One of the most popular modern additions that you can add to your outdoor living space is a kitchen. Archaeologists have generally accepted that the first hearth-style ovens were created around 250,000 years ago, marking the invention of cooking. Many years later, the first examples of outdoor grills traveled from the West Indies to the Western world, in a style of cooking called barbacoa. This usually referred to meat or an entire sheep cooked over open flames. American settlers adopted this style of cooking, and southerners began experimenting with the addition of sauces and different woods, kickstarting the practice of grilling for pleasure. In the late 1800s, the briquette was patented, but it took until E.G. Kingsford recreated them in the 1920s for them to take off.
From there, multiple versions of charcoal grills were invented, and in the early 1950s, Don McGlaughlin came up with the first outdoor gas grill, later dubbed the LazyMan, and in 1958 the first natural gas grill went on the market. The rest is outdoor cooking history, until the late 1990s when outdoor kitchens become popular.
Today, the average American spends about 17 hours a week outside, which is an incredible three hours more than we spent before Covid started. Now that so much of people’s leisure time, and for those who work at home, even office hours are spent outside, it’s no surprise that more of us are eating outdoors.
Modern outdoor kitchens have become much more practical, as using one allows a homeowner to cook and entertain company at the same time without having everyone cramped inside. Also, the CDC has recommended that social gatherings take place outdoors and in safe numbers. Eating together as a family also enhances relationships, builds self-esteem, and according to Harvard, families eat more nutritious meals.
When considering what materials to build your perfect outdoor kitchen with, it is important to consider the differences between indoor and outdoor environments. Most appliances made for the outdoors are stainless steel, and stone countertops tend to be the weather-resistant material of choice. The widest variety of choices is what you’d like your cabinets made of. To break up the monotony of having everything stainless steel, a marine-grade polymer similar to plastic that comes in many different colors is available. It is popular due to its UV resistance and ability to get wet repeatedly without being damaged, unlike most other traditional materials. For the most customized cabinet design, stone cabinets using a cement block or metal frame provide a sturdy, weather-resistant, beautiful look, although they tend to be the most difficult to install.
There aren’t many get-together ideas more genuinely American than a cookout in the backyard. Whether you use a classic natural gas stove or a piece of high-tech propane-burning equipment, you can’t go wrong with an outdoor kitchen. Being freed from the chains of cooking indoors can be refreshing and make you connect with the outdoors in a completely new way. If you live in the Metro Detroit or Oakland County areas and you’re looking to create the perfect outdoor kitchen area, contact us at Kenney Landscaping for an estimate.