Outdoor Living Project Guide

Outdoor Kitchens: All About Food

Bring On the Barbeque

The outdoor kitchen centers on cooking, of course. And, according to the experts, there are two keys to choosing the right equipment for it: 1. Think in terms of what you’re comfortable with, and 2. Think in terms of what you’ll be happy with over the longer term.

“One key item we discourage clients from cutting back on is the grill,” explains Russ Faulk, chief designer and head of product for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. “This is important for two reasons. First, the grill is the heart of the outdoor kitchen, and it can make or break a client’s satisfaction with their project. Second, there is no standard in grill dimensions across manufacturers, so upgrading the grill to another brand a few years down the line may be rather impractical. We recommend investing in the best grill you can afford, working within your budget.”

Eric Davis, spokesperson for the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association, advises focusing first on the style you’re most comfortable with and expanding from there. “Diversify and add a second flame,” he says. “If you have a gas grill, add charcoal; if you have a smoker, add a gas grill. Fast versus low and slow. That’s one thing you can do to broaden your senses and allow for different flavors and experiences.”

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Trend Watch: Quality Food, Quality Time

“The outdoor kitchen trends we’re seeing the most have to do with the grilling itself. People are looking at grilling differently. It’s not just something fun to do on a Friday night anymore; people are now even grilling their breakfasts just to spend more time together.”

– Eric Davis, Spokesperson for the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association

“The biggest trends in outdoor kitchens right now are being driven by the food itself. People crave authenticity in their cooking. Dedicated smokers for traditional American barbeque, specialty wood-fired grills for Argentinian-style cooking, intensely hot pizza ovens for perfect Neapolitan-style pizzas — these are the things our clients are most excited about.

– Russ Faulk, Chief Designer and Head of Product, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

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