May 13, 2021

Summer Project: Outdoor Kitchen

Something that's been on our project list for a long time is an outdoor kitchen. Dan has been grilling meat on his wood-fired grill for years, so expanding the outdoor cooking possibilities makes sense. Under cover makes sense too, although I think many modern outdoor kitchens are out in the open. But we want to be able to use it when it's raining, and the carport seems like the perfect place. 

The carport would be a good place for an outdoor kitchen.

So, what should go into an outdoor kitchen?

  • barbecue grill
  • stove
  • pizza oven
  • cold smoker?
  • someplace to store my solar oven
  • work/dining table

That's what's on our list. We have the grill, so we've been looking at cooking surface for pots and pans (the stove), and a pizza oven. Here's what we've come up with.

For the stove, we're going with the Walker Wood Fired Masonry Cook Stove (that links to where we bought the plans). Here are some front and back pictures from one of Matt Walker's videos.

Oven and fire viewing window side.

Firebox side.

The selling points (from his website, link above) were

"Incredible efficiency and smokeless performance, with an easy temperament. Easy to use, quick to light, and stable to cook on. . ."

The plans are highly adaptable; for example, we probably won't include the fire viewing window. And we've been able to source almost everything we need locally. It would almost be perfect, except that the oven is smaller than a standard size oven, more along the size of the oven in my wood cookstove. And the problem with that is that it's too small for my pizza stone. Hence the addition of a pizza oven!

But! This is not going to be the typical cob style pizza oven that is so popular. This is going to be a J-tube oven. 

From the building plans

I got a free copy of the plans for supporting the passive greenhouse video Kickstarter last year. It's made from two 55-gallon metal drums, so it will be plenty big enough for my pizza stone or a week's worth of other baking. The selling point was how much less wood it uses than a wood cookstove oven. 

So, there's our summer project! Or at least, that's that's the plan for our summer project. All subject to change, of course. 😺


Chris said...

Oh Leigh, you guys dream big! But why not, hey? 😉Especially when it fits with existing cooking habits and lifestyle. To me, it makes perfect sense. Your pizza oven looks like a modified rocket stove. Which is definitely more fuel efficient. It works off small twigs and branches, rather than split logs. An outside cooking area is on our cards too. Just a little more makeshift. More like a shack, lol. But I will certainly look forward to your updates, as your project progresses. I know it will be another efficient and practical workspace.

After experiencing a 24 hour power outage recently, it made me do inventory on our alternative cooking measures. My portable gas burner, had a wire burned, so had to go. I'm not happy with the whistling kettle either. The body is stainless steel, but has plastic parts destined to break at some point too. In other words, I want to set up more reliable equipment, in a dedicated space. Only it has to be space efficient, as the area I have to work with, is small.

daisy g said...

That looks like the perfect use for that space! Looking forward to seeing it come together!

Leigh said...

Chris, that's exactly what it is! - a rocket oven. And actually, the masonry stove is a modified rocket stove, i.e., riserless core. The firebox is a batch box design but with the traditional masonry exhaust pathway rather than a riser.

An outdoor kitchen will be so useful. Even though my electric stove is on our back porch to keep heat out in the summer, a lot of heat enters the house anytime the back door is opened (which is frequent when I'm canning). So canning in an outdoor kitchen will be welcome. Plus, I suspect the price of electricity will be rising, just because.

Daisy, we've talked about an outdoor kitchen there ever since we quit using it for the car. But, the carport was in such bad shape that for awhile, we didn't know if it was worth saving. Then Dan beefed it up and extended the roof, which has been wonderful for storing firewood. An outdoor kitchen just seems to make sense.

Mama Pea said...

Oh yes, for you in your climate an outdoor kitchen seems the only way to go. And the fact that you two can do it yourselves, as opposed to having to hire someone to do it, makes it a "must do." (Ha, not that all those wanna dos and must dos don't have to wait their turn on The List!) I know you regularly put off your canning until the winter (much, much cooler for you) months, so having the choice to do more of that as the harvests come in sounds good. Then you can get your loom(s) set up for that kind of creativity in the down time (just when is that?) of your winter months. Right? Right!

Lady Locust said...

I love watching the progress of your projects!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I am not saying I am jealous, but I am jealous - and excited to watch the progress! The smoker perhaps interests me the most - it is something I have wanted to experiment with for years (along with fifty other projects, of course).

A thought: I wonder if you could find some large curtains or some such to allow you to block off wind as needed during the Winter?

Your Obedient Servant, Toirdhealbheach Beucail

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, if we had to hire someone to do it, it wouldn't get done! Actually, the masonry stove is something of a learning project. We're considering replacing our soapstone stove in the living room with one, extending the masonry work into the bedroom adjacent to the living room. Then it could easily heat both rooms, and that spare bedroom could become my sewing and weaving studio! (At least, that's how I hope it works out!)

Lady Locust, hopefully, I'll have progress to show soon!

TB, that's a good idea. Even blocking rain from blowing in in summer would help. Of course in winter, we use the cookstove in the kitchen for heat as much as cooking.

We still haven't figured out the smoker, so that remains a big question mark. Dan hot smokes on his wood grill, and the oven in the masonry stove is considered a "black" oven, i.e. one through which the smoke and heat pass through on their way out the chimney. So, I'm thinking smoked roasted veggies to go with Dan's hot smoked hamburgers on Sundays. :)

Gorges Smythe said...

Sounds like a winner; keep us posted!

J.L. Murphey said...

Drooling! Novel concept in the pizza oven. Cockeyed Jo

wyomingheart said...

How very exciting! I am very anxious for your updates ! What a marvelous project!

Leigh said...

Gorges, I will! (This is my best way of keeping track of what we're doing :)

Jo, people rave over how good pizza baked in this oven is - another plus!

Wyomingheart, thank you!

Annie in Ocala said...

A sink and water supply are handy to have to. Had a lovely outdoor kitchen at the ranch I lived at last decade an being a ranch, and lakefront the sink and counter was perfect for fish cleaning and butchery. And washing greens, etc.

tpals said...

How bad would the bugs be? Wondering if netting or screening is an option or even needed?

Renee Nefe said...

This looks like a fun project. Can't wait to see what you cook up first. :D

Ed said...

I've often thought about an outdoor kitchen someday, especially one to handle canning duties. I would probably however go for a slightly more expensive but much easier route and fire it with propane.

Leigh said...

Annie, that's true. Not sure how keen Dan would be on setting up a plumbing system! I'll have to wait until he's in a good mood to ask. lol Maybe after we add more rain collection tanks for the carport roof.

Tpals, that's a good question. I suggested screening it in, which immediately got vetoed. But then, Dan cooks out there every Sunday and never complains about the bugs, so it might not be to bad. I do have some of those screen picnic domes for covering things.

Renee, oh gosh. I'll probably get out the canner!

Ed, I suspect most people use propane. We use wood because we have so much of it. :)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Nothing wrong with roasted vegetables! I have taken quite a liking to them.

Henny Penny said...

That is some project. How wonderful it would be to have an outdoor kitchen. Wish I could get my husband to read your blog...he says I dream and plan too much...that "most folks just maintain". I can't walk outside without see a hundred things that could use some work and updating. Oops! Didn't mean to get wound up here. Hope you get that outdoor kitchen all ready to use this summer. Can't wait to see it.

Rosalea said...

Can't wait to see the progress on this project! I'd love an outdoor oven for those hot summer months.

Leigh said...

Henny, Dan keeps saying he just wants to maintain too. But after we finish a project he wants to know "what's next?" I say, "don't you just want to rest a bit?" and he says "there's too much to do." :)

Rosalea, we love being outdoors anyway, so an outdoor kitchen makes sense. :)

Leigh said...

Roasted veggies are a favorite of ours. Intrigued about smoking them!

Sharon Kwilter said...

Wonderful plans. I look forward to following your progress.

Leigh said...

Sharon, thanks!