The basic requirements of any outdoor kitchens are pretty well known to most people. Especially in Australia, its commonplace to have some kind of barbecuing area out the back of most peoples homes.
However, we've seen a lot of people forget that your outdoor kitchen holds much more possibility than just a good barbecue and maybe a fridge.
When designing a custom outdoor kitchen, all the alternatives available can be lost or forgotten in the process with some easily overwhelmed with too many choices, to others simply not knowing about an option all together.
So we're beginning a series of things both common and extravagant to bring light to some of the things available you can have in your own alfresco if you decide to go the custom route.
In residential cooking, we're seeing that horizontal placed being the preferred method of cooking. This positioning allows for the juices within the meat to stay inside and the ones on the outside to self baste through out its rotation.
The rotating spit ensures your food will brown evenly, greatly lowering your risk of overcooking certain areas with the rotation exposing all sides of your meat to the heat for equal amount of time. This making it a fantastic tool for entertaining, allowing you to talk and socialize without having to pay as much attention with seasoning or checking your food.
Digital thermometers are much more accurate in taking temperature recordings than traditional meat thermometers. Much more efficient, a traditional meat thermometer can only be used once before it has to be thrown away. As well as more precise, coming with screens that show a much more accurate temperature reading.
Specific cuts of meat need to be cook to precise temperatures to make sure bacteria are killed, and maximum taste is achieved. So having a digital thermometer available helps for more than just achieving a wonderful taste and texture.
These are some recommended cooking temperatures:
- Ground veal, lamb or beef: 160 degrees
- Large cuts of pork: 145 degrees with a 3 minute rest time
- Ground poultry: 165 degrees
Even the most durable barbecues made from quality materials can be damaged by prolonged exposure to the elements. If you invest in a good barbecue cover you're not only ensuring the quality of your barbecue but also increasing the life of your barbecue as well.
The lining inside of your cover is one of the most important features you need to consider.
- Covers with fleece linings are more likely to have mold grow than simpler materials that clean and dry easier
- Linings made of wool create habitats that insects and other bugs favour and will congregate in
The linings you want to look for are PVC and other waterproof materials. Polyester and nylon are also good choices.
Both barbecues and their covers need to be maintained appropriately in order to remain functional for the lifetime of your kitchen. If left outside unattended for long periods, your cover will ultimately gather dust and dirt. However, if you have purchased a good quality cover this can be easily cleaned.
Covers made from non-porous or rubberized materials only need to be wiped down with a cloth soaked in a bit of water. Smoke and/or grease from the barbecue also need to be cleaned when necessary to avoid build up and transfer back onto the barbecue. Plenty of cleaning products can wash away grease buildup and other dirt.
Make sure when choosing the chemicals you use, they shouldn't be so harsh that they can eat away at the protective cover along with the dirt you're trying to clean.
Pizza Oven Peels and Cleaning
The tools used in wood fire pizza ovens haven't changed much in style, but the materials have. Stainless steel is one of the most common used in morden day. It doesn't rust, it's easy to clean and can be shaped thin enough that it can be slid easily under a pizza, pie or pastry.
All pizza oven tools have long handles so that they can reach into the oven without the risk of getting to close to the flames but remaining stable enough to keep control.
Peels can be used to assemble your pizza or pastries on and then slide onto the hot oven floor. It's a good plan to have an idea of what you will be cooking in your oven when going out to purchase a peel, as they come in many different sizes. A helpful tip to remember to sprinkle flour over your peel before you cook to prevent your food sticking.
Other tools that are a must have would be an ash stick/brush or floor brush. You will need these to prep the oven for baking after the fire has burned down to ash. This is the time when the oven is absorbing heat for later gradual release as you cook.
Use the ash stick to move the ash and residue to one of the of oven, wait up to 15 minutes and then sweep any remaining residue or debris from the oven's floor and begin cooking.
If you'd like to know more about purchasing and owning a pizza oven, we have another blog we've written for everything you need to know.
One of the biggest benefits behind using a wok is that it does not lose its temperature when food is added, which allows for great low fat stir frying. The combined system, of both the material of the wok and the side burner, provides a cooking system that can cook food very quickly.
When fresh ingredients are used, they are able to retain most of their nutritional value due to the speed in which they are cooked. Leaving your meals crispy and delicious.
Most side burners use gas and run wonderfully outdoors.
Some quick tips:
- A carbon steel wok is a great first purchase. It's one of the oldest materials used in cooking and very reliable.
- A wok burner made from cast iron or stainless steel has the advantage of distributing heat efficiently to the whole of the wok's surface. Having a large enough flame to maintain enough heat required to cook food quickly and effectively.