A great grill is the only appliance many people need in their outdoor kitchen. But if you're after a more fully functional space, you may consider a range of other outdoor appliances.
Choose from a gas or electric oven, pizza oven or warming drawer. These are available from a range of manufacturers in built-in or countertop versions. Or look for a wood-fired pizza oven, which is usually a custom-built feature, but do-it-yourself kits are available.
Perhaps the most useful of all extra appliances, a separate side burner allows you to heat sauces or boil water while you're grilling. Most experts suggest opting for a separate burner, either built-in or plug-in, instead of one integrated into a grill.
"The burners built into the grill aren't always powerful enough to be effective, and they can be too close to the grill to allow the use of a full-sized pot," says Laurie Haefele of Haefele Design. For a more versatile solution, consider a plug-in induction burner that you can use indoors or out.
If your cooking space is close to the house or under an enclosure you may need a range hood to remove smoke and cooking odors from the space. Some come equipped with halogen lighting.
Yes, you can install a dishwasher outdoors. It's a good idea if you dislike hauling dirty dishes inside and have a place to store clean ones outside. This option requires plumbing the outdoor kitchen.
Many homeowners choose to include a refrigerator in their outdoor kitchen. It's handy for drinks, but also for keeping condiments close to their point of use. Ice makers and wine refrigerators are popular choices.
An outdoor sink is a big convenience for washing dishes or just for rinsing hands while you cook. "It can really improve the resale value of your outdoor kitchen," says landscape architect Steve Chepurny.
If you decide to include this feature, you'll have to decide how to feed the faucet. Running a water line from the house is one option. In cold climates this line will have to be insulated and buried below the frost level. Others use a garden hose that they can disconnect in the winter. Or install a line with an indoor valve so you can drain it before the weather dips below freezing.
Drainage is another consideration. You may be able to tap into your home's main drainage system, or create a gray-water reservoir. Each municipality has different regulations, so check with your local authorities and work with a licensed plumber.
Once the logistics are set, your best bet is a sturdy stainless-steel sink and an outdoor-approved faucet with a high-arcing neck, so you can fit large pots or basins underneath it easily.
One of the most important decisions is your budget. Find a balance between what you want and what you can afford.
Learn to make a budget so your outdoor kitchen won't be a wallet buster.
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