Somehow food just tastes better outside — a fact that hasn’t escaped all the homeowners sinking their remodeling budgets into outdoor kitchens. “They’re huge,” says Deborah Krasner, author of “The New Outdoor Kitchen: Cooking Up a Kitchen for the Way You Live and Play” (Taunton, 2007). “If you can imagine it, it exists outside.”

Somehow food just tastes better outside — a fact that hasn’t escaped all the homeowners sinking their remodeling budgets into outdoor kitchens. “They’re huge,” says Deborah Krasner, author of “The New Outdoor Kitchen: Cooking Up a Kitchen for the Way You Live and Play” (Taunton, 2007). “If you can imagine it, it exists outside.”
A basic outdoor kitchen might include a grill, prep area, refrigerator and picnic table. But from there, the amenities — and price tags — rival high-end indoor kitchens. You can find everything from sinks, ovens and full-sized bars to ceiling fans and heaters. These are spots to slow down and unwind with good friends and good food.
While the finished product may reduce your stress level, planning an outdoor kitchen takes just as much thought as its indoor counterpart. Krasner suggests a few simple questions to kick things off right.

How do you live?
A simple set-up may be all you need for family dinners, but if your house is the neighborhood hot spot, you may want to consider a few well-chosen upgrades. You can keep guests happy with everything from ice makers to ceiling fans and heating units to wind-blocking pillars.

How do you cook?
Hamburgers and hot dogs work on any grill, but you might need more than a hibachi to achieve your cooking ambitions. Do you need an extra burner for side dishes? Or want to serve up a few slices from your pizza oven?

What matters most?
Think about where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. If you love music, you may want to invest in an outdoor sound system. Barbecue enthusiasts might splurge on a hybrid grill that accommodates charcoal, gas and wood.

Do you need it all at once?
It can be easier on your back account — and sanity — to create an outdoor kitchen over time. Think about adding one or two elements each year rather than tackling the whole project in one shot.