For most people, cooking is the means to an end. It’s often one of those things we all do so often that it can begin to feel like a chore. And how often do you cook with your partner? Actually cook together? Probably very seldom. Can you imagine one of you chopping and prepping, while the other is stirring and combining ingredients? How fun would it be to take it one step further and actually plan meals together, figure out the meals for a week, look forward to cooking as much as you look forward to lazy Sunday mornings? Talk about a way to rekindle your relationship! Now, at this point, you have to put your “yeah right” and “c’mon I live in the real world” sarcasm aside and pay close attention. This can happen for you. It is so easy; it can change your life. This is why we highly recommend an outdoor kitchen!
YES! We are saying an outdoor kitchen could be just what the doctor ordered to take the “chore” out of cooking. What happens beyond that is all up to you.
To avoid sounding stereotypical, this article is not going to refer to men or women, husbands or wives, but you’ll immediately begin to identify which group you belong to.
For the most part, one partner usually prefers to grill. Something about cooking outdoors differs substantially from kitchen-based cooking. As a result, people have developed a significant body of techniques and specialized equipment for preparing food outdoors. Currently, the scouting community and wilderness educators maintain and develop outdoor cooking traditions. At home, the self-appointed outdoor types take leadership in this realm. Simply put, these types likes to light fires, and they like protein, which cooks well over fire. A technique carefully honed over the generations is the handy water filled spray bottle. It is essential to douse out of control fires that threaten to burn the protein. This tool has revolutionized grilling, enabling all of us to enjoy nicely cooked animals. Specialized equipment includes extraordinarily long-handled prongs and forks, but hair and eyebrows still manage to get singed. Ending well is just the miracle of low beginning expectations being exceeded by the final result. Everyone eats. These cooks are proud of their successful meal, satisfied and quite content. If humans could survive on meat alone, this group might actually agree to do all of the cooking all of the time.
Let’s flip the coin and get to the other group of humankind. There are millions of people whose cooking skills most likely include, but are not limited to: broiling, roasting, frying, baking, steaming, sautéing, boiling, searing, and reducing. It appears that many of them are also part chemist, mixing and measuring an endless variety of ingredients, spices, and sauces. If you are a part of this group you may already know things like putting a wet spoon into a container of dry ingredients makes a clumpy mess. Out of mere habit, you might get down to eye level when checking liquid measurements to make sure you’ve got the right amount. Your group really understands the dietary needs of humans and chooses to include vegetables on the plate. Your equipment is extensive, beginning with utensils that scoop and stir: spoons, ladles, slotted spoons, spatulas, pasta spoons, whisks, measuring cups and measuring spoons. There are as many different utensils that cut as there are days of the year and you own them all! You have confidence in the kitchen; you wield pots and pans with as much precision as a samurai wields his sword. Expectations are always high, and you deliver. It’s no wonder the other group feels so intimidated entering your culinary realm of marvel.
Imagine a magical space where both groups feel at home, confident and comfortable: a space where people of all ages and sexes genuinely enjoy spending time together, and can turn a mundane chore, such as cooking, into an exciting group activity. (Two people is considered a group.)
Today’s outdoor kitchens are fully equipped with built in BBQ islands, ovens, refrigerators, freezers, stainless cabinetry, granite countertops, wine coolers, outdoor smokers, even wood fired pizza ovens. Summer temperatures soar in the Rio Grande Valley and all too often “It’s too hot to cook.” You can solve that problem by installing a misting system. These kitchens are meant to turn an outdoor space into an outdoor living space, so that everyone can enjoy being outside and never have to go back in, not even to cook a meal!
Grills have come a long way since the standard charcoal grill. State of the art technology may have you asking if it is a backyard sculpture or a barbecue? Some grills are actually both, combining high-performance cooking capability with cutting-edge, artistic design. Unlike the bigger-is-better approach to traditional grills, modern grills are strikingly minimalist in design, usually compact, and offer sleek lines, streamlined styling and a distinctive silhouette. In terms of function, they often incorporate innovative features that solve storage problems or answer other needs, while still packing the heat and performance needed to grill a mean steak.
Let’s now turn back to the romantic notion of togetherness by re-emphasizing the importance of outdoor kitchens and grills. What better way to get people together in the same space, cooking together, talking, eating, experimenting, teaching, eating. Outdoor kitchens break all the rules. Feel free to light big fires–your smoke is welcome–and cook that protein to perfection. To the others, gather as many utensils and tools, pots and pans, and enjoy them all. Baking, frying, reducing, all methods of cooking is possible with outdoor kitchens that have every kitchen comfort that you find inside. Take our word for it, these are so much more than just kitchens, they’re the road to happiness!