If you’ve invested the time and money into an outdoor kitchen, you already have a love of the outdoors along with a love of cooking. Don’t let the frigid temperatures of a southern Ontario winter, dampen your enthusiasm for outdoor cooking.

You may choose to cook outside during the winter because it’s still worth the trouble of shovelling off the barbecue. Or, you may choose to take your culinary skills outside because you aren’t going to let the winter beat you. Whichever rings true to you, there are things you can do that will make it easier to get out there during the winter months and express your inner chef.

Winterizing your outdoor kitchen

Before you even consider cedar plank salmon on the barbie this winter, it is important to first consider winterizing parts of your outdoor kitchen. With temperatures that are guaranteed to drop below zero, bursting pipes are a real risk with any plumbing that is not insulated. An outdoor kitchen with running waterfalls into this category. Be sure to drain all pipes and close down the water supply. Any water left in your pipes is likely to expand and could, in turn, burst a pipe. While there is no reason why you can’t take your culinary skills outside during the winter, you won’t likely be using the fridge, the ice maker or wine cooler. It is safest to turn these off and unplug them. Remember, in the dead of winter, the cooling of your food and wine will come naturally and an unplugged refrigerator can still be used to temporarily store food.

Create a functional work-space and be organized

You wouldn’t want to cook in a dirty kitchen, and cooking outside is not different. As the warmer months wane, give your grill and other outdoor kitchen elements a good cleaning. Keep snow clear of your grill and maintain a clear path to your outdoor kitchen. Despite the cold, an inviting kitchen is one that gets used, and outdoor cooking is no different. With the heat of an outdoor grill or fireplace, cooking outdoors isn’t as cold as you’d think it is. Dress appropriately but remember that good cooking can warm more than the soul. Gather all that you’ll need before donning your parka and mitts. Pull everything from the refrigerator and cupboards and do all your prep beforehand. Be sure to have the cooking surface preheated. Proper lighting will also make the job a whole lot easier.

Open your mind to new tastes

During long summer nights, hot dogs and marshmallows with a smores chaser may constitute a three-course meal. During the winter, consider meals that can be placed on the open fire or grill and that are slow-cooking and don’t need constant attention. Soups, chilli, stews or a slow cooking rotisserie chicken. Cooking outdoors, no matter how cold it is, can be satisfying, but cooking outdoors while you watch out the window from inside the kitchen, is better. Having to run in and out 134,000 times while you cook up a couple of burgers, can dampen the outdoor cooking experience. Unlike the summer months, standing outside in the winter with a beer in hand while you grill isn’t as common and with the less inviting temperatures, can be a lonely experience. Let the food cook outdoors while you enjoy your family and friends inside.

While many elements of your outdoor space are off-limits during the winter, there is very little reason to close the kitchen. Though trudging through two feet of snow in the middle of a Canadian February may pose more of a challenge than you anticipated, the outcome can leave you proud and impressed with yourself. You are hearty and so is your outdoor kitchen.

Call Evergreen Landscapes to have your dream outdoor kitchen built for you in Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, or the surrounding areas like Aldershot. We can work with you to build an ideal kitchen that works with your landscape and the Canadian climate.