A backyard BBQ is as much of an American tradition as football, baseball and a love for country music is. According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, 80% of Americans own an outdoor griller, smoker or BBQ with the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day being some of the most popular holidays on which families and friends get together for a barbecue. If you have always dreamed of having a dedicated outdoor cooking area where you can entertain to your heart’s content, you will be glad to hear that it creating such a space is a lot easier than you could have ever imagined. By envisioning your ideal cook-out spot and following a few simple guidelines you can easily turn your outdoor dining dreams into a reality.
Get the layout right
One of the most pertinent considerations for your outdoor cooking and entertaining area is undoubtedly the layout. L-shaped designs are extremely popular when it comes to designing al fresco entertainment areas, mainly due to the fact that they lend a distinct sense of division to the area. When drawing up your plans, also take into consideration that you will need both a hot and a cold zone to prevent your salads from heating up and your ice cream sundaes from melting before they have been served. Keep your grill and smoker away from your fridge and freezer to prevent from putting extra strain on their already hard-working mechanics.
Pick your equipment
Once you have decided on the layout of your entertaining area you need to pick the appliances and equipment you will need to take your outdoor cooking to the next level. Chances are your barbecue or grill will form the focal point and everything else will be chosen accordingly. A refrigerator is an absolute must as it will enable you to keep some of your frequently-used perishables on-hand while making sure that you have plenty of icy-cold drinks nearby for your guests. Other appliances to consider include an ice maker, a kegerator, and, if you really want to impress, a drop-in bar center. You will also want to invest in a range of kitchen tools including quality knives, a meat thermometer, BBQ tongs and a good selection of cutlery and crockery.
Add some comfortable furnishings
No outdoor entertainment area will be complete without adequate shelter from the elements, comfortable seating, and ambient lighting. Couches, chairs, and benches can all provide a cozy place to sit, with the biggest determining factor in making your final choice being your own personal preferences. When choosing your upholstery, opt for a beautiful fabric that can withstand sun exposure while resistant to moisture as well and make sure any decorative objects are heavy enough to not be blown over by the wind. Outdoor lighting serves a dual purpose. Not only does it provide the required light that will enable you to see what you are doing but it also helps set a pleasant ambiance. LED lights are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility and eco-friendliness whereas candles and fairy lights can add a sense of magic to your space.
Summer might be making way for autumn soon but that does not mean your al fresco dining has to come to an end. Whether you want to grill, smoke or BBQ your way to the title of the master of outdoor entertaining, the guidelines above will help you to create a year-round, blissful backyard kitchen.