How to build your own outdoor kitchen

PUBLISHED 27 AUG 2021   

This might seem extravagant, but there’s more to this than you might think. If you are a keen braai enthusiast, you already cook outside regularly. Chances are you only have your fireplace, or a portable braai, which is also okay.

But picture this. A sink to wash your hands. A small stove top to cook your side dishes. A dedicated spice rack and packing space for all your paraphernalia. No more running between the braai and your kitchen, leaving your company on their own, that’s just bad hosting.

It will also add a standout feature to your property, as outdoor kitchens aren’t really something we see in South Africa, but especially in Cape Town we have the weather to make it work for most of the year.

There are various phases of this setup that will cater for different budgets. Let’s start with the simplest version.

I just want to cook (entry-level):

If you already have a permanent fireplace, this will be a lot more affordable for you. By just adding an extra flat surface to the side of your braai, accompanied by a sink with running water, it will be much more convenient for you, making it easier to wash your hands, clean dishes etc.


I can feel my inner chef coming out (mid-level):

This is where it gets a bit more serious. You’ve added a sink, next step is to add some cupboards featuring items like a dedicated spice rack, space for your braai tools and bowls. If you are putting up cupboards, you might want to consider adding some coverage to your outdoor kitchen area. Even if it is just as simple as spanning some shade cloth by anchoring one side to the building and the other side on trees or poles.


Where’s my Michelin star? (top-level)

Investing this much time, effort and money into your outdoor kitchen will realistically only be worth it if cooking is your main method of entertaining friends and family.  You really have to LOVE cooking. For the Gordon Ramsay’s out there add a stove and oven combo, a small fridge, and take it a step further by adding a sit-down bar area to make your guests more involved with the cooking process. For the full cooking experience, add a gas braai. Die-hard braaiers will say its sacrilege, but the truth is certain meats taste better when done properly (key part) on a gas braai. Finish off the “kitchen” by building a wooden frame with your choice of roofing. Add some modern lights to the roof and some LED mood lighting on the worktops and you will have your perfect kitchen outside, allowing you to enjoy our beautiful weather even more. Don’t forget to add a TV for those big sports games.