Get Away From the Crowd

Get on the water and away from the crowds on your next trip. Our Classic Accessories Pontoon Boat is the best way to get to where the fish are and away from crowded river and lake banks. The perfect day for fishing is also the perfect day for fishing for other anglers in your area.

Our 9-foot pontoon includes a removable transport wheel, providing you a convenient, practical way to get you into the water faster. Featuring 6 mesh, and 6 zippered pockets, this boat has room for all your gear. With oars and a padded swivel seat, this boat includes everything you need to get out to the lake in comfort.

Still Water Fishing for trout in lakes requires different tactics. A pontoon boat allows an angler to cover a lot more water than waders. Trout may congregate in cooler water near an in-flowing stream or an underwater spring and may be lured to bite on a streamer fly. An often successful tactic is to pull a streamer such as a woolly bugger using clear sinking line, behind the watercraft. The somewhat erratic motion of the oars or fins tends to give the streamer an enticing action. Trout also tend to “cruise” transitional areas (e.g. dropoffs, weed bed edges, subsurface river flow at inlets, etc.) Watching for cruising trout and casting well ahead of any visible fish is often successful.



Matt Bohanan, our E-Commerce Sales Manager, says that one of his favorite parts of fly fishing on our pontoon boats is, “Nothing like the feeling of walking on water early in the morning – just us and the fishes!” Easy to transport two boats (even with just a small car), put together, and be on the water in less than 20-minutes. Can nimbly help you get into the hard to reach fishing spots that other boats struggle to go. There always seems to be a couple jealous fisherman wanting to check out my boats in envy every time we go out.” Hands down, his favorite time is sharing this sporting tradition with his son Chase.

That’s just it. Here at Classic Accessories, we get the privilege to be a part of memories being made. Traditions passed on from one generation to the next. Time spent. It’s as simple and as meaningful as that.

Grab the Classic Accessories Pontoon Boat today and get on the water!

Tight Lines Friends.

Get Away From the Crowd

Ravenna Cushions

It’s been quite a busy and hot week; we’re ready to welcome the weekend. Overdue for some quiet relaxation and anticipating long nights enjoying the cool off that comes with sunset? Make sure your patio is ready for some sitting time.

Last week we reviewed and ranked patio furniture materials, and brought up Ravenna Cushions as a solid option for taking any patio furniture material to the next level of comfort, with recommendations for cushion color by material.

Ravenna Cushions make use of the color palette you see on the Ravenna Covers, with the addition of several new, more diverse hues that coordinate with the existing neutral tones in the fabric and webbing of the collection (Dark Taupe, Mushroom, Espresso). Overall Ravenna has a rich, yet reserved color scheme of warm and inviting hues. It works well with colors naturally in your yard as well as the tones you typically find in patio furniture.

 

previous arrow
next arrow
Ravenna Cushions - Dark Taupe
ArrowArrow
Slider

 

Hands down, we think the best feature is the waterfall construction. That, in combination with the fabric’s water resistance, makes sure that Ravenna cushions are ready for quick cleanups after some of life’s small spills. Check out our Product Manager’s quick clean demo:

Ravenna also has click-close straps for easy adjustment and to keep the cushion in place and uses the Classic Accessories foam for added cushion comfort. To see the cushions in action check out the full video below or shop the cushions now.

 

 

 

 

 

Ravenna Cushions

All About Patio Furniture

It’s August, and while it may seem like summer is winding down, it’s really just getting started. There is still plenty of time left for patio lounging and cookouts, making it the perfect time to take a look at your patio and make some choices regarding your style and furniture. We’re doing a deep dive into everything you need to know about patio furniture materials and tips on what you can do to protect your patio furniture, Classic Accessories’ guide to “all-things patio furniture,” if you will.

Know The Material

In the patio furniture world, seven main types of material exist for your patio furniture, each one differing from the others in aesthetics, movability, durability, ease of maintenance, and comfort, as well as what climates/regions they’re best suited for:

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Resin Wicker
  • Wood
  • Wrought Iron
  • PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)
  • Plastic

Note: Mosaic is sometimes included in common patio furniture materials lists. It is not a material, but rather a construction pattern. Mosaic surfaces are common on tables and chairs, and often combine elements of other materials in its creation. If you are interested in mosaic patio furniture you can check out Patio, Home, and Garden’s product page for mosaic furniture.

For this post we decided to use a scoring system for each one of the factors listed above to give each material a total score. At the end of the day, though, it’s up to you to decide what material you like best, but keep in mind the climate of where you live, as some materials are better suited for some climates than others.

Grilling Climates

 

Aluminum

Image by Didricks, Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/17347384434


Aesthetics

Aluminum patio furniture comes in a variety of styles and can be as basic or as elegant as you would like. With aluminum patio furniture, you have the option of selecting from three different builds: tubular, cast, or wrought. Tubular aluminum furniture is made from hollow pieces of aluminum bent into shape, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Wrought and cast aluminum differ in their construction processes, as wrought material is welded by hand, whereas cast material is made from a cast without manual welding or handling.

Cast aluminum furniture is growing in popularity, according to this HGTV article, due to its contemporary style. Unlike cast iron patio furniture, which traditionally has more classic and elegant aesthetics, cast aluminum furniture can take on any style you desire. You can also purchase aluminum furniture in in a variety color schemes, whereas wrought iron and wood, for instance, generally do not have this option. Check out these products for great cast aluminum outdoor furniture.

Score: 18/20


Movability

The second major selling point for cast aluminum furniture, or really any aluminum outdoor furniture, is its movability. Aluminum is both lightweight and strong. Thus, it can easily be rearranged and fit into small spaces, as opposed to its bulky cast iron and steel counterparts. Full sets including tables are also easy to rearrange to your liking. Here are some great sets of cast aluminum patio furniture.

Score: 19/20


Durability

Durability is another fantastic feature of aluminum patio furniture. Since aluminum naturally does not rust, it is perfect for hot and humid regions and climates. Aluminum can corrode. Corrosion is a form of oxidation similar to rusting that leaves a light coating on the aluminum that protects the material from future corrosion, according to theruststore.com. To limit corrosion, though, as it fades the material’s color over time, most aluminum patio furniture comes with a powder coating that adds extra protection.

One downside to aluminum patio furniture is that it less likely to be durable enough to withstand heavy winds, especially because of its light weight, making aluminum patio furniture not the best selection for very windy environments or regions.

Score: 18/20


Maintenance

Aluminum patio furniture maintenance is quick, easy, and less frequent (compared to other types of patio furniture). The Home Depot recommends using car wax or mineral oil on the surface for added protection, as well as regularly cleaning with mild soap and water. When your aluminum patio furniture has corroded, though, here’s an article for caring for the furniture, as well as a more patio-specific article.

Score: 18/20


Comfort

Tubular aluminum patio furniture will most likely not need cushions for comfort and extra support, as they are already built to be comfortable and ready to use. Some cast aluminum sets have built-in mesh seating, like these options. Other sets of aluminum patio furniture, like these Crosley sets, will need cushions (which can add a fun, creative element to your patio furnishing process).

For this type of furniture, our Mushroom or Spice Ravenna cushions, pictured above, are  great color options.

Score: 20/20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weigh-In: Aluminum

Steel


Aesthetics

Steel has a sleek and modern look, but but less variety in build, style, and color than aluminum. Steel patio furniture works well with residential apartments and more modern spaces (cafes and restaurant patios often use steel furniture). Steel is also widely used as the foundation and/or frame for patio furniture with other materials making up the surface and seats. I give steel then a 16 for aesthetics since it doesn’t have much variety or capacity for build, style, or color on its own, but does look nice when paired with other materials. Here are some examples of steel patio furniture, or furniture using steel as a foundational component.

Score: 16/20


Movability

Movability is a concern when it comes to steel patio furniture. Because steel furniture is built for added strength and reinforcement, transporting it or rearranging it can quickly become a hassle. Fortunately, most steel patio furniture comes assembled, at least according to The Home Depot, so the main hassle is getting it to where it needs to be.

Score: 14.5/20


Durability

Steel’s strong suit comes in the form of durability. While steel is a rustable metal, it often comes with a powder coating similar to aluminum, according to Better Homes & Gardens, which can resist rusting. Steel, given its weight and sturdiness, is great for windy environments, and is especially well-suited for a cold and snowy climate, like the northern United States.

Score: 19/20


Maintenance

Caring for steel patio furniture requires a little bit more time than aluminum patio furniture because of steel’s potential to rust. Some companies, such as Target, confirm their steel patio furniture is rust-resistant, but Lowes suggests applying a protective coat of paste wax or naval jelly if the product is not rust-free or rust-resistant. Also, washing occasionally with water and mild soap is good practice for steel patio furniture.

Score: 16.5/20


Comfort

Steel furniture can be constructed in a way to be comfortable alone. For those pieces that are more aesthetic than functional however, cushions can come in handy. For steel furniture, try Empire Blue Ravenna cushions, shown to the right.

Score: 16/20

The Weigh-In: steel

Resin Wicker


Aesthetics

Wicker furniture has a variety of designs and colors, both in cushions and in the actual material. A trending material, resin wicker has been a popular choice in patio furniture since the 2000’s.

Score: 19.5/20


Movability

While it appears large and cumbersome, resin wicker patio furniture is surprisingly movable because of how lightweight it is, which makes for easy arrangement and/or rearrangement on the patio.

Score: 19/20


Durability

Durability is an aspect of wicker that is often underestimated and misunderstood. There is a difference between natural wicker and synthetic wicker, natural wicker being made from rattan, a reed-like material, and synthetic wicker being made from resin (liquids extracted from plant matter) according to patioproductions.com. The term “wicker” is also a term used in reference to a type of weave and the actual material is rattan or resin.

Natural wicker should not be used as outdoor patio furniture due to its susceptibility to most any weather condition, such as rain, sleet, or snow. Any form of moisture can damage it. However, synthetic wicker, or resin wicker, is the perfect material for all weather conditions. There are several types of synthetic resin wicker: PVC wicker, nylon, polyethylene, and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Wicker. According to Patio Productions, HDPE resin wicker is the most commonly recommended type as it is infused with UV inhibitors and made with a high density compound to protect its surface.

Score: 19.5/20


Maintenance

To maintain your resin wicker furniture, simply dust it occasionally and, if looking to do a deep clean of the wicker, use mild detergent and water. Here’s a helpful article that looks into more cleaning specifics for resin wicker furniture.

Our Ravenna collection for your patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, grills, and more.

Even though resin wicker furniture is all-weather, it’s still a good idea to invest in a patio furniture cover (something we recommend). While covers really protect rustable steel and iron, covering your patio furniture regardless of furniture material is an investment that will increase the longevity of your furniture and patio greatly. Adding a cover to your resin wicker furniture will keep harsh weather and storms from weathering and doing incremental damage to the material, which is bound to happen–no material is indestructible. Furthermore, our covers provide protection from UV rays to avoid fading and also have built-in vents so condensation on your chairs and tables is ventilated.

Pro-tip: Never leave your cushions out on your furniture while it’s covered, even if your cushions are all-weather. Having cushions underneath your furniture can lead to mildew and mold, even with vents in the cover.

Score: 20/20


Comfort

Most popular Resin Wicker styles typically come with cushions of some kind, making them comfortable. Others don’t necessarily come with cushions but make use of the curvature of the furniture form and the natural give in the materials for comfort. If you’re looking to up the comfort on up your resin wicker furniture, we recommend Mallard Green Ravenna cushions, shown below.

Score: 20/20 with cushions

The Weigh-In: Resin Wicker

 

 

Wood


Aesthetics

Wood patio furniture is aesthetically pleasing, particularly teak hardwood. Other types of wood for patio furniture include cedar, cypress, pine, oak, acacia, and eucalyptus. According to Better Homes & Gardens, teak, cedar, and ipe are a few of the strongest, most weather-resistant types. Teak is particularly commended for its beauty, and is one of the most popular patio furniture materials out there.

While wood does not give the owner/buyer as much freedom to personalize their patio furniture without cushions, wood can be painted and stained, which gives some room for custom flare and refinishing.

Score: 19/20


Movability

Wood patio furniture is a split between aluminum and steel in terms of movability. Some pieces of wood furniture will, of course, be easier to move than others (a chair can be light while a dining table will require at least two people). The material itself, though, is significantly heavier than aluminum or plastic.

Score: 16/20


Durability

Wood furniture, especially teak, is sturdy and durable against most weather. Teak produces a natural oil that prevents water and moisture from seeping into the wood and causing dry rot, a wood-destroying fungus. Here’s an article on how to treat dry rot, if that’s a current problem for your patio furniture.

During the winter months, it’s advised for most wood furniture to be stored indoors to avoid damage. Teak is an exception mainly because of its natural oil that prevents water seepage, but keep in mind that a silvery patina fading will occur on your wooden patio furniture, even teak, if you keep any type of wooden patio furniture outside. Some like this accent on their wood furniture, but if you want to retain the original, honey color, consider using a cover.

UV rays also deal damage to wood patio furniture, causing fading, and humidity is known to cause warping in the wood, which makes one of our covers perfect to help keep UV rays at bay and excess moisture out.

Score: 16/20


Maintenance

As mentioned above, one of the best things you can do if you own or are looking to invest in wood patio furniture is purchase a cover or a cover set. Since teak is one of the few types of wood that you could leave outside year-round (and that is a stretch considering the silvery patina fading that can occur), wood patio furniture should definitely be covered.

Other useful tips to caring for your wood furniture are:

  • Scrub with a brush and mild soap
  • Dust off occasionally
  • Use teak sealer to preserve color and reduce greying

Score: 16/20


Comfort

Wood patio furniture alone can be less than comfortable given its solid nature and rigidity, but can be improved with the addition of cushions. Cushions can be a way to add a personal touch to the great, rustic look of your wood furniture on your patio.

We recommend a soft accent of color for your cushion assortment on wood furniture. Check out the Mushroom color way in the Ravenna cushion collection for your wood patio furniture.

 

Score: 18/20

The Weigh-In: Wood

 

 

Wrought Iron


Aesthetics

Wrought iron is probably one of the best patio furniture selections for a classic aesthetic look, since it can come in a wide variety of designs and has historically been a very elegant and beautiful choice for an outdoor patio and/or garden. Wrought iron patio furniture is normally seen in bistro sets, benches, chairs, and tables. One setback to the aesthetic appeal of wrought iron patio furniture is that it normally only comes in black or grey and therefore does not have much variety in color. Here are some wrought iron pieces if you’re interested in purchasing or upgrading your patio furniture.

Score: 17.5/20


Movability

Wrought iron is far heavier than aluminum, and is probably on or below par with the movability of wood furniture. Since wrought iron is commonly seen in bistro sets and not full dining sets, movability is more manageable, but moving a bulky bench or table can be a hassle.

Score: 14/20


Durability

Wrought iron is durable because of its strength and weight, which makes it perfect for windy regions. However, iron can rust and while, according to Lowes, “many modern metal frames are rust-resistant and rust-free,” it’s probably a good idea to apply paste wax or naval jelly, as referenced for steel furniture, to prevent rusting if you’re furniture is not rust-free or rust-resistant.

Score: 15.5/20


Maintenance

To maintain wrought iron furniture, use the aforementioned rust-preventative measures, and also try sanding over rust spots that appear. Basic cleaning can be done with mild soap and water, but one caveat is that wrought iron furniture has a tendency to develop cracks after some time of use. To deal with these cracks, it’s recommended to apply a paint coat, which may not resolve the issue totally.

Score: 15.5/20


Comfort

Wrought iron chairs, while aesthetically pleasing, are somewhat uncomfortable without the addition of cushions. For wrought iron, dark taupe cushions make for a subtle color accent.

Score: 15.5/20

The Weigh-In: Wrought Iron

Plastic


Aesthetics

While plastic furniture comes in a variety of colors, one of its main drawbacks is that its less aesthetically pleasing. It does not look as upscale or great as some of the other options we’ve looked at so far. Plastic furniture does, though, give the owner some flexibility location-wise. Since plastic is waterproof, putting plastic furniture poolside is a common spot, and because of its low price, restaurants and businesses tend to use plastic furniture outdoors. Some outdoor plastic furniture is also made of recyclable material, an added bonus if you’re conscientious about the environment.

Score: 12/20


Movability

Plastic chairs and tables are lightweight and easy to move to suit the owner’s needs. They are also normally constructed so that you can stack them easily.

Score: 20/20


Durability

Another setback for plastic furniture is its (lack of) durability against wind. While waterproof, the odds of your plastic furniture staying in place (or intact, for that matter) are low when dealing with serious weather.

Score: 10/20


Maintenance

Maintenance is a breeze if your plastic furniture is intact. Simply wash with a mild soap and rinse with water to clean these pieces.

Score: 20/20


Comfort

Plastic does not make for the most comfortable chairs out there, and while we reference cushions as a great way to add some comfort to your seating, cushions aren’t normally used on plastic chairs. Plastic furniture can be great if you’re using it for short periods or need to be able to sit relatively comfortably and relocate placement often.

Score: 12/20

The Weigh-In: Plastic

 

PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)


Aesthetics

PVC patio furniture, like plastic, is not as aesthetically pleasing or of comparable quality to some of the other materials we’ve looked at. That said, PVC patio furniture is great for poolside lounging since it’s waterproof. Common PVC furniture uses rubber, mesh, or cushioned seating between the PVC foundation, but there is not often a wide variety of colors to be explored as far as the furniture goes.

Score: 10.5/20


Movability

PVC is pretty movable since it’s lightweight, but not as movable or lightweight as plastic furniture.

Score: 19.5/20


Durability

PVC won’t rust, but UV exposure will begin to cause browning on its surface. While it’s more durable than plastic when it comes to wind resistance, PVC patio furniture should still be stored indoors during the off-season or covered.

Score: 11/20


Maintenance

Easy to maintain by washing with soap and rinsing with water. May need additional maintenance with UV discoloration.

Score: 19/20


Comfort

On par with plastic furniture.

Score: 12/20

The Weigh-In: PVC

Final Standings

Overall


Aesthetics

  1. Resin Wicker – 19.5
  2. Wood – 19
  3. Aluminum – 18
  4. Wrought Iron – 17.5
  5. Steel – 16
  6. Plastic – 12
  7. PVC – 10.5


Movability

  1. Plastic – 20
  2. PVC – 19.5
  3. Resin Wicker (tie) – 19
  4. Aluminum (tie) – 19
  5. Wood – 16
  6. Steel – 14.5
  7. Wrought Iron – 14


Durability

  1. Resin Wicker – 19.5
  2. Steel – 19
  3. Aluminum – 18
  4. Wood – 16
  5. Wrought Iron – 15.5
  6. PVC – 11
  7. Plastic – 10


Maintenance

  1. Resin Wicker (tie) – 20
  2. Plastic (tie) – 20
  3. PVC – 19
  4. Aluminum – 18
  5. Steel – 16.5
  6. Wood – 16
  7. Wrought Iron – 15.5


Comfort

  1. Resin Wicker (tie) – 20
  2. Aluminum (tie) – 20
  3. Wood – 18
  4. Steel – 16
  5. Wrought Iron – 15.5
  6. Plastic – 12
  7. PVC – 12

 

Most First Place Appearances:

 

 

 

 

Resin Wicker (98)

 

Most Last Place Appearances:

 

 

 

 

Wrought Iron and PVC

Median pick:

 

 

 

 

Steel

Solid Investments:

 

 

 

 

Aluminum, Wood

All About Patio Furniture

Patio Perfection – Ravenna Cushions, Covers, and More

Introducing: Ravenna cushions

It’s nearly August, and the patio season is in full swing. There are barbecues, pool parties, family gatherings and long evenings galore. The patio is getting more use and you may have the desire to refresh, renew, or redecorate. Add a few notes of color or a new element to spice things up. Nothing is more satisfying than making the area you’re spending more and more time in a haven. However, your patio furniture may be well-loved (or expensive) and not quite in need of replacement. To enliven your patio without a full redesign and achieve a level of patio perfection and satisfaction, we recommend taking a look at replacing your cushions, switching out your umbrella or adding a hammock or frameless bean bag chair.

Ravenna cushions

Our Ravenna cushions offer a wide variety of colors and features, perfect for any patio furniture material or style, including benches/loveseats, chaises, and dining or lounge chairs. An addition to the Ravenna cover collection, which includes covers for patio furniture and other outdoor gear, our new Ravenna cushions use a color palette based on the original colors of the Ravenna line. Delina Wells, our Designer and Market Trend Analyst notes that:

“With the decision to add cushions under our existing Ravenna line, I wanted to make sure the new colors felt right moving forward with our existing Ravenna color palette: Dark Taupe, Espresso and Mushroom.”

The result was the creation of an inviting color palette that pulls it colors from familiar and naturally found hues. Here are all the great color options for Ravenna cushions:

Dark Taupe
Empire Blue
Espresso
Mallard Green
Mushroom
Spice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake Sornsin, our Product Development Merchandiser (and the fantastic spokesman featured in the video above), reinforces that the goal of the Ravenna cushions is to “stay true to the Ravenna aesthetic,” while also being an affordable option for cushions.

One great feature that came from the nod to the Ravenna aesthetic is the introduction of waterfall seams, which increases comfortability and durability.

“Sitting on a cushion without piped seams at the front helps prevent any annoying scratches or lumps under your legs as you sit. Since there’s no seam at the front of the Ravenna cushions, there’s also a lower chance of water sitting on the cushion and seeping into the foam.”

-Delina Wells

We mention that Ravenna cushions are feature-rich in our introductory video, and we believe that. Some of the other thoughtful features included in the cushion design are shown below:

 

  • Gardelle One Fabric System: Gardelle One is a solution-dyed durable woven polyester fabric with a protective water repellent coating and water-resistant laminated backing
  • Water-Repellent Coating: Resists stains and helps keep rain out and your cushion foam protected
  • Patented Attachment System: Adjustable belted hem with click-close straps provides a tight, customizable fit to keep your cushion where you want it
  • Durable Stitching: Bound interior seams are engineered to provide strength and durability at the most demanding joints
  • Locking Zippers: Zippers lock to keep a tight closure and make stuffing the cushion easier
  • 3-Layered Seat Foam and Solid-Core Back Foam: Foam is designed for comfort and support, with outer layers of open-cell foam enclosing a high-density core that is resilient but conforms to your shape
  • Warranty: One-year limited warranty

Delina is a particular fan of the click-close straps, one feature from the covers we thought would have a great impact on the functionality and usability of the cushions. Jake agrees that the click-close straps “steal the show,” but points out that one underrated feature of the cushion is the locking zipper, which “makes switching out covers much easier as the zipper helps keep your place as you stuff the cushion.”

For more information on our Ravenna cushions, check out the collection on our site.

covers

Our Ravenna collection for your patio chairs, tables, umbrellas, grills, and more.

Our Ravenna cushions were developed as an extension of the Ravenna cover collection and adhere to a warm, inviting color palatte that while gorgeous,, may not quite suit everyone’s taste. For someone looking for a more intense and modern pop of color, we recommend our Montlake FadeSafe Collection.

Our Montlake patio furniture collection.

The Montlake FadeSafe collection adds a classic look to your patio and ensures a strong resistance to fading. It is also water-repellent and utilizes hooded air vents to ventilate condensation out from underneath the cover.

Click-close straps to secure your Montlake cover on windy days.
Air vent to keep weather out while providing maximum ventilation and minimum condensation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and product details, see our Montlake and Ravenna collection pages on our patio furniture covers page on our website.

Hammocks

Hammocks can make a great addition to any patio. A comfortable, durable, and beautiful option, adding a hammock to your patio will create a more homey, relaxing environment. Our hammocks come in two different styles: Brazilian and quilted. Note the difference in style and build below!

Montlake FadeSafe Quilted Hammock – Heather Indigo Blue
Montlake FadeSafe Brazilian Hammock – Heather Indigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We offer a variety of color options in two stripe pattern, a 2-tone Stripe (right) and a Mutli-Color stripe pattern (left). Check out the full selection on our site.

Happy hammocking!

Umbrellas

Montlake FadeSafe Umbrella in Heather Indigo.

Finally, adding an umbrella to your patio will complete your patio perfection process by giving your backyard shading for those exceptionally sunny days, as well as by providing an additional aesthetic element to your setup.

We offer both aluminum and natural bamboo umbrellas. Learn more about each material, as well as color options on our Montlake FadeSafe Patio Umbrellas main page.


We hope you consider these options to perfecting your patio and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Patio Perfection – Ravenna Cushions, Covers, and More

Summer Wine Pairings

There is an art to pairing food with wine. Nuanced undertones, blushes of flavor, hints of spices, and lingering tastes commingle with personal preferences and memories to create deep interactions that lead to strong opinions. Trying new combinations of wine and food is an endeavor that can be intimidating, but is rewarding upon success.

There are certain accepted pairings; you have red wine with red meat and white wine with most fish, chocolate goes well with red while other desserts trend with whites, etc. Finding the perfect balance of flavors between a dish and a wine is an accomplishment and feels like a victory of sorts. It improves a meal you likely already love, provides a point of conversation, sets up a full dinner lineup for future special events, and is an entertaining experience unto itself.

We wanted to share some of our favorite wine pairings as places to start an adventure (or at the very least a very good evening) this summer. We had several people take on the task of completing this image with some wine and food combinations:

Imagine the slow summer sunset settling over your home, the light catching the edge of your cushions and umbrella as the shadows from your house begin to eclipse the patio. Sitting in a comfortable seat, perhaps a frameless chair by a hammock, you swirl a glass of wine that perfectly finishes your meal, waiting for the stars to appear and the cool air to settle.

Some lovely pairings came to mind and we’ve got those below. We’ve also included a recommended brand or vintage to try if you’re unsure where to start with each varietal/blend. These are not perfect combinations or even liked universally amongst our pairing team, but each has found its way into each of our particular palates this summer.  Read through, find some that intrigue you, experiment, and share!

For an infographic about wine, including red wine vs white wine, click here.

To learn about wine tasting, click here.

Amanda’s Assortment

Sparkling Brut with Mac & Cheese

2007 Extended Tirage Brut

Cheese and wine go together ALL the time … every time. The next time you have a bottle of Brut, make a homemade béchamel sauce for your noodles and if you’re feeling fancy, lump some lobster or crab in there. The balance of salt with the fish and cream of the cheese compliment a more mineral-based Brut. If you’re looking for a nice bottle that won’t break the bank, try Schramsberg’s 2014 Blanc De Noirs ($23) which is a complex brut made of red Pinot Noir grapes. Its name White from Black is just as it suggests. If you have a bit more cash to spend, one of my personal favorites is a brut from Oregon’s Argyle winery – 2007 Extended Tirage Brut ($75). Their 11 yr old Fall barrel brut packs a punch that is nothing but soft and will leave wine lovers with goose bumps.

 Chardonnay and Bacon

Marimar Estate 2009 Acero Unoaked Chardonnay

Most people want to always go red with meats, but go big with a full bodied Chardonnay so it can hold up against bacon that packs a big punch of flavor. The best region to buy a buttery, oaky chardonnay is California. Benovia Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($32) is well balanced with citrus and oak with a long finish. Unoaked is growing MORE popular every day after the oak bomb of the 90’s and another option from the Russian River Valley is Marimar Estate 2009 Acero Unoaked Chardonnay ($29). There’s no oak on this beautiful Chardonnay, but it’s so rich, you won’t even notice and will enjoy the pure personality of chardonnay.

Fruity Riesling and Spicy Tacos

2016 Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling

Switch out the beer for an easy drinking Riesling with tacos this summer, it’s less filling! The fruit balances out against the heat and a hint of citrus found in most Rieslings will pair well with any guacamole. The best most surprising Riesling I’ve had lately came from 2016 Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling ($12) from the Columbia Valley. It’s a dry Riesling that isn’t the sugary/entry wine people start out with. This one is hints towards sweet but brings you back quickly with a crisp finish and goes amazing with any kind of protein.

Red Blends with Burgers

Molly Dooker’s 2016 Two Left Feet

At your next BBQ, break out the blend! You never really know what people will load their burgers with, so a red blend is the best bet so that you aren’t tipping too far into one varietal. Mark Ryan’s 2016 The Dissident ($38) over delivers on tasting notes that is mouth-filling in the various grapes used that balances each blend with each other.If you’re in the mood for a lighter side – give Molly Dooker’s 2016 Two Left Feet ($27) a try and make sure you do the proper Molly Dooker Shake before you pour out.

Tawny Port and S’mores

Fonseca 20 Year Tawny Port

If Summer had a dessert – it would be S’mores and wine’s would be Ports. If you’re looking to pair just the description alone can probably sell you “Ripe berry fruits with a delicate nuttiness and subtle mellow notes of chocolate, butterscotch and fine oak wood. Smooth and silky on the palate and full of ripe figgy, jammy flavors which persist on the long finish.” Enjoy the long and warm structure of the Fonseca 20 Year Tawny Port ($33). Hints of nut with orange peel and cocoa on the nose are a perfect after dinner sipper that packs a punch.

 

Brad’s Best

Barbera and Spinach Chicken A La Fresca

2015 Tempo Vero Barbera, Monferrato DOC

Served at room temperature – From the Monferrato region of Piedmont, Italy. “Tempo Vero” translates from Italian to English as “Real Time,” a name that celebrates winemakers who seek to preserve Italy’s history in liquid form. This 2015 Barbera is from the Monferrato DOC in Piedmont – one of the classic wine locales in Italy. Vibrant with notes of strawberry, cherry, wood, and bright acidity on the palate, it pairs wonderfully with foods like cheese, salami and pasta with cream sauce. Other pairings include – pizza, pork, lamb and veggies.

Touriga Nacional with Beef Tacos

2016 Field Theory Touriga Nacional

Served at room temperature or slightly chilled – From Paso Robles, California. Field Theory highlights curious varietals from unfamiliar places, like this Touriga Nacional from Pomar Junction Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA. The result is a light, early-drinking red with a fresh, fruit-forward flavor. Pro tip: On a warm day, drink slightly chilled. Pairs well with beef, cheeses and veggies.

Pinot Noir with Chicken Cordon Bleu

2014 Porter & Plot Pinot Noir

Served at room temperature – From Sta. Rita Hills, California. Porter & Plot showcases the unique, nuanced individuality of California’s most exceptional vineyards and appellations. In this case, we’re talking about Sta. Rita Hills – an AVA in California’s Central Coast that is highly regarded for luscious, round and premium wines made from Pinot Noir. Enjoy blue fruits, along with a silky texture, and nuances of earthy spice. Pairs well with poultry, pork, cheeses and veggies.

Tempranillo and Palomino Chicken

2016 Copycat Tempranillo

Served at room temperature – From Clarksburg, California. Tempranillo is a grape native to Spain, but this funky-fresh example is a modern one from Clarksburg, California. Thanks to whole berry fermentation (as opposed to the grapes being destemmed), this Tempranillo is more easy drinking than most. You’ll enjoy juicy blue and black fruits, and a little spice that is almost always present in Tempranillo. This red doesn’t require food, and is prime for drinking young. With that said, it pairs well with pasta in red sauces, pork, cured meats and veggies.

Gamay and Grilled Salmon 

2016 Les Bobos Gamay

Served at room temperature or slightly chilled – From Beaujolais (province) in France. Many people associate Burgundy with Pinot Noir, and rightfully so. But in the Southern part of Burgundy in the region of Beaujolais, Gamay is the star and it is not to be ignored. Gamay and Pinot Noir have many things in common, like being light-bodied, easy-drinking, food-friendly and often a great mix of both fruit flavors and complex herbs and spice. This particular example of French Gamay is just that. Gamay wines are often un-oaked and meant to be enjoyed while young and fresh. Pairs very well with poultry, fish, cheeses and cured meats.

 

Heather’s Hoard

Ice Wine with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2016 Goose Ridge Riesling Ice Wine

Ice wines are some of the sweetest wines you come across and are often viewed as desserts onto themselves, which is why they are largely considered dessert wines. They pair well with fruits (that match the natural undertones of the wine) and can take the edge off of an extremely spicy meal. I think that an ice wine with a small serving of ice cream can add a level of depth and maturity to an all time favorite. With ice cream or on ice cream…is there truly a difference?

Gewurztraminer and Szechuan Chicken

B Lovely Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer has a surprisingly nuanced flavor (given the difficulty of reading or pronouncing the name). The main undercurrents in Gewurztraminer tend to be tropical fruits and spices. In the variety listed above, lychee, pear, and honeysuckle are strong. It is a sweet wine with a bright spirit. It pairs well with dishes that include fragrant spices–ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, coriander, curry, etc. As far as a full meal is concerned, I think it works well with a Szechuan Chicken or Chicken Asado; however, I do like this as a dessert all on its own.

Riesling with Chips & Guacamole

2016 Eroica Riesling

Riesling wines are well received as one of the most popular white wines, and are favored as being palatable by both wine lovers and beginners. Riesling is one of my go-to’s for an evening drink because of how well it pairs with other foods. I’m especially fond of pairing Riesling with latin and asian dishes, and it goes surprisingly well with salty or fried foods, like onion rings. Chips and guacamole, while not a meal, have the salt, spice, and variety that can be lost if you use an aggressive wine.

Syrah with Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon

2015 Chateau Ste Michelle Syrah

Syrah varietals are powerful red wines that can range from medium to full bodied, with low to high tannin levels depending on the region in which the grapes were grown. Syrah will often have notes of blackberry, blueberry, and violet, with rich, earthy undertones of leather and punchy spices like pepper, mint, and anise. Due to the acidity of a Syrah, they don’t always pair well with cheeses and tend to do well with beef, pork, and probably chocolate. Bacon-wrapped filet mignon checks two of those boxes so it’s my choice for a summer grilled dish to pair with Syrah.

Merlot with Pizza

2014 Reserve Merlot Pheasant Run Vineyard

Merlot wines are smooth Bordeaux reds that favor fruity undertones (plum, cherry, and currants especially) with notes of chocolate, herbs and occasionally hints of cedar or other woods. Merlots can be difficult to pair with foods because they’re not as acidic or have the tannins of bolder reds, and can be overwhelmed or overwhelm other foods. Merlot pairs well with red meats, red sauce dishes, fish, shellfish and as well as mushroom dishes. As Amanda, mentioned, cheese does pair well with most wines; in this case, it lends to a fulfilling experience of a red wine and pizza.

Have a favorite pairing of your own? Let us know.

Summer Wine Pairings

A Matter of Taste: Wine

 

We believe in taking time to truly enjoy experiences and are choosing to share some of our knowledge regarding a particular indulgence, wine, in infographic format.

 

Click here to read more about wine pairings

Click here to learn more about wine tasting

Want to make your own haven for an evening getaway or after dinner drink? Check out some of our offerings in the Montlake FadeSafe Collection.

Frameless Furniture
Make your home the ultimate location to relax and unwind with a glass of wine.

Umbrellas, Cushions, and more
Reinvigorate your patio so you’re ready for an evening of fun.

A Matter of Taste: Wine

Everyone’s Taste

There are so many ways to enjoy wine. One of the best ways to get into the wine scene is to try a tasting. Especially if you are new to wine in general, it’s a great place to start to get a grip on your own palate.

They will pour from white to red, so that the boldness of big reds won’t dull the softness of a white.

1. Take a look!
Hold the glass up, give it a slight tilt and take a look at the color of the wine either against something white or natural light. Wine ranges vastly in colors that are telling of what the wine build is. From very pale straw color through ambers on their way to purples and even tawny, each bottle will have their own color.

**Fun Fact: The older the wine, the more variation in color you’ll find between the rim and center of the glass. For reds, the color by the edge of the glass can help indicate age. Young wines are more pink, while older wines move towards a brick color.

2. Swirl it around
(take a peek at the short clip above from Wine Folly’s co-founder, Madeline Puckette)
The next step in tasting is to swirl and agitate the wine in your glass. This allows your wine to open up. Most people take a close look at the legs of the wine, which really don’t hold any mysteries of the wine other than showcasing the alcohol level.

3. Give it a good sniff
At the beginning, wine can simply smell like wine. Give it another try with your nose right on the rim, if not totally IN the glass. Take a deep inhale and see if you pick up on any subtle or not-so-subtle notes. From whites to reds, your brain can only pick up on what it remembers smelling, so there really isn’t a wrong answer, and that’s why each bottle holds different scents for everyone. For instance, I can say a white wine has the smell of the pear tree in my friends yard, but you may pick up vanilla. And not all scents are those of foods, it can have a heavy tobacco or earth smell. This step allows a little preview on what your first few sips will bring.

4. Taste it
Take a sip, is it sweet or more dry? Notice how the wine feels in your mouth. Does it feel full? Check for acidity by seeing if it leaves you with a dryness or make your mouth immediately start watering? You can determine how the wine finishes by noticing how quickly it dissipates; does it fade quickly or does it linger?

5. Enjoy it!!!
This isn’t a true step, but do enjoy it. If you don’t have any wine tasting rooms near you, you can always try a bottle at home. Don’t peek at the back of the label. Open it up and go through the steps listed above and come to some conclusions of your own, and only then check the label to see if you picked up on any of the flavors they highlight.

After you get the basics down, picking up a bottle on the way home gets a LOT easier. Everyone’s palates are different and your taste will change again and again, which is half of the fun!

For an infographic on wine, click here.

For summer wine pairings, click here.

Everyone’s Taste

Favorite BBQ + Grill Recipes

This week we asked our employees for their favorite grill recipes. Our submissions ranged from grilled salmon kebabs and spicy Tunisian grilled chicken to smoked potato salad and Tandoori Paneer Tikka, a traditional Indian dish. We also received plenty more tasty, easy-to-make options! Try putting one or two of these recipes to use this grill season. Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon Kebabs 

This recipe was submitted by Stacy Laurent, our Accounting Supervisor. Stacy is hoping to try this recipe this summer because her family “loves salmon and [she] thought this would be a different way to serve it up.” See the link below for the full recipe:

Grilled Salmon Kebabs

Grilled Asparagus

This next recipe was submitted by Laura Engstrom, a Production Artist on the Creative Solutions team. She originally “didn’t think asparagus was all that good…until [she] had it grilled.” The instructions for preparing grilled asparagus are simple:

Ingredients:

  • Fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the grill to high heat
  • Coat the asparagus spears with the olive oil lightly. Season with salt and pepper
  • Grill over heat for 2-3 minutes, or to desired tenderness

Recipe from allrecipes.com, “Grilled Asparagus.”

Spicy tunisian grilled chicken

Heather Thomas, our eCommerce Marketing Specialist, submitted this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on your preferred spice density, I use 1 breast)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Tunisian Style Spice Mix

Spice Mix:

  • 1 tablespoon Coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

“I usually make the spice mix and coat the chicken in the spices, drizzling a tablespoon of olive oil over it once the rub is slightly set in. I let this marinate overnight in the refrigerator and grill to taste. Served with corn that’s been spiced with salt, cumin and coriander.”

Brad’s Mac & Cheese

Brad Dorcik, one of our Online Merchandisers, recommends this unique Mac & Cheese recipe. “I’ve always loved Macaroni & Cheese, but it wasn’t until I started using the grill that our relationship grew,” he said. See below for Brad’s recipe:

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Total Time: 45 min

4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup white Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 1/2 cup cups yellow sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Quarter red and green peppers, place them on the grill, cooking until tender
  • Once grill marks are formed, remove peppers from grill and set aside
  • Cook elbow macaroni in boiling water (salt optional) until al dente – drain and set aside
  • In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to thicken, about 1 minute
  • Add 1 cup of milk and whisk in – begin adding cheeses, 1 at a time, thoroughly whisking each cheese
  • If sauce becomes too thick, add remaining cup of milk
  • Once all blended – stir in salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, grilled peppers, jalapeño peppers
  • Add elbows to the mixture and stir to combine again
  • With everything combined, add mixture to a cast iron 9” x 13” rectangular casserole dish
  • Sprinkle top with bread crumbs (optional) and an additional ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Place on grill for 12 minutes – let stand a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Amanda’s steak marinade

Amanda Perry, our Marketing Specialist, recommends this steak marinade for your favorite cuts of meat. She recommends applying the marinade 4-8 hours before cooking.

Ingredients:

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Couple splashes of good red wine

 

Instructions:

“Mix all ingredients in a blender and pour over steaks. Refrigerate from 4 to 8 hours.
If desired, add big cuts of raw onion rings to the marinade and throw on the grill with the steaks to get a nice char. Top the steaks with the onions and enjoy!”

D’s Turkey Rollbars

Dorik, our Art Director, has a fun and original grill recipe he came up with and tried on the grill last week. He likes to call them, “D’s Turkey RollBars.” Here’s how to make one:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup of roasted cauliflower (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup frozen kale (thawed and squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup roasted beets (roughly chopped)
  • 3 TB cilantro dressing (cilantro, red wine vinegar, olive oil, jalapenos, salt and pepper)

Instructions:

  • Mix all together and form a candy bar shape (like a 3 musketeers)
  • Place on hot grill. Grill all 4 sides until golden (about 2 min per side)
  • Remove from grill and get ready. Next few steps need to go quickly
  • Get that flat top grill heated up and place a large tortilla of choice on the hot grill
  • Once both side are slightly golden put a spoonful of the cilantro dressing, swirl it around the tortilla before placing a cheese blend of your choice on top
  • Next, place the turkey bar in the middle, top it with cottage cheese and a shake of hot sauce before rolling the whole thing up (be careful, its hot)
  • Continue to cook the Turkey RollBar until the sides are to your liking. A good golden brown with a few char marks is what I like
  • (Optional) You can also make a dipping sauce with more cottage cheese and hot sauce if you like (I do)

Dorik was featured last August in our grill vlog where he cooked up his own burger recipe, perfect for National Grilling Month. Recipe included in the video and in this blog post.

Smoked potato salad

Submitted by our V.P. of Business Development, Shuyler Mowe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. small (about 1” x 1”) Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • ½ Cup Green Onion
  • 1 Cup diced Red Onion
  • 2 Cups Arugula

Dressing:

  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • 3 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TBSP Red wine vinegar
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP chopped dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Instructions:

  • Prepare dressing, combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.  Let stand for at least one hour
  • Slice potatoes in half, lengthwise.  Parboil potatoes in salted water until just pierceable with a fork, but not past this.  You want potatoes to be firm.  Undercooking potatoes is not a huge deal as you can make up for it in the smoker, but do not overcook
  • Using wood chips of choice (I prefer Mesquite for this), get smoker up to 250 degrees.  If using a rack smoker, wrap racks in foil to prevent potatoes from falling through.  If using a barrel or other smoker type, use a sheet pan to prevent falling through
  • Smoke potatoes for 35-45 minutes.  When potatoes have absorbed smoke, they will have a browned appearance on the fleshy side and will not be crispy, but somewhat firm.  It is important that potatoes do not fall apart.  They should be distinct pieces when they go into the salad

Make the salad:

“Put potatoes in bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Then combine with vegetable ingredients and add dressing.  Mix and enjoy or refrigerate until serving.  This salad has a very unique, savory flavor that is great for a unique twist on a potato salad side and is relatively healthy as it avoids mayo.”

Tandoori Paneer tikka

Image: By Namitakhaire [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Shruthi Desai, our eCommerce Marketing Manager, suggests Tandoori Paneer Tikka with grilled vegetables. An Indian dish, Tandoori Paneer Tikka is described by Padma Veeranki, a blogger on Masalakorb.com as:

“Hearty morsels of soft and crumbly Paneer marinated in a delicious mix of Yoghurt and spices, skewered and then grilled till golden brown in a tandoor, thus giving it a wonderful and distinctive smoky flavour. Of course most of us home-cooks have no access to a tandoor, but this dish tastes equally good grilled over charcoal, in an oven or even on a skillet. The recipe is pretty simple and straight forward [even] though you see a long list of ingredients.”

Paneer is a fresh cheese and is often known as Indian cottage cheese, according to Masalakorb.com. The term “tandoor” refers to a “variety of ovens, the most commonly known [being] a cylindrical clay or metal oven used in cooking or baking.” Tandoors are commonly used in Southern, Central, and Western Asia.

Tandoors in Turkmenistan. Image: By David Stanley [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Fried Paneer. Image: By Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the blog post below for the recipe and instructions:

Tandoori Paneer Tikka With Grilled Veggies

Grilled lamb with rosemary, garlic, and cardamom

Kathryn Pinkney, our Creative Solutions Manager, recommends her grilled lamb with rosemary, garlic, and cardamom.

Serves: 10 to 15, depending on everyone’s appetite!

Prep: 20 minutes or less

Marinate: at least 8 hours or overnight. Note – The lamb can marinate up to 48 hours.

———————————

Purchase:

  • Boneless and Butterflied Leg of Lamb (about 5 lbs)
  • Trim as much silver skin from the meat.

Marinade:

  • Cardamom – powdered, 1-2 teaspoon
  • Dry mustard – 1 Tablespoon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 Tablespoon
  • Rosemary –  3-4 6 inch twigs fresh (pull leaves off the stems) or 3 Tablespoon of dried
  • Fresh Garlic – one whole – minced or pressed
  • Spicy Brown Mustard – 1/2 cup
  • Olive Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Frozen Apple Juice – 1/4 cup
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt (Kosher preferable)
  • Optional: Feta Cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

  • Combine the first 2 ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the vinegar and let stand for 15 minutes or so
  • Whisk in the rosemary, garlic, spicy mustard, olive oil, frozen apple juice. Season the marinade to taste with the salt and pepper
  • To marinate the meat you will need either an extra large ziplock bag or a 15 x 10 x 2 inch glass baking dish. (I prefer the zip lock baggie)
  • Glass dish Method  – pour 1/2 of the marinade in the bottom of the dish. Place the meat on top then pour the balance of the marinade over the meat. Using clean hands, massage the marinade into the meat until thoroughly coated. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill. It is best to turn the meat at least once to incorporate the marinade
  • Zip Lock Baggie Method – pour the whole marinade into the bag followed by the meat. Zip the bag shut taking care to move as much air out of the bag as you can. Now the fun part…. Massage the marinade into the meat for 2-3 minutes. Then place the baggie in a large bowl or dish (this is your safety in case your bag zipping skills aren’t perfect).  Place in the fridge to chill. I like to pull the meat out every 2-3 hours to turn over and massage

Grill:

  • Prepare your BBQ (medium heat)
  • Place the lamb on the grill. Reserve the marinade in a dish to use during the cooking)
  • Grill 15 minutes, brushing with the marinade frequently
  • Turn the lamb over, brush again with the marinade and grill until an instant read thermometer* registers 130ºF at the thickest part of the meat – this is medium-rare (BTW – check the temp of the lamb often – nothing worse than overcooked lamb)
  • Grill for about 5 more minutes per side.

*NOTE – if you don’t own an instant read thermometer, buy one. You can get one for under $15 bucks and it is well worth it. Once you use one, you’ll never go back to one of those old-fashioned dial versions – they are not accurate at all.

Additional Notes:

  • Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest 15 minutes (don’t omit or rush this step or the meat will be dried out)
  • With a very sharp knife, slice the lamb thinly across the grain (1/8” or less). Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle the feta over the lamb
  • If you prefer thicker slices, do so! I find that if I have leftovers and want to reheat, a thicker slice won’t over cook/dry out
  • I recommend an accompaniment of rice and a grilled vegetable (zucchini, carrots, corn – actually any type of vegetable that won’t fall apart on the grill works too)
  • I also recommend  a side of sliced cucumbers with yogurt or sour cream with just some salt and pepper

“This is one of my favorite meals – I’ve grilled this lamb several times for large groups of friends. Most recently I prepared this BBQ Lamb while offsite on Bainbridge Island, WA. Not only is it a “show stopper”, but it’s easy to assemble, marinate, and then cook after a long day of shooting Classic Accessories covers. My way to grill!”

 

We hope you enjoy these recipes and put some to use during National Grilling Month!

Favorite BBQ + Grill Recipes

All About Grills

Image: Salimfadhley at Wikipedia

Since it’s National Grilling Month, we decided to focus on everything you need to know to care for your grill, and what you need to know if you’re in the market for a new grill or are curious as to the advantages and disadvantages to other types of grills (combo, wood-pellet, electric, and portable grills, as well as smokers). Without further ado, let the grilling commence!

Knowing/Choosing Your Grill

A prominent debate among grill enthusiasts is whether charcoal grills or gas grills are superior. Check out this blog post for more information about the debate. We did some research and came up with some concrete advantages and disadvantages to both charcoal and gas grills to help provide some transparency as to which one is best for you as well as profiles on a variety of gas and charcoal grill types you may be interested in this grill season. If you already own either a charcoal or gas grill, there are some notes on how to optimize it and achieve the best end result to your grilling.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are all about flavor. Owners commend the smoky, chargrilled flavor from the grill in the food they cook. Charcoal grills are the most common type of outdoor grill, according to The Home Depot. This stat includes both backyards, parks, and other areas, whereas, gas grills are the most popular backyard grill exclusively. Here are the different types of charcoal grills out there:

Image: lightfusegetaway at en.wikipedia
Damper on top of a kettle grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kettle Charcoal Grills

The kettle is one of the most common types of charcoal grill, created in 1951 by George Stephen Sr., who founded Weber-Stephen Products Co. (you may know the brand today simply as Weber). Kettle grills are portable, easy to use, and simple in their anatomy with a bowl and lid, cooking grate, charcoal grate, damper to control the heat, and a cleaning system (for Weber it’s a one-touch cleaning system).

Furthermore, the cleaning system acts as ventilation; if you open the vents, more oxygen will enter your grill, causing the coals to heat faster, which will speed up the grilling process. By closing them you’re cutting off the oxygen for slower cooking time. Check out Weber’s article on the anatomy of a common Weber kettle grill for more information.

 

Offset Charcoal Grills AKA Offset Smoker

The offset grill is a versatile charcoal grill that allows you to grill or smoke your food. These grills tend to be for people who are willing to tend to and monitor their cooking (and pay into a higher price point for a good model). There is a chamber dedicated to producing heat and smoke which holds your choice of charcoal and smoke wood off to the side that feeds into the main cooking chamber which holds shelves that can hold a variety of foods. You can control the flow between the firebox and the cooking chamber using the intake and exhaust vents on the grill. You can modify these to cook directly by adding a grill grate in the chamber holding the charcoal/wood chips. A good offset smoker will be made of thick materials for heat stability (ideally some form of steel)  and will likely be heavier than your typical grill. Learn more about these grills on the Barbecue Bible Site.

Big Green Egg Grill
Our Senior Graphic Designer, Dorik Downing, on his Kamado Joe grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kamado Charcoal Grills

The kamado grill is a ceramic charcoal grill designed to trap heat and smoke for maximum absorption into the food. While not as portable as a kettle, the kamado still maintains temperature and air flow like a kettle through vents in the top and bottom. Some common brands of kamado grills are Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg. This article outlines the differences between the brands, including prices. Dorik Downing, our senior graphic designer, uses a Kamado Joe grill and recommends 100% Natural Lump Charcoal. Check out our vlog from last August featuring Dorik on the grill whipping up one of his tasty and healthy burgers (recipe included and perfect for national grilling month).

Our Ravenna Kamado Ceramic Grill Cover.

We recommend investing in one of our kamado grill covers to keep your Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe grill clean and ready for use during grill season, as well as safely secured during the offseason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park Style Charcoal Grills

The park style charcoal grill is a common charcoal grill often found in parks and campgrounds. You can also buy them for use in your own yard, as a simple grill option. These grills are fairly durable, easy to maintain and allow for quick cooking and experimentation with charcoal and wood chip types. Here’s a helpful article on tips for using this grill if you’re taking your cookout to a public venue or have one set up in your backyard.

If you’re interested further in charcoal grills, here’s a Home Depot guide on how to use them.

_______________________________

Charcoal Grill Advantages:

  • Rich, smoky chargrilled flavor
  • Inexpensive grill
  • Can reach higher heat levels than a gas grill – 700 degrees Fahrenheit

Disadvantages:

  • Added expense to buy new charcoal after each grill
  • Slower heat-up time – makes for longer grill process
  • More cleanup than other grills to get rid of charcoal ash

Gas (Natural gas or Propane) Grills

Gas grills, as mentioned earlier, are the most popular type of backyard grill. Gas grills can either use natural gas or propane (propane typically involves a tank, as shown peeking out at the lower right of the image of the grill above). Both are cost-effective; although, if you’re using a natural gas line running from your house, you’ll be restricted as to where you can put your grill, whereas with propane grills (and charcoal grills) you can typically pick any safe spot on or off your patio. There aren’t many variations in style for gas grills, but there is capacity for added accessories, such as side burners, lights, and integrated food thermometers.

Advantages:

  • Gas grills heat up faster than charcoal grills
  • Wider variety of accessory options such as side burners, lights, and food thermometers built in to the grill
  • Natural gas or propane can be used for fuel
    • Propane tanks are easy to find, don’t cost much, and are refillable
  • Easier to regulate heat with built-in control knobs
    • Different heat zones can be created for searing, cooking, or warming food on the grill
  • Easier cleanup than a charcoal grill

Disadvantages:

  • Smoky, charcoal flavor is lost since propane burns cleaner than charcoal
  • Does not reach the same levels of heat that a charcoal grill does, but still reaches up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Not as portable as a kettle grill, for instance
  • A bit pricier than a kettle

If you’re interested in gas grills, here’s Home Depot’s guide on how to use one.

Combo Grills

Another type of grill is the combo grill, which is essentially a grill with one side dedicated to charcoal grilling and the other to gas grilling. Some combo grills even have a smoker integrated. Be careful, though: not all combo grills allow you to simultaneously use the charcoal and gas grills, so make sure the combo grill you’re investing in has this feature if you want it.

Main Advantage:

  • Has the ability to function as a gas or charcoal grill

Main Disadvantage:

  • May not be able to use these functions simultaneously

Wood pellet Grills

Similar to the offset charcoal grill, this type of grill generally has multiple chambers, although the fire chamber tends to be smaller. A wood pellet grill gives you the opportunity to grill your food over a real wood fire. To use such a grill, you’ll have to invest in wood pellets, which come in different types such as hickory or cherry, and then feed them into a hopper attached to the side of the grill. As you continue grilling, you’ll have to add more pellets in. Here’s an article on how to properly care and maintain your pellet grill.

 

Main Advantage:

  • Natural grilling taste reminiscent of a campfire

Main Disadvantage:

  • You have to tend to and keep up the supply of wood chips more regularly than a gas or charcoal grill

Smokers

 

Smoking is the act of slowly cooking food at low temperatures over a longer period of time. The result is rich, smoky, flavor-filled food that a grill simply could not replicate. Smokers can be fueled by propane, charcoal, or electricity. Here’s The Home Depot’s in-depth guide into the world of smoking and how it’s done.

Main Advantage:

  • Deep, rich flavors

Main Disadvantage:

  • Long cooking process

Electric Grills

Electric grills are perfect for situations in apartments or condominiums as these places sometimes do not allow charcoal or gas grills. All you need is to be near an electrical outlet to begin grilling. Electric grills cook food evenly and require very little set up or cleanup afterwards, however they do miss out on capturing any kind of flavor during the cooking process. Perhaps their strongest trait, though, is their portability, as tabletop electric grills can be taken anywhere with an outlet.

Main Advantage:

  • Great for apartments and places where you can’t have a gas or charcoal grill

Main Disadvantage:

  • Aren’t typically able to add the same flavor nuances as charcoal, wood, or even gas grills

Portable Grills

Portable grills come in charcoal, gas, and electric types and can be used essentially anywhere, predominately at tailgates and camping trips, but could certainly be used for backyard grilling. Unfortunately, though, its portability results in less square footage to grill for a big group of people or a large family gathering. On the same token, however, if you’re dealing with a patient bunch, who says you can’t take a little bit extra time to cook everyone’s food?

Main Advantage:

  • Very portable

Main Disadvantage:

  • Size restrictive as well as a long cooking process

Grill Cleaning and Maintenance

Charcoal grill

For cleaning charcoal grills, it’s important to clean the grill grate with a brush and then clean the charcoal grate. Make sure to clean out the ash in the grill as well. According to amazingribs.com, “ash holds moisture and can chemically attack steel.” They also add that ashes should always go in a metal can since “embers can glow far longer than you think.” For kettle grills, as mentioned in our 12 grill tips/tricks blog post, line the basin of the kettle below the charcoal grate with aluminum foil so that you can easily dispose of the ash once you’re done grilling without much of a hassle.

Gas Grill

This video has instructions on how to maintain and clean your gas grill.

General Maintenance

For all grills, it’s important to have cleanings and to check that all of the connections and pathways are clean, clear and functioning correctly for safety. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help your grill work better and last longer.

We recommend taking the following steps minimally:

  1.  If you haven’t used your grill for a while, or plan to not use it for a while, make sure to double check your hoses and connections to ensure that everything is whole and stable. If you have a gas grill, double check the propane connection and tank. Please.
  2. Clean your grates of excessive debris at least twice a season and right before you winterize (go for every time you cook if you can).
  3. Do check your grease trap seasonally if you have one and clean it out so it can continue doing its job next season.
  4. Clean the whole grill at the end of the season if you’re going to store it or not use it for a season

One additional tip we have for you to maintain your grill, no matter the type, is to throw a grill cover on. Why cover your grill, you may ask? First and foremost, a cover is a way limit your grill’s exposure to natural elements, such as rainfall, dust, leaves, etc. It can help prevent dirt and debris from getting stuck in catch pans where fires could start. While some worry that covers mean that your grill is at risk of rusting from condensation, our grill and BBQ covers are designed to combat that particular issue with air vents, as pictured below. Check out one of our earlier blog posts for more detailed information about why you should cover your grill.

Ravenna BBQ grill cover. Link below.

 

A vent on the side of a Ravenna cover.

Ravenna BBQ Grill Cover

Happy grilling for the rest of this summer!

Sources:
The Home Depot
Living Direct
Wikipedia: Weber-Stephen Products

All About Grills

12 Grill Tips/Tricks

 

It’s National Grilling Month, and what better way to kick off a fun month of grilling than to put some quick grill tips and tricks to use. Let the grilling begin!

1. Clean your grill and grate with a grill brush after preheating

This tip sounds like a no-brainer, but to achieve optimum grill cleanliness, run your grill brush over the grates after preheating. That way, the heat will have already begun to loosen the grit and grime that’s been stuck on your grill since your last cookout. As Chris Allingham, a blogger on Weber grills, also attests to: “There’s zero chance of forgetfulness. If you burn-off after cooking, you go into the house and enjoy your meal, only to realize 30 minutes later that your grill is still glowing cherry-red-hot out on the patio.” Our Senior Graphic Designer, Dorik Downing, also suggests an alternative to a wire brush, which has potential safety concerns. Dorik’s grill brush of choice is the “Ultimate BBQ Cleaning Tool,” a brush made from red oak that forms to the shape of the grill grates.

“What I like the most about it is that I feel like my grill is still ‘seasoned’ because the formed tool does not harshly scrape the grill like a wire brush would. A few swipes with the tool and it’s grill time!” – Dorik Downing

Additional tip: For a deeper clean, remove your grates and soak them in a bucket of soapy water before cooking.

2. Oil your grill with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil, or use an onion

Avoid investing in cheap sprays that can cause flare-ups on the grill, and instead, simply use a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil on your grill grate. Once the towel is soaked, take a set of tongs and coat the grate entirely to prevent sticking. This tip is cost-effective and easy, making for efficient grilling and zero chance of your meat, vegetables, or seafood sticking to the grill.

You could also clean your grill grate with an onion. Amanda Perry, our Marketing Specialist, recommends this technique: “While the grill’s still hot, take a freshly halved onion, stick it on a fork, and use the cut side to rub residue off the grate. The oils in the onion will take care of most, if not all, of the grit without the elbow grease. They’ll also season the grill and add some flavor to your next meal, too.”

3. Keep a spray bottle nearby in case of flare-ups

Flare-Ups can be a scary and sudden side-effect to using a grill spray on your grill or can simply be caused by grease dripping down into the grill. While some flare-ups are small and contained, one simple trick to dousing larger flare-ups when they do occur is to keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby.

4. Invest in a grill mat

A grill mat will help reduce staining from grease that could splatter or drip out of the grill. Even if you have a drip pan, there is still a risk of grease or oil escaping the grill and staining your patio. Investing in a naturally heat-resistant grill mat could ensure a greater longevity to your patio surface.

5. Try additive-free lump charcoal

For those grill masters that favor charcoal grills, consider trying additive-free lump charcoal, a more environmental-friendly substitute to normal briquettes (which normally contain wood scraps, sawdust, coal dust, sodium nitrate, borax, and additional additives). We also recommend avoiding lighter fluid altogether when lighting your grill, as it releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which can leave unsanitary residue on the food you’re grilling. Our Senior Graphic Designer, Dorik Downing, recommends 100% Lump Charcoal, which he uses on his Kamado Joe grill.

6. Line kettle basin with aluminum foil

By adding aluminum foil to the interior of your kettle grill, you will easily be able to dispose of the charcoal ash after grilling, as opposed to having to clean out the interior of the grill later.

7. Use a chimney starter to light charcoal

Using a chimney starter to light your charcoal in either a grill or a smoker is an efficient way to get the coals hot and avoid lighter fluid. Here’s a walkthrough on how to use a chimney starter and some basic safety tips. We recommend the Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter since it holds more charcoal than other chimney starters and is rust-resistant.

8. Limit the times you open a grill or smoker to check the progress of your food

The more you open a grill or smoker, the more inconsistent the heat levels in your grill will be. For a gas grill, opening the lid too much can cause lower cooking temperatures and slower cooking time. For charcoal grills, opening the lid causes your food to actually cook quicker since the oxygen from the air makes the coals hotter. Bobby Flay, chef and TV host, recommends to “stop playing with the food when it is on the grill. Leave it be. Let your meat or chicken or fish or veggies form a crust and naturally release from the grates. Only flip it once so the burger or fish doesn’t fall apart.” As the old saying goes, “if you’re looking, it ain’t cooking!”

9. Let your food come to room temperature before grilling*, and then let it rest ten minutes after cooking.

Wolfgang Puck, chef and restaurateur, says that “Allowing the meat to come to room temperature is one of the most important parts of grilling that home cooks often forget. This will lessen the steak’s cooking time and help perfect an evenly cooked piece of meat. If the steak is cold when you put it on the grill, it will overcook the outer part of the meat, drying it out while you wait to cook the internal part of the meat to the desired temperature.” Also, letting the meat rest after cooking for about ten minutes will ensure the redistribution of the juices and ultimately a better flavor.

Additional tip*: Don’t leave the meat out at room temperature for more than an hour in case bacteria begin to grow.

10. Add some oil to your favorite dry rubs

Heather Thomas, our Ecommerce Marketing Specialist, recommends coating a dry rub lightly with olive oil to “…seal in the flavors during the marination process and lessen spice loss while flipping. In my experience, it also has the added benefit of changing up the texture of cooked meat to be a bit crispier on the outside and juicier on the inside, especially when combined with fresh garlic.”

11. Use a Dutch oven or a large pot with a lid when transporting your cooked meats inside

Brad Dorcik, one of our online merchandisers, recommends this tip to keep your cooked food “moist, juicy, and warm until it’s time to chow down.”

Sunbrella BBQ Grill Cover

12. Throw a grill cover on!

What better way to protect what you love most than by covering it? Adding a grill cover to your grill reduces the risk of your grill rusting, as well as protects it from weathering and damage from UV rays. We recommend these products for optimum protection from the elements and an enjoyable grill experience. Also, check out one of our earlier blog posts on how to measure your grill for a cover.

Consider putting these tips and tricks to the test for any fun, outdoor grill experience you’re planning for the Fourth of July, and for the rest of national grilling month. Happy grilling!

12 Grill Tips/Tricks