Category Archives: Grill Tips

Great Grilling Tips

How to Throw a Fantastic Memorial Day Party

Memorial Day weekend is usually the kick-off of the summer.  Not only is the weather starting to warm up, but the kids are getting ready to get out of school, and summer planning is in full swing.

One great way to have a great Memorial Day weekend is to throw a fantastic barbecue for your family and friends.  Here are a few suggestions to help you in the planning and hosting a memorable Memorial Day party.

The first thing you need to do is to pick your venue.  If it’s a small gathering, consider your backyard, which can be a fun, yet intimate venue.  Memorial Day parties are also a great day to open up the pool.  If you don’t have a pool in your backyard, considering going to your community pool or local club.

Once you have your venue, the next thing to do is to pick a theme.  Themes will help you in your decorating, your menu, your invitations, and in picking your games.

Themes can be as simple or as elaborate as you want – you are only limited by your imagination. With the nature of the holiday, and as a great reminder that Memorial Day is to remember those who have sacrificed their lives in order for America to stay free, consider including patriotic colors and decorations in your theme, including an American flag. Make sure that you have plenty of festive decorations.

Balloons and streamers are a great way to get everyone into the party spirit.

The next step is to create your guest list and send out the invitations. Make sure that the size of your guest list is appropriate for your venue. Invitations can either be sent through traditional paper invitations or, for a more causal feeling, consider using the ever more popular email or electronic invitations.

Things that you need to plan before the big day are your menu, your set-up, and your activities.  Traditionally, Memorial Day parties are a great excuse to break out the barbeque.  Grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken are standard Memorial Day fare, along with chips and dip, salads (including fruit, macaroni, and potato), and corn.  And make sure that you don’t forget the drinks and desserts.

Once you know your menu, make sure that you have tables set up that will handle all the plates of food. Set up tables and chairs that will accommodate all your guests as well as leave space for any games or activities that you want to have available.

Some of the most traditional Memorial Day activities include volleyball, horseshoes, and baseball, as well as pool games such as Marco/Polo, sharks and minnows, or races.

By following all these steps, you can make sure that you will have a fun Memorial Day party that will be enjoyed by all who come.

 

Safe Ash Disposal

We’re all about safety at TheBBQDepot.com

If you are the owner of a charcoal grill, ashes are a part of your culinary experience.

While barbecuing can be one of summer’s greatest activities, it is unfortunate that the improper storage and disposal of ashes is one of the biggest problems of deck and house fires – especially during the hot and dry summer months. In order to make sure that you and your family have a safe time barbecuing, it is important that you follow the important steps in disposing of your ashes properly.

The most important steps to disposing your ashes is making sure that you give them adequate time to cool. If possible, keep the ashes in the same place for several days before trying to dispose of them. Embers can stay concealed under a pile of seemingly cold ashes, and can easily reignite a fire for several days after it has been extinguished.

A few things to remember before you start to dispose of your ashes:

  • Never use a vacuum to suck up ashes
  • Never put your ashes into a plastic container or bag
  • Never put your ashes into a cardboard box
  • Never place your ashes into a container that has previously held combustible fluids or fumes

Once your ashes have been adequate time to cool, transfers them to an approved ash metal bucket.  Don’t try to transfer the ashes on windy days, as the wind can spread the ashes around your yard.

Once your ashes are safely in your metal bucket, wet the ashes down to help get rid of any lingering embers. Cover the ashes with a tight fitting metal lid to make sure that they do not leave the bucket. Until you are ready to throw the ashes out, keep your ash bucket at a safe distance from your home or any other buildings.

When you are ready to get rid of your ashes, make sure that you are familiar with the disposal rules and regulations of your county.  Some areas will allow you to throw out your properly extinguished ashes into your normal garbage can.  Again, it is important that they have had a least a week to cool and have been thoroughly wetted down in order to prevent fires from staring in the garbage trucks. Many counties have disposal stations where you can bring your ashes in order to make sure they are properly taken care of.

 

Grill Safety – Charcoal Grills

When you are getting ready to enjoy the wonders of a barbecued meal, the last thing that you want is to damper the occasion through a grill accident.  Each type of grill has its own unique dangers as well as the precautions that you, as the griller, need to take to make sure that you and everyone around you remain safe.

One of the biggest dangers inherent to a charcoal grill is the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. When charcoal is burned, it produces the colorless, odorless gas carbon monoxide that can quickly reach toxic levels.  In fact, every year, there are about 30 people who are killed and 100 people that are injured from the carbon monoxide fumes that emit from charcoal grills. (Source: http://www.clevelandcounty.com/emfm/grillsaf.htm)

The easiest way to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning is to never use charcoal grills indoors. This includes homes, tents, and campers. Carbon monoxide accumulates quickest in closed environments and can reach toxic levels even when there is ventilation. Since carbon monoxide is emitted from coals until the moment they are completely extinguished, this also means that you should never store a grill inside that has freshly used coals.

Outside of carbon monoxide poisoning, there are other simple fire safety steps that you can take to make sure that you have no problems while you are at the grill.  The first step is to properly prepare your grill.  Keep it a safe distance from any buildings, tress, or other items that could catch fire. It is also extremely important that you keep any children or pets away from the designated grill area.  Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in the case of any small fire emergencies.

Specifically with charcoal, make sure that once your charcoal is lit that you refrain from adding additional lighter fluid. This is a dangerous practice lighter fluid turns to gas at low temperature. This means that as the fire can return into the fluid container, which will lead to an explosion. Always follow the instructions on the lighter fluid container.

The final steps in grill safety are how you prepare your personal self.  Never wear loose clothing while you are grilling.  Loose clothing can accidentally pass over the flames, catching yourself on fire.  The other big precautionary step is to always use appropriate, specifically designed grill utensils.  Grill utensils have longer handles, which allow you to keep a safe distance away from the flame.

 

Cooking the Perfect Steak

Steaks are the epitome of barbeque cooking.  Yet, cooking the perfect steak can sometimes seem like an impossible task.  In order to get the steak perfectly charred on the outside, yet juicy on the inside, here are some simple steps to follow.

Have everything ready to go.  The best chefs and barbeque masters know that preparation is the first, and essential step, to making any great food.  Place all necessary plates, utensils, accessories, and seasonings near your BBQ so that they are readily accessible whenever you may need it.  Not only does this help you in the timing of cooking your perfect steak, it also keeps your, your loved ones, and your home safe from the dangers of an unattended grill.

Once everything is ready, the next steps is to light your grill.  Depending on the type of grill that you own, make sure that you light the grill with plenty of time for it to heat up and be ready to cook.  Charcoal grills take the longest to heat up, while gas and electric grills need a much shorter preparation time.

Once your grill is lit, the time has come to take the steaks out of the refrigerator.  Room temperature steaks cook more evenly than cold steaks, so make sure that they have plenty of time to warm up before you place them on the grill. If you are using a marinade, leave the steak in the marinade until it is time to put it on the grill.

Otherwise, prepare the steak for cooking by brushing both sides of the steak with a light layer of olive oil and a generous dusting of salt and pepper. When you’re grill is ready for the steaks, there is one final step in your preparation.

If you are using a charcoal grill, move the now gray-ish colored charcoals over to one side in order to create a cooler spot on the grill.  On any grill, keep the steak away from large or jumping flames.  The flame size will increase as the juices and fat run down the sides of the steak.  These flames can burn the outside of your steak and should be avoided.

The amount of time that you leave a steak on the grill depends on how “done” you want your steak, as well as its size and thickness. For a one-inch thick steak, “rare” will be 5 minutes on the first side and 3 on the second.  Medium-rare is 5 minutes and then 4. Medium is 6 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second. And well done is 8 minutes on the first side and 6 minutes on the second.  If you want to create the diamond pattern on your steak, leave the steak on the grill for 2-3 minutes and then, with a pair of tongs, rotate it 45 degrees, and cook it for the remaining time on the side.  Always use a pair a tongs when rotating of flipping your teaks in order to keep them juicy.  Stabbing or cutting your steak will cause the moisture and juices to run out of the steak, leaving it dry.

Once the steak is done, take it of the grill and let it rest on a wooden board for 5 minutes before cutting into it.  This will help keep the meat juicy, and leave you with the perfect steak.

 

 

Grilling Essentials – Utensils

When you’re planning the perfect BBQ,  you always want to make sure that you have the right tools on hand.  Here’s a look at some of the best utensils that you can add to your BBQ arsenal to help the ease of your cooking and the quality of your food.

Grilling Tongs

Tongs are one of the most essential grilling utensils.  Grilling tongs have a longer body length, which keeps your hands far from the heat while allowing you to turn the different pieces of meat of vegetables with ease.

Meat Handlers

For those of you who want to create the most tender pulled pork, meat handlers are a great utensil to have in your BBQ arsenal. These two, heat-resistant, utensils help pull and shred your pork perfectly and also help you transfer the meat to the plates of your guests with ease.

Marinade Turbocharger

If you are a lover of marinades, increase their potential through the use of a marinade turbocharger.  This spiky device is plunged into the meat, creating holes that prepare the meat to better soak up both wet and dry marinade.

Grill Fork

A grill fork is a special grill utensil that aids in your placement and flipping of your meat.  The extra long handle protects your hands from the heat while the sharp fork easily pierces the meat, giving you full control over its motions.

Silicone Basting Brush

A basting brush allows you to brush your meat and vegetables with the marinades that you have prepared. A silicone brush will last longer than a normal brush, cleans-up easier, and will remain odor-free.

Thermometer

Thermometers allow you to monitor the temperature of your meat, making sure that you get your meat to your desired level.  It all lets you know if your meat is cooking evenly, allowing you to either adjust the heat or the position of your meat on the grill.

Meat Cleaver

If you like cooking full pieces of meat (such as whole chickens) or ribs, then it is important to keep a meat cleaver in your tool kit.  A cleaver will let you hack through the bones of the meat without any issues.

Wide Spatula

Make sure that you get an extra wide, stainless steel spatula to use on your grill. The sharp edge will allow you to slide easily under a piece of meat and the size will make sure that the full piece of meat gets picked up with ease.  Also look for a spatula with holes or perforations in order to keep your food from getting soggy.

Grill Safety – A Must Read

Grill Safety – Gas Grills

At The BBQ Depot, Grilling Safety is our number ONE priority.

Every year thousands of people enjoy the flavor of food that comes off the BBQ. At the same time, about 30 people per year are injured in a gas grill explosion. (Source:  http://www.clevelandcounty.com/emfm/grillsaf.htm)

In order to enjoy the food without the danger, there are several precautions that you need to take.

The first step in gas grill safety happens before you ever turn it on.  Whether you’re using a new grill for the first time or firing up a grill you’ve had forever, preparing your grill properly will greatly reduce any potential gas explosions.  Make sure that you are well versed in your manufacturer instructions for your particular grill, and refer to that manual whenever you have any questions.

Before you turn on the grill, you want to check for any gas leaks. Turn on the gas and if you can smell gas or detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and do not try to light the grill until the leak is found and repaired. Do not attempt to repair the leak yourself, but call a professional repairperson to inspect your grill.

Once you know that the gas line is secure, check your tubes for any blockage and your hoses for any cracks, leaks or bends.  Blockages can be cleared with pipe cleaner or wire and damaged tubing should be replaced.

Once your grill has been inspected, the second thing is to prepare the area around the grill, as well as yourself.  Always use your gas grill outside, and keep it at least 10 feet away from any building. Remove your hoses from hot surfaces and dripping grease.  Keep all children and pet away from the grill and make sure that you always have a fire extinguisher nearby.

As an extra level of protection, never wear loose clothing while you are grilling and use utensils that are designed for grill use, as they keep you farther away from the fire.

If your grill does catch fire, there are several quick measures that you can take.  If you are simply at the point that the fire in the grill in out of your control, first turn the burners off to extinguish the flame. If the fire is in one of the hoses, check to  see if you have safe access to the propane tank valve and if you are safe, shut the tank valve off. If the fire is in the tank, or if you feel like you cannot extinguish it without causing harm to yourself, evacuate the area around the grill and call the fire department.