Top 10 Accessories For Outdoor Kitchens

10 Minute Read

We recently wrote about creating an outdoor kitchen, and with summer well under way now in the UK, you might be thinking about putting one into your garden now, or planning for one next year. Maybe you already have an outdoor kitchen, or a barbecue area that you want to make easier to use during the warmer months, into the autumn, and for next summer too. Whether you’re already enjoying your outdoor kitchen, or just gathering ideas, there are some accessories that will make your outdoor kitchen just that bit better – let’s take a look. 

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1 - A flat top griddle

When you’ve got a great barbecue, then having a griddle can increase the number of foods you can cook on there. We’re thinking about frying or scrambling eggs, or making pancakes for barbecued breakfasts and leisurely brunches, cooking seafood, and more. A quality flat top griddle isn’t outrageously expensive, but will make a big difference. Many gas barbecues will have a griddle already integrated, but if yours doesn’t, there are plenty that can be found to add on. Even if you’ve opted for a charcoal barbecue, there are flat top griddles that you can use – and with the number of delicious options it opens up, it is well worth looking into. 

2 - A kitchen trolley

If you don’t have as much counter top space as you might like in your outdoor kitchen, then a great way to get that space is with a kitchen trolley. Much like a butchers block, or a kitchen island can in your indoor kitchen, a trolley allows you to have space where you need it, and if you get one with wheels, it can stand next to your barbecue, your wood-fired pizza oven, or your dining area. Look for a model with an integrated drawer as an easy way to add storage.

Ensure your kitchen trolley has been treated with the right wood finish, and when the weather turns cold in the winter, make sure it is covered and put away, with the metalwork oiled, to keep it in good shape for years to come.  

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3 - An outdoor dining table and seating

You might have created the perfect outdoor kitchen, but you want a comfortable space for your family and friends to sit and eat al fresco too. A great outdoor table and seating is an essential accessory, and there are so many better options to white plastic patio furniture that you stick to (and feel like they might give way underneath you at any moment!).

We wrote about our range of outdoor tables in this post, and you can browse our range of garden furniture here – and since we make all our furniture to order, you can get the exact size you need for your outdoor dining area. 

4 - Storage

Your outdoor kitchen is going to have bits and pieces that you probably won’t want to have to cart in and out of the house each time you cook outdoors. That might be smaller items such as knives and bottle openers, but could be pans, griddles, and portable lighting for your table, which will need much more space to store.

It won’t come as any surprise, but we think starting your storage with outdoor shelves is always a good idea. Outdoor shelves can serve as a place to keep baskets containing seasonings and condiments, boxes for cutlery, barbecue accessories such as utensils, fire lighters, and smoking chips. For bigger items such as charcoal, storage boxes and crates can be a simple, low cost addition to your outdoor kitchen space that will help keep everything dry.

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5 - A canopy

In our last post about outdoor kitchens, we recommended an overhead cover, and if you’re in the UK, we probably don’t need to tell you why! You don’t want changeable weather to ruin your cooking, so if your outdoor kitchen doesn’t have an overhead cover, then finding a canopy, or an awning that can keep you dry when there’s an unexpected rain shower will keep your dinner on time, even if you end up eating indoors. 

6 - Lighting

Once we’re past midsummer, the nights start getting shorter, and by August, sunset is before 9pm. If you’ve got young children, chances are this won’t be an issue, since you’re likely to have eaten earlier in the evening, but when it comes to a dinner party with friends, you don’t want to have to rush. That means having great lighting in your outdoor kitchen is a must – and there are some fantastic light fixtures to be found that can be installed quickly and easily.

Even if you don’t have access to electricity, or you want to keep the impact on the environment low, then solar powered lighting has improved dramatically over the last few years, so it is a real option to consider. Buy quality options, and solar powered lights will provide the same levels of lighting as mains power – they just need the solar panel to be in the sun for a few hours – and they look fantastic too. 

7 - Barware 

Having dedicated barware for your outdoor kitchen might feel like a luxury, but it is well worth it, and it doesn’t need to cost a lot either. Having a bottle opener on hand is a simple but obvious win, and if you’re a fan of a summer cocktail (or mocktail!) then measuring cups and cocktail shakers will make that easier too. We’re big fans of having the right glasses for what you’re drinking – it just feels much better. If you’re accident-prone, or have children, then look for acrylic versions of the glasses you want – with care, they should last quite a few years.

If you’re less fussy about your glasses, buy inexpensive glasses from discount stores or charity shops so you won’t be upset if they get broken, or keep jars to repurpose for those summer drinks. 

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Rustic Country Bedroom Design

8 - An outdoor fridge

Buying an outdoor fridge might seem excessive, but if you’re hosting plenty of dinners and drinks, or simply spending a lot of time in the garden on sunny days, then an outdoor fridge can provide a lot of convenience. It might not be just drinks you’re storing in there though – if you’re planning to dine al fresco in the evening, being able to put your supplies in place earlier in the day will mean you can spend more time socialising when your friends arrive.

As always, when you’re buying any electrical goods for outdoors, you’ll need to ensure that your outdoor fridge has the right IP safety rating and voltage protection. Even if it will be under cover, it will be exposed to much higher levels of moisture in the air than the one in your kitchen, so buying one specifically designed for use outdoors will ensure it is safe, and lasts.

If an outdoor fridge feels like too much of an indulgence for the amount it will get used, then a cool box might be just enough to fill the gap – and of course, you’ll be able to get more use out of it for days at the beach, picnics, and so on.  

9 - A stash of cleaning products

While we’re thinking about sweeping up broken glass, having cleaning products on hand for your outdoor kitchen means that you’ll be able to clean as you go. A few items worth having include:
- Dustpan and brush
- Whichever cleaning cloths you prefer
- Kitchen towel – or ideally, a reusable alternative
- Washing up liquid (especially if you have an outdoor sink)
- Multipurpose cleaner

Depending on how elaborate your outdoor kitchen setup is, there may be other items you need for cleaning your barbecue, and wood fired pizza stove, so this might be just the start of items you decide to buy to keep your kitchen clean and looking great. 

10 - A good bin

We’re going to assume that your outdoor kitchen isn’t close to your bins, for obvious hygiene reasons – but popping to and from the dustbin isn’t ideal if you’re in the middle of cooking, especially if you’re using a charcoal barbecue or a wood-fired pizza oven. Whatever you’re cooking, you’re likely to have waste from. Having a great bin, ideally with separate compartments for recycling and rubbish will mean that if you don’t clear up the same evening, the local wildlife won’t get into it and make a mess. Even if what you are cooking is home-grown veggies, having a container to carry waste to your compost bin will be a small addition that makes a difference.

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Final thoughts

When you’ve invested in your outdoor kitchen, the finishing touches can be just as important as what you’re cooking on. There’s a lot to think about, and what is right in your outdoor kitchen will be down to your personal preference – so if you’ve hit on a great accessory, or you’ve added a product from our range, then tag us in your Instagram posts! We love to see them, and to share them with our followers @bensimpsonfurniture.

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