Your Guide to Outdoor Kitchens, Grills, Fire Pits, and More
Your Renaissance Patio covered outdoor living space will be the envy of the block. Friends and extended family members will look for any excuse to spend time under your cool, shaded, weather-protected patio roof. And you will be happy to show off your clan’s new favorite room of the house. Whether you invite the whole neighborhood over for a Super Bowl cookout or just want an elegant yet casual spot for an intimate dinner party, your Renaissance Patio insulated roof, pergola, or patio cover creates a fine setting for conversation and whipping up the perfect meal to accompany any get-together. This guide will help you select the outdoor cooking equipment that best fits your lifestyle and patio arrangement.
Kitchen, Grill, or Something Else?
The first and most important choice you will have to make involves the equipment you want to use to create your famous burgers or gourmet dinners.
- Portable Grill – Nothing says “tank-top weather” like a movable propane or charcoal grill. These stalwarts of backyards across the country, these handy devices offer simplicity and convenience. You have the freedom to move your grill out of the way when it’s not in use. If you opt for a Renaissance pergola-style roof, you could even stow it in a storage shed to protect it from inclement weather. Portable grills are the least expensive option, with easy-to-source replacement parts and a much less imposing footprint that will not overwhelm smaller backyard patio spaces.
- Prefabricated Components – Buying prefab outdoor kitchen equipment allows you to add on as your cooking activities become more involved and adventurous. You can easily start with a tile counter for cutting vegetables and seasoning meat before slapping them on a drop-in gas grill. Storage and propane tank access doors under the counter reduce the number of trips inside for additional supplies. Later, you can add a refrigerator to keep ingredients at hand, and a drop-in sink for washing produce and hands to keep things sanitary.
- Custom Kitchen – Hiring a craftsperson to build your built-in custom outdoor cooking area ensures you get exactly what you want and that it will fit your home and patio like a tailored suit. You can specify where and how much storage space you need, how deep to build cabinets and drawers, where to place the fridge, sink, cooktop, and other critical elements. With these permanent fixtures in place, you can easily (though not necessarily inexpensively) have plumbing, wiring, and a dedicated gas line installed for added convenience.
- Fireplace, Firepit, or Pizza Oven – Primarily used as cozy gathering spots or eerie settings for ghost stories, outdoor fire pits and fireplaces can double as cook spots – subject to your community’s regulations – for a variety of treats. You probably shouldn’t attempt to bake a delicate souffle over one of these open flames, but for your basic hotdogs, s’mores, stews, and bacon-and-eggs, they should perform admirably. Adding a grated grill increases functionality to include chops, shish kabob, corn on the cob, and other delicacies. If you use gas, be careful not to allow grease or food drippings to fall onto the starter element or burner. It may be a luxury but your family and guests will love the flavor of homemade pies from your own pizza oven. Technology has made them compact, and your imagination can find plenty of uses outside the mozzarella-and pepperoni genre. Pizza ovens can be used to prepare bread, casseroles, roasts, and anything else you can cook in your indoor oven.
Configuring Your Outdoor Kitchen
Your location and shape options are limited with fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens, and portable grills, but you can arrange custom kitchens to suit your workflow.
- Linear – A single long counter keeps your kitchen from protruding into your patio’s living and entertaining space. A counter that includes a grill, chopping block, and food staging area may require as little as 3×6 feet. You can easily extend the length to accommodate an in-counter sink and/or under-counter refrigerator. This configuration is best for a single cook with an assistant handy to prep food and fetches supplies from inside the house. Linear kitchens must be placed either under the patio cover’s edge or against the house. This makes it easy to install lighting but puts the cook’s back to his or her guests.
- Island – Putting a linear kitchen in the middle of the covered patio creates an island and alleviates the back-to-the-guests problem. With all four sides open, they are easy to access and exit. Widening the island to include more counter space can create a breakfast or cocktail bar so the cook can engage guests and diners can eat in an informal, diner-like setting.
- Letter Shapes – L- and U-shaped kitchens increase the counter and appliance space without taking up your patio’s entire floor plan. An L-shaped kitchen, for instance, could house the food-preparation area on the long side and leave room for four diners along the shorter end. A U-shape would work when two or more cooks are engaged. They can work back-to-back on the long legs while guests are within chatting distance at the connecting short leg. A single cook may prefer a narrower gap between the U’s prongs, making access to additional work and storage space as simple as turning around. Pointing the open end of the horseshoe toward the patio door makes trips inside easier.
Contact Renaissance Patio to see how a new outdoor living space can transform the way you live, work, play, and entertain. Our certified installers can build your dream space in as little as a few days. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get cooking!