The latest outdoor kitchen trends

The Lazy Susan team is taking a closer look at outdoor kitchen trends that are popular in the UK and recommending some of our favourite outdoor cooking appliances.

We specialise in outdoor dining and bistro tables, so some of the recent outdoor kitchen trends are something we're getting excited about. To be honest, anything that improves the outdoor living experience gets our vote of support.

Just like the garden furniture industry has had to play catch up with its interior relations though, so too has the outdoor kitchen. If you take your outdoor living seriously, then a faded plastic patio chair and disposable barbecue are simply not going to cut it.

We definitely think our gardens deserve better, and whilst our focus will always be on furniture, we recently launched a small curated range of outdoor cooking appliances, some of which are available now, some coming soon.

However, when it comes to the wider concept of an outdoor kitchen, there are in our opinion two schools of thought: 

  1. Outdoor Kitchens
    Actual kitchens outside, sink, grill, fridge, etc.
  2. Inside/Outside kitchens
    Indoor kitchens that open up the outside to create one living space.

Which works for you, depends on the space you have available and how serious you are about outdoor cooking.

Recent TV programs by Jamie Oliver and Tom Kerridge put the outdoor kitchen front and centre, with all their recipes prepped, cooked and eaten in their own outdoor kitchens. If their incredible food can't get you fired up (pardon the pun) for a spot of outdoor cooking, then nothing will!

And we can’t even use the British weather as an excuse to not cook outside. In Scandinavia, outdoor cooking has been a big part of the Nordic culture for centuries. A way to spend time with family and friends and get closer to nature. In Sweden, for example, take a stroll in the countryside and you’ll regularly stumble across fire pits of all shapes and sizes specifically for outdoor cooking. Anyone can use them and it is a big part of family life.

But what is an outdoor kitchen? Well, it can be either of the above to be quite honest with you. It can be as simple as a pizza oven or kettle-style barbecue grill as an addition to your inside kitchen, or, as is popular in the USA, it can be a fully functioning outside kitchen.

Leading US outdoor kitchen company, Danver, define it as follows:

“An outdoor kitchen is a place outside of the home where you can entertain, cook and prepare meals while enjoying the open air. It expands your living room to the outdoor space. Your outdoor kitchen is the centrepiece of an outdoor entertaining area which lets you entertain family, friends and guests beyond the summer months outdoors. Our expert design team turns outdoor kitchen ideas into reality.”

We’d agree with that and here at Lazy Susan, we have you covered on the entertainment part. Cook a nice meal for friends and family and you need nice outdoor furniture to sit on and enjoy it. But what you cook and prep it on is also equally as important.

As well as being a great place to entertain, there are other advantages to having an outdoor cooking area too. For a starter, many outdoor grills use charcoal so you use less energy than indoor electric or gas appliances. It also keeps all the cooking smells outside, keeps the mess out of the house and is easy to clean up afterwards.

Our top 5 outdoor kitchen trends for summer 2022

In this article we don’t want to go too deep into how to plan and build a complete outdoor kitchen (as per the picture above), as beautiful as that may be, that’s one for another day. 

We want to focus more on several of the latest outdoor kitchen trends that are popular in the UK and recommend some of our favourite outdoor cooking products. Hopefully, at the very least, we can give you a little inspiration that you can take into developing your own outdoor kitchen area...

1. Outdoor Pizza Oven

It is only fair that we start off with one of our own products but there’s simply no escaping the fact that the outdoor pizza oven is one of the must-have trends this summer. Our recently launched Cozze Outdoor Pizza Oven is a quick, easy and fun way to cook pizza in your garden, on your patio, terrace or balcony. It is portable and the oven runs on standard low-pressure propane gas cartridges and bottles.

With a wide opening and baking stone, the oven is easy to operate and provides ample space for large pizzas up to 34cm. The oven is ready for use about 20 minutes after lighting, so you can quickly bake delicious pizzas for large parties, friends and family. Safe and easy to use, it has a temperature control located within easy reach on the side, so you're always in control as your pizza bakes and the cordierite pizza stone ensures that you get a wonderfully crisp base. 

2. Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

This is the speciality of the previously quoted Danver (pictured above), however, we’re not sure if their range of outdoor kitchen cabinets is available outside of America. What they do offer over there is a range of outdoor appliance cabinets for pretty much every outdoor kitchen appliance you can think of, from pizza ovens and smokers to BBQ grills and bar/beverage stations.

A little closer to home and Ikea have a fab range of modular outdoor kitchen cabinets with their GRILLSKÄR Outdoor Kitchen Range (pictured above). Just like Danver, it is primarily constructed from nickel-free stainless steel that has excellent resistance to rust. There’s a comprehensive range of units and accessories, so it can be easily configured to suit your outdoor cooking requirements.

3. Outdoor Ceramic Kamado Smokers

First things first, what is a Kamado Grill? Well, a Kamado is basically a big ceramic egg-shaped barbecue from Japan that’s super popular at the moment thanks to its versatility. You can pretty much do everything with this one little thing from grilling to smoking, and you can cook all your food together.

A great example of this is the 18" Kamado Grill from Harbour Lifestyle (pictured above). You can use it as a barbecue grill, a slow cooker, or as a charcoal smoker, it has room to cook food for 7-10 people at one time and will work with whatever material, be it wood, pellet or charcoal, you like to cook with.

The secret to the Kamado is its insulated ceramic walls which provide you with optimal heat retention and insulation to ensure an even cook, with maximum flavour. It has vents and a built-in thermometer so you can control the heat, and, well, it looks out of this world fantastic!

4. Outdoor Charcoal Ovens

In much the same way the Kamado can do it all, our Grizzly Outdoor Charcoal Ovens are the serious bit of kit your garden is missing. Quite simply, the Grizzly is the ultimate outdoor kitchen oven. It can cook low and slow, smoke meat, fish or veg and will cook pizza as good as any pizza oven. 

Its unique hopper-fed system allows for the oven to maintain heat over long periods allowing you to cook the perfect barbecue ribs. However, don’t worry, it can also cook fast as high and fast as well if you want it to. The oven is manufactured in the UK to the highest standards and is robust and built to last. So if you want the outdoor lifestyle but need an oven that is versatile when it comes to cooking a variety of foods, then the Grizzly oven is coming to Lazy Susan soon.

Justin Sharp, Head Chef at the Peaporridge Restaurant in Suffolk, had the following to say about the Grizzly:

"What a wonderful piece of equipment! I would recommend this oven to anyone, commercial or domestic.”

5. Outdoor BBQ Kitchen

There’s no escaping the fact that Aldi has not only shaken up the supermarket industry and upset the big guns, but they’ve also made significant inroads into our industry with things like their Hanging Garden Egg Chair which saw sales boom during the pandemic. Hats off to them we say!

Their Gardenline Premium Outdoor BBQ Kitchen is another that’s making a big splash this summer. It is basically a ready-to-roll all-in-one unit that features everything you need to turn your patio into a fully functioning outdoor kitchen. With 6 gas burners, 1 side burner, 2 cooking grills, a cooking plate, a warming rack, a sink and a vairiety of storage cupboards/racks, you have everything you need to seriously up your outdoor cooking game.

If you’re already a seasoned outdoor cook and are looking for something a little more professional, then our advice would be to take a look at the Grillo collection. Their Vantage range features stunning outdoor kitchen units that blend iroko hardwood with beautifully finished carbon steel. You can choose from pre-designed layouts or configure your own design online with their 3D Configurator.

If you’ve got any photos featuring our outdoor kitchen products or outdoor furniture in your outdoor cooking area, we’d love to see a few snaps for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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