Monthly Archives: June 2013

How to Pick the Right Sized Grill

Shopping for a new grill can be very exciting.  Images of family barbeques and summer parties can whet your anticipation.  When choosing a grill, many people focus on the type of grill (charcoal, gas, electric) and all the accessories that come with it.  However, one important factor to keep in mind is the size.  Picking the right size grill will ensure that you are able to do all the different types of grilling that you are imagining on a grill that comfortably fits in your space.

An important thing to remember when considering grill sizes is that grills are measured both by the actual physical size (as in how much space they take up) and their square inches of cooking surface. Buying a physically big grill does not necessarily ensure that you are buying a grill with a lot of cooking space.  Make sure that you keep both sizes in mind when picking out the grill for you.

When picking out the perfect grill size, there are two main questions that you need to ask of yourself. The first question you need to ask is, “What is my intended purpose?” Do you want a grill that is perfect for you and your companion? To feed the whole family? Or one that handle hosting large gatherings?  The more people you plan on routinely cooking for, the larger surface space you will require.  However, it is important to remember that meat actually cooks better when placed close together as the different pieces will share the heat. If you regularly barbeque other food items, such as vegetables or side dishes, then you will want a grill with a large enough surface space to handle all your items.  It may also be a good idea to buy a grill that has individual burners or that has different shelves where you can separate the food.

The second question that you need to ask yourself is, “Where will I put my grill?” It is always a good idea to physically measure the space where you plan on putting your grill.  Precise measurements will allow you to know exactly what will fit and what will not.  This will help prevent you getting attached to a grill that will never physically be able to stand in your space. Always make sure that, when you look at actual grills, that you take into consideration the space needed for any accessories.

Steps to Using Your Gas Grill

Gas grills are heralded for their ease of use.  Instead of having to worry about warming up charcoal, all you have to do is simply hook up the gas line and turn on the burner.  Right?

Wrong. Though gas grills are easy to use, there are still several steps that you need to take every time before you turn it on.  This checklist will help make sure both that everything is in working order and that everything is safe to use. After a few times, you’ll be able to quickly run through your pre-checklist and get straight to your grilling.

1. The first thing you need to do is check the location of your grill.  Your grill should always be kept at least 10-15 feet away from any building or structure and should be placed on an even, flat surface.
2. The second thing you need to do is check the lava rocks at the bottom of the grill.  Make sure they are arranged according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Step three is to place the cooking grill over the rocks.
4. Once the grill is prepared, the fourth step on your checklist is to check over your gas line for any cracks or sign of wear. Never use your grill if you suspect that something might be wrong with your gas line.
5. The fifth step is to actually attach your propane tank.  Always keep you tank in the tank platform area of the grill.  Place the tank so that the valve opening is facing the grill connection.  Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for how to physically connect the valve to the grill.
6. Once everything is attached, you want to make sure that you test the connection.  Mix some water with dish soap (or purchase a soap solution) and apply it to the connection point.  Open the control valve.  If no bubbles appear, then your connection is safe and ready to go.  If bubbles appear, then you have a problem.  Immediately close the valve and have your grill inspected for a possible gas leak.
7. At this point you are finally ready to light your grill. Ensure that the propane valve is open and the grill lid is up.  Set the gas flow to full and then ignite the gas. If the gas does not immediately ignite, turn the gas all the way off, wait for the gas to clear, and then try again.
8. Once you are done grilling, you are ready to turn your grill off.  Always turn the propane control knob off first, followed by the gas control knob on the grill.

The Advantages to Using a Smoker

For BBQ lovers, there is nothing quite like biting into a juicy, smoky and perfectly cooked piece of meat.  In the most traditional sense, barbeque refers to cooking tough cuts of meat slowly over a low heat and with smoke.  This process causes the tough tissues to breakdown, turning them into tender and delicious delights.  Traditionally, the best barbeque is said to be cooked between 225 F and 275 F. The general rule of thumb is that for every pound of meat, you should cook it from anywhere from 45-75 minutes.  This means that a 10 pound piece of meat would take around 10 hours to barbeque properly.

While there are many different ways to cook a piece of meat on a BBQ, many enthusiasts claim that the only way to create the most authentic BBQ flavor is to cook it long and slow in a smoker. The two biggest reasons are that smokers give you the most control over temperature and the amount of smoke that is infused into the meat.

Temperature Control

One of the keys to success in barbequing is to maintain a consistent temperature. Smokers are designed to hold within 5-10 degrees of your desired temperature without any extra work from you.  In fact, the trust in the power of smoker consistency allows even the most fretful pitmaster the opportunity to put in the meat and then walk away (or even go to bed). While you can try to smoke meat on a normal grill, the spikes and inconsistencies in temperature can affect the overall quality of your final product.

Smoke

One of the truest tests of good barbeque is the size and definition of the smoke ring. The smoke ring is a pink ring that is created on the surface of the meat due to the mix between the moisture of the meat and the nitrogen dioxide that is emitted from the wood chips. Smokers allow the meat to absorb more of the meat, creating a more defined smoke ring – and a stronger flavor in the meat.

If you are wanting to get the best quality and flavor out of your barbeque, then a smoker is something that you definitely want to add to your cooking arsenal.

Gas Grills 101

Along with charcoal and electric, gas is one of the three main choices you have when selecting a grill. Gas grills have made huge strides in technology over the years, and have become an extremely popular choice in many households.  In this article we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of cooking with a gas grill.

There are two main reasons that gas grill enthusiasts love their gas grills: speed and precision. Gas grills work very similarly to your indoor gas oven.  They are fueled by either natural gas or liquid propane, and are easy to turn on.  Once the gas grill is turned on, it can take less than 10 minutes for it to reach its optimal cooking speed.  This is a fraction of the time that it take for a more traditional charcoal grill to heat up, which means that gas grills have been easily incorporated into everyday cooking.

The other big benefit is precision.  Like your indoor stove, gas grills often have different burners that you can control with the turn of a knob.  Not only does this give your more control over the exact heat that your food is cooked on, you can have the different burners at different temperatures.  This means you can cook your meat at one temperature, and your vegetables at another.  Both will get the exact amount of heat that you want them to receive, which means that you have much more control over how the final product will be cooked.  This is a huge advantage over more traditional charcoal grills, where you have to depend on making hot or cool spots.

One final big benefit to gas grills are the ease with which you can clean up after your meal.  Gas grills simply need to be turned off and the grill grate cleaned.  There is no need to worry about or mess with disposing any ashes.

For BBQ purists, the biggest drawback to gas grills is that it is hard to get the traditional smoky BBQ flavor that is possible with a charcoal grill. However, it is possible to purchase accessories, such as a smoker box, to attach to your grill.

Make sure that you take a look at all the different pros and cons of charcoal, gas, and electric grills before you make the choice that is right for you.  At that point, you can be content that you will get the exact BBQ experience that you are craving!