Outdoor Kitchen Must Haves—Getting Ready for Summer Fun
May 18, 2023

Outdoor Kitchen Must Haves—Getting Ready for Summer Fun

Eating outside is one of life's essential joys during the summer. From family barbecues, relaxing desserts, and maybe even a wood-fired pizza oven on the back porch, there's something magical about the summer air that makes us want to enjoy our meals outdoors. We are all familiar with our indoor kitchens, but designing an outdoor kitchen for your home is one of the best ways to enhance your summer lifestyle. 

Outdoor kitchens are one of the top home renovations right now for homeowners, and there's no wondering why! However, if this is your first outdoor kitchen, researching the essentials is the perfect place to start. Fossil Blu is happy to share everything we know about outdoor kitchen must-haves to help you get your outdoor space ready for summer fun.


What is the First Thing I Should Buy for My Outdoor Kitchen?

Foundation with Utility Lines

Starting your outdoor kitchen, the very first thing you need is to establish the outdoor space and run a few utility lines. Unless you're planning for a simple prep space, you probably want to water, electricity, and maybe gas or propane out to your back porch, patio, or deck where you plan to build the outdoor kitchen. Decide whether you want a concrete or brick foundation, or if the kitchen is part of your deck, and prepare the space for a custom kitchen installation.

What Do You Really Need for an Outdoor Kitchen?

For an essential outdoor kitchen, you don't need to go all-out. Start with a durable prep space, a kitchen sink, and at least once heat source to cook on. Everything else is up to your preference, space, and budget.

Durable Countertop

Choosing a countertop for your outdoor kitchen, look for durability and weather resistance. Sealed granite is a good choice if you plan to reseal every 2-5 years. Metal countertops are the number-one choice for outdoor kitchens because they take little to no outdoor damage and can be scoured clean before you start cooking each outdoor meal, but quartz countertops are also a great choice.

Kitchen Cabinets

Underneath your countertop, be sure to give yourself durable cabinetry. We suggest latching and locking cabinets that can't be blown open by the wind, but with lever handles to easy open in the middle of a busy recipe or event.

Outdoor Kitchen Sink

Your outdoor kitchen sink is going to shape your cooking experience. Treat yourself to a comfortable sink that is deep enough for family-sized dishes and party platters.  A fireclay farmhouse sink with a rounded apron and two basins is a great choice because you can streamline both prep and cleanup, with plenty of room for your party-sized dishware.

Your Favorite Heat Source

Your outdoor kitchen should have at least one cooking surface, but everyone's preference is unique. You can have a built-in grill, electric griddle, stovetop, oven, or even a brick fireplace or fire pit as your cooking heat source of choice. Or you can mix-and-match to give yourself a variety of outdoor cooking options.


What Appliances Do I Need for an Outdoor Kitchen?

An outdoor kitchen is defined by its appliances. Some go all-out with their outdoor kitchen appliances with wine coolers, a kegerator, ice makers, dishwashers, and rice cookers, while others create an ultimate outdoor grilling station with just one appliance: the grill.

Must-Have: Grill

Most would agree that an awesome grill is the must-have appliance for outdoor kitchens cooking space. This is your chance to choose or build the ultimate grill, complete with prep space, warming areas, and the perfect gas grill or charcoal grill for your preferred BBQ technique.

Alternative: Stovetop and Oven

If you're not a grillmaster, many outdoor kitchens feature a stainless steel stovetop or cooktop, instead with an oven for baking and warming. You can even do a little of both with gas burners that feature a grill or griddle top.

Pretty Great: Side Burners & Warming Drawer

We also love outdoor kitchens that give you a little extra space for prepping party favorites. Side-burners allow you to warm and prep sides in addition to your main meaty course, while warming drawers keep foods deliciously warm and protected from the open air until it's time to eat.

Optional: Refrigerator & Ice Machine

Notice how we didn't mention the fidge before? That's because most outdoor kitchens don't have a fridge - you supplement with a cooler or the inside fridge. But you can add an outdoor refrigerator with a drinks-ready ice machine if you're going all-out.


What is the Best Outdoor Kitchen for a Small Space?

For a small patio or deck, you can build a minimalist outdoor kitchen by crafting a kitchenette or creating a small grilling station.

Outdoor Kitchenette

Little kitchens are a classic, and there are many great kitchenette designs that would be perfect for building an outdoor kitchen in a small space. Look for kitchenettes with two-burner stoves, a sink, and just enough counter space. Also, don't be afraid to wrap your prep space around in an L-shape along the house or deck railing, even if your main outdoor kitchen footprint is quite small.

Grilling Station

Many small outdoor kitchens are focused around the grill. Essentially, build yourself some extra counterspace and a sink near your grill and you have a great miniature outdoor kitchen setup.



Keeping Your Outdoor Kitchen Clean

Good question! Outdoor kitchens are typically made of materials that are easy to scrub down after they've been exposed to the elements. You can also use covers or outdoor enclosures to minimize your outdoor kitchen's exposure to the elements and - therefore - the need to clean extensively before each meal.

Just keep some heavy-duty kitchen cleaner spray on-hand and wipe everything down before you get started. You can also use your outdoor kitchen sink, scrubbing powder, and a scouring pad to clean up any serious mess. 


Outdoor Kitchen Bonus Tips

Stocking Your Outdoor Kitchen

Supply your outdoor kitchen with durable stainless steel and cast iron cooking pans and silicone-coated utensils. Parties can get pretty wild for nonstick cookware. You can also keep non-perishables like cooking oil and spices inside locked outdoor kitchen cabinets so that you don't have to constantly run inside for your essentials. 

If you have an outdoor kitchen fridge or freezer, stock it with veggies, meats and things that can quickly be thrown on the grill for delicious instant snacks. Keep a few cases of soda on the lower shelf of the fridge and a box of ice cream treats in the freezer and you have an instant summer party on-tap with all the best refreshments.

Protecting An Outdoor Kitchen from the Weather

Outdoor enclosures or custom-fit tarps are both good ways to protect your outdoor kitchen from the weather. You can also build an awning or roof over your outdoor kitchen. But it's also a good idea to make outdoor kitchens out of materials that can withstand some weather on their own.

Cooling an Outdoor Kitchen

Cooking outside in the summer can get pretty toasty. We suggest rigging up some shade and installing strategically-placed fans to keep your outdoor kitchen cool and breezy. If you have a roof overhang, you can even install a lit ceiling fan for both ambiance and airflow. Add a patio heater to make sure your outdoor kitchen is just as welcoming in the fall and winter.

Creating an Outdoor Living Space

Make a area for people to gather with a seating area that pulls up to the other side of the counter space, using barstools or other outdoor furniture. This is a great entertaining space where guests can hang out while you take advantage of your outdoor kitchen space. You can even add an outdoor fireplace adjacent to the outdoor kitchen. This could create an amazing space for outdoor entertaining to bring your summer entertaining to the next level.

Outdoor Kitchen Design with Fossil Blu

If you are designing an outdoor kitchen right now, Fossil Blu is delighted to become a part of your summer plans. Our fireclay farmhouse sinks are the perfect addition to your outdoor kitchen design, with a comfortable shape, deep basins, and an extremely durable finish that can withstand the weather. Explore our options and contact us for more great outdoor kitchen design ideas.