Researching outdoor kitchens can be overwhelming: there are so many options available.
Navigating the choices begins by considering your style of cooking, as well as looking at the configuration of your entertaining area and cottage, says Peter Briese, owner of Muskoka BBQ & Outdoor Kitchen Centre
“We carry barbecues and kitchens for every lifestyle and budget, and we pride ourselves on helping our clients make the best decisions for their particular needs and situation.”
If outdoor meals at your cottage can happen any time of day, check out the Evo 30-inch flat cooktop. “We had company on the weekend, and we cooked two pounds of bacon and French toast for everyone,” says Peter. “Later in the day we cooked a whole meal of steak and seafood, complete with veggies.”
The Evo has two burners allowing cooking at different temperatures on an outside ring or the inner circle, which means everything can be done at the same time. “You can do vegetables and potatoes on the outer ring and sear steaks or cook scallops on the inner ring.”
The Evo uses natural gas or propane and is the perfect social cooking solution. “Because you can cook for everybody at the same time, your family or friends can all gather around while your meal is being cooked,” says Peter. “Summers are short and get-togethers over food make for quality time spent.”
For all the fare you might want to bake, smoke or roast, Muskoka BBQ offers the Fontana wood-burning oven. Peter says he uses his three to four times a week. “We’ll do a full chicken dinner or bake a squash. We also did a prime rib dinner on the weekend with hickory wood. You can change up the woods for different flavours and use different size chunks of wood for varying temperatures.”
While the Fontana is technically classified as a pizza oven, Peter finds he uses it less for pizza and more for other items on the menu.
There are several versions of the Fontana oven, with the Mangiafuoco being the most common residential model. This is a fast-heating oven: an extra-wide interior heats up to 750 degrees F in 30 to 40 minutes. The Fontana single chamber ovens use five times less wood than ceramic models and are fully portable, making them an excellent choice for the cottage.
For true gurus of the grill, Pete says you can’t beat the renowned Lynx brand. “It’s in the upper end of our offerings and is handcrafted with some of the finest materials available to barbecues,” he says. “The technology of this sleek product elevates barbecuing to an art form. Cooking over fire has evolved to its peak with this barbecue.”
The Lynx 54-inch boasts 1,555 sq inches of cooking surface, both primary and secondary. “It has three main burners, and an infrared burner that will burner heat up to 1000 degrees F, which could bring tears of joy to the eyes of any master steak searer. It has ceramic briquette trays for even cooking and a rotisserie burner that can do full-sized chickens. It’s just an exceptional machine.”
An outdoor kitchen is just that – outdoors, which means it needs to be built to withstand the elements.
“There are many ways to house an outdoor kitchen. We can build a welded frame construction and then clad it in wood or stone,” Peter says. “We also have powder-coated stainless steel as a durable option. We’re using these products because they can withstand the elements.”
Potential burns and stains to countertops are always a worry, but even more so outside, where the cooking appliances are often much hotter than an indoor stove or oven. “What I like about our enduring countertops is that I can take out my cast iron pan at 700 degrees and put it directly on top of my countertop without worry of scoring, burning or cracking,” Peter says.
Ultimately, he says, there isn’t one best way of doing things. Peter likes to focus on what his client wants: “We find the best product and best result for every client.”
After that, it’s just a matter of letting your culinary imagination take you anywhere you wish to go. Let the outdoor dining begin!
TEXT KARI KLASSEN | PHOTOS SCOTT TURNBULL