We Minnesotans get so excited when we get to spend time outside that doesn’t involve snow shoveling, it’s hard not to want it all when designing our three-months-out-of-the-year haven.
Be smart and think about your own entertaining and lifestyle needs when considering all the options in outdoor kitchen appliances.
The workhorse of an outdoor kitchen, gas grills’ speed and convenience work best for weeknight dinners and impromptu get-togethers. If you’re looking to do more, some brands offer innovative features such as:
- Searing zone to reach high temperatures (700 degrees!) quickly to give your meat a steakhouse-quality exterior
- Rear infrared burner to deliver consistent, evenly distributed heat for rotisserie cooking
- Smoker boxes to fill prepackaged hickory or mesquite chips, which give foods a distinctive, smoky flavor
- Side burners to prepare sauces and sides like beans or vegetables or to keep food warm until it is ready to be served
- Lighting to illuminate the cooking surface for late-night grilling
Charcoal grills, smokers and/or cookers deliver flavor you can’t get in a gas grill — if you have hours to get it. Owners of the Big Green Egg rave about the unique flavor of their ribs, brisket and roasts they get in this ceramic cooker. Viking also makes a ceramic cooker, but with a stainless steel finish.
If you have the time to kick back and just grill, the extra time is definitely worth the flavor.
Cut down on the running back back and forth from your main kitchen. Warming drawers keep grilled food warm (and sanitary) once prepared and work great for make-ahead dishes from your main oven.
I’d probably end up throwing some towels in mine to keep them cozy after a late-night swim. Now if I only had a pool..
Arguably as important as the grill itself is beer on-demand. Aside from the convenience, an outdoor keg fridge makes an unbeatable conversation (and party) starter. DCS, Viking and Marvel make draft beer dispensers specifically for the outdoors.
Wine chiller/beverage center
If you’re more of a wine-o than a beer gal like me, you might consider storing your bottles outside, in the proper wine chiller, of course. Look for models with precise temperature controls, racks to accommodate various bottle sizes and minimum vibration.
Beverage centers, though less precise in temperature control, make a viable option for combination beer/wine/soda, etc. storage.
“But I already have a wine fridge!”
But your wine fridge is 55 degrees, remember? Even your beverage center isn’t designed to refrigerate food and condiments. Please don’t keep your barbecue meats in a beverage fridge!
I might not have a pool, but living in Minnesota, you better believe I have a patio heater. Fueled by a the same kind gas tank you use for your grill, these easily extend construction season into early winter (or “fall”).