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1. Shopping for the Right BBQ Grill? These Tips can Help

Selecting the right BBQ grill can be a real challenge. After all, your goal is to create fabulous food your family and friends will love, right? Your grill choice has a lot to do with the final product as well as the ease of the overall cooking process. Before you shop, keep these tips in mind so you’ll come out with the ideal BBQ grill to meet your needs.

Think About Fuel: Grills run on a number of different fuels these days. You can get one that runs on your home’s natural gas hookups. You can go with the more traditional charcoal style BBQ grill. You could also go with a popular propane grill. There are even specialized grills that run on wood and pellet fuel. You need to decide what fuels are available in your area to get started. You also need to factor in taste, here. There are many BBQ aficionados that swear by one fuel type or another, so do some reading before you begin narrowing your choices.

Consider Sizes: BBQ grill size is measured by the square inches on the cooking surface, so you need to think about two things in this area. First, think about how much space you actually have to house a grill. If you have an entire patio or deck, bigger may be your thought process. If you’re living in a fairly small condo or apartment, you’ll have to go with something smaller. In addition to how much physical space you have to store a grill, though, you may also want to think about how many people you’ll be cooking for on a regular basis. If you’re alone most of the time, you don’t need much space on the grill. If you have an entire family and you entertain on a regular basis, you’ll certainly want look at BBQ grills that are much bigger.

Features and More: Need a sink beside your BBQ grill? How about a burner on the side to prepare some delicious side dishes? Just need one that will cook hamburgers and hot dogs? From your basic black grill that will cook your Sunday chicken to beautiful stainless steel choices that will allow you to prepare a four course meal in your outdoor kitchen, BBQ grills aren’t what they used to be, so do a bit of research on the features that might suit your needs best before you ever hit the store so you don’t get overwhelmed with your choices.

BBQ grills have much to offer, but a bit of extra research before you start the process will help you get the features you want at a price you’ll love.

The BBQ Depot offers a wide range of barbecue grills, parts and accessories, The BBQ Depot also sells top quality replacement parts, making it easy for you to replace that one broken part and keep your grill. If you’re grill is broken all together or you’re looking for a new one, we have a large number of top brand name gas grills.

2. Barbeque Gas Grills — The Safety Tips You Need Now

In the world of barbeque, gas grills are quickly taking their place as the top of the line, and for good reason. They’re easy to use, and they’re fairly economical too. Unlike with charcoal choices, it takes very little time to heat up the grill, so you’re ready to go as soon as you get home from work. As convenient as they are, though, they’re not necessarily the safest cooking instruments in the world. Fortunately, following these safety tips can help you avoid accidents with your next grilled meal.

Don’t Overfill — As you probably know, when it comes to the world of barbeque, gas grills require additional propane at some point. In some cases, you may be headed to a refill station to get the gas you need to grill. If that’s the case, make certain you don’t overfill the tank.

With a 20 pound cylinder, you should only fill it to 80 percent capacity. That gives it a bit of room to expand if necessary, so don’t ask anyone to overfill it for you.

Ventilation is a Must — With any barbeque, gas grills included, you have to grill in a well-ventilated area. Carbon monoxide can easily build up in an enclosed space, which can make it dangerous for you and anyone else around you. Even if you’re trying to hold an outdoor barbeque, gas grills can create carbon monoxide fumes in a space that isn’t large enough, so make certain you bring your grill out into the open.

Inspect your Grill — In the world of barbeque, gas grills often cause fires for one main reason — an obstruction in the pathway of the fuel. To prevent this problem, you have to check things out on a regular basis. If you ever notice a problem, make the repairs immediately. If you notice a problem while you’re grilling, turn off the grill, make certain you shut the fuel tank off too, then disconnect all of it to prevent a more serious problem from occurring. As you do so, assume everything is very hot, as you could easily get burned during the process.

If you’re planning a barbeque, gas grills are certainly the way to go in many cases. They provide many benefits other types of grills simply can’t, but these safety tips can help you prevent any serious problems and help make certain you get great food every time you light the grill.

 

Tips to Making a Great Shish Kabob

Shish kabobs are a classic barbeque food. The name describes meat, vegetables, and/or seafood that are skewered and then cooked over a grill. While the idea is simple, the amount of variation that can happen on that skewer means that anyone can make a Shish Kabob that is pleasing to their own, unique palette.  This makes them an ideal food for any gathering.

When making a Shish Kabob that are a few things to remember.  The first is to get the right skewers.  Skewers can either be made out of metal or bamboo sticks.  While both work perfectly well, bamboo sticks require a little more preparation.  Due to the nature of the wood, it is suggested that you presoak all the skewers for at least 12 hours.  This will prevent them from burning.

The next thing to consider is the type of meat that you select.  While chicken and beef are the most popular choices, you can also use lamb, pork, and seafood.  The best cuts for Shish kabobs include cutlets, tenderloin, steak and chops, cut into 1 inch pieces and marinated.  Stew meat, roasts, and rib meat do not tend to work well for Shish kabobs. You can also use 1 inch squares of tofu for a vegetarian option. These meats should be complimented by appropriate fruit and vegetable options, such as mushrooms, peppers, squash, zucchini, pineapple, and mango. Vegetables can also be season with a dry seasoning to help enhance their flavor.

To assemble the kabobs, take the skewers (patting the bamboo ones dry) and alternate your favorite meat and vegetable/fruit options. If you are having a party, consider letting everyone assemble their own kabobs so that they have their perfect combination of flavors.  Just make sure that you have the appropriate set up and utensils to prevent cross-food contamination.  This is particularly important as you handle the raw meat and seafood. Leave a ¼ inch gap in between each item on the skewer to help make sure that everything cooks properly. Also make sure that there is enough room at the end of the skewer to hold it.

Once your skewer is fully assembled, place it on a pre-heated, medium heat grill.  Cook the kabob to your desired level of “done-ness,” ensuring that the chicken and seafood are completely cooked through.  At this point your kabob is ready to be lifted off the grill, put on a plate, and devoured.

Simple Chicken Marinades

When you’re getting ready to barbeque, you want to take all the necessary steps to ensure that your food will be packed with flavor.  One of the best ways to do that is to marinade your meat.  Marinade is particularly good on chicken, as it both infuses the meat with flavor and leaves it soft and tender.  Here are 3 simple marinade recipes that you can try this summer and help take your barbequed chicken to a whole new level.

Pineapple

The sweet and fruity flavor of pineapple is a great way to add an exotic sensibility to your barbeque.  To make a pineapple marinade combine 1 cup crushed pineapple with:

1/4 c cider vinegar
1/3 c honey
1/3 c soy sauce

then add:

minced garlic (about 2 cloves worth)
1 tsp ginger powder
and lastly
1/4 tsp powdered cloves

This marinade will make about two cups, and the combination of flavors will transform your chicken into something truly special.


Lemon and Rosemary

Lemons and rosemary are two of the most classic flavors that you can combine with your chicken.  This particular marinade will give you chicken the flavor of a store-bought rotisserie chicken

To prepare this marinade combine the juice of 3 large lemons with 1/4 c fresh rosemary (or 2 T dried rosemary).  Then add:

1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
and lastly
mince garlic (about 4 cloves worth)

The above ingredients will combine to make around 1 cup of marinade for your chicken.


Teriyaki

Teriyaki chicken is a favorite in many households.  To make a truly great teriyaki marinade, try combining the following ingredients.

1 c soy sauce
1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c sugar
1 c water
3 T vegetable oil
2 T distilled white vinegar
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp onion powder
and lastly
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Mix the ingredients until all the sugar is completely dissolved.  The marinade will make around 2 1/2 cups for your chicken.

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!

Marinating Tips

Grilled_steak_marinade_290_294_c1_center_centerAccording to barbecue pro Chris Lilly, “the key to great barceque is sealing in flavor.” One of the best ways to seal in that flavor is to use a marinade.  Marinades season your meat or vegetables while locking in moisture.  Here are a few tips to getting the most out of your marinade.

Prepare the meat

The smaller and thinner the meat, the faster the marinade will be able to penetrate the meat.  Cut your larger pieces of meat into smaller pieces to make sure that every piece gets evenly marinated.

Soak It

Clear plastic containers or plastic bags are some of the best options for soaking the meat in the marinade.  Not only does this decrease the mess, but also by sealing out the air, you actually need less marinade on your meat.  You want to make sure that your meat is completely submerged in the marinade, which means that you need about two cups of marinade for every two pounds of meat.

Give it time

As a general rule of thumb, you want to leave your meat immersed in the marinade for at least thirty minutes. Generally, the longer you leave the meat in the marinade, the better the flavor. If you are using beef or any tough cuts, it is recommended to leave it in the marinade overnight.  This increased amount of time in the marinade will make your beef incredibly tender.  However, while beef is better the longer you leave it in the marinade, chicken can actually be over-marinated.  Over-marinated chicken becomes extremely tough and hard to eat.

Grill it

Once you place your meat on the grill, let the marinade do its work. In order to bring out the full flavor of the marinade on your meat, baste your meat with extra marinade in the last 10 minutes of cooking.  However, be careful that you baste your meat with a freshly made marinade instead of using the original marinade.  Basting the meat with your original marinade that contains raw meat juices can potentially contaminate your cooked meat.

Marinades give you all sorts of flavor potential with your BBQ.  We will share several different recipes on this blog over the next few months to help get you started, but feel free to let your culinary imagination run wild whenever you decide to incorporate a marinade into your meat.  If the process seems daunting, start with the prepared marinades in your local supermarket. As you discover what flavors you like the best, you can even try creating one of your own.

How to Throw a Fantastic Memorial Day Barbecue

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 barbecue.  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.

Essential Grilling Utensils

When you’re planning the perfect BBQ, you always want to make sure that you have the right tools on hand.  In addition to having a great grill and useful accessories, good utensils will make your job easier and help you create delicious barbecued food. Here’s a look at some of the best utensils that you can add to your BBQ arsenal.

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

Meat Handlers
For the grilling chefs 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 forks 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, you can 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 the 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 cook it to your desired level.  It also 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 that will let the excess fat drip off and keep your food from getting soggy.

Visit our grill accessories section to see more great grilling utensils.