Yesterday we did something we’ve kind of been putting off for a few weeks: We moved our entire indoor kitchen to our outdoor kitchen set-up, in anticipation of the plastering and flooring work that needs to happen this season.
If you do a quick Google or Pinterest search for images of “Outdoor Kitchens,” you’ll find some rather inspiring, attractive, and no doubt, expensive arrangements of stainless steel appliances and grills. Many are centered around warm-season cooking and entertaining and provide space for seating, cooking, and shade.
Our outdoor kitchen’s shade comes from a large tarp, there is no seating, and we cook over a rocket stove and a two-burner propane stove, but the general premise remains the same. Our outdoor kitchen:
- Brings the heat outdoors. Cooking takes place outside, thus keeping our house cooler. This is particularly helpful when water bath or pressure canning!
- Our outdoor kitchen effectively doubles our kitchen space, which is super important for our tiny 350 square foot house
- We can watch the kids play in the yard or sandbox while we prepare meals
- As we’re still in the building phase of our homestead creation, an outdoor kitchen is really a necessity as we finish indoor projects
We decided that the general layout of last year’s outdoor kitchen worked rather well for us, so the “bones” of the kitchen remain the same. We did have to replace the shade/rain tarp, and we are keeping some pantry items indoors for ease of storage.
Mid-move out! The counter on the left will be the main food preparation area. We have oils and sauces, spices, cutting boards, bowls, and knives stored in this area. We will also keep our Berkey water purifier near the counter’s edge for easy kid access.
To the right of the photo is a previously owned stainless steel sink, complete with running water from our house water catchment barrels. After living without running water for the past 7 months, this is a real treat! The dishwater drains into plastic buckets, and we use the greywater to water fruit trees.
Last year’s set up (above) and our efforts thus far (below). Much of our summer cooking will take place on either a rocket stove, or in a Sun Oven. We have a great two-burner propane stove that we use as well. Often, all of these cooking surfaces are in use at the same time!
Another photo from last summer, but it shows the layout of our entire outdoor kitchen. To accommodate terrain changes, we had to build a lower-level terrace (behind the cooking area), which I found to be very difficult to navigate quickly. I’d suggest keeping your outdoor kitchen all on one level and orienting key features (sink, cooking area, prep area) in a triangle for ease of work flow.
An effective homestead outdoor kitchen space could be as simple as setting up a few card tables under a shade structure, or as elaborate as you can imagine. Happy outdoor cooking!