardy stainless steel with features like a sink and storage cabinets plus a dual side burner which could come in handy when a stovetop cooking surface is needed to supplement your grill (this feature, however, takes up the countertop prep space). Units can be purchased through a DCS appliances dealer.