Archive for the ‘Grill Accessories’ Category

Stoneware

Grilling stones are important pieces of equipment for any outdoor chef who progresses beyond the novice stage in his grilling. Stoneware allows the chef to use the grill for a host of new applications previously impossible with only the grate.

There is more to successfully using grilling stones than just buying one and tossing it on the grill. A number of features and techniques ought to be considered. Stoneware

Stoneware Types

The pizza stone is perhaps the most popular stone item used for cooking. Pizza stones are ideally suited for the round charcoal grill because of their compatible shape. Many companies now offer square and rectangle cooking stones to accommodate the shapes of a variety of grills. In addition to this, specialized stoneware can now be purchased. Bread pans, pie pans, even muffin pans can be found that are made of stone. Many of these specialized shapes are not useful with the grill. In fact, because of their shape, these specialized stoneware pans do not take advantage of the unique properties of stone as a cooking method.

Stoneware Use

Why use cooking stoneware rather than just placing food on the grill grate? In many situations, cooking your food directly on the grate is the best method. The stone is no place for a steak, chicken breast, or pile of vegetables; these foods benefit from exposure to the flame. However, if some foods were placed on the grate, they would immediately fall through the cracks and meet a fiery end. Anything involving dough, especially, is best cooked on a stone. With the exception of the flatbread style grilled pizza, where the dough is stiff enough to hold its shape without the stone, breads are almost always cooked on the stone.

When selecting your cooking stone, be sure to get one that is thick and heavy. Some stoneware will indicate on the packaging how hot the stone can get without cracking. This is an important factor to consider because some stones cannot withstand exposure to the harsh flame of the grill. If a stone is too weak, it will crack when the cool dough hits the hot surface of the stone. The temperature differential causes stress within the stone, causing a crack that can be explosive.

Stoneware Alternatives

A number of stone alternatives exist. At their core, they do the same thing: store heat and transfer it to your food. Some stoneware alternatives are made of cast iron, they are thick and will not crack under stress. However, cast iron is heavy and tends to be expensive compared to typical cooking stones.

Another stoneware alternative is made of lava rock. The advantage of the lava stone is that it is lightweight and can be seasoned to impart unique flavor to your food. Because of its natural lightweight internal structure, it is less susceptible to cracking. Lava stone also is quite expensive when compared to typical stoneware.

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BBQ Thermometer

In many areas of life, the best things often come in small packages. Grilling is no exception. One of the most important grilling tools you will ever own is likely one of the smallest. That tool is the BBQ thermometer.

BBQ Thermometer Basics

A quality thermometer allows you to accurately monitor the internal temperature of your meat. Whether you are looking for a perfectly crusted rare steak, a tender pork tenderloin, or fall-off-the-bone pulled pork barbecue, the BBQ thermometer helps you achieve consistent results every time.

Many hold the chef in high esteem who has a “6th sense” about the doneness of his meat. Some outdoor chefs are able, with the prod of a finger, to determine with astonishing accuracy how done their meat is. This skill is developed with many years of experience and is rarely mastered by any but the most proficient chefs. For the rest of us, there is the BBQ thermometer. It’s the tool that lets you grill like a master every time.

BBQ Thermometer

BBQ Thermometer Types

A variety of BBQ thermometers are available for use, and some are more effective than others. The two main types of meat thermometers are known as instant-read thermometers and leave-in thermometers. For the sake of this article we will limit our discussion to digital thermometers because of their accuracy and rare need for calibration.

Instant-read BBQ thermometers are designed to be inserted into the meat during the cooking process. Upon insertion, the BBQ thermometer reads the meat temperature, displays it for the chef, and is removed from the meat. A good instant-read thermometer is able to accurately read the temperature of the meat within 1 to 3 seconds of being inserted. Unfortunately, the vast majority of instant-read thermometers fall far short of this benchmark. The lower quality instant-read thermometers either sacrifice accuracy for a rapid

temperature reading, or vice versa. Few attain both accuracy and speed, and the ones that do are relatively expensive. The Thermapen, made by Thermoworks, is one high quality instant-read BBQ thermometer that has gained a reputation for accuracy and speed. It is recommended by many chefs worldwide and has become the industry standard for such thermometers.
Leave-in BBQ thermometers are designed to be inserted into the meat before cooking and left there until the cooking is done.

These thermometers are typically more affordable because they only have to achieve one thing: accuracy. Some home chefs are concerned that the wire connecting the probe to the thermometer will melt in the grill or oven. This is typically not a problem because the wire is coated with a plastic coating that can withstand high temperatures. Many companies offer good leave-in thermometers, but Polder has gained a name for quality in the grilling community. They offer a variety of leave-in thermometers, some with more than one probe, and some with wireless alert systems that can even send a message to your smartphone when your meat is done.

BBQ Thermometer Use

Both thermometer types have their strengths and weaknesses. The instant-read thermometer is perhaps the more versatile of the two, but its cost can be prohibitively high for the average home chef. The leave-in thermometer works well for larger cuts of meat such as pork shoulder or loin, but can mar the visual appeal of more delicate meats like salmon or chicken. For steaks that are 12 ounces or more, either thermometer type works well. Less than 12 ounces and the steak can get too thin for the leave-in thermometer.

Whether you opt for the more costly instant-read or slow and steady leave-in bbq thermometer, use it to achieve the perfect medium-rare steak that will astound your friends and family.

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Charcoal

At the beginning of human history, mankind made the earth-shattering discovery that the application of heat makes food taste considerably better, and so began one of the longest-standing cultural centerpieces of all time: cooking.

Charcoal Basics

It was only relatively recently in the human timeline that heat came from anywhere other than an open flame fueled by axe-felled firewood. Today, we have the gas and electric oven which domesticate the heat-to-food application, taming it so that cooking can be done indoors. However, the rustic and smoky flavors of food cooked over an open flame will never be domesticated and brought indoors. These are the wild flavors of the outdoors, as free as the nature they are derived from.

At some point in human development, mankind realized that the ideal fuel for a cooking fire would be relatively controllable, with low smoke and minimal flare-up potential. At some length, humans discovered that they could drive away all of the uncontrollable, smoky, flare-up prone elements of firewood by cooking them off ahead of time. After wood has been heated to burning temperatures for several hours and then cooled, what remains is only the burnable elements of wood. This became known as charcoal, the fuel that burns long and hot with minimal smoke and maximal predictability.

Charcoal

Charcoal Types

The first and longest-lasting type of charcoal is lump charcoal. This is, quite simply, wood that has been heated in a kiln to temperatures at which it would normally burn. Heating the wood chunks to this level for several hours causes the wood to shrink as water and other natural impurities are burned off, leaving behind only the carbon structure of the wood.

The second and more common type of charcoal in this modern age is charcoal briquettes. Charcoal briquettes are made in almost the same manner as lump charcoal, except the wood has been ground into sawdust and pressed together into uniform shapes. This sawdust is bound together by a number of chemicals that help it to hold its shape.

Which Type is Better?

Both lump and briquette charcoal perform the task of outdoor cooking superbly. Both light easily, impart great flavor, and burn controllably and predictably. However, most grill masters tend to prefer one over the other. Some maintain staunchly that the purity of lump charcoal clearly makes it superior to the chemical-pumped briquette. Others herald predictability imparted by the geometric shape of the briquette. Both sides can agree on one thing, however: no matter what type of charcoal you choose, it’s better than gas.

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Big Green Egg Accessories, “Eggcessories”

Finding Big Green Egg accessories (“eggcessories”) can cause a problem because of BGE’s unique shape and size. Find out how to find the best ones for your grill!

You see, so many of the common universal grill accessories are not well suited for the job.

BGE accessories are referred to by the community as “Eggcessories” and are made by the Big Green Egg company, or a number of other manufacturers. Only products manufactured by Big Green Egg are covered under their warranty and guaranteed against defects.  Big Green Egg accessories

Big Green Egg Accessories: Grill parts

The Big Green Egg consists of just a few component parts. Besides the core of the Egg, the base and dome, there are only 9 other peices: the lid, thermometer, hinge band, cooking grate, gasket, fire ring,  fire box, fire grate, and draft door.

Find out where the get the best BGE accessories!

All of the Big Green Egg’s components are simple to access and replace if necessary, and the ceramic components are warrantied for life. Perhaps the two most commonly upgraded components of the BGE are the thermometer and gasket. The thermometer is a basic model and has been known to lose accuracy over time.

An OEM replacement can be ordered, but nearly any grill thermometer works as a replacement. The OEM gasket that comes on the BGE is made of basic felt and is responsible for sealing the joint between the base and dome.

This felt gasket is prone to melting or burning at high temperatures so it is often replaced with a high quality  Nomex gasket. The Nomex gasket is also available from Big Green Egg and is made of flame retardant material so it is more durable than the felt gasket.

Big Green Egg Accessories: Upgrades and accessories

Perhaps more prominent than the BGE components are the upgrades and accessories. A wide variety of products are available to aid and enhance the use of the Big Green Egg. One of the most useful accessories is the plate setter, a ceramic stone that is designed to be placed between the fire and the cooking grate for indirect grilling.

The plate setter can also be used as a cooking stone for pizza and bread in a pinch. Other baking stones are available as well, care should be given when selecting a stone for grilling. Not all stones can withstand prolonged exposure to direct flame and may crack when pizza or bread is delivered to their surface for cooking.

Upgraded stands are available for the Big Green Egg to give it a work area on either side. The basic metal “nest” gives the Egg portability, but a common complaint is that there is no prep area for food or tools. A number of wooden or metal stands are available to remedy this problem.

Get the best BGE accessories!

Big Green Egg Accessories: Best Place to Find Them?

What’s the point of having an excellent grill that’s merely factory made? Make it yours! If you upgrade your BGE, then you’ll begin to enjoy it more. Having friends over for a bbq will be much more fun and exciting. Not only will you be able to talk about your grill, you’ll be able to talk about the awesome accessories and how they’ve made grilling much more enjoyable. And hey, if it gets you back inside faster, even your wife will like it!

The Big Green Egg is a truly wonderful grill and smoker and Big Green Egg accessories allow you to upgrade and personalize for your convenience and enjoyment.

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Grill Brush Basics

Along with warmer temperatures and baseball games, spring brings the reemergence of the grill to our patios. Outdoor grilling is an American pastime that most of the country has participated in, but in order to enjoy your grill to its greatest potential, you’ll have to perform some routine maintenance.

Grill Brush Basics

The mouth-watering images of sizzling bratwurst and juicy burgers entice us to our grills as soon as the weather allows. Before you throw that first burger on the bbq and declare yourself grillmaster, you may want to inspect your grill and do a little maintenance beyond using a grill brush on the racks. Performing  a heavy duty grill cleaning once a year will add life to your grill and flavor to your food. Performing a lighter but thorough cleaning after each use will also keep your family safe from food-borne illnesses. Simply turning the knob to high for twenty minutes will not break down and sanitize the food residue left after previous uses.Grill Brush

Grill Brush Use on Gas Grills

If you use a gas grill, you should clean the burners regularly. Grease created during cooking drips on to the burners and creates a build-up, resulting in wear and rust. Cleaning the burners with a grill brush will lengthen the life of your grill.  While cleaning the burners, make sure you inspect and unclog the burner ports. You should look for cracks and foreign debris. Cleaning the burner ports will keep your food cooking evenly, and improve the life of your grill for many seasons to come. This little tip will save you money and keep your food quality top notch.

Cleaning Charcoal Grills

If you prefer the smoky flavor of charcoal, here are some tips to keep your grill going all summer long. Consider how long those ashes have been sitting at the bottom of the pan. Have they sat there all winter long, collecting moisture and rusting a hole through the bottom of your grill? Removing ashes as soon as they’ve cooled and using a grill brush on the rack will keep your grill looking and cooking great.

When not in use, your grill needs a grill cover to shield it against harsh weather elements. If you live on the coast, salt will corrode and rust away the grill. If you live in the north, snow and ice will be your problem. Harsh sun may damage any wood or plastic attached to the exterior of your grill. A grill cover can reduce these dangers and protect your grill.

Whether you grill with propane or charcoal, a good wire grill brush with stiff bristles is the best defense against wear and tear. Keeping your grill clean and rust-free will give it the longest life possible.

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BBQ Mitts

If you have done any amount of backyard barbecuing, you know how easy it is to get your hands in the wrong place and suffer a nasty burn.

Sometimes you may just wish you could get your hands in there to handle that unruly piece of meat. BBQ gloves let you do just that. You no longer have to depend solely on those unwieldy barbecue tools; instead, you can stick your hands right in and get the job done right. But before you do, make sure you choose the right pair.

BBQ MittsBasic BBQ Mitts

BBQ gloves need to fulfill two basic requirements: they must have enough pliability to allow a fair amount of dexterity, and they must have enough heat resistance to protect hands from burning. Manufacturers have come up with all kinds of different materials to accomplish these goals including leather, rawhide, treated cotton, neoprene, Kevlar, Nomex, and silicone.

Materials that focus solely on heat protection often sacrifice pliability. This results in mitts that are hard to maneuver and can lead to accidental dropping or smashing of food. On the other hand, a focus on pliability can sacrifice heat resistance, resulting in uncomfortably hot temperatures, sweating, and burns. The best mitts are those that successfully meet both criteria.

What to Look For in BBQ Mitts

  • Flare-Up Protection–BBQ grilling invariable involves unexpected flame flare-ups. It is important that the BBQ gloves you choose not only resist the radiant heat of extended periods close to the flame, but also withstand actual contact with the flames. If they fail to do so, they may ignite and cause serious burns to the hands. Cotton gloves tend to be the least flare-up safe, but watch the stitching material on other gloves. Some stitching can be flammable.
  • Length–Many BBQ gloves are relatively short (around 12 inches). This length may protect the hands, but it doesn’t cut it for active grilling.  Many grills are up to 35 inches deep. Reaching across a grill that deep with 12-inch gloves will leave areas of the arm exposed to pretty intense temperatures. Fifteen-inch gloves are better, but the 17 or 18-inch lengths seem to offer the best protection without sacrificing maneuverability.
  • Washable–An often  overlooked factor in BBQ gloves is their ease of cleaning. BBQ is messy, from the cooking to the eating, and while it may be easy to wash up your hands after enjoying a nice meal, cleaning some of the gloves may be a chore. Choose gloves that can be easily washed up with soap and water, both inside and out. There are always those times when you forget and stick your raw-meat covered hands into the gloves.

Ready for the Grill

BBQ mitts may revolutionize your outdoor cooking experience. Hands-on ability really improves cooking dexterity and ensures the finest cooked meals, the kind that will impress your friends and family. Choose your mitts well and enjoy your days of grilling!

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BBQ Igniters

The BBQ igniter is a simple tool with many applications. Of course, it is made for the primary purpose of lighting gas grills. Unfortunately, however, BBQ igniters sometimes get a bad reputation for being undependable.

BBQ Igniters: The Little Tools that Accomplish Great Things

It seems like every time you want to light the grill, the igniter fails to work properly. This requires you to go in the house and dig around for a match or lighter to get your grill going. A little known fact is that the igniter is rarely the cause of such undependability. More often, the burners are not properly feeding fuel to the igniter, which makes it difficult to light.BBQ igniters

How a BBQ Igniter Works

BBQ igniters use piezo electricity to create a spark that lights the gas in a grill. When we think of electricity, we think of plugging something into a wall, or inserting fresh batteries to power a device.

Piezo electricity is different from what we normally think of as electricity. If you speak Greek, you will recognize the word “piezo” as meaning pressure. Piezo electricity is essentially an electromagnetic charge generated by applying pressure to something. There are certain crystal elements that produce electricity when they are struck with force. In a BBQ igniter, one of these piezo electric crystals is struck, which causes it to emit a spark to light the grill. The spark is small and only lasts for a split second, but it is all that the gas needs to light quickly.

What to Do When Your Grill Won’t Light

If your grill won’t light after you’ve turned on the gas and hit the igniter, there are a few steps to diagnose the problem. Remember to turn off the gas and remove the propane tank completely before attempting any diagnosis or repairs.

1. With the gas turned off and the tank removed, locate the igniter element and watch it as you press the igniter button. If you see a small spark jump across the element, you know your ignition issues are not caused by the igniter. If there is no spark, your easiest option may be to get a replacement igniter. BBQ igniters are available at many online retailers.

2. If you see a spark on the igniter, the problem is likely with the gas burners. With the propane tank still safely disconnected, remove the burners one by one and check for signs of blockage. If there is any blockage in the burners, replace them.

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BBQ Accessories

Ah, the hot days of summer! Swimming, boating, camping, and of course grilling! But do you have the right BBQ accessories to make your bbq grilling experience a sensational success?

Having the right tools makes any job easier and more enjoyable. Barbecuing is no different. You need more than charcoal and a lighter to cook up some mouthwatering meals.

BBQ Accessories: Charcoal Starters

To do the job right, get the right tools!

A charcoal chimney allows you to burn the charcoal from the bottom up for a more even heating; charcoal goes on top and newspaper goes underneath. You want to look for durability and safe handling options as well as rust-resistant materials.

An electric charcoal starter allows you to ignite the charcoal without the use of lighter fluid; however, you do need a source of electricity. Again, look for rust-resistant materials and safety features.

A grill igniter is most often found in gas grills, but a grill igniter kit can be purchased as well; it consists of a gas collector box, ceramic electrode, wire, and an igniter push button.

BBQ Accessories: Grilling Tools

Grill Wear: Every good barbeque master should have a bbq apron, bbq gloves and mitts; of course, the most popular apron is “The Grill Sergeant.” Be sure your gloves and mitts are flame resistant.

Grilling Utensils: A good set of BBQ tools should include a bbq brush for lathering on the sauces, a bbq fork, and a bbq spatula for flipping as well as grilling tongs, a meat thermometer, and skewers for the ever-popular shish kabobs.

Flavor Enhancing: Bisquettes, grill toppers, grilling planks, hickory wood chips, mesquite wood chips, and smoker chips enhance the flavor of your meat and vegetables without loading on the spices.

Accessories for the Grill:
The serious barbecue chef may want to add BBQ lights, drip pans, flavorizer bars, grill baskets, grill carts, grill covers, grill racks, grill rotisseries, grill stands and carts, grill grates, a jalepeno rack, a rib rack, and a propane gas gauge meter to his list of necessary BBQ accessories.

Grill Maintenance: When the grilling is done, the cleanup is begun. A grill brush and grill wipes get the job done quickly and cleanly so that the next time you are ready to fire up the grill, it is all ready to go. Keeping the grill clean will also prolong the life of your grill.

BBQ Accessories: Grilling Supplies

So get your charcoal, fire starters, and propane. Turn up the heat and cook up the meat. With the right BBQ accessories, you will be cooking up tasty tidbits in no time.

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