Barbecuing is perhaps the most quintessentially outdoor activity that there is. Just the word immediately conjures images of flavorful smoke wafting skyward on a beautiful sunny day. Even in barbecue restaurants, where the service and eating may be done indoors, much of the cooking may take place outside.
Of course, this open-air food preparation carries its challenges, most of which involve the constant mixing of indoor elements of cooking and outdoor elements. We take meat from an indoor refrigerator, carry it out to the grill, cook it while frequently running back in for utensils and spices, and then serve it to a hungry group that may be inside or out.
Part of the problem here is that we just don’t have everything outdoors that we could have. We think of an outdoor cooking area as basically just a place to have some type of fire–and that’s all.
“An outdoor kitchen inspires a
healthier lifestyle, cuts the cost of
entertaining, and makes less mess
around the home.”
But today’s outdoor cooking enthusiast is going in a different and better direction. Many homeowners are installing barbecue islands that go beyond just the cooking and instead incorporate cookware storage, preparation areas, and even refrigeration.
These upgrades have really given people a new idea of what outdoor cooking can be, but the other impacts have been interesting and unexpected. Put together, they create a situation that saves you money but also increases the quality of your life.
When all the grillmaster did was stand over the fire and sweat for 20 minutes, he or she rarely had much company. The grill was in the blazing sun, there wasn’t necessarily room to congregate, and it didn’t take all that long anyway. Instead, most guests remained indoors with the rest of the food preparation.
Now that the open-flame chef–and all of his or her help, for that matter–is operating outside, it’s a different situation. The outdoor kitchen may have adjacent seating areas and even a television, getting everyone out of the house and enjoying the weather.
“An outdoor kitchen
keeps all that traffic
out of the house.”
So the first impact is just that opportunity to get everyone out of the house. There’s just something about eating outside that makes you want to stay outside and be active, so the more things you have outside the house, the more likely your guests and your family are to do just that. The meal is likely to be followed by a walk, a game of volleyball, or a dip in the pool–basically anything except lying around in front of the TV all day.
An outdoor barbecue also gets a lot of heat out of the house. The constant in and out of visitors and hosts takes a heavy toll on your air conditioning and, subsequently, your electric bill. If the only traffic is the occasional restroom trip, the doors stay shut and the AC stays in. Additionally, if all the cooking of side items, desserts, and so forth can be done in the outdoor kitchen, the oven and stove aren’t adding heat to the house either. So the outdoor kitchen can really save on your cooling costs.
Keeping all that traffic out of the house can help in other ways, too. The most obvious one is cleaning. If everyone stays outside most of the time instead of going in and out a lot, there will be less dirt tracked in, fewer food spills, and fewer insect invaders. That saves you cleaning time and hassle.
An outdoor kitchen is a valuable and fun part of the home. It inspires a healthier lifestyle, cuts the cost of entertaining, and makes less mess around the home. It’s no wonder that these unique features are becoming more popular every day.
What do you love most about outdoor kitchens?
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