What is an outdoor kitchen? To some, it is simply a small extension of their indoor work space, containing a grill and maybe a short countertop with a sink. To many others, it entails so much more. Once perceived exclusively as a luxury purchase only available to those with high-end custom homes, outdoor kitchens are now popping up in homes of any price range. Gaining in popularity are outdoor spaces that include a means of cleaning and cooking (oftentimes multiple options in the same space) as well as refrigeration, food preparation and space to entertain.
Many realtors say that in order to list a home as having an outdoor kitchen, they’d like to see at least three different components. A few of these qualifying components are grills, sinks, refrigerators, icemakers, smokers, pizza ovens, ceramic eggs and wine coolers. Even with those pieces, there is still one more feature that truly defines an outdoor space as a kitchen: cabinets. Many people are used to seeing stucco or brick-clad block or framed structures with stainless inserts, covered by tile or granite countertops. While those options are probably still the most economical, emerging alternative materials are available to create a true outdoor kitchen.
Unlike their indoor counterparts, outdoor cabinets require a little more thought because of their regular exposure to the elements. Yes, they can be made utilizing wood that is better suited to exterior applications, such as cypress or teak, but those will require more upkeep and will still need to be replaced after several years. Today, there are three main wood alternatives: polymer, stainless steel and resin.
Poly is a synthetic material that can best be described as plastic, but more appropriately “high density polyethylene.” Often used in the construction of boats, polymer is great because it is easy to clean, stain-resistant and impervious to water. The possible cons are that it’s available in relatively few colors, has a pretty uniform appearance, and offers a more limited selection of door styling options – usually slab or faux-shaker.
Using closed-cell resin, the look of real wood can be created without the negatives or upkeep of its natural counterpart. Like polymer, resin cabinetry is impervious to water. Unlike polymer, resin affords more style choices, like shaker and louvered doors as well as the ability for a natural- or weathered-wood look.
3. Stainless Steel
Precision engineering and style make stainless steel cabinets an attractive choice. While they tend to be one of the more expensive options, they also tend to have the most durability, making them compare favorably over the long run. If built out of an appropriate quality of stainless steel, cabinets are water resistant (you can wash them out with a hose!) and extremely durable. From a style standpoint, many options are available. In addition to multiple door styles, powder coating options create the possibility for many different solid colors or wood grain patterns.
Whether you’re simply looking to add or replace a grill — we have several different lines of outdoor cookery available — or if you’re looking to create a whole new outdoor space, the team at Haile Kitchen & Bath can help. Come by our store and browse the latest in outdoor cabinetry with one of our designers. We’re happy to help you design and plan that perfect space.
Looking to add a little something to your outdoor entertaining?
Visit our storefront and check out our collection of Salt Rox products, a fun emerging trend in outdoor cooking. Pink Himalayan salt cooking plates are great additions to your cooking arsenal. Able to be used in the oven, on the stovetop or in the grill (including a version for the egg grill), Salt Rox plates offer a unique and healthy way to season your foods.
Some of our other current favorite items are offerings from Bourbon Barrel Foods, especially the Kentuckyaki sauce (Kentucky-style teriyaki sauce flavored with bourbon and Kentucky sorghum; all natural and preservative free) and Bourbon Barrel Aged Worcestershire sauce. We also enjoy their rubs, particularly the Dragons Breath or Caribbean Jerk Rub, and applewood- or hickory-smoked sea salts