How To Create The Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen
Love to entertain alfresco? You need an outdoor kitchen. Let us whet your appetite with some of our favorite outdoor kitchens for inspiration, and then break down the components to recreate the look (don’t worry, we’ve got modular and built-in options).
A pergola shades the kitchen area of this backyard, which has enough seating to host a sit-down dinner party of 10. An open area above the counter provides a natural window to the park-like garden.
Browse more pretty pergolas here.
West Coast designer Lisa Moody of Grapevine Furniture & Design created a fully kitted-out kitchen with limestone counters to handle everything from storage and prep, to cooking and cleanup.
Designer and sculptor Martha Sturdy takes inspiration from nature, so it’s no surprise she likes to get up close and personal with the elements on her Preston Island, B.C. cottage. She and her husband added a monolithic granite fireplace and patio to create this outdoor “living room” equipped with a built-in barbecue and fireplace and plenty of counter space for food prep.
If the thought of a built-in outdoor kitchen is intimidating, this fully decked out modular unit packs the punch of a built-in kitchen with granite countertops. It includes a propane grill, rotisserie and side burners, sink and outdoor refrigerator (make sure your fridge can plug into GFCI: ground fault circuit interrupter outlets).
Designers often suggest at least 12 inches of food prep surface on either side of the cooking surface, and an L-shaped island maxes out counterspace. The cabinets of this modular island can be custom configured, with knockouts for electrical and gas.
An outdoor kitchen is nothing without sizzle, and this built-in hybrid barbecue offers the best of both worlds with a charcoal or gas option for convenience and flavor.
Designer Lisa Moody lists a pizza oven as one of her wish-list picks for an ideal outdoor space, and it’s not hard to see why. This natural-gas version has a restaurant-grade look, and a ceramic tile cooking surface that oven-fires a 14″ pizza evenly and quickly. The internal oven light lets you check your food at night.
Now to cool things off, consider a beverage center with a sink, insulated ice compartment and towel rack. Glass bottles can be safely stacked behind the front rail.
This beverage center has the added convenience of a fridge with ample shelf space, and a sink. The unit can be easily repositioned when not in use with locking casters for security.
Or keep beverages chilled in an undercounter beverage fridge that’s UL-approved for exterior use. The unit is front vented for built-in applications, and the door options can hinge from left or right to accommodate the layout.
This stainless prep sink is a useful add on: the accessories let you double up on the work surface. A colander set into the sink basin snaps off easily for cleaning, and there’s a handy towel bar.
Warming drawers can sound counterintuitive (it’s finally summer, right?) but they make a lot of sense since they free up counter space — often at a premium in outdoor kitchens — and keep insects at bay. This version incorporates a pullout drawer and hidden controls for a sleek look.
For many cooks, an outdoor kitchen wouldn’t be complete without a smoker to keep meats moist and tender and impart a distinctive umami flavor. This version can be used to cook meats with or without smoke, and will dehydrate fruits and vegetables.
This is a decidedly unglamorous feature, but seasoned outdoor cooks in the know say it’s key. An intergrated trash drawer means no more open containers to attract flies or racoons, and odors are kept in check.
The owners of this Oakville, Ontario home didn’t want a separation between the indoor and outdoor living spaces. A backyard structure does triple duty as a kitchen, living space, and dining area. The solid teak island can seat 12 as well as offer expansive space for food prep.
The back wall of this outdoor kitchen structure is clad in galvanized steel panels for a rustic look, and pots and pans are kept outside on a handy hooks topped by a display shelf. Two commercial grade stainless bar fridges are built in to a teak storage unit adjacent to the 6’-long cooking surface. A space heater suspended from the ceiling to warm up cold nights.