Outdoor kitchen: all the secrets to cook like a chef at home
For many households, the outdoor space is only used to enjoy dishes prepared inside but more people than every are taking the kitchen outdoor for cooking and dining.
Some people have enough space in their backyard or garden to install their outdoor kitchen as a complement to the indoor one: but if you don’t fall into this category, there are plenty of viable options to set up an exterior cooking station and avoid walking back and forth to the house with dishes in your hands.
In this article, you will find how to make the most of your outdoor kitchen to fully enjoy alfresco dining by overcoming the difficulties of indoor cooking. First of all, we will compare the main features of indoor and outdoor kitchens, focusing on the various types, from the fully equipped one to the no-frills cooking station through wood-fired ovens, barbecues or grills- keeping in mind that you can get great results even when you are baking outside.
Indoor and outdoor kitchens: points to consider
Cooking outside can be challenging and may significantly impact the type of food chosen and how it is cooked because you can’t have all the tools and comforts of a well-furnished home kitchen.
Here, we list points to consider for an outdoor kitchen which make them different from a traditional indoor kitchen:
- Space Organization
- Avoiding smoke build-up from the outdoor oven.
- Ideas for outdoor kitchen set-up
- Outdoor kitchens are synonymous with entertaining and relaxation
To meet these needs, there are many options to choose from and surely you will find one according to your space and budget.
Organize your space for an outdoor kitchen
The space available is the key element of your outdoor kitchen layout. Basically, there are two possible cases:
- Space is in short supply such as in a house with a small balcony.
- Space is ample in your backyard or garden area.
In the first case, you will need cooking appliances which are not too bulky and easy to handle such as a small barbecue or a compact mobile pizza oven. With these products, you can bake dishes like Neapolitan pizza in a wood-fired oven at really high temperatures. The compact, high-performance ONE oven would be right up your alley.
On the contrary, if you have plenty of space and you want to install a fully equipped outdoor kitchen with all the tools such as sink, gas rings, fridge or dishwasher, make sure to cover them to protect them from bad weather, either with a permanent shelter like a gazebo or pergola or individual weatherproof covers.
Think about one of our traditional masonry ovens or a wheeled steel oven such as the Allegro, the largest of the Alfa range that is considered semi-professional due to its capacity and performance
Avoiding the smoke build-up from the outdoor oven.
Cooking in the open air means that you can burn firewood without worrying about the smoke problems. The most common home appliances are powered by gas or electricity and they don’t need to be connected to a chimney flue which is necessary for stoves, fireplaces or wood-fired ovens. Outside, a chimney cowl will do to allow smoke to flow out and you won’t even have to fret about the ventilation. Read our blog article to learn more about oven smoke emissions.
Do you want to know which is the best oven for you?
How to set up an outdoor kitchen in your home.
Kitchen layouts must take account of your home spatial and structural constraints except in case of major renovations. Available space is often limited, and the necessary appliances are built into the wall. Outdoor kitchens come with a lot of configurations, but they must allow for the position of:
- water drainpipes
- electrical sockets
- gas pipes
You can always choose to install a kitchenette with gas-fired ovens or barbecues that will be connected to the gas supply or to a cylinder or maybe an electric appliance making sure to protect the components from humidity.
Outdoor kitchen is synonymous with entertaining and relaxation.
Food is a superb way to bring people together, but the cook often has no time to socialize and even more so if they have to shuttle back and forth between the inside and the outside of the house. Cooking in the open air allows you to spend more time with your guests and to showcase special skills such as those of a pizza maker or a pitmaster.
The outdoor kitchen is definitely an element that gives a touch of fun to your dinners or lunches and can be the center of attention for staging great cooking shows at home. Woodfired ovens are often the focal point or are situated between dining and cooking areas so that guests can enjoy the fire during and after the cook.
The perfect tools for cooking outdoors.
Let’s focus now on the necessary equipment that is needed for your outdoor kitchen. The most suitable choice is the wood-fired oven that is a fabulous addition to your outdoor living space and burns firewood, a renewable energy source that doesn’t harm the environment and imparts rich flavor to food.
The wood-fired ovens for cooking outdoors.
The wood-fired oven is simply one of the best and time-tested cooking devices. Traditionally, it had a place of choice in the house as the only cooking equipment for feeding large families.
Today, things have changed, and wood-burning ovens are scarce in homes due to structural and regulatory constraints and to competition from other fuels such as gas or electricity.
However, wood fired ovens can always be installed in outdoor spaces and especially so since very energy-efficient models that heat up in no time are now available on the market. Innovation is Alfa’s strong point and by developing the Forninox Technology™ we have managed to produce efficient, ready-for-use, high-performing wood-fired ovens.
This technology allows to combine the traditional refractory wood-burning oven with a stainless-steel dome that improves thermal efficiency and lightens the weight of the appliance. By attaching a set of castors, you can move them in any direction for baking outdoors and put them away after use.
Outdoor cooking with the grill or the barbecue.
In addition to the oven, the outdoor kitchen can have a grill or a barbecue, tools that although similar, come with distinct features.
Grilling is cooking food quickly over direct heat at very high temperatures and is perfect for small cuts of meat, fish and veg.
Barbecuing means cooking food over very low heat for a very long time using an appliance with a lid that better retains the heat, the steam and the smoky flavor of embers. It is used for larger cuts of meat (ribs, whole chickens, piglets..) often marinated in advance.
Not just firewood: cook outdoors with gas-fired or electric ovens!
Ovens, barbecues or grills are all great wood-powered tools for baking al fresco but these appliances are also offered in gas versions. Gas is a rather cheap and easy-to-move fuel as it can be used by hooking the appliances up to the supply or to a cylinder and it provides performances not far from those of the wood-burning ovens.
Do you want to know which is the best oven for you?
Explore here all the options for setting up the perfect outdoor kitchen!
How to get the most out of your outdoor kitchen.
Here, we give you some advice on how to make the most of outdoor space in your kitchen layout.
- Zone the outdoor space for your kitchen.
- Learn how to cook over fire.
- Bake the first course, the main and the bread at once.
- Create synergy between indoor and outdoor kitchen.
- Kick your feet up and relax in your outdoor kitchen.
- Wow your guests with our designer outdoor ovens.
1. Zone the outdoor space for your kitchen
If outdoor space is at a premium, you can opt for a small-sized appliance suitable for preparing dishes that can’t be made in the home kitchen; for example, a mobile outdoor oven where you can cook a couple of pizzas simultaneously is efficient with time and space.
If you have plenty of space and money is no object, you can set up a fully loaded outdoor kitchen that can be a valid alternative to the indoor one. Or you can add mobile appliances for dinner parties taking advantage of pre-existing fixtures like sinks or fireplaces.
2. Learn how to cook over fire
If you choose appliances that burn firewood, you have to learn to cook with the first controllable source of heat and light discovered by man. To light, to build and to control a fire takes time and may be a little daunting but bit by bit you will discover that there’s nothing better than cooking with flames and coals to give a special taste to your dishes.
3. Bake the first course, the main and the bread at once.
To make the most out of our outdoor ovens, you have to learn how to maximize the curve of oven temperature to cook multiple dishes. This allows you to check them all as they bake and cut down your energy consumption at the same time. For example, in a large outdoor oven, you can start by baking a pasta casserole at 100-200 °C (200-400 °F), then you add some logs to raise the temperature up to 400 °C (750 °F) to cook a Neapolitan pizza and finally you take full advantage of the falling curve of temperature to bake bread or desserts or reheat main courses or side dishes.
4. Create synergy between indoor and outdoor kitchen.
You could easily make a meal by alternating preparations in both your indoor & outdoor kitchens. For example, cooking a starter in the home kitchen and cook a roast on the grill in the outdoor one. Using both areas when preparing meals can maximize prep areas and enable you to cook even larger meals and a variety of dishes at once. Perfect for parties and holiday season.
5. Kick your feet up and relax in your outdoor kitchen.
Having an outdoor kitchen allows you not to spend too much time away from your guests while preparing the dishes, because they surely came as much to eat your food as to be with you. It can also be a great idea to show your skills as a pizza chef or cook, or to organize food tasting events or themed dinners.
6. Wow your guests with our designer outdoor ovens.
The last tip to make the most of the outdoor cooking station is to choose solutions that make the environment more comfortable, thanks to particularly accurate designs that enrich our spaces. ALFA Ovens not only have unparalleled performance and versatility but they are also designed to be a beautiful addition to any outdoor space.
Cook outdoors like a real chef
After all, cooking in the open air in good weather can be very satisfying. We can certainly work more freely and using cooking tools more suitable for outdoor use such as grills, barbecues or Alfa home ovens.