Creating a Space for Cooking Outdoors: 7 Essential Items to Consider



Creating an outdoor living space requires a lot of budgeting, planning, selection, and placement of the amenities you need to make the space functional and beautiful. This principle also applies when creating an outdoor cooking space. The popularity of such spaces is growing as more people realize that outdoor cooking spaces allow them to extend the usable floor area in their homes while giving them somewhere to relax and even host guests. If you are looking to create such a space, here are some of the things you should consider.

Cabinets are often thought of as the foundation of any outside cooking space, and it is easy to see why. Typically made out of wood, high-density polyethylene, stainless steel, and various polymers, they help you store items outdoors and protect them from the elements and sneaky animals. They can also help you hold the items you need when cooking outdoors, in which case you would not use them as storage.

Although we have mentioned other materials above, it is preferable to go with stainless steel. Stainless steel does not rust as it is resistant to fungus and bacteria. It is also very easy to clean, something that will come in handy if you handle different types of meat.

You can also have your stainless-steel cabinetry powder coated to protect it further from scratches, stains, fingerprints, and spills. Powder coating also provides additional protection from environmental conditions and corrosion.

Floating Shelves
If the outdoor cooking space is close to a wall, you could consider adding a floating shelf or two. A floating shelf can be a decorative element, but they are typically used to hold the ingredients and other items you are working with at a given time. 

They can also provide additional short-term storage space since you would not leave items on these shelves when you are done with the cooking space or hosting.

A Grill
There are so many options to choose from when deciding which items to add to your outside cooking area. The most basic of these is a built-in grill. The reason for opting for this type of grill over other grills is that it can slide into the work area, taking up very little area as it does so. 

Also, these in-built grills look much better when installed because they look like part of the cooking area instead of an afterthought. Because they are usually the centerpiece of any space they are used in, you will need to choose one that looks great and withstands weather elements well.

Their main drawback is that built-in grills can be more expensive than other grill types. However, they more than make up for it by having amazing performance, being versatile, and lasting much longer than many other options in the market.

They will give you incredible value if you use them a lot, which is something they can do all year round due to their sturdy construction.

Do consider getting a smoker to complement your grill. Smokers give you an authentic barbecue flavor and are a must-have for meat lovers. They use indirect heat to lock in different flavors for tastier meals.

A Side Burner
A side burner can accompany a built-in grill, or you can install it on its own. The best thing about these burners is that they allow you to make a larger variety of meals than grills. They also come in very handy when you have lots of smaller dishes to prepare simultaneously. They save you a lot of time when installed outdoors as you do not have to run into the house all the time when grilling, cooking, or hosting outside.

Outdoor Pizza Oven
If you are wondering what to add to your outdoor cooking space apart from grills and side burners, you should consider getting an outdoor pizza oven. While you might want to cook steaks and delicious sides outside, you should expand your palate and horizons sometimes by trying your hand at something new. An outdoor pizza oven lets you do just that. These portable ovens are versatile and easy to use, which makes them a great fit for any outdoor cooking space. 

While some are gas-powered, a wood fired pizza oven removes this hassle and saves you money by getting the oven up to temperature using wood. The Ooni Karu 16 is especially popular because it allows you to make pizzas of up to 16 inches in diameter and has an in-built digital thermometer for measuring temperature. This is just one of the pizza ovens from Ooni that come with a mounted digital thermometer to gives you an insight into what is happening inside the oven.

A Sink and Counter Space
You should also consider adding a sink with a counter space or working area. This will be the area where you clean and prepare different meals. Having one also makes it easier to organize the different ingredients you use for the various meals you make.

When considering the size of the counter space or working area, keep in mind that it cannot be too large, but it can be too small. Try to utilize as much space as you have to ensure you end up with a working space of sufficient area.

As with other items on this list, there are different countertop options to choose from. Ceramic tiles are very popular because they are affordable, easy to clean, and very durable. Granite and soapstone look much better than ceramic times and handle damage better, but they can be very expensive.

If the outdoor cooking area will remain uncovered, it is best to go with an option that will stand up to different weather elements well.

Seating Area
The seating area of the outdoor cooking space is important because this is where your guests will spend most of their time when you are hosting. You need to ensure that there is enough space to host as many people as you typically would. Remember, there is nothing wrong with extending this seating area a little if it means your guests will be more comfortable.

The next thing to consider is the furniture. Choose comfortable seating that fits the decor and look of the rest of the space. Remember that it does not have to strictly match what you have inside the house, but that would be a good touch. Also, consider adding some pillows and cushions for extra comfort.

Keep in mind durability and weather resistance when choosing the furniture. Weather elements like the sun and rain can be brutal on furniture, so you want to go with options that can withstand them. Wicker, aluminum, and teak are great materials for outdoor furniture as they withstand the rain and sun without deteriorating or fading. Do invest in some covers for the furniture to give them extra protection and ensure longevity.

If you have the space, you can have a focal point which is typically a fire pit or a table. Arrange the seats around this focal point to make it easier for your guests to converse and enjoy each other’s company.

Creating an amazing outdoor or cooking space does not have to be challenging since some planning can help make things easier. Adding the items discussed above will help you create the perfect cooking and hosting area.

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