Why Outdoor Griddle Cooking Is Changing the Game for Foodies

outdoor griddle (L30AG) made by Lynx

When it comes to outdoor cooking, grilling has long been the reigning champion. However, a culinary revolution is on the horizon, and it’s outdoor griddle cooking.

In this article, we’re going to explore what a griddle is and why outdoor griddle cooking might just be better than grilling, offering versatility and mouth-watering results that are sure to change the way you approach outdoor cuisine.

The rise of outdoor griddle cuisine

An outdoor griddle is often referred to as a flat-top grill. It is a flat, wide cooking surface, usually made of flat, cold-rolled carbon steel. It’s heated from underneath for even cooking. Usually seen in diners and restaurant kitchens, the griddle is now manufactured for home cooks who want to expand their outdoor cooking options.

Outdoor griddle cooking is more than just a culinary trend. It’s a movement gaining momentum across the globe.

Fueled by the growing influence of social media platforms, home cooks and chefs alike are showcasing their griddling skills and sharing mouth-watering recipes. Cooking enthusiasts and food influencers also offer tips and tricks to help you season, clean, and accessorize your griddle.

As people seek unique outdoor dining experiences and healthier cooking options, the surge in outdoor griddle popularity reflects a broader shift towards more flavorful and creative culinary experiences.

Outdoor griddle vs. grill cooking

Regular backyard barbeque grills feature a cooking surface made from a series of slatted cooking grates, usually made from wire, chromed steel, or cast iron. Benefits of grilling include accommodating large cuts of meat and letting excess fat and moisture fall through the grates.

With outdoor griddles, metal spatulas move the excess fats, off the surface to the grease trays, where the collected excess can be easily removed after cooking.

Charcoal and wood-fired barbeque grills take time to set up—as opposed to natural gas or propane grills but develop that distinct smoky flavour.

teppanyaki on griddle

Teppanyaki cooking on a 30-inch gas griddle by Blaze.

With griddles, you can add any number of sauces and flavours to your food during cooking. They are perfect for cooking small vegetables, seafood, delicate fish, fried rice, and noodles.

Grilling often involves guesswork when it comes to temperature control, which can result in unevenly cooked food. There are also flare-ups to contend with.

built-in outdoor griddle with orange accent color

The Alfresco 30″ professional griddle has a dual-zone solid steel surface that is designed to create precise even heating over the entire cooking area.

Griddles offer precise, even temperatures across the entire surface without the threat of flare-ups. Whether you’re using natural gas, propane, or electricity, the outdoor griddle’s flat-top stainless steel construction and under-the-hood BTU distribution ensure even heat.

The versatile world of outdoor griddle cooking

Grilling may be the go-to method for cooking outdoors now, but outdoor griddles are here to shake things up.

With a griddle, you’re not limited to flipping burgers. You can prepare an entire breakfast spread, stir fry veggies, or go full gourmet with seared foie gras and perfectly cooked Wagyu steak. The perfect sear and caramelization are only a sizzle away.

Aside Cooktop griddle by Lynx

The 30″ Asado Cooktop by Lynx is a flat-top grill that makes it easy to cook large batches of food.

Preparing meals outdoors on a griddle is convenient. You can cook large batches of food at the same time. Imagine bacon sizzling beside perfectly fried eggs, savoury sausages, and fluffy pancakes—the whole enchilada, simultaneously.

While your protein is cooking, you can sauté vegetables or other sides on the griddle surface to accommodate the specific dietary needs and preferences of your guests.

Elevating culinary experiences

Whether it’s a weekend brunch, a family barbeque, or a casual gathering with friends, the versatility of an outdoor griddle adds a delightful element to your hosting capabilities.

From stir-frying a medley of Asian-inspired dishes to smash burgers the interactive nature of griddle cooking fosters an entertaining, social atmosphere.

Mussels on Asado Cooktop

Mussels cooking on the Asado Cooktop by Lynx.

Guests can gather, chat, and watch their favourite dishes come to life, transforming your gathering into a memorable culinary experience.

Integrating a griddle into your existing outdoor kitchen

Any outdoor kitchen will be instantly elevated with a built-in griddle. Some manufacturers, like Blaze, include features like a stainless steel lid and a full-width pull-out grease tray for easy maintenance.

Built-in griddles tend to have a larger cooking surface and be more powerful than free-standing models. This is handy if you’re cooking for a large group at once.

They’re built to be strong, long-lasting, and durable. The upfront cost may be greater but their low maintenance and durability will save you in the long run. Also, a great outdoor kitchen appeals to homebuyers and can increase the value of your property.

Pairing a griddle with your built-in grill allows you the flexibility to cook and prepare entire meals on different surfaces all at once—a true outdoor chef’s kitchen.

stainless steel griddle plate

This stainless steel griddle plate nests onto an Artisan grill grate. It can be removed when not in use.

If you already have an outdoor kitchen you may be able to insert a griddle plate onto your existing grill. Alfresco has various drop-in grill accessories such as the griddle plate (shown above) and a larger Teppanyaki griddle plate.

Unlock the full potential of your outdoor space

Transform your backyard into a culinary paradise that’s ready for action in any season! With a custom-built outdoor kitchen, including a versatile griddle and other premium outdoor appliances, you can enjoy the pleasures of outdoor cooking all year round. The perfect time to bring your dream outdoor kitchen to life is now.

Don’t let the process overwhelm you. At Outeriors, we offer a free consultation with our expert outdoor kitchen design consultants. They’re ready to guide you through every step of the design process. Request a free consultation today and take the first step towards creating an outdoor kitchen that’s tailored just for you.

9 Reasons an Outdoor Pizza Oven Is Worth Every Penny

red Alfa pizza oven cooking pizzaHomeowners and homebuyers increasingly want their backyards to be multi-functional extensions of their interior living spaces.

The modern backyard cooking experience has evolved well beyond using a basic grill to cook a few different types of food.

One of the best reasons to get an outdoor kitchen is the freedom it gives you to expand your home cooking options.

A popular design trend is having outdoor kitchens with lots of convenient amenities (like appliances) to replicate the functionality of our indoor kitchens.

Some homeowners are taking their outdoor living upgrades a step further to include a unique feature that can’t be used indoors.

Enter the outdoor pizza oven.

Why is the outdoor pizza oven so popular?

It’s no wonder outdoor pizza ovens can be found in an ever-increasing number of Ontario backyards. Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the world and can accommodate the diets of everyone from meat lovers to pescatarians to vegans.

A recent consumer trend report by food service research and consulting firm Technomic found that 81% of Canadians eat pizza at least once a month. Pizza’s popularity can be attributed primarily to the fact that anything going in our mouths that mixes gooey cheese, a crispy golden crust, tangy sauce, and an array of savoury toppings is (literally) going to go down well, naturally.

Another big reason we love pizza so much is the variety of ways available to get it. We can make it ourselves, have it delivered, pick up a slice or whole pie at the local pizzeria, or enjoy it at a restaurant.

Most store-bought fresh and frozen pizzas are mediocre at best. The quality of pizzeria and restaurant pizza varies and none of these options are the healthiest for you, even by pizza health standards.

red Alfa pizza oven

Making pizza at home is a relatively quick and easy experience and, as is the case with most foods, there’s something more satisfying when you prepare it yourself. You also have more control over the healthiness of the ingredients.

Using an outdoor pizza oven is the best way to make homemade pizza that tastes even better than delivery, restaurant, and store-bought pizza.

Find out why you need an outdoor pizza oven

A recent Forbes article on outdoor kitchen trends includes insight from one home designer who says, “These spaces are about creating memories using elements you can’t easily add indoors, like pizza ovens and smokers, but with the same level of finishes, materials, style, entertainment options and the all-important comforts.”

Find out why an outdoor kitchen design isn’t complete unless it includes an outdoor pizza oven.

1. Choose your outdoor pizza oven style

Home pizza ovens come in many different styles and sizes. They typically generate heat using flames and are powered or fueled by one of the following methods:

  • natural gas
  • propane
  • electricity
  • wood
  • charcoal
  • dual-fuels (hybrid fuel ovens typically use gas and wood)

Gas-fired outdoor ovens (fueled by natural gas or propane) like the Alfresco Pizza Oven Plus are typically made with stainless steel. This material is ideal for grills and outdoor kitchen appliances because of its ability to conduct and retain heat and its durability in outdoor environments.

Outdoor pizza ovens that run on natural gas or propane provide a more controlled burn than wood-fired ovens. They light instantly and also heat up and cool down much faster compared to wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens.

To see how a gas-fired outdoor pizza oven works, view this demonstration video for the Kalamazoo Artisan Fire Pizza Oven.

Wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens take an old-school approach with their design and how they cook pizza and other foods. They use wood logs or wood pellets to fuel their flames and are typically made with stones or refractory bricks (a ceramic material that can withstand high temperatures). Wood-fired ovens range in size from large standalone structures to smaller-sized ovens that are mounted on a stand.

This type of oven can be more challenging to use than gas-fired outdoor ovens and you do need to clean out the soot and ash after every use. However, some cooking enthusiasts prefer wood-fired ovens because of the smoky wood flavour you get from them.

2. Enjoy better-tasting homemade pizza

One of the keys to making great homemade pizza is getting the crust right. In that Technomic survey, 57% of Canadians said the crust is the most important part of a pizza.

Pizzeria and restaurant pizzas usually taste better than pizzas cooked in a regular home kitchen oven because they use very hot ovens. Commercial pizza ovens can reach up to 950°F, although pizzas are typically cooked at between 700-800°F. Traditional indoor ovens max out at around 550°F.

An outdoor pizza oven’s most unique feature is its ability to replicate the cooking functionality of commercial pizza ovens. Gas-fired ovens like the Kalamazoo Artisan Fire Pizza Oven and the Alfresco Pizza Oven Plus are capable of reaching temperatures above 1,000°F. Most wood-fired outdoor ovens produce temperatures in the 700-850°F range.

Baking pizza quickly at very high temperatures produces a tastier crust that’s simultaneously chewy and crisp. The quality of the dough being used and how it’s prepared are also big factors in how a pizza crust comes out, of course.

A quick cook at high heat also causes the caramelization process to occur. This subtle charring brings out the flavours of a pizza’s ingredients.

One selling point wood-fired outdoor oven manufacturers like to highlight is the appliance’s ability to produce pizza with a smoky flavour. This claim is fairly overstated because pizza gets cooked so quickly in a wood-fired outdoor pizza oven, so there’s no time for any smoky flavour to transfer to the pizza.

Foods cooked for longer periods (at least 30 minutes) at lower temperatures will develop the delicious smoky flavour that is unique to wood-fired cooking.

3. An outdoor pizza oven cooks food fast

We’ve talked about how quickly pizzas cook in an outdoor oven. Exactly how fast, you ask?

Most gas-fired outdoor pizza ovens can cook perfect Neapolitan pizzas in as little as two to three minutes. That’s why pizzerias make those “delivery in 30 minutes or less” promises.

A big reason many people don’t enjoy cooking is that it can take up so much time. With the right setup, making pizza at home is extremely time-efficient.

If you use pre-made dough, it only takes a few minutes to prepare a pizza with sauce, cheese, and toppings. Add in a few more minutes to cook it in an outdoor pizza oven and you’re looking at a mere 15 minutes or so from start to finish to serve up delicious, freshly-cooked pizza. Even if you want to make your pizza dough from scratch, the overall time required is still quite reasonable for a family meal.

Outdoor pizza ovens are also known for the even heat they produce, which results in better cooking results. Indoor ovens can distribute heat unevenly, resulting in food that comes out undercooked.

Take a look at how quickly chef Jamie Oliver can cook a pizza using a wood-fired outdoor pizza oven.

4. You can make a lot more than pizza

From thin-crust Neapolitan to Chicago-style deep dish, any type of pizza can be made with an outdoor oven. Although pizza may be the main attraction, an outdoor oven can be used to make much more than just the classic pie, however.

This versatile appliance opens up a world of culinary possibilities, some of which you can’t experience using a regular kitchen oven.

An outdoor pizza oven does everything an indoor kitchen oven can do. And in most cases, it’ll do it a lot faster because of the higher temperatures the appliance can reach. Some outdoor ovens can cook at lower temperatures for foods that need to be slow-cooked.

Here are just a few examples of the many types of food you can make with an outdoor pizza oven:

  • roasted chicken and turkey
  • casseroles
  • lasagna
  • soup
  • roasted vegetables
  • pies
  • chili
  • bread
  • cookies

With an outdoor pizza oven in your cooking arsenal, you can try more new recipes and expand your culinary horizons. Check out these outdoor pizza oven recipes for everything from grilled shrimp to s’mores!

5. Pizza-making becomes a fun, social activity

One reason outdoor kitchens have become so popular is because they provide the ideal space to entertain at home. Why stay indoors when the weather is nice if you can take the party outside?

Being outdoors in the summer brings a different vibe you can’t get inside the house, especially when an outdoor kitchen’s grill and appliances get fired up.

A pizza party provides a great reason to congregate with family and friends. Add in a comfortable backyard setting, a pizza oven, and the fun, interactive experience of everyone preparing their customized pizzas and you have a get-together that is guaranteed to be a winner.

Not only can you feed your guests some incredible food, but you’re also giving them a shared, authentic pizza-making experience they’ll appreciate and remember.

6. Outdoor pizza ovens are easy to use

Operating an appliance that cooks at extremely high temperatures may feel daunting. Fear not, because when it comes to cooking with an outdoor oven, nothing beats the ease of use of electric and gas-fired outdoor pizza ovens.

The appliances are a breeze to use and light easily with a match or, on higher-end models, the push of a button or turn of a knob (just like a good gas grill). Wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens, on the other hand, require more effort to get a fire started and to reach the desired cooking temperature.

You’ll need to develop some new cooking habits when you use an outdoor pizza oven because they work a little differently than traditional ovens. For starters, you need to pay closer attention to food while it’s cooking because things can burn much faster at such high temperatures.

To cook a pizza, simply place it in the oven using a pizza peel or paddle (the large spatula-like tool pizza-making pros use). The peel allows you to safely insert and remove a pizza from a hot oven and turn it occasionally so it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn on the side closest to the flames. In just a couple of minutes, you’ll be dining on delicious home-cooked pizza!

7. Make healthier pizza

Pizza might not exactly be at the top of anyone’s list of the most healthy foods. If you do want to enjoy some pizza every once in a while, however, why not make it as healthy as possible for yourself and your family?

When you order pizza from a pizzeria or restaurant, you only have a certain amount of freedom to choose healthy toppings. And you can also never be sure whether their ingredients are genuinely fresh, or just fresh after they’ve been already frozen.

Making your own pizzas gives you complete control over the quality and freshness of the ingredients that are used, which makes for healthier meals.

The quick cooking times in outdoor pizza ovens isn’t just convenient, it also helps vegetables retain more of their nutrients.

8. Add backyard aesthetic appeal

A premium grill is normally the centrepiece of an outdoor kitchen, but certain types of outdoor ovens can give the appliance a run for its money when it comes to drawing the attention of guests.

In particular, a large standalone stone pizza oven will really stand out with the elegant touch of old-world charm it adds to an outdoor living space. If you have a generous outdoor kitchen design budget to work with, you could even incorporate a built-in oven into a custom-made stone wall.

Frankly, any type of outdoor pizza oven is a conversation starter because so few backyards have one. That gives them instant novelty appeal.

Gas-fired outdoor ovens can be placed on a countertop, stand, or sturdy table that’s safe to use around flames and high temperatures.

If pizza-making is something you plan to do often, you can get a little more serious with your outdoor setup. Some companies make outdoor pizza oven accessories that allow you to create a mini outdoor pizzeria. Kalamazoo’s Artisan Fire Pizza Oven Station features drawers, open shelving, rack storage, ice-chilled bins for toppings, a ventilated cabinet for a propane tank, and enough countertop space for one of their ovens and to use as a pizza-making station.

9. Cook outside 365 days a year

Most high-quality outdoor kitchen appliances can be permanently kept outside because they’re built to withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.

Outdoor ovens are no different, as long as they’re made with resilient materials like marine-grade stainless steel and 304-grade stainless steel. It helps to cover them and if the oven is light enough, it can be brought inside for the winter.

If you don’t want to go without eating homemade pizza for half the year, an outdoor pizza oven can be used all year round. You’ll appreciate those fast heat-up and cooking times even more when it’s frigid outside!

outdoor oven by Lynx

Fire pits are great for adding warmth and a cozy feel to an outdoor living space. Outdoor ovens even provide these benefits, too.

Create a “slice” of heaven in your backyard!

A fully outfitted outdoor kitchen with amazing amenities like an outdoor pizza oven will make your backyard a valued home space for your family and a popular destination for guests.

Outeriors carries a variety of high-quality outdoor pizza oven models from Alfa, Kalamazoo, Lynx, and Alfresco, which are four of the most trusted names in outdoor appliance manufacturing.

Schedule a free consultation with Outeriors to begin planning how your outdoor kitchen design featuring a pizza oven will look.

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Polyethylene Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets: 7 Benefits You’re Missing

Polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinet by Station GrillConsider how important an indoor kitchen’s cabinets are. Without them, kitchens couldn’t function nearly as efficiently, and the room would have a much different aesthetic.

Outdoor kitchens are no different. Outdoor kitchen cabinets provide essential storage functionality and help define what outdoor cooking spaces look like. That has a big impact on our enjoyment of using outdoor kitchens.

When designing an outdoor kitchen, one crucial element that demands careful consideration is the choice of cabinetry material. High-density polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinets have emerged as an excellent option.

Cabinets made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) offer many benefits that can enhance the functionality, aesthetics, and longevity of an outdoor kitchen.

We’ll explore the top benefits of high-density polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinets and why they’re the ideal choice for your backyard cooking space.

What is high-density polyethylene (HDPE)?

Most people have never heard of high-density polyethylene, so let’s briefly explain what it is. HDPE is a type of petroleum-based polymer that was invented in the 1930s. The material is used to make many of the things we use every day like:

  • water bottles
  • cereal box liners and other food packaging
  • outdoor furniture
  • shampoo bottles
  • toys
  • playground equipment

High-density polyethylene is known for its durability and application versatility, especially for outdoor use. Outdoor-use HDPE products are typically made with marine-grade HDPE. As the name implies, the material was created specifically for marine applications, such as making decking, boats, and boat parts.

Marine-grade HDPE is specially formulated to provide higher resistance against damage caused by prolonged exposure to the elements. It’s also stronger than standard high-density polyethylene and won’t rot, or rust like metal can.

For all of these reasons, you can see why it’s so well-suited for making outdoor kitchen cabinets. Outeriors carries two lines of Station Grill outdoor kitchen cabinets that are made with marine-grade HDPE.

Until recent years, most plastic outdoor kitchen cabinets and other plastic outdoor living products like furniture had a reputation for being low-quality. That’s no longer the case, however.

Technological advancements have significantly improved the quality, durability, and stylishness of outdoor living products made with HDPE, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and other synthetic materials.

7 benefits of polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinets

Anyone who is having an outdoor kitchen designed will have four main priorities. They want their outdoor kitchen to:

• look amazing
• provide all the functionality they need
• last a long time
• be low-maintenance

Marine-grade HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinets check all of these boxes. That’s why synthetic outdoor kitchen cabinets made with high-quality materials like HDPE are increasingly becoming a smart option for anyone looking for alternatives to traditional cabinet materials like stainless steel and aluminum.

HDPE has similar attributes to these cabinet materials and a few that set them apart as well. Here are seven benefits you’ll enjoy if you invest in high-quality polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinets.

1. Polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinets are weatherproof

Outdoor kitchens face non-stop exposure to the elements. The backyards of Ontario homes experience just about every type of weather there is, ranging from scorching heat and intense UV rays to heavy rain to snow and freezing temperatures. That’s why outdoor kitchen cabinet materials have to be so resilient.

weatherproof HDPE cabinetry

Moisture exposure takes the biggest toll on outdoor kitchen cabinets. Marine-grade HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinets like Station Grill’s Pur and Classic models are weatherproof and water-resistant. They’re designed to withstand exposure to water and humidity, which prevents moisture-related issues like corrosion, mould, mildew, swelling, and warping.

Sunlight is also harsh on outdoor living products. The best high-density polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinets are specifically engineered to prevent the discolouring and deterioration that can occur from ultraviolet light damage.

Because HDPE is a high-strength, weather-resistant material, it can also handle the extreme hot and cold temperatures of Ontario’s climate.

2. HDPE outdoor cabinets are extremely durable

The superior weathering resistance of synthetic outdoor kitchen cabinets made with HDPE ensures longer durability. Exceptional cabinet durability isn’t just important for weather-related reasons, it’s also important for outdoor kitchens that get used a lot. If you choose a high-quality cabinet brand like Station Grill, your investment will remain in pristine condition for years to come.

HDPE’s high-strength properties allow products made with the polymer to be lightweight, yet extremely sturdy and resilient. Here are five examples of the durability that marine-grade HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinets offer:

  • HDPE is resistant to dents, scratches, and impacts
  • cabinets are resistant to stains, odours, and most chemicals because HDPE is non-porous
  • the flexibility of HDPE prevents cracking, warping, and other types of structural damage
  • higher-quality cabinets made with UV inhibitors prevent the product’s colours from fading
  • HDPE is coloured during the manufacturing process, so there’s no paint finish to peel or flake off

durable outdoor cabinetry with grill and red egg

Stainless steel and aluminum are two of the most popular types of outdoor kitchen cabinet materials for many good reasons. However, even the highest-quality cabinets made with these materials can’t provide all of these benefits.

Be aware that not all HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinets are of the same quality. You’ll find lots of cheaper HDPE cabinets for sale that aren’t marine-grade, for example, which will shorten the product’s life.

3. Design flexibility and a high-end look

An outdoor kitchen’s main function is to provide homeowners with an additional cooking space, but it should look nice and boost a backyard’s curb appeal, too. An attractive outdoor kitchen makes a home feel more comfortable and becomes a dynamic part of your living space you can’t wait to show off to guests.

The cabinets may stand out more than any other feature in an outdoor kitchen, so it’s important to make the right design choices for them. That’s why you’ll want more than one or two colour choices to effectively coordinate with the rest of the kitchen’s design, as well as your deck, patio, or other exterior home features if desired.

Many HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinet brands are available in an array of styles and finishes, allowing you to customize your outdoor kitchen to suit your unique taste and design preferences. To create a high-end outdoor kitchen look, invest in a high-quality HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinet brand like Station Grill.

Station Grill’s Pur collection of cabinets is available in six colours with a stylish lightly-textured finish and v-shaped edges. Their Classic cabinet line also comes in six colours with lightly-textured finishes and doors and drawers that have a shaker-style look with distinctive “V” grooves.

4. Polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinets are cost-effective

Building an outdoor kitchen is a significant investment, so more budget-conscious homeowners may want to find an area or two where they can keep project costs down without sacrificing the quality of the products they’re buying.

High-density polyethylene is one of the most affordable types of outdoor kitchen cabinets. Because of their resilience, reliability, and ability to give outdoor kitchens a luxurious look, HDPE cabinets offer great long-term value for your money.

Even if you spend a little more to get higher-end HDPE cabinets, it’s still a practical, cost-effective investment. Marine-grade HDPE’s excellent durability will require less time and expense to keep the cabinets maintained and you won’t have to worry about replacing them for many years.

5. HDPE cabinets are low-maintenance

One of the most compelling advantages of HDPE outdoor cabinets is that they require virtually no maintenance. That means you can spend more time using and enjoying your outdoor kitchen and less time trying to keep it clean.

Marine-grade HDPE won’t smudge and show fingerprints easily like metals can, nor does it require annual applications of a protective sealant. Outdoor cooking can naturally get a little messy, but the non-porous surface of HDPE cabinets prevents grease and food stains from setting in.

The cleanup process with polyethylene outdoor kitchen cabinets is a breeze. Spills and splatters can be easily wiped up and some mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush will keep the cabinets looking like new. Because marine-grade HDPE is waterproof, a hose can even be used to give them a quick cleaning if needed.

You can cut down on your outdoor kitchen cleaning time even more by keeping the space covered. Although outdoor kitchen cabinets, appliances, and countertops are weather-resistant, having a cover will extend the life of everything in the kitchen and allow you to grill and stay dry when it’s raining.

6. Outdoor kitchen storage and more

When anyone thinks about backyard grilling, it’s the cooking process that comes to mind first. Someone who doesn’t know much about outdoor kitchens may be wondering if it’s really that essential to include much storage space, or why they might need more than just two or three storage cabinets.

beer on ice outdoor kitchen cabinetry storage

We’ve already mentioned how they can be used for decorative effect and cabinets also obviously have valuable functionality for storage. Here are four more important functions outdoor kitchen cabinets provide, most of which are directly related to the storage space they provide:

  1. Organization: lots of things get used in outdoor kitchens, especially if you’re a skilled cook and have an outdoor dining space. Cabinets keep your cookware, utensils, dishes, glasses, and other items well-organized and hidden away.
  2. Design functionality: built-in outdoor kitchen appliances save space and create a seamless, integrated kitchen look. Custom cabinets accommodate built-in appliances like a grill, warming drawers, and side burners, as well as a sink.
  3. Convenience: the more storage space an outdoor kitchen has, the fewer trips you’ll need to make indoors to get things for cooking or taking care of your guests. That makes your outdoor kitchen more convenient to use.
  4. Efficiency: an organized kitchen that has all the amenities you need to cook and host get-togethers elevates the functionality of the cooking space, which means you’ll enjoy using it more.

7. HDPE cabinets are more eco-friendly

Plastic may not be the most environmentally friendly material, but eco-conscious consumers who are looking for the best plastic outdoor kitchen cabinets will find HDPE cabinets appealing for a few reasons.

HDPE is considered one of the easiest plastic polymers to recycle. HDPE is a category 2 recyclable material (indicated by the number two recycling symbol) and most products made with the material are 100% recyclable. This contributes to less plastic waste ending up in landfills, where it can take hundreds of years to decompose.

Recycled materials are used to make most HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinets, which reduces the environmental impact during the manufacturing process. Recycled high-density polyethylene is also used to make things like:

  • outdoor furniture
  • composite lumber
  • recycling bins
  • storage containers

Additionally, the longevity of HDPE outdoor cabinets means they won’t need to be replaced for a long time, which minimizes waste and conserves resources.

Enjoy the benefits of owning HDPE outdoor kitchen cabinets

If you’re planning to build an outdoor kitchen, HDPE cabinets offer a host of benefits that can elevate your outdoor cooking space.

Make a great investment in your home and choose high-quality Station Grill outdoor kitchen cabinets, which are made right here in Canada.

Let’s dive into designing your dream outdoor kitchen. To get started, schedule a free design consultation with Outeriors today.

Buying a Gas Grill? 7 Things To Consider

buying a gas grill hero

Outdoor grilling has become a fundamental part of the lifestyles of Canadians.

Even our long winters do little to discourage many of us from firing up a snow-covered grill for some juicy burgers and tender veggies.

70% of Canadians own a grill or smoker, according to the 2023 State of the Barbecue Industry Report. A 2019 Research Co. poll found that 27% of Ontarians use their outdoor grills an average of five times per week during the summer.

With barbecuing being such an essential and regular part of our cooking routine, you may be thinking of buying a new grill. There a several types to choose from including gas, charcoal, wood pellet, and electric grills.

We’ll explain why buying a gas grill is your best option and seven of the most important things you should consider before making a purchase.

Benefits of buying a gas grill

There’s a good reason gas grills are the most popular type of grill in Canada and the U.S. Research from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) shows that 64% of grill owners have gas models.

Whether you favour natural gas or propane, here are some of the benefits of buying a gas grill to do your backyard cooking:

  • push-button ignitions make lighting easy and safe
  • quick heat-up times
  • control cooking temperatures
  • create zones to cook different foods
  • more time-efficient than charcoal grilling
  • low-maintenance and easy to clean
  • more cooking options with extra features like side burners and rotisserie attachments

Propane versus natural gas grills

“Gas grill” is a somewhat broad term that can be a little confusing for some people. That’s because gas grills come in two different types: propane and natural gas.

Both types share numerous similarities, but they do have some notable differences. Here’s a brief comparison of some key natural gas and propane grill features:

  1. Fuel: most propane grills use a refillable 20-pound propane tank (some cottages and rural homes use a larger propane tank that is refilled onsite). Natural gas grills require a hookup to a residential natural gas line.
  2. Convenience: both grill types are super-convenient to use. One of the few differences in this area is that propane grills can run out of fuel and need regular tank changes, whereas natural gas grills have a constant fuel supply. Unlike natural gas grills, propane grills have some mobility, too.
  3. Product cost: Natural gas grills typically cost a little more than comparable propane models. They have a slightly more complex design and come with a longer connection hose and fitting. If a natural gas line has to be installed, that will also add anywhere from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars extra to your upfront cost.
  4. Fuel cost: the prices of propane and natural gas fluctuate, but natural gas is always cheaper to use than propane.
  5. Taste: there’s no difference in taste between identical items cooked on each type of grill.
  6. Heat output: The heat output on propane and natural gas grills is comparable. Propane grills typically have higher BTU ratings (British Thermal Units), which measures how much heat energy a grill’s main burners produce per hour. Propane and natural gas grill burners function a little differently from one another, so it’s harder to make a direct BTU comparison between the two.
  7. Environmental friendliness: propane and natural gas are clean-burning fuels (in fact, propane is considered the cleanest-burning fossil fuel). Both fuels are far more eco-friendly to use for grilling than charcoal.
hamburgers on grill

Gas grills are fuelled by either propane or natural gas.

7 considerations when buying a gas grill

Buying a major appliance for your home isn’t something to take lightly and buying a gas grill is no exception.

The grill you buy has to serve your cooking needs, be reliable and safe to use, make grilling easier, last a long time, and look good in your outdoor cooking area.

If you’re looking for the best barbecue for your needs, consider these seven essential things before buying a gas grill.

1. Your budget

New gas grills can cost as little as $100 and as much as $10,000 or more for the highest-end models. Needless to say, you get what you pay for.

Cheap grills are cheap for a reason: corners have been cut for everything from the product’s design to the construction materials to the assembly. We’ve probably all used a cheap grill with a flimsy-feeling lid or ignition button that never works. That doesn’t make for an enjoyable grilling experience.

Low-quality and even medium-quality gas grills that are poorly cared for can rust out and be landfill-bound after only three or four years.

That’s why you should invest as much as you can in a high-quality gas grill that will last you for at least a decade. It’s not unreasonable to spend as much on a new grill as you would on a new indoor kitchen range.

Grills are the anchor and workhorse of an outdoor kitchen. If you grill a lot during the spring and summer, consider that your backyard cooking space may be getting used more often than your indoor kitchen.

Some luxury grills come with convenient features like:

  • digital control panels
  • interior lighting
  • LED backlit control knobs
  • lid lift-assist systems
  • smart tech

Learn more about the benefits of buying a premium grill.

man using Lynx grill

Premium grill brands like Lynx, Kalamazoo, Alfresco, and Coyote are worth the higher cost.

2. Grill manufacturer reputation

The global grill market has grown rapidly in recent years and there are more grill manufacturers than ever before. When you start looking for a grill to buy, there’s a good chance you won’t be familiar with the majority of the brands you come across.

With so many grills available to buy, you need to do your homework to ensure you’re buying a gas grill from a reliable manufacturer.

Online reviews are one of the best resources to determine which manufacturers not only make high-quality products, but also how good their customer service is.

Reputable and well-established grill manufacturers typically provide better, more accessible customer service for their products.

Many American and Canadian premium grill brands do all of their manufacturing and assembly in-house. Most of the grill brands sold at big-box retailers are made overseas. That can make it harder to get good customer support and replacement parts in a timely manner.

Higher-quality grills also tend to come with better warranties (10 years or more). Buying a gas grill from an established brand gives you the peace of mind that a longer warranty will be honoured years down the road.  

Outeriors only carries premium grill brands that are synonymous with high quality, such as Lynx, Kalamazoo, Alfresco, and Coyote.

3. Construction material quality

Several factors will affect how long a grill lasts, including how often it’s used and how much it’s directly exposed to the elements. Perhaps the single biggest factor that impacts how durable a grill will be is the quality of the materials used to make it.

Consider the demands that are placed on grills: they’re always outdoors, being heated to temperatures up to 600°F, and are regularly getting splattered with hot grease. It’s no wonder cheap grills don’t last very long.

That’s why it’s so important to spend a little more on a higher-quality grill that’s made with more durable construction materials.

The metal a grill is built with is one of the most important details to look at if you’re evaluating the appliance’s construction materials. Many grades of stainless steel are used to make grills. You should choose a grill made with high-grade steel, such as 304 stainless steel.

ALFRESCO ALXE-56BFG stainless steel grill

Here are some of the benefits of buying a gas grill that is constructed with thicker gauge, high-quality stainless steel:

  • they’re more rust-resistant
  • your grill will last longer
  • they retain heat better
  • the finish won’t discolour as fast

Better quality grill construction materials and parts, as well as higher craftsmanship and design standards, will result in a better cooking experience and fewer headaches. For example, you should encounter fewer issues with things like a starter that won’t work, flare-ups while cooking, uneven heat distribution, and foods excessively sticking to grates with a well-designed grill.

4. How much functionality do you want?

Another thing to consider when buying a gas grill is your cooking style and how much functionality you want your grill to have.

Do you like to keep your menu simple with grilling staples like steaks, burgers, and hot dogs? Or do you like to regularly try new recipes and grill up a wider variety of foods? 

Grillers who like to keep things simple can get by with a simple grill to handle their basic cooking needs. More adventurous cooks will want to have access to some extra features that will enhance their grilling experience. Examples include:

  • warming racks
  • a smoker system
  • a rotisserie attachment
  • precise heat control for multi-zone cooking
  • a searing burner
  • smart tech functionality

Complete outdoor kitchens add even more functionality to a backyard than a lone grill can provide (even a high-end grill with lots of extra features). Complement a grill with cabinetry, countertops, and outdoor appliances and now you’re really maximizing the functionality of your deck or patio!

5. Grill size

Choosing the right grill size is another thing you have to consider. Once again, your cooking style should factor into your decision-making process. A bigger cooking area will be needed if you tend to grill a number of different foods at a time.

Artisan grills in 3 different sizes

Another factor that will guide you is how much deck or patio space you have. Putting an extra-large grill in a small outdoor cooking area isn’t very practical, for example. And if you are having an outdoor kitchen designed, the grill has to be the right size to accommodate other kitchen features like appliances.

How many people you usually cook for is another important factor that should help determine the size your grill should be. If you rarely grill for anyone other than your family, a mid-size 30″-36″ grill will suffice.

If you’re among the 40% of grill owners who use their grill for entertaining (according to another HPBA consumer survey), you’ll naturally want something bigger for larger gatherings. Grills in the 42″-56″ range should provide a large enough cooking area to fulfill your hosting duties.

6. Freestanding or built-in?

If you’re buying a gas grill, you have to decide whether you want a freestanding or built-in grill design.

Freestanding grills are the type most commonly sold in stores. They typically cost less than built-in grills, but don’t last as long. Freestanding grills also have more mobility than built-in grills. Their wheels or casters allow you to move them around on a deck or patio and it’s easier to take a freestanding grill with you if you move.

While freestanding models are the most popular type of grill, an increasing number of homeowners are choosing built-in grills for their backyards. Stationary built-in grills are incorporated into a fixed structure like an outdoor kitchen island or cabinet design, which is either prefabricated or custom-made.

Although they come with a higher price tag than freestanding grills, built-in grills are essential for an outdoor kitchen. Not only are they the focal point of an outdoor kitchen, but they also provide a more professional, high-end appearance if you’re looking to create a showpiece in your backyard.

7. Grill colour

For a lot of grill buyers, aesthetics won’t be much of a concern. Most people are more concerned about a grill’s functionality, not how it looks.

Anyone who is buying a gas grill to install in a professionally-designed outdoor kitchen will care about functionality and looks, however. Their grill style and colour have to complement the rest of their outdoor kitchen décor.

Gas grills mainly come in neutral colours, notably stainless steel and black. Neutral colours match well with almost any design aesthetic. Grills made entirely with primary colour finishes are available, but can be harder to find.

If you’re looking for a gas grill with a non-traditional look, premium brands like Aspire and Hestan have some stylish and creative options. They offer gas grills with attractive colour accents that add a distinct look to an outdoor kitchen.

Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of composite decking, has identified one trend that could affect what grill colour some consumers choose. Their 2023 Outdoor Living Forecast believes we’ll see more nature-inspired, light neutral colours used for home exteriors, including outdoor kitchens.

Heston grill with red accent colour

Most grills come in neutral colours like this stainless steel grill. Hestan grills can be customized with 9 control panel colors such as red shown in this photo.

Talk to an expert before buying a gas grill

We hope these tips for buying a gas grill help you make a more informed buying decision.

Here’s one more interesting stat from a recent State of the Barbecue Industry survey we’ll leave you with: did you know that 83% of grills are purchased in-store and only 15% are bought online?

Consumers clearly still appreciate the value of getting a hands-on experience with a grill before buying it.

Check out some of the finest premium grills on the market by visiting the Outeriors showroom. We have fully-outfitted outdoor kitchen displays featuring gas grills, cabinetry, appliances, countertops, fire pits, and more. While you’re visiting, get some expert advice from our design professionals on how to choose the best gas grill for your backyard.

You can also schedule a free consultation to meet with one of our designers to plan your outdoor kitchen project.

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An Outdoor Kitchen Is Worth It, and Here’s Why

man using outdoor kitchen

One of the first questions anyone interested in getting an outdoor kitchen will have is simple: is an outdoor kitchen worth it?

Outdoor kitchens are very popular right now and not just due to the pandemic. Increased interest in outdoor living spaces predates our recently turbulent times.

Once viewed as a lavish feature that was typically found in luxury homes, outdoor kitchens now have much more mainstream appeal. More homes are being renovated to add outdoor cooking and living spaces. Architects and interior designers are making them a higher priority for their new building projects as well.

Get all the facts about why an outdoor kitchen is worth investing in.

6 reasons an outdoor kitchen is worth it

Outdoor kitchen additions are one of the most popular home renovations right now for many reasons. Here’s a brief overview of the reasons why an outdoor kitchen is worth it:

  1. Outdoor kitchens expand a home’s living space. An outdoor kitchen is its own entire room. This adds to a home’s livable square footage and improves its functionality.
  2. Homes with upgraded backyards are more family-friendly. In non-pandemic times, it can be difficult getting everyone together at home for some quality family time. Having a nice outdoor living space the whole family enjoys using makes it easier to gather with everyone more frequently.
  3. Better home comfort helps with self-care. The importance of making our homes as comfortable as possible to nurture our mental well-being is front of mind these days. A multi-purpose backyard living area improves a family’s living quality by providing an ideal space to relax and recharge.
  4. Outdoor kitchens are tailor-made for entertaining. If you enjoy regularly hosting get-togethers, adding or upgrading an outdoor living space is one of the smartest lifestyle investments a homeowner can make. What could be better than having a beautiful backyard space that is specifically designed for maximum fun and enjoyment with your friends and family?
  5. An outdoor kitchen boosts curb appeal. Curb appeal isn’t limited to merely the front and side of a home’s exterior – it includes the backyard, too. A well-designed outdoor kitchen adds decorative appeal and complements the exterior features of a house.
  6. Outdoor kitchens add value to homes. For all of the reasons listed above, an outdoor kitchen adds undeniable value to a home. Outdoor kitchen additions have a solid return on investment that you’ll benefit from whenever you decide to move.

Let’s dig a little deeper into why outdoor kitchens are so popular right now, how they improve a living space, why they appeal to homebuyers, and how much you can expect to pay for one.

l-shaped outdoor kitchen

Why are outdoor kitchens so popular?

Consumer interest in outdoor living improvements exploded during the pandemic as homeowners looked for ways to optimize their living spaces.

HomeStars’ 2021 Reno Report found that 94% of the Canadian homeowners they surveyed had completed at least one indoor renovation during the pandemic. 66% of the respondents invested in outdoor home renovations. Resort-style backyards with deluxe outdoor kitchens were the most desired “fantasy feature” for Canadian homeowners in both the 2021 and 2022 Reno Reports. 

These additional statistics show the popularity of outdoor living spaces and how much the pandemic influenced home renovation trends:

  • 67% of men and 54% of women said a backyard retreat was their most desirable home feature. (2022 Zolo Homebuyers Survey of 3,300 Canadian new homeowners and potential first-time buyers)
  • Outdoor improvements were the fourth-most popular project homeowners would undertake if given $10,000. (2021 Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence Quarterly Tracking Study)
  • Only 32% of surveyed homeowners who renovated during the pandemic were motivated to tackle their projects because of their extra time spent at home. (HomeStars 2021 Reno Report)
  • 68% of the homeowners who did a pandemic renovation were primarily motivated by the desire to refresh the aesthetic and atmosphere of their living spaces. (HomeStars 2021 Reno Report)
  • 56% of the home design experts surveyed by Fixr.com believed homeowners put a high priority on making their outdoor living spaces look and feel more like their interior spaces. (Fixr.com 2022 Outdoor Living Trends Report)

Backyard retreats are one of the most-wanted home features (infographic from 2022 Zolo Homebuyers Survey)

A trend with staying power

Backyard upgrade projects may be trendy right now, but they’re a trend with staying power.

It took a pandemic for a lot of homeowners to notice the amazing design potential sitting right in their own backyards.

The fundamental shift in how we view and utilize our homes has left very clear writing on the wall: there will always be value and practicality in expanding the functionality and comfort level of our homes. And creating multifunctional outdoor living spaces that are bigger and better is the perfect way to make that happen.

Low-interest rates were another factor that contributed to the home reno boom of the past few years. Rising interest rates and higher material costs have slowed things down a little, but the home renovation market is expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future.  

How outdoor kitchens create a more complete living space

Another reason an outdoor kitchen is worth investing in is the simple fact that outdoor kitchens double a home’s cooking space.

Traditional kitchens are considered the heart of most homes and one of their hardest working rooms. Supplementing this vital part of the house with even more room to cook is extremely practical and makes a home a more useful and complete living space.

From a strictly cooking point of view, outdoor kitchens allow you to:

  • take a break from using your indoor kitchen
  • eat healthier because grilling is better for you than frying and broiling your food
  • enjoy the unique, delicious taste of home-cooked flame-grilled food more often
  • expand your summer menu options by trying new grilling recipes

Outdoor kitchens come in all shapes and sizes

A basic outdoor kitchen can consist of a built-in grill, a small counter area, and a few cabinets for storage. On the higher end, an outdoor kitchen can be designed for maximum functionality by including:

  • a large premium grill
  • ample counter space
  • a sink
  • lots of cabinets for cutlery, dishes, glassware, and cooking tools
  • enough appliances to handle anyone’s cooking needs

Add a dining area, stylish outdoor furniture, a bar, and an outdoor living room with a fire pit and a home’s footprint expands even wider. Covering an outdoor kitchen and living area with a pergola, gazebo, awning, or roof extension maximizes the amount of time you can use the backyard.

It stands to reason that a house that’s been designed to be a more complete living space makes a house more marketable when it’s being sold.

summer grilling ideas

A well-designed outdoor kitchen impresses guests, neighbours, and future homebuyers.

What is an outdoor kitchen’s return on investment?

You might think homeowners would put a higher priority on the short-term and medium-term impact a renovation has on the quality of their family’s daily life, rather than how it can financially benefit them years from now.

In fact, most homeowners take the future into account when they’re planning a remodel. RE/MAX’s 2021 Renovation Investment Report found that 59% of Canadians consider how a renovation’s return on investment will impact the market value of their home.

Return on investment (ROI) measures how effectively a renovation adds to a home’s value, relative to the renovation’s cost. For example, a kitchen remodel that costs $10,000 and adds an estimated $8,000 of value to a home when it’s sold would have an 80% ROI.

Finding reliable outdoor kitchen ROI figures online can be confusing because the estimates vary quite widely. At the lowest end, you’ll find estimates of 55-60%, which is considered a modest ROI. A lot of real estate professionals attach a 70-100% ROI for an outdoor kitchen addition. You’ll even find some estimates that go as high as a 175% ROI.

The truth is somewhere in between these wide-ranging estimates, which means outdoor kitchens undoubtedly boost your home’s resale value and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Determining a renovation’s ROI is clearly an inexact science, but the estimates of contractors and real estate pros do provide some useful guidance about which projects deliver a better bang for your buck.

Remember that the value an outdoor kitchen retains will be impacted by the quality of its materials, how well the space is maintained, whether or not the kitchen is covered, and other factors.

modern outdoor kitchen

Most homes don’t have an outdoor kitchen and dining space that looks this nice. That’s something future homebuyers will definitely notice.

Homebuyers notice outdoor living upgrades

Most backyards don’t have a professionally designed and installed outdoor kitchen. The homes that do have nicer outdoor living spaces immediately stand out to potential buyers.

In addition to improving a home’s overall livability, a backyard with a stylish, high-end look shows you care about your property and impresses guests, neighbours, and future homebuyers.

Certain renovations like adding a home theatre or pool cater to a very specific homebuyer. Most Canadian homeowners enjoy grilling outdoors, which broadens the appeal of an outdoor kitchen.  

Real estate marketplace Zillow analyzed the sales of 4.6 million U.S. homes a few years ago and found that houses with upgraded outdoor features sold for 24.5% more than listings without exterior home upgrades.

How much is an outdoor kitchen?

Hopefully, we’ve made a good case for why an outdoor kitchen is worth it, which brings us to one of the final questions you probably have: how much do outdoor kitchens cost?

Small outdoor kitchens with a basic level of functionality can start at around $5,000. Large, fully-loaded outdoor kitchens with high-end appliances and premium materials can cost $30,000 and higher.

Many factors will determine the cost of an outdoor kitchen, including:

  • the size of the kitchen
  • the complexity and scale of the kitchen’s design
  • the quality of products and materials used
  • costs for having the kitchen professionally designed and installed
  • permit costs
  • utility costs to hook up natural gas, water, and electricity
  • whether or not it’s being covered with a roof

Whatever your budget is for an outdoor kitchen building project, prioritize buying high-quality, durable products with weather-resistant materials that will last and work reliably for many years. Shown below are the most popular outdoor kitchen features.

Infographic from Fixr.com

Discover why an outdoor kitchen is so worth it!

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not an outdoor kitchen addition is worth it, try viewing it as an investment, not an expense. You’re investing in creating years of great memories with your family and friends and improving your quality of life.

An outdoor kitchen will become an essential part of your home that elevates your outdoor living experience and prove to be a valuable asset whenever you sell your house.

Are you ready to unlock the full potential of your backyard? If so, schedule a free design consultation with Outeriors to get started on your dream kitchen design.

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