So youve decided to take the plunge and create your own outdoor kitchen? Good for you. Lets face it, wheeling out that dusty grill every time you want to fire up some dogs and burgers is pretty lame. Permanent, built-in structures dedicated to outdoor cooking are all the rage, and its not a fad thats going anywhere anytime soon. So strike while the grill is hot!
If its going to be practical, it has to be close to the house. (Just not too close there, Smokey. Burning down the house while trying to get a good sear on those T-bones would suck.) Consider the path youll take to and from the kitchen. In my own yard, I didnt have good access.
So I knocked a hole in the side of the house and added a new door. Total lifesaver. Now Im just a few steps away from the fridge, the pantry, the dining room table and the fire extinguisher.
Give some serious thought to how big you want to make that island. Start with the size of the grill and then expand. Personally, I cant get enough countertop space. Think about how you typically grill: big platters, utensils and tools all over the place, jars of rubs and bottles of sauces, serving plates, a spot for your cold beverage. You need room to spread out.
If youre going to be manning (or womanning) the grill for hours at a time, you might as well have something decent to look at. See, YardShareBryan knows what Im talking about.
You'd be surprised how many people slap that grill in the spot thats most convenient and then realize later that theyre staring at the backside of their house. Doesnt exactly make you want to run out and fire it up every weekend. Orient the grill so that while you slave over the coals, youre a part of whatevers happening in the yard. Even if theres nothing happening, youll enjoy the view.
Its primal: we like to gather around fires (even if theyre propane-fueled and safely contained in stainless steel boxes). So take family and friends into account as you design your outdoor cooking space. Its easy to incorporate benches or even a raised bar right at the grill, like Jeff Cook did.
Select materials to customize the look of your cookspace. Maybe using stone or brick makes the kitchen fit right in with the rest of the landscape. Countertops are a popular place to add character, whether its with granite or even poured concrete, like Phil and Lori in Moorpark, CA chose!
Decide whats important to you. Do you want lots of nearby storage space for tools and supplies? Add built-in cabinets. Are appliances your thing? On-site refrigerators, bun warmers, side burners, and sinks can give you all the amenities of the interior kitchen without ever having to leave the party. Check out Andreas setup.
Ive even seen built-in kegerators. If you really want to make a splash, wood-fired pizza ovens are becoming more and more popular. Rick and Jill Edgar are serving up some extra-large fun with theirs.
You're going to be standing at a hot grill in the middle of summer. Shade would be nice. If you dont have the luxury of a mature tree canopy overhead, follow Nadias lead and make your own shade with a pergola or arbor.
Maybe build in some umbrella sleeves, like MCR500 did.
Or take it a step further, like onegr8gem, and construct your own thatched-roof tiki hut!