Smart, Stylish Designs for Outdoor Kitchens

Kitchens are moving outside. And they’re doing it in a big way. According to a recent study from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), outdoor kitchens are expected to be a top design trend in 2016.

Big or small, the basic principles of outdoor kitchen design remain the same. Get started by understanding these basics:

Get the right heat
It all starts with the grill – the centerpiece of the outdoor kitchen. Remember that there are no uniform depths, heights or widths when it comes to grills, so future upgrades can be a challenge.

More homeowners are also expanding their cooking capabilities with specialized products offering different types of heat. Smokers, pizza ovens and charcoal or woodfired grills, such as Kalamazoo’s Gaucho Grill, are options to keep in mind as they can enhance the outdoor cooking experience.

Assess the space
If they are relatively close together, an outdoor kitchen can utilize the indoor kitchen’s capabilities, such as prep space and storage. Conversely, a fully independent outdoor kitchen with refrigeration, warming cabinets and cabinetry is more self-reliant, but will require more space and connections for gas, water and electricity.

Grill placement is also a key decision. If you entertain often, keep the cook in the party by positioning the grill perpendicular to the dining area.

In the zone
You’ll get the most out of your outdoor kitchen when you have different functional zones designated, Plot out where you will position four key zones – wet, cold, hot and dry – to make prepping, cooking, serving and cleaning much easier. The cold zone should be next to the wet zone. This will simplify moving food from the cold zone refrigerator to the wet zone sink to wash and get ready for grilling in the hot zone.

Be sure to dedicate enough space for each zone and think about the relationships among them for cooking and serving activities.

Left outside
Being outdoors means your refrigeration and cabinetry will need to be equipped to handle the elements.

When considering refrigeration for an outdoor kitchen, With these products, meats won’t go bad and drinks will stay cold, even when it’s above 95 degrees outside.

By incorporating the right design principles, an outdoor kitchen can be the place where you and your guests enjoy delicious meals for years to come. For more design tips, visit kalamazoogourmet.com.