The Weather Outside is Frightful, But Your Outdoor Kitchen is so Delightful!
If you’re a grilling enthusiast like we are, you know that grilling isn’t just limited to the warmer spring and summer months. There is nothing better than the taste of a juicy ribeye steak cooked perfectly on your outdoor grill. Why should we limit this flavor perfection to only months where it’s warm? If you’ve invested the money to build an outdoor kitchen, you likely want to get the most use out of it as possible.
For over 15 years, Dutchies Stoneworks has been building custom stone outdoor kitchens, grilling areas, fireplaces, and more using our world-class masonry techniques. We understand the time, thought, and energy you put into designing your outdoor living space and want to give you ideas to continue using it once the weather turns cold. For more ideas on using your outdoor kitchen space or building a natural stone outdoor cooking space of your own, contact Dutchies today!
What Do You Do with an Outdoor Kitchen in the Winter?
One of your priorities to do with your outdoor kitchen space is to make sure it’s ready to endure the harsh winter temperatures and snow. Here’s a short checklist of tasks to complete in fall or early winter:
- Drain water from pipes, including lines running to appliances
- Shut off the water supply
- Shut off and unplug your outdoor refrigerator, dishwasher, ice maker, and wine cooler
- Cover wicker, aluminum, or fabric furniture in your seating area with waterproof furniture covers
You’ll want to take these steps to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze and burst as the temperatures drop below freezing, which can be expensive and time-consuming to repair. In addition, you can continue to use your outdoor refrigerator for short amounts of time when the weather is cold. For example, if you are grilling dinner, you can store some beverages in there for easy access while you cook.
How Can I Make it Easier to Use My Outdoor Kitchen in the Winter?
We will find any reason to continue using the built-in grills of our outdoor kitchens, even when the temperature starts to dip. You can make some additions to your outdoor kitchen design to make it easier to use that space in the winter. For example, a covered roof over the kitchen island and a built-in grill make cooking more manageable when it’s snowing or raining in the colder months.
You’ll also want to ensure that you have proper lighting for use in the winter. Since it starts getting dark shortly after 5 p.m. here in southeastern Pennsylvania during winter, having good overhead lighting will help make cooking easier. You won’t need to balance a flashlight while trying to check the doneness of your steak when you have the proper lighting.
Do I Need to Do Any Special Preparations Before Using my Grill?
We recommend keeping your grill covered when not in use to protect it from unnecessary wear and tear that come with winter weather. After a winter storm, be sure to clear the snow and ice from your outdoor kitchen area so that it’s ready to use when you want it.
It’s also a smart idea to clear a path from your home to your outdoor kitchen area so that you don’t accidentally slip on the slick surfaces caused by snow and ice. Be sure to use concrete-safe ice melt not to damage the natural stone on your patio.
Before using your grill in the winter, it’s essential to make sure that you have plenty of fuel—whether that’s charcoal, propane, natural gas, or wood. It will take more energy to use your grill when it’s cold, and you don’t want to run out when your food is half-cooked.
What Should I Grill in the Winter?
While we’re partial to foods like steak, burgers, and ribs no matter the time of year, grilling in the winter can be a time for you to try new foods. Consider slow-cooking meals like soups, stews, chili, jambalaya, or rotisserie chicken in your outdoor kitchen. You can even grill fish or roast a whole chicken on cedar planks on your gas grill.
It also helps to do most of your prep work in your indoor kitchen to prevent too much time outdoors if the temperatures are freezing. And don’t forget about using your outdoor pizza oven! Pizza is excellent year-round and is particularly tasty in a brick oven.
What Are the Best Ways to Stay Warm When Cooking Outside?
If the idea of using your outdoor entertaining spot in the winter appeals to you, but not so much being cold, we have a solution for you. Crank up your fire pit, table, or bowl and gather with friends and family. Better yet, install an outdoor stone fireplace and living room with plenty of blankets and cozy pillows. Brighten up the dreary days of winter by throwing a small get-together to eat chili and drink hot chocolate with beautiful Christmas light surrounding your outdoor entertaining area.
If you’re just cooking outside, be sure to bundle up and use heat-safe gloves when handling any of your grilling or pizza oven components.
Who Can Build My Outdoor Kitchen?
Now that you know some ways to use your outdoor kitchen during the off-season, you may be thinking it’s time to upgrade your existing kitchen or build a brand new one. Either way, we at Dutchies Stoneworks are the skilled stonemasonry contractors who can make you the ideal outdoor cooking and dining area that is perfect for use year-round! Contact Dutchies today to get started planning your outdoor kitchen. A great four-season outdoor space is just a call away!