What Do You Need For An Outdoor Kitchen


Building a kitchen outdoors can seem like quite an undertaking and it can take a while to evaluate all of the options and to decide which items will be best for you. You’ll find that some things you absolutely need, others are nice to have.

Below is a list of the things you must include in your outdoor kitchen to make it functional. If you are earnest about putting together a workable kitchen, these are some essentials you’ll need to invest in.


Perhaps the most critical piece of hardware in your outdoor kitchen is the grill. This is the hub of the kitchen and where most of the cooking will take place. You don’t want to pinch pennies on this one. If any part of your outdoor kitchen needs the most attention to detail it’s the grill.

The most popular type of grill for outdoor kitchens is a gas grill powered by propane. You also have the option of incorporating an electric or charcoal grill, depending on your cooking preferences. Whatever you feel more comfortable grilling with should be what you put in your kitchen. Remember, this is your star performer and you’re going to be seeing a lot of each other. Your grill can be built into your kitchen or be a drop-in grill.


Having a refrigerator in your outdoor kitchen is absolutely necessary. It’s a place to keep your drinks and store your meat until it’s ready to be grilled. A refrigerator makes all the difference in not to have to go back and forth to your indoor kitchen while you’re busy cooking.


Any fully equipped kitchen must have a sink included. Having a sink in your countertop will allow you to wash your hands, rinse your utensils, and help with the food prep. Access to running water is necessary for well-ordered movement in your kitchen that would otherwise be disrupted by having to go back inside whenever you need it.

The kind of sink you get is really up to your style inclinations. You can choose between a single or double basin sink. You can get a regular or farmhouse sink. There are a lot of distinctive choices to complement the style of any outdoor kitchen.

Waste Bins

At the very least you have to have a trash bin included in your outdoor kitchen. The ideal way to go about this is to have a bin in a drawer that keeps it under the counter. This keeps it out of sight and away from any unwanted visitors. You can also have a recycling bin and a compost bin. Just make sure they are labeled clearly.


It’s crucial to have some sort of shelter or covering for your outdoor kitchen. This will keep your kitchen and guests safe from powerful sunlight and inclement weather. If you are putting a concerted effort into making your outdoor kitchen as amazing as possible, you want to make sure it’s safe and comfortable. You can run the gamut from simple patio umbrellas to building a pergola.

Another option is to build your outdoor kitchen under an already existing structure. You can harness the space of an outdoor deck or patio or use a natural overhang on your house. Just remember if your grill is completely covered that you need a hood over it for ventilation.


Once you have everything you need then it’s about what you want. Everything else you can put into your outdoor kitchen is extra, but no less beneficial. This is taking it to the next level. Select whatever you think you’ll want in your outdoor kitchen to make it more functional and user friendly when you’re out there cooking up a delicious meal for your friends and family members.


Along with a grill, there are some appliances that will raise the game of your outdoor kitchen and allow you to make just about everything for your guests.

Side Burner

A side burner can be almost as important as the grill. You can use it to cook just like your indoor stovetop. An entirely separate heating zone is a welcome bonus to any outdoor kitchen to simmer sauces and warm dishes. With the right power you can even do some Wok cooking.

Pizza Ovens

Everybody loves pizza. Don’t you? Bring a restaurant quality slice to your outdoor kitchen. This is a versatile addition to your kitchen. There are a multitude of things you can prepare in a pizza oven. How about a Dutch pancake? Cinnamon Rolls? Quesadillas? Focaccia? And of course pizza!

Electric Smokers

Ever tasted what low and slow cooking does for brisket? Amazing! A small scale smoke can be an under-the-counter appliance and open up like a refrigerator so you can stick your meat in and saturate it with that wonderful smoky taste. Larger, free-standing smokers can handle larger pieces of meat for bigger crowds.


If you have a gas grill but want the added option of charcoal you should consider adding a kamado to your outdoor kitchen. These nifty little cookers are insulated like an oven and use charcoal to cook anything you might want. Embrace an age old Japanese cooking tradition. You can even bake cookies.


Besides a standard refrigerator you can opt to add some additional frills to your grilling and chilling.


A must have for beer lovers. Barbecue and ice cold beer. A lot more sophisticated than passing out cans.

Outdoor Freezer

Want to store extra meats? Keep icy treats for the kids? How about a chilled cocktail? An outdoor freezer can really come in handy.



Many people underestimate the amount of storage they will need for their outdoor kitchen. While it’s not an absolute necessity, having extra storage built into your kitchen will make entertaining much easier. When things are already where you need them, you don’t have to keep running back and forth into your home.

We spoke to Jamie Horner from Summer Breeze Outdoor Kitchens, one of the largest outdoor kitchen builders in the Hilton Head area for some advice. he has an extensive guide about what to put in an outdoor kitchen right here.

Cabinets and drawers are the most prevalent kinds of storage. They’re handy for holding all of your cooking utensils and serving dishes. Now you can forget heading back inside while the steaks are a-sizzlin! Give your favorite BBQ tools and supplies a home.

Another form of storage is an enclosed pantry. These useful cabinets often have shelving and drawers included for all the food items you need. And the best part – ants hate them! A great way to keep your seasonings, spices, BBQ ribs and dry toppings away from the elements.

Outdoor kitchen storage is built for maximizing space and keeping your gear out of sight. Keep your handy wipes nearby but never seen. A paper towel holder is an effective addition to your kitchen, but keep it underneath or inside a cabinet. 

Going all out on propane? Then a propane tank bin is for you. This will make switching out your tank seamless with easy bin access.


A bar is a great amenity for anyone who enjoys drinks while entertaining. And who doesn’t? It’s both a gathering place for your guests as well as the place to keep all your ingredients for mixing up drinks. It will keep you from having to run inside every time someone needs a refill and will keep your beverage bottles in a neat and well-ordered place.

If you don’t have the space for a full bar, you can install a small drink station in one part of the countertop. You can also purchase a separate bar cart that can hold all the things you need and move around anywhere you need it. This can also be a bonus if you’d like to be able to use it both inside and outside.

Warming Drawer

Keeping food warm is an important part of preparing any meal. Not everything cooks at the same time. That’s where a warming drawer comes in handy. Some of them are even outfitted with moisture control so that your food doesn’t dry out while it’s waiting.


There should be some kind of dining area in or near your outdoor kitchen to accommodate all your guests. It can be as simple as a patio set or as elaborate as a full outdoor dining table.

If you have a bar some tall bar stools will make having a drink comfortable. Comfort is vital to a delightful experience, which is what having an outdoor kitchen is all about.

Outdoor Media

Ready for the big game? Forget about cramming your friends into your den or rec room when you can have an outdoor TV installed outdoors instead!

Set the tone with Darius Rucker or maybe some Sinatra, premium outdoor speakers add some polished atmosphere to your outdoor kitchen.

No matter what sort of outdoor kitchen you are going for, there are innumerable options to build it the way you want. Whether you want all the latest appliances and technology, or are trying to be economical, you can find all the essentials to suit your needs.

The most important part of your outdoor kitchen will always be your grill. It wouldn’t be a kitchen without a way to cook things. You can have anything from an outdoor bar to a pizza oven or just a simple set up for family grilling nights. Whatever your choices, be sure that your outdoor kitchen is set up to accommodate how you want to enjoy your evenings outdoors.

Whatever elements you choose to include in your outdoor kitchen, the most important thing is that it works for your needs. Don’t go extravagant just to dazzle. Keep to the essentials and add extras that you really want or need. Most importantly enjoy your outdoor kitchen.

If you are thinking about an outdoor kitchen please contact us. Our fantastic team of kitchen designers will build a space to satisfy any taste. We are happy to help navigate you through unknown waters towards your fantasy outdoor space.