14 must-have outdoor kitchen features
You may love the concept of an outdoor kitchen, in fact, you may have already made up your mind that you are going to get one. But perhaps you are now stuck at the planning stage, wondering – what do I want in my outdoor kitchen?
We’ve pulled together this list of the must-have outdoor kitchen features to help you decide what should be included based on your needs and wants.
Begin With Cooking
As food plays a major part in outdoor kitchens, it makes sense to begin with choosing your cooking appliances. Below are the different types with ‘the why’:
A gas BBQ is a must-have outdoor kitchen feature; its fast heat-up time of 10 minutes and its ease of use make it super convenient, and the central cooking engine for both beginners and pros.
You may be wondering what size of gas BBQ you need. We’ve found that a 4-burner BBQ suits the vast majority of people – it’s big enough to feed a whole party, but not so big that it looks like you’re preparing to feed an army.
Should you have a side burner? In the main, they seem to become an unused luxury.
Our kitchens are fitted with Bull gas BBQs, which are seriously well built American BBQs, and great to use! Bull grills are available in plumbed-in or bottled gas variants.
Upgrading to the Bull Angus BBQ gives you the same great quality from Bull, but with the addition of a rotisserie, rotisserie burner, and internal lights. Please note that, unlike the Bull Outlaw BBQ, if you choose the Bull Angus model, you will need to run power to the kitchen for the rotisserie and lights.
Charcoal Kamado BBQ
The history of the kamado as a grill originated from a Chinese ceramic cooking device about 3000 years ago. It was imported to Japan during their Kofun period (250–538 A.D.) and they named it a ‘kamado’. The secret to the kamado-style of cooking is in the thick ceramic walls of the BBQ that retain the heat and maintain a steady temperature, whilst the enclosed design helps to lock in the smoke and moisture, giving incredibly flavoursome results!
Almost everyone chooses a gas BBQ for convenience, however, many will add a charcoal BBQ for that unique smokey flavour and a more theatrical experience. Whether you want to smoke, roast, bake or sear, our Gusto charcoal-fired barbeque is incredibly versatile and has huge cooking capabilities.
The Gusto is our own premium quality kamado grill, which we designed to match our kitchens. Sitting on a carbon steel base, it integrates seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen. Our Gusto is supplied with BBQ cover and Gusto Pro Barbecue Accessory Pack, which includes: pizza stone, grate lifter, ash tool, half-moon grates, and heat shields for indirect cooking. Unlike most brands where you have to buy the accessories as additional items, we believe that everyone that has a kamado BBQ needs this kit, so we supply it as standard.
In recent times, we’ve been asked for a greener and safer BBQ, and particularly since the Grenfell Tower disaster, people have been looking for a safe solution for enclosed areas and roof terraces.
We designed the Grillo Voltiq Electric BBQ Station to be safe, clean, and green.
Compared to gas or charcoal options, an electric BBQ won’t give you the same amount of sheer heat output, therefore increasing the cooking time – and pre-dinner drinks time! However, if you’re on a roof terrace, have environmental restrictions, or just want the simplicity of plug & grill, Voltiq is the answer.
Built to last, the Voltiq grill has a neat streamlined design and is perfect for those looking for an easy-to-use green solution. It’s been designed to be very simple to clean and maintain, making it ideal for BTR schemes and shared roof terraces.
Making and cooking pizzas is a hugely inclusive activity – get everyone involved crafting their own, or promote yourself to Pizzaiola of the Party!
Perfect for families, foodies, and fire lovers, the DeliVita pizza oven punches well above its weight: It’s ready to cook in just 25 minutes, and can cook a large pizza in just 90 seconds. The wood fire and stone base gives true Neapolitan crusts and authentic smokey flavours.
DeliVita’s stylish, compact, wood-fired pizza ovens are handmade in Yorkshire and can be placed on any Vantage kitchen cabinet, bar table, or fridge cabinet. See it in action here!
Chefs Anvil BBQ
The blacksmith’s anvil is central to his work. Over this simple yet vital centrepiece, the craftsman hammers out metal heated by the embers with skill and gusto. Inspired by the blacksmith, the Chef’s Anvil is central to shaping and creating unforgettable meals. It is immensely theatrical and probably the most fun BBQ you’ll ever use.
Its large cooking surface and high heat output make it equally suited to entertaining a few friends or catering for a crowd. It can also double as a fire pit, ideal for chatting around at a cocktail party, or for roasting marshmallows at the end of the evening.
To get it fired up, build a large fire from logs, light it in the middle of the firebowl, and let it burn for 45 minutes. Once it has burnt down to coals, push them under the heavy-gauge steel cooking ring, and start cooking directly on the steel hotplate.
We believe The Chef’s Anvil should be in the centre of every outdoor kitchen!
Other Building Blocks
Hopefully, that’s given you a steer on different cooking options. Next up, you will want to start considering what shape and layout your outdoor kitchen will be. Here are some of the other key modules and building blocks that you can use to form the outdoor kitchen around your BBQs.
Have you ever considered having an indoor kitchen with no worktop space? Having plenty of worktop space in your outdoor kitchen is just as important for preparing and serving food, rolling pizza bases, pouring drinks and everything else that you use worktop space for indoors!
Ensure that you plan enough worktop area so that you have plenty of preparation and serving space, and avoid the risk of mixing cooked and uncooked food.
Grillo worksurfaces are made from highly durable porcelain. In addition to being immensely strong, they are heatproof, stainproof, weatherproof, scratchproof, and non-bleaching.
Although it’s rare that anyone keeps their cups and saucers outdoors, cupboard space provides an excellent place to stowaway the BBQ covers, keep BBQ utensils close to hand, and keep the worktop clear of clutter once the party gets started.
It’s important to note that spiders, dust and damp will find their way into pretty much any outdoor cupboard unless it’s completely sealed! Therefore, if you are wanting to keep things in the cupboards all year round, airtight plastic boxes will keep things in tip-top condition.
Want a more sleek and enclosed look to your kitchen? Vantage Carbon Steel doors are beautifully designed with slim stainless steel handles and smooth-close gas hinges.
Invite your friends over to your own garden bar! Perfect for hosting family and friends, an outdoor bar will be the hub of every party. Excellent for informal get-togethers, drinks and nibbles, pizza and prosecco evenings… it opens up an array of social possibilities.
BBQ’s and Bars are a perfect match, and our Garden Bar can be stand-alone or integrated as part of your Grillo outdoor kitchen. With the addition of the built-in BeerBoss bottle opener, this bar is always open.
Beer Garden – In your garden!
Bar stools seem to have a gravitational force and are a must-have outdoor kitchen feature.
Integrating bar seating into your outdoor kitchen invites guests to perch with a drink, socialise with the host and watch the action in style. Transfer food from grill to guest in seconds.
How many barstools do you need? A couple can be ideal if it’s just for you and your partner, or add more if it’s to become the hangout for family and friends.
And just like musical chairs, ensure you’re not the last one standing!
Fridge & Bin
Prefer your beer cold? An outdoor fridge is cool in more ways than one!
The Grillo Chill fridge is fully certified for outdoor use and can be left outside all year round. The adjacent pivoting storage bin will keep rubbish out of sight, or it can be used for the storage of charcoal, firefighters, and other items.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t place an outdoor fridge in a position where the fridge’s glass display door will be in direct sunlight. The increased temperature can cause the fridge to overwork, and it may cease to maintain an even temperature. Not only can this be dangerous to the contents of the fridge, but prolonged exposure to direct sunlight could result in premature component failure. A great alternative is a built-in ice well, which we’ll come on to next!
Built-in Ice Well
If you are going down the route of creating your own garden bar or having a drinks serving area in your kitchen, it would be incomplete without a built-in ice well packed full of chilled beverages.
With the capacity for plenty of bottles of bubbly, the Grillo Ice Well ensures conversation will flow! When the party is over, pull out the plug to let the ice drain away, and pop the lid on ready for next time.
Herbs & Planters
Bring in a touch of green… herbs or plants add a beautiful aroma and visual flourish to any outdoor space.
And in terms of cooking, having fresh herbs to hand enables you to elevate simple recipes to the next level, adding a delicious depth of flavour when used throughout the cooking process, or livening dishes up with a hint of freshness before serving. So why not have your own herb garden within your outdoor kitchen? Picture your favourite cocktail, garnished with some freshly snipped mint or basil… sensational!
Wash your herbs before popping them in your favourite summer beverage… A sink is not only a visually attractive feature, it’s somewhere to pour your leftover ice, or allows for a quick rinse of the hands after marinating your meat.
The Tarn Outdoor Sink is crafted from solid ceramic, and coupled with the beautiful matt-black mixer tap, this makes a beautiful must-have feature on your outdoor kitchen. Bear in mind if you have a sink, you will need to ensure you have a water supply and somewhere to run your waste.
The sink can be placed centrally on any Vantage kitchen cabinet, bar table, or fridge cabinet.
If you are looking to add further seating to your al-fresco dining and socialising area, bench seating is a great way to create a chill-out area, particularly when set around a firepit such as the Short Chef’s Anvil.
The Grillo Bench is crafted from the same iroko hardwood and beautifully finished carbon steel as the rest of the Vantage kitchen. The front and back of the bench’s design hint at the Habitat pattern found on other parts of the Vantage kitchen.
A great place to end the evening…
Where Do We Go From Here?
The key thing is, there is no right and wrong when it comes to what you want in your outdoor kitchen. Having choice means you can make your kitchen as individual as you.
And remember, an outdoor kitchen is far more than a place to just cook food! Cooking outdoors is becoming a central part of people’s socialising experience. It’s all about bringing friends and family together, everyone getting involved, having fun and making memories.
So where do we go from here? You can either see our pre-designed outdoor kitchen layouts, where you may find one that includes all your must-have outdoor kitchen features.
Or jump on to our online Configurator, pull in the items you want in your kitchen, and then lay it out in a way that best suits your space.