Outdoor Kitchen Winterization

Outdoor Kitchen Winterization

If you live in a part of the country that experiences yearly frosts or snowfalls, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your outdoor kitchen and its equipment. If you don't experience frosts or snow, fall is still a good time to give your outdoor kitchen a good cleaning. We've created a list of tips that will help you keep your outdoor kitchen in perfect working order, no matter where you live.

Refrigerators, Freezers, Wine Chillers and Beverage Centers

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet’s outdoor refrigeration is engineered to withstand the elements. It does not need to be brought indoors for the off-season, but it does need to be turned off. Switch off your units before the temperature outside drops below the set cooling temperature or below freezing, whichever comes first.

  • Empty out all refrigerated cabinets and thoroughly clean the insides with stainless steel cleaner and polish.
  • Switch off the power on each unit. Ideally, you should also unplug the units or flip the circuit off at the home’s electrical panel.
  • Clean the exposed exterior surfaces with stainless steel cleaner (DO NOT use abrasives), and give the units a nice coating of stainless steel polish.
  • Remove the front grill (toe plate) and clean behind it with a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose dirt or debris. Reattach the front grill.
  • Leave your outdoor refrigeration uncovered. Accumulated moisture underneath a cover can damage the units.

Keg Tappers

  • Follow all the recommended steps for a refrigerator, plus clean and drain all beer lines. Remove the kegs, empty or otherwise, and store them indoors.

Ice Makers

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet ice makers should be winterized before the outside temperature drops below 45ºF.

  • Switch off the power on the unit.
  • Turn off the water supply line at your home’s shut-off valve and open the drain valve.
  • Use compressed air or carbon dioxide to blow out the water supply line and the internal water circuit.
  • Unplug the ice maker or turn off its circuit breaker in your electrical panel.
  • Remove all ice from the storage bin, clean the bin and close the drain valve.
  • Remove the front grill and clean the area behind it with a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose dirt or debris. Reattach the front grill.
  • Leave your ice maker uncovered. Accumulated moisture underneath a cover can damage the ice maker.

Sinks and Other Plumbing

All water needs to be drained from the supply lines and faucets before winter sets in.

  • Close the water supply shut-off valves and open the drain valves on both the hot and cold plumbing.
  • Fully open the hot and cold taps.
  • Blow compressed air or carbon dioxide in through the drain valves to force all remaining water out through the faucet.
  • If desired, uninstall your faucet and store indoors. Cap off the supply lines.
  • Thoroughly clean the sink according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Securely cover the sink to keep winter debris from filling it or entering the drain.

Grills

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet grills do not need winterization. Covering a grill during the winter is purely optional. It will help keep the grill clean, but a Kalamazoo can easily withstand the elements without a cover. If desired, use a Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Sunbrella cover or other cover that allows moisture to escape.

A thorough fall cleaning is recommended for keeping your grill in prime condition.

  • Clean the exterior of the grill with a citrus-based, organic degreaser, followed by stainless steel polish.
  • Remove the cooking grates, warming rack and hybrid grilling drawer(s) to freely access the Kalamazoo Dragon Burners™ and hopper. Use a brass brush to clean the tops of the burners and slide any remaining debris down the hopper to the cleanout. Empty the cleanout.
  • Re-season cooking surfaces each fall. Using a clean rag, wipe vegetable oil on both sides of the cooking grates. Place the grates back into the grill along with the hybrid grilling drawer(s) and warming rack, heat the grill to 500ºF with the hood closed. Turn down the burners to hold the temperature at 500ºF for about 20 minutes. When the surfaces turn brown or black, they are seasoned.
  • When the grill is not in use, keep the hood vent closed.
  • If the grill will not be used during the winter, turn off the gas supply.

Pizza Ovens

Like our grills, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet pizza ovens do not require any particular winterization. Covering the pizza oven is optional, but will help keep the unit clean. If using a cover, make sure it is a Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Sunbrella cover or other cover designed to let moisture escape.

  • Clean the exterior of the oven with a citrus-based, organic degreaser, followed by stainless steel polish. Do not use anything abrasive to clean the exterior of your pizza oven. Burnt-on sauce or grease on the exterior of the oven or interior of the door can be removed with a Scratch-B-Gone kit available from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.
  • Use a brass brush to remove any debris from the baking stone, brushing it off to the sides of the oven. There is no need to remove the stone for winter storage.
  • Empty the crumb tray located at the bottom of your pizza oven.
  • If the oven will not be used during the winter, turn off the gas supply.

Cooktops

Current Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet cooktop burners are made of cast brass for superior performance and durability. Some earlier cooktop burners have been made of enameled cast iron. These units are also extremely durable, but they benefit from a little protection during the winter months. Season your cast iron burner every Fall according to the instrcutions below.

  • While the cast iron burner is cool, use a clean cloth to wipe the entire burner with vegetable oil. Light the burner and run on high, preferably with a wok in place, for 10 to 20 minutes until the oil is absorbed and/or burned off.
  • Turn off the burner and put the stainless steel burner cover in place.
  • If the cooktop will not be used during the winter months, turn off the gas supply.

Cabinets

Stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets from Kalamazoo will benefit from a fresh coat of stainless steel polish before winter sets in. The weather-tight design of our cabinets enables clean and dry storage throughout the winter months, but be sure to remove all liquids from the cabinets before the first freeze. Now is also a good time to clean out the cabinets, removing anything that is expired, old or not needed. It is also a good idea to remove any cutting boards from their pull-out trays and store them inside the cabinets.

NOTE: Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet cabinets do not keep out damp air. The atmospheric humidity can be as high inside the cabinet as it is outside. Do not store high-quality knives or other rust-prone cooking equipment in the outdoor kitchen during the winter months.

Counters

Most countertop materials will benefit from a coat of sealer before winter hits. Check with your installer or fabricator for guidance.