Homeowners all over the U.S. are adding outdoor kitchens to their homes, and many install them on existing decks. The additions are excellent investments to keep an indoor kitchen cool in the warmer months, lower utility bills, and keep kitchen odors outside.
However, the primary reason most homeowners build an outdoor kitchen is to turn a deck into a year-round entertainment area. Kitchens can range from basic to elaborate and can be used to make everyday meals or become the centerpiece of parties and barbecues. The key to creating the ideal outdoor kitchen is planning.
Begin With A Design
As with most projects, the purpose of an outdoor kitchen determines its design, and the deck plays a big part in planning. It’s crucial to evaluate your deck before you begin reviewing flat top grills and appliances for a new kitchen.
According to Outdoor Kitchen Insider experts, the following questions can act as a guide:
- How much weight can your deck hold? (Consider the weight of your planned kitchen)
- Can your ideal kitchen be installed on a deck?
- Is the deck big enough for the kitchen you want?
- How will utilities for your kitchen be installed beneath the deck?
- Is your deck a convenient location for your plans?
How Will You Use Your Kitchen?
An outdoor kitchen can become an entertainment center that is easily adapted for everything from small family get-togethers to huge celebrations. When choosing kitchen options, think about what you plan to cook.
Will you be making family breakfasts outdoors, barbecuing on the weekends, or frequently entertaining friends? An outdoor kitchen is ideal for all these things, but the key to success is choosing the right grill.
There’s a Grill for Every Need
Once you’ve determined a deck is suitable for your ideal kitchen, it’s time to choose the grill or grills that fit your design and cooking plans. Outdoor kitchens can range from simple barbecue islands to elaborate entertainment areas with a pizza oven, fire pit, sink, storage, and seating.
The grill will always be the centerpiece, and manufacturers provide a range of options. Suppliers offer gas, charcoal, and hybrid gas-charcoal grills. Charcoal cooking is ideal for those who want vegetables and meat to have a smoky flavor. Gas grilling provides a convenient, consistent cooking experience.
Flat-top grills are popular because they can be adapted for all types of cooking. Also known as griddles, they are appliances with large, flat cooking surfaces. According to Family Handyman, flat-top grills may use gas burners, charcoal, or pellets.
When selecting a flat-top grill, consider the space available on your deck. Some models are heavy and oversized, but they vary widely. A 300-square-inch model is usually adequate for a small family, while those who plan to entertain might want 500-square-inches of cooking area. Also, think about whether one burner will do or if you need multiple burners.
Consider temperature controls. It’s usually easier to master gas grills. The cooking surface also matters. Cast iron and steel cooking surfaces do a good job, while chrome and stainless steel are very efficient but cost more.
Adding an outdoor kitchen to a home deck is an investment that can increase property values and create an instant year-round entertainment area. For best results, it’s crucial to plan carefully and ensure your deck is suitable for the desired kitchen. Kitchens can range from basic barbecue areas to elaborate entertainment centers, but each should include a grill or grills that suit your cooking style.