POOLS, SPAS & PATIOS ARTICLE: GOOD FOOD AND WARM FIRE PART #4
Good food and a warm fire: The grill is front and centre
The sky is the limit when it comes to outdoor kitchens and the various amenities, but for a modest cooking area, it obviously centres on the grill. Most are fueled by natural gas, although propane is an option, and come in a vast array of models with features ranging from infrared burners, wood chip smoking trays, lights, and so forth. Your individual cooking style and needs will dictate which of these features are worth the investment.
A good way to find out how these features work and to decide whether you want them is to visit a showroom where various models can be compared side-by-side. Keep in mind, bigger is not always better, but as with most things, prices often reflect the build quality and overall functionality of the unit. Along with the grill, some common additions are a side burner, drawer or cabinetry for storage, a smoker, a small bar-style fridge, and recycle or trash centre. A good option for cold drinks that may eliminate the need for a fridge is a built-in ice bucket holder.
In terms of design, having 457 mm (18 in.) of counter space on either side of the grill is optimal so raw food does not contact tools or surfaces where cooked food will be placed. Additional counter space for food preparation or presentation may be desirable as well. Providing a bar type seating arrangement on the grill station provides a place for your guests to visit with the cook or for food and drink to placed buffet style. For cooking and prep areas, the grill station height should be close to 0.9 m (3 ft). A good height for a bar section is 1 m (3.5 ft) to allow guests to sit comfortably while conversing with the cook.
Originally published in Pools, Spas & Patios - 2018 Annual Issue.
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