Add utility and simplicity to your outdoor kitchen with these Ninja products
By Michael Hiller
To frame this season of blue skies and breezes, we’re directing our appetites outdoors.
Backyard kitchens with wood-fueled pizza ovens, offset smokers and six-burner ranges are nice, but not everyone wants to outfit their outdoor space like it’s a restaurant. As with little black dresses, simplicity is sophistication. We’re smitten with two tabletop appliances that could anchor any outdoor kitchen, whether your back forty is measured in acres or square feet.
The Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill and the Ninja 12-in-1 Double Oven earned dedicated space in our backyard this year. Both are wellmade and thoughtfully priced, hallmarks of the cookware company known for its innovative blenders, air fryers and ice cream makers.
The Woodfire grill is portable, electric and packs a lot into a small footprint. It’s a pellet smoker, grill, air fryer, dehydrator and convection oven, all wrapped into a sleek clamshell package built for use outdoors.
You can fine-tune the oven temperature between 80-500 degrees, which means you can do everything from proofing yeasted doughs to broiling steaks. We loved that there was plenty of room to roast a whole chicken, grill a halfdozen burgers or slow-smoke a 9-pound brisket. We weren’t expecting great barbecue from this little powerhouse, but the oven’s integrated smokebox creates plenty of good-quality smoke using wood pellets. The Ninja may become our go-to barbecue box this summer, especially if we’re not feeding a crowd.
And because there’s no charcoal, propane or risk of flare-ups, the Ninja grill is safe to use on covered patios and apartment balconies. We added Woodfire’s optional flat-top griddle to our setup, which means weekends now begin with pancakes and eggs cooked outside, too.
As much as we like the Woodfire grill, there are times we prefer a dedicated oven. For that, we recommend Ninja’s 12-in-1 Double Oven. The countertop oven can perform all the usual tasks of a convection oven, but its two independently controlled spaces also allow you to cook at different temperatures and lengths of time. That’s a terrific feature when, for example, one kid wants pizza and another wants chicken wings, or if you want to broil fish and bake summer squash at the same time.
Ninja built in another feature we adore: Thanks to some clever electronics, both ovens can be programmed to start independently but finish cooking at the same time. That meant we could pull a slow-roasted pork loin from one oven at the same time the buttermilk biscuits in the other were finished baking. The only downside? We still have to clean the dishes.