Outdoor kitchens are areas in a backyard or common area that are outfitted with the equipment necessary to cook meals entirely outdoors. Such an area may include a grill, a wood-fired oven, a sink, a bar, and other features common in cooking and dining areas. Outdoor kitchens can be built in backyards as long as proper precautions are taken to ensure ovens, stoves, or grills are a safe distance away from permanent structures. The size and shape of outdoor kitchens depends entirely on the builder's preference; some kitchens can be quite large and elaborate, featuring seating for guests, and others can be quite small and feature only a grill and a few other kitchen necessities.
All kitchen utilities installed or otherwise used in outdoor kitchens are commonly made from stainless steel, since these items — whether permanent fixtures or removable items — are likely to be exposed to moisture at some point. Stainless steel is resistant to rusting and corrosion, making it a good choice for outdoor cookwear. Most of the structures of outdoor kitchens, such as tables, countertops, and drawer units, are made from brick or stone for both aesthetic appeal and strength. Wood fired ovens are very often made from brick or stone as well, since these materials tend to conduct heat and make the ovens more efficient.
Not all outdoor kitchens are permanent structures. Barbecue islands are portable structures, often placed on casters for easy moving, that can be kept on a patio or deck. These islands often feature drawers and even refrigerator units for foods, as well as counter space, a slot for a grill, a stove unit, and sometimes even a sink. These units come with a wide range of features depending on the buyer's needs, and they can be made from wood, stainless steel, stone, synthetic materials, or a combination of two or more.
More elaborate outdoor kitchens may be built into an open-air structure that protects the kitchen area from the elements. Such areas are often combined with a dining area or a bar area to complete the look and functionality of the kitchen. If the kitchen is built adjacent to a home, electricity and plumbing can be run to the kitchen fairly easily, allowing appliances to be used in the space as well. Smaller kitchens may only feature a grill or outdoor oven with counter space and seating, while others may feature full kitchen capabilities for serving large groups of people.