The Sink is the Star of an Outdoor Kitchen “Wet Zone”
Planning an outdoor kitchen? The best designs divide the space into task-based work stations, or “zones,” each with a specific function.
The “hot zone” is where the cooking takes place, and includes built-in grills and other cooking appliances. The “cold zone” is often the entertainment hub, and might contain a refrigerator, wine refrigerator, kegerator, ice maker, and/or bar station. The “wet zone” is where food prep and clean-up happen, and is home to the sink, and maybe even an outdoor dishwasher.
A zone layout is functional, practical and allows for the best work flow throughout the kitchen. Segregating task areas ensures enough space for the grillmasters, mixologists, and clean-up crew to do their thing without being in each other’s way.
How much space you dedicate to each zone depends on your patio and budget. But even if your outdoor kitchen is a simple, straight-run island, the zone principle can still apply. Just try to separate each work zone by as much counter space as possible. Combining the wet and cold zones in one area is another space-saving approach.
What’s in a Wet Zone?
A wet zone is the utility player of the outdoor kitchen and makes life easier for outdoor cooks and entertainers. The multipurpose station is a place to wash and prep veggies, marinate meats before grilling, prepare platters for serving, and even act as a buffet counter. It’s also a handy handwashing and dishwashing station so you don’t have to haul greasy items inside to clean.
The sink is the star of the wet zone. Although a sink is mostly about function, it should look good too. Just like in indoor kitchens, a farmhouse style sink is becoming a popular option because it is as attractive as it is functional.
The new Farmhouse Outdoor Sink (RSNK3) from Renaissance Cooking Systems offers both high-end style and performance. Backed by a lifetime warranty, it’s made from 304 stainless steel for durability and easy cleaning, and it’s double-walled for sound muffling.
Measuring 32- by 21-inches, and 8-inches deep, the RSNK3 sink is spacious enough to accommodate grill grates, large pots, long-handled tongs, blenders, serving platters, and other oversized gear.
When filled with ice, the double-walled sink also can act as an insulated beverage cooler, perfect for serving bottles of wine, beer, water, and soda during parties.
RSNK3 includes a drain, strainer and gooseneck swivel faucet with a hot/cold lever control. It can accommodate a garbage disposal and has a sloped bottom for efficient draining. Installation options include top-mount or drop-in with a farmhouse-apron front.
The RCB3, an oversize cutting board, is a great companion component to the sink. The 36- by 24-inch, heavy duty, black, synthetic board is great for dicing, slicing, chopping, and carving everything from veggies to citrus garnishes to tomahawk steaks. But the cutting board is also cleverly designed to do double duty as a cover for the sink when it’s not in use, keeping out leaves, dust and debris.
Additional Tips for Designing a Wet Station
Allow for two to three feet of open counter space on both sides of the sink to have room for dirty dishes on one side and a drain board for just-washed items on the other.
Include under-counter cabinetry to hold dish soap, sponges, drain boards, and cleaning supplies. Drawer units and pull-out cabinets are practical for storing aprons, dishtowels, oils and vinegars, spices, knives, colanders, cutting boards, and other food-prep necessities.
Keep in mind, if you plan to tie the sink into plumbing systems, you may need a plumbing permit. Be sure to check the requirements in your municipality.
If you live in a colder climate, you’ll need to winterize and drain the sink faucet so pipes won’t freeze when outdoor temperatures dip.