Summer is the perfect time for making the most of the good weather and taking your meals outdoors instead of being stuck in a hot kitchen or stuffy dining room to eat. These days more and more people are taking that idea to the next level and creating an complete outdoor kitchen that truly allows them to make the most of those warm, balmy summer days.

An outdoor kitchen can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, or can afford it to be anyway. But there are certain things that every outdoor kitchen really needs to make it properly functional and save you from having to keep running back indoors every few minutes! Here are a few essentials you should not be without

A Good Cooking Appliance

The simple barbie has evolved a great deal and many of the best outdoor kitchens now feature a real live oven, usually a wood burning one. If your budget won’t run to anything that fancy a simple fire pit designed for cooking costs less than most standard grills do and the flavors you can create by experimenting with cooking woods and other fuels are often unique and exquisite.

A Place to Chill

One of the delights of a summer evening spent outdoors is the chance to sip on long, tall, cool beverages – or just a beer or two. In order to be able to do that with ease a small fridge is a great addition to any outdoor kitchen. You probably do not need anything bigger than a dorm style refrigerator, the kind you can usually find right at your local home goods store for less than $100.

Storage: Any outdoor kitchen needs some great storage space. You do not have to spend a fortune on built in outdoor cabinetry though. A mobile kitchen island can do the job very nicely and they too are far more affordable than you might think, especially if you shop at a home improvement chain store. A mobile island also offers the advantage that it will give you a ready-made outdoor food prep area as well.

Dinnerware for Outdoor Use:

Running back to the indoor kitchen to get extra plates, cutlery and glasses will certainly cut down on the time you have to enjoy your outdoor kitchen so keeping a dinner and glassware set outside, even if they they are plastic, is always a good idea.

Great Lighting

Eating in the pitch black is not too much fun indoors or out so make sure that your outdoor kitchen area is well lit. Bear in mind that for maximum function and beauty an outdoor lighting scheme should follow the same pattern as an indoor one; you’ll need task lighting as well as the stuff that sets a great ambiance.

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