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Installing an Outdoor Kitchen

by Patrick Cowan

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When building an outdoor kitchen the sky is the limit in terms of design, but not necessarily in terms of your budget.

It's all about the grill

The centerpiece of most outdoor kitchens is the grill. Here is the pace where you should focus your energy, since once you have chosen the perfect grill, all the other components will be based around its design and placement. A high end gas grill may be the most expensive way to go, but will likely offer the most flexibility in how you want to use your outdoor kitchen. Some homeowners prefer the traditional coal grill for the smoky flavor it gives foods and for the money saving costs. Others like the ambience of an open flame or fire pit, although that will be limiting in terms of its cooking abilities

Other components

As with any kitchen, indoor or out, the components you choose to add will affect the price for better or worse. Do you want countertops in your outdoor kitchen? Keep in mind even if the area is covered, this kitchen will get more exposure to heat, sun, moisture, and cold. Outdoor tiles or stainless steel may be more expensive, but they will stand the test of time in an outdoor kitchen better than less sturdy materials.

Do you need extra storage outdoors? If so, you may want to install cabinets or other shelving. Once again, keep in mind the outdoor elements and choose durable materials like stainless steel or woods that hold up against moisture

If you opt to have a refrigerator in your outdoor kitchen, most people opt for a small under the counter version. Sine an outdoor kitchen is as much about ambience as it is about function, a larger refrigerator can be an eyesore. A small stainless steel fridge for drinks, or food waiting to be grilled is usually the perfect companion piece

Sink?

Some people want a sink as part of their outdoor kitchen and some do not. This is a question of personal taste but if you think you may be working with raw meat before they go on to the grill, a small sink is a great thing to have for the sake of cleanliness and convenience.

Installation

Depending what you have installed, you may need to consider adding additional electric, gas and water lines to serve your new outdoor kitchen. This will add considerably to the cot of the installation, but will be well worth it in the end.

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