It used to be that a grill, a table and a few chairs were all you needed for a backyard cookout. In fact, 20 years or so ago, there wasn’t much more than this to chose from.
Today, that kind of utilitarian setup is on its way to becoming a distant memory. Why? Because a growing number of materials and products have burst onto the scene to help consumers create well-appointed outdoor kitchens that make cooking and serving meals a very different kind of experience. Outdoor cooking and dining are growing up.
In the same way that indoor upholstery trends like smaller conversation groups and sectional sofas have influenced directions in outdoor seating, established kitchen favorites have made the leap from indoor to outdoor living. Materials like stainless steel and granite are now common in the outdoor realm. Refrigerator, cabinets and even dishwashers are doing their best to become the next outdoor-kitchen basics.
As a next step, consumers are seeking out specialty appliances to give them more fun and flexibility as they cook outside. Think pizza ovens that can rival those found in indoor kitchens, and warming drawers that keep your food toasty while you enjoy cocktails and conversation with friends.
Appliances from companies like Coyote Outdoor Living are making the outdoors an ideal place to cook and eat lunch, supper, and even breakfast. Case in point: grill attachments. Innovative add-ons now make it possible to fry pancakes and eggs or bake desserts like pies and cookies. It’s increasingly common to smoke, roast or slow-cook on the patio. Almost anything can be on the backyard menu these days. Customization is key, and Coyote sees a growing demand for more hybrid products that combine gas and charcoal grilling.
Cutting-edge grilling accessories are moving right along with this outdoor-cooking movement. Companies like ThermoWorks have taken the guesswork out of grilling with their surprisingly quick and accurate Splash-proof Thermapen, which penetrates even the thickest cuts of meat and lets you know when they’re cooked the way you want. Master Forge’s grill wok is designed with small holes that keep food from escaping, while letting the juices drain. Weber’s original rib and roast holder keeps meats upright, so they cook as evenly as on a grill spit.
When all is done and eaten, it is clear that outdoor kitchens have many more options than ever before.