outdoor entertaining

Open concept and entertaining space were two of the most important items we considered when drafting the floor plan. Living in Florida, creating additional outdoor living space is key to effective entertaining. Watching big sporting events, especially our beloved Florida Gators, with family and friends is one of our favorite things to do.  A great bar and a TV are obviously two key factors in creating that game day environment. This post will briefly discuss some of the items to consider when creating your outdoor summer kitchen.

No better source for equipment recommendations for your summer kitchen than the bbqguys.  Their website discusses the key features to look for in your grill, prep equipment, ice maker, etc. They also provide great recommendations for kitchen configuration which we discuss a bit further below.

As we will be using induction in the kitchen, we wanted to ensure we got a gas grill that was also functional and easy to use for not only entertaining, but cooking during the week. The chart below we found most helpful when ultimately making a decision. You don’t need to spend 5k for an outdoor grill with the key features you need. There are plenty in the 1k – 1.5k range that basically do the same thing with a few less bells and whistles, but still look great.

The 36″ Blaze grill was our final decision due to one key feature the others didn’t have, heat zone separators. These heat zone separators will allow you to cook wings over low heat on side and sear a steak/tuna on high temperature on the other side. While traditional grills allow you to adjust the flames in different zones, your heat control still proves difficult. The separators combat this issue.

Some of the other features you will want to ensure you have are cast stainless steel burners, stainless steel rod cooking grid, stainless steel flame tamers, double lined hood and an option to install an infrared rear burner (helpful for slow cooking and rotisseries).Blaze Grills.png

The setup of our patio made it an easy decision to determine the location of the outdoor kitchen. A large window from the backside of the house provided line of sight past the bar out to the pool. We had a large blank wall directly opposite where guests would sit at the bar perfect for the TV setup (make sure you review your electrical plans closely and don’t forget the electrical and cable hookup).  Additionally, the configuration allowed us to put the grill on the exterior wall allowing for adequate ventilation. With a cedar roof on the patio, ventilation around the grill is key.

Some other items to consider with configuration/planning:
– determine if your going to run piping for propane or just use a tank below
– review length of bar to ensure you can seat your desired number of guests
– watch proximity of grill to house and pay attention to ventilation needs
– split bar so your guests sit elevated over the prep area in summer kitchen
– space for patio furniture
– outlets
– water line for ice maker
– lighter counter as dirt/dust won’t show as bad
– storage underneath the bar/grill
– drop down screens for bugs

Spring is here and summer is on the way, time to get the grill going!

Summer Kitchen


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