Outdoor Kitchen Design for the Cooking Enthusiast

  • Thanks to a large and active family, we designed this outdoor kitchen project to fill larger parties accommodating a wider variety of guests. Both primary clients are highly active in their indoor kitchen; they requested an entertaining space to match their energy. "I can't tell you how much I value clients who come to us knowing what they want," says Erin Hopsen, outdoor kitchen design manager. "Sure, minds change throughout the process, no matter how much research you try to do upfront. But these two came to us with a game plan: they knew all the grilling styles they wanted and had a budget to match. The whole process went over pretty smoothly, come to think of it. Fewer speed bumps than usual!"

    A recently renovated backyard served as the perfect canvas for this outdoor kitchen. The clients had big ideas for the surrounding space, so the design team needed to factor in a whole lot of cooking versatility into this walled corner. This meant choosing elements that could double up when necessary — such as a dual-purpose grilling station, a sink to double as a cocktail preparation zone, and plenty of outdoor kitchen storage. Incorporating a freestanding pizza oven consumed precious space, but the clients' love for the Italian classic was unmistakable (and no pizza lover on the team was willing to try and convince them otherwise). With a few changes in detail and some out-of-the-box thinking, the team designed an outdoor kitchen fit to feed the entire family reunion.

  • Dual Fuel Grills Expand Your Options

    In this outdoor kitchen, space was no concern — but the clients wanted a lot of cooking versatility. "That's why I suggested the Coyote Centaur Dual Fuel Grill!" Erin tells us. "You can easily grill with both gas and charcoal from one station, which is pretty exciting. I mean, why choose?" As a bonus, Erin suggested the Coyote double side burner, a great surface to fit large or odd cookware for boiling vegetables, sautéing sides, and more.

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  • Pizza Oven Lovin’

    "It sounded like his wife really loved growing up near a homegrown pizza parlor!" Erin went on. "So, when they learned that we could set them up with a wood-fired pizza for the outdoor kitchen... well, who can say 'no' to that?" When the clients wanted to work closely with their contractors on a custom brick enclosure, Erin chose the Chicago Brick Oven DIY Kit. "Based off of age-old Italian designs, too. As close to authentic as I could get!"

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  • Deep Fryer for a Deep Feast

    "He grew up in the South, and he told me he grew up fishing. Staying close to the good cooking was a must... like fried fish!" Erin explained. The Cajun Fryer 6-gallon deep fryer made an excellent fit for the clients' needs: he was thrilled that it held 12–15 catfish filets, and she loved the idea of frying whole turkeys in it. "This is an outdoor kitchen meant to entertain, and this deep fryer alone can handle 35–40 guests. I mean, I call that a bargain."

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  • Teppanyaki Time with a Flat Top Grill

    In an outdoor kitchen boasting gas and charcoal grills, side burners, a deep fryer, and a pizza oven, was there any room for improvement? "Of course there was! Are you kidding me?" Wanting all the bases covered, the clients asked Erin for one last appliance suggestion. "At first, I was thinking a large griddle. But once they saw the Turbo Grills teppanyaki, they fell in love. I think he envisioned a little showing off for his guests at the counter."

    Shop Built-In Gas Griddles & Flat Top Grills

  • Refresh With a Libation Station

    For whipping up cocktails at the ready, a sink and prep zone like the Coyote Refreshment Center is a great addition to any space. "She bartended her way through college, and that's a real lively skill to keep on tap," Erin adds. "Hey, like beer!" While the clients opted to skip the kegerator, they asked for a spot for rinsing glasses or slicing fruit. This sink fit the bill with water line access, bottle shelf, built-in cutting board, and even a condiment tray.

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  • Stylish Seats by Sunset West

    Sunset West designs and handmakes fine seating to borderline artisanal standards. When it came time to select the outdoor furniture, Erin quickly sold them on the brand. "If they were just meticulous, that'd be one thing. But they're some of the nicest people we've ever worked with! I like to recommend them because we know they build luxury products using only premium materials, like Sunbrella fabric, and stand by their work."

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