Open-Air Kitchens


Elevate the art of barbecue to new heights.

Viking 42-in outdoor 5 Series
Viking 42-inch-wide outdoor 5 Series gas grill is show here built into a custom enclosure.

By Kimberly Dijkstra

As the weather heats up, so does our desire to soak up the sun, breathe in the fresh air and prepare our meals outdoors. Backyard kitchens and grilling areas have become extremely popular in recent years—and as demand has increased, design and appliance options have expanded as well. Get in on the latest trend and relocate your summer cooking, dining and entertaining outside.

Vkg_OutdoorKitchen w_VGIQ54203RE_alt-angle_kick
Custom open-air kitchen by Viking. Don’t you want this in your backyard?

Something new is always happening in the world of outdoor kitchens. “People are doing a lot of fire cooking, both indoors and outdoors, on grills, which we find to be a very good thing for flavor results,” says Ben Eisendrath, president of Grillworks (, maker of Argentine-inspired, American-made wood-burning grills.

Open Arch 48
Grillworks Open Architectural 48 in a counter cutout

Grillworks tackles design from an outdoor perspective. “[In the past], people had been duplicating their indoor kitchens,” Eisendrath says. “Since our grills have an open-fire approach, they are a great complement to outdoor designs.”

The open hearth of the Architectural line allows you to see what’s cooking and therefore becomes the natural centerpiece of your outdoor living space.

Architectural grill
The Grillworks Architectural grill, intstalled with a new chimney on the back of this house using matching brick located by the architect, has the optional steel fire grates standing on the hearth.

The line comes in widths from 30 inches to 60 inches, with many options available to fit your specific needs, such as placement of the crank wheel and grilling surfaces. Every Grillworks grill is stainless steel and built to order, by hand.

“I recommend the Dual 48 Architectural grill for serious grillers,” adds Eisendrath. With a professional grill, the summer entertaining possibilities are endless.

Storage is the latest necessity in outdoor kitchens.

“Outdoor storage is the newest thing now,” says Mel Gassman (516-448-8970), a granite fabricator from Albertson. “Masons go out and build a wall, a big expanse, to put wood for burning, glasses, dishes and whatever you use.”

An alternative to custom-built storage is prefabricated cabinets and drawers, available from companies like Viking (; available at P.C. Richard & Son ( and DCS (

Outside refrigeration is also an up-and-coming trend. Gassman has even encountered a dishwasher installed outdoors. But to keep it functioning, you must protect it. Since Long Island experiences harsh winters, Gassman says, “You need a water system that’s totally drainable in order to winterize it so the lines don’t freeze.”

Grillworks Architectural 48
The Grillworks Open Architectural 48 can be permanently installed in an enclosure.

Similar considerations can be taken to protect granite countertops from the winter as well. This process entails using a granite cleaner and sealer at the end of the season.

“If you want the stone to appear as nice as the day you bought it year after year, you can use shrink wrap,” Gassman explains. “Or you can let it get a patina and age naturally.” Every choice relates to the aesthetic you wish to see in your backyard.

Gassman recommends Viking appliances for outdoor kitchens. Viking’s new line of professional outdoor 5 Series grills are available in widths from 30 inches to 54 inches in both liquid petroleum and natural gas.

Grillworks Open Architectural 48

This line includes built-in LED lights, which accent the control panel and illuminate knobs for better visibility when grilling at night. You can add a side burner, wok cooker, warming drawers, ventilation, undercounter refrigeration and stainless steel cabinets to complete your outdoor kitchen—and perhaps make it even more functional than your indoor one.

“Once the grill, outdoor companion products and Viking cabinets are ordered from the Viking dealer, only countertops are needed to complete the kitchen,” says Brent Bailey, director of brand management. “It’s that easy.”

Exclusive to the 5 Series is a 15,000 BTU infrared rotisserie burner, which locks in flavor and juices for perfectly roasted meats. Imagine a summer full of tender rotisserie chickens, juicy steaks and mouth watering ribs. Once you’ve installed an outdoor kitchen, you’ll never want to cook inside again.


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