Backyard

THE OUTDOOR COOK

Cooking outside isn’t just about the food — although the flavour burst you get when you bite into a fully loaded pizza, baked to perfection in your backyard woodfired oven, or tuck into a plate of sizzling marinated prawns, hot off the grill, isn’t to be sneezed at. What it’s really about is the whole experience, from food prep to sitting down to eat. The friends who turn up early for Sunday lunch and help you chop veggies and marinate meat; the party guests who chat to you and keep your glass topped up while you turn the kebabs — it’s about the aroma of food barbecuing, the primal allure of a woodfired oven, and the opportunity to share a meal in the most relaxed of environments — your own backyard.

While what you cook is important, creating a welcoming environment and making outdoor entertaining an easy, breezy affair is now just as essential for most of us. For many, this means locating your cooking zone on a deck or paved area next to the house. For some, it might mean creating a cooking area at the back of the garden, closer to the pool. Either way, if possible, place your barbecue or outdoor kitchen undercover to extend its life and keep the sun off the cook.

You’ll need an adjacent meals area with a dining table and chairs, or bench seating, and if

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