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Everything You Need for Your Outdoor Kitchen

Everything You Need for Your Outdoor Kitchen - Proline Range Hoods

Outdoor kitchens are a great addition to your home. You can enjoy grilling delicious meals and fun conversations with your guests.

Striking the balance between entertainment and cooking might be daunting. How do you create a space with a dedicated cooking area that also accommodates guests? To get the most out of your outdoor kitchen, you need to have the right items.

We’ll go over everything you need in your outdoor kitchen, from essentials to extras.

Before you start buying, you need to consider your needs, budget, and the size of your outdoor space.

What do you actually need in your outdoor kitchen?

Don’t forget to consider your needs. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll want every item on our list. In fact, that’d be a functional nightmare. Your outdoor kitchen doesn’t need every appliance or feature in the book. Instead, consider what makes the space functional for you.

What will you use most often in your outdoor space? There’s no point in buying appliances that will collect dust all year. Start small, use your kitchen for a few weeks, and then reevaluate. Do you need an ice maker? Are you missing the benefit of warming drawers to keep food ready to serve? Or is the space furnished well for your needs?

How often do I cook outside?

To help determine your needs, think about your cooking habits.

Will you use your outdoor space year-round? Are you someone who can’t get enough of grilling and plans to invite the neighborhood on occasion? Then, decking out your outdoor space with nice furnishings and extras may be fruitful for you.

Are you just looking for a space to grill occasionally? Maybe you live in a cooler climate so you won’t be able to use your outdoor kitchen for much of the year. Then you might want to go with a tamer setup.

Or are you somewhere in between? Maybe you like to host parties a few times a year. You like to grill every so often and enjoy calm evenings outdoors.

What kinds of food do I want to cook?

The kind of food you like to cook can inform a number of decisions about your outdoor kitchen. What kind of storage will you need? Will a fridge, freezer, or both suit your needs? Will you want side burners to cook side dishes for guests?

How much power do you want out of your vent hood? If you love Asian cuisine or other high-heat foods, you’ll want more power.

What is your budget?

Considering your needs won’t only help you build a functional space, but you’ll also save money.

By only buying what you need, you can manage your budget quite effectively. If you’re on a tight budget, make sure everything you buy serves a purpose. You’ll want to invest in fewer items that are “for show.”

Another option you have to save money is to invest in less expensive materials or lower-end appliances. You don’t want to be cheap, but there are viable options for most outdoor kitchen appliances and features that accommodate lower budgets.

Keep in mind that outdoor kitchen appliances are long-term investments. You might spend more money than you’d like up front, but these appliances will last you for years to come. Especially if you use your outdoor kitchen often, don’t be afraid to splurge a little on quality appliances.

The quality of your appliances and features depends on your needs too. If you know you’ll use the outdoor sink five days a week, go for a higher-end model. Finding a reputable brand can help you settle on the right appliances for you. Here are some more tips on buying outdoor kitchen appliances.

How much space do you have?

The amount of space in your outdoor patio limits the features and appliances you can have in your outdoor kitchen. It can be helpful to go to your backyard and measure the size of your outdoor kitchen. Then you can measure appliances and decide where they will go to get an idea of how much room you have.

It can be difficult to visualize the amount of space you have without everything built, so you can use some design planners to help you out. Here’s one that can help you visualize the layout of your outdoor kitchen. It’s a great tool to plan out your cooking area.

Here’s another where you can select your kitchen layout, island size, appliance layout, and more to visualize your outdoor kitchen.

Take a look at our quick review of these tools in the video below.

https://youtu.be/4QGdcv-ieq4

2 Essentials For Your Outdoor Kitchen

This section highlights two appliances key to a functional, beautiful outdoor kitchen: an outdoor hood and grill.

Outdoor range hood

Outdoor hood over grill in brick kitchen -everything you need for your outdoor kitchen

An outdoor range hood is a crucial component of your outdoor kitchen if it is covered at all by a roof or overhang. It will protect your covering from dirty cooking exhaust.

You might be wondering why you need an outdoor hood. Isn’t outdoor air ventilated already? Not always. A quality range hood is important to have in closed kitchens where smoke and grease can build up.

Even in an open kitchen, a hood will help keep grease and smoke stains off the cooking area, walls, and overhangs. That means you can spend more time cooking and less time cleaning. No need to scrub tough grease stains thanks to your new vent hood. Just go join your guests!

An outdoor hood will also keep strong cooking odors out of your outdoor space. So if you love Asian cooking, fish, or other potent smelling dishes, you will appreciate a range hood.

Having a hood doesn’t mean you’ll never have to clean your outdoor kitchen again. But it makes the space easy to maintain. This can reduce your stress, especially when hosting big barbecues.

Grill

You can’t have an outdoor hood without a grill! You have many different options: natural gas, propane, charcoal, pellet, green egg, and griddle. Gas and propane are the most popular options.

You also have two different installation options: freestanding and built-in. Built-in grills are installed in your counter base. These are the most popular in today’s high-end outdoor kitchens.

Range hood over grill in enclosed kitchen with wood ceiling

You might want a freestanding grill if you’re building your kitchen on a deck. They are cheaper than built-in grills but still a viable option.

Outdoor kitchen with green couches and table

To learn more about grill options, check out our guide on outdoor kitchen appliances.

7 Nice to Haves For Your Outdoor Kitchen

This section features some appliances or items you’ll see in many outdoor kitchens. They’re not essential but can make cooking, cleaning, and entertaining guests easier.

Outdoor Cover

An outdoor cover makes for an inviting patio area where your guests can enjoy each other’s company. It also offers nice protection from the sun – and during harsh weather, from snow and rain!

There are many different types of covers, from pergolas and gazebos to awnings and roof extensions. Here are a few examples.

Modern outdoor kitchen with elegant wood and stainless steel backsplash
Outdoor kitchen cover with vent hood and grill
Outdoor kitchen cooking area with grill and hood

Learn more about outdoor covers in our article ‘Does an outdoor kitchen need to be covered?

Sink

An outdoor sink is a practical addition to any outdoor kitchen. Most people install their sink right next to their grill. Here are a few photos.

Range hood over grill with stainless steel backsplash

TV or sound system

A TV or sound system is a no-brainer if you love to keep your guests entertained! Maybe you’re hosting a late-night barbecue and want to cap off the night with a movie! You can achieve some pretty cool home theater like setups with the right TV. Or set it up near your grill so you have a distraction while babysitting your meats (Just don’t get too distracted!).

What do you think of these kitchens?

Two hoods over two grills in large enclosed kitchen
Range hood, grill, and TV in compact outdoor kitchen
Range hood and grill in stone kitchen with TV

Stainless steel cabinets

Stainless steel cabinets are a great way to complement your outdoor grill. They offer some much-needed storage. You can put your spices, cooking utensils, or cookware inside for easy access!

Range hood with tile backsplash and grill
Range hood with tile backsplash and stone counters
Stainless steel storage

Warming drawers

Warming drawers are convenient if you cook for a crowd. Once your food finishes cooking, toss it in the warming drawer. Now you don’t have to worry about anything getting cold while you finish all your dishes.

Warming drawer

Trash bin

A trash bin is nice to have because it cuts down on your time moving around. No need to run back inside to throw anything out. It’ll dramatically improve your efficiency in the kitchen!

Built in trash bin - lower cabinets

Seating

If you plan to host guests, seating is key! You have lots of options from a more casual setup with couches and chairs to a dining room table.

Modern range hood over grill with couch and table
Wooden outdoor kitchen with vent hood

7 Cool Extras For Your Outdoor Kitchen

Here are seven extras that you might see in the outdoor kitchens of avid cooks.

Outdoor lighting

You don’t have to limit your outdoor gatherings to the daytime. With the right lighting, you can party at night too. Hanging lights are an elegant way to brighten up your outdoor space.

Here’s a complete guide on how to hang outdoor string lights. You can also install lights inside your outdoor cover.

Outdoor kitchen at night with bright lighting

Pizza oven

Attention, pizza enthusiasts! You’ll love a pizza oven in your outdoor kitchen. Modern pizza ovens are metal but if you’re traditional, you might consider installing a brick oven.

Modern kitchen with hood, grill, and pizza oven

Backsplash

A backsplash is practical because it protects your cooking area from grease buildup and smoke stains. They’re easy to clean and maintain and will look beautiful in your outdoor kitchen.

Small kitchen with grill and blue backsplash

Side burners or griddles

Side burners and griddles help you multitask effectively. While your main dish is cooking on the grill you can make a side dish at the same time. Or, if you don’t have a warming drawer, use these side burners to keep food warm before it’s served.

Open grill with meats and a side burner
Side burner with a pan on top

Mini fridge, freezer

A mini-fridge or freezer is great to store drinks, sides, or anything else you might need in your outdoor kitchen. They don’t take up much space and can often be built into your lower cabinets.

Stainless steel hood over grill with TV
Tile backsplash with grill and hood

Ice maker

Ice makers pair great with mini-fridges as you can have ice ready for drinks at all times! If you don’t have an ice maker in your home, this is definitely an appliance to consider. Or if you just want a second one for the sake of convenience, go for it.

Dishwasher

This might be the last thing you think of when you think of an outdoor kitchen. But for some, it could be perfect! Do you find it hard to keep your outdoor space clear of dishes and cookware? Install a dishwasher to keep the space ready for your next get-together.

Outdoor kitchen with range hood, grill, and dishwasher

We hope you found a combo of these 16 appliances and features that work best for you. Remember, for your budget and sanity, don’t just go and buy everything on this list. Think carefully about what you need and will use the most first!

Good luck planning your outdoor kitchen! For more outdoor kitchen planning tips, check out the articles below!

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Does an outdoor kitchen need to be covered?

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