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.
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:
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
For more information and product details, see our Montlake and Ravenna collection pages on our patio furniture covers page on our website.
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!
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.
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!
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:
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:
Fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
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
Heather Thomas, our eCommerce Marketing Specialist, submitted this recipe.
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on your preferred spice density, I use 1 breast)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Tunisian Style 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
“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
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)
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.
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
“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:
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)
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.
1 lb. small (about 1” x 1”) Yukon Gold Potatoes
½ Cup Green Onion
1 Cup diced Red Onion
2 Cups Arugula
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
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
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.
See the blog post below for the recipe and instructions:
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.
Boneless and Butterflied Leg of Lamb (about 5 lbs)
Trim as much silver skin from the meat.
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
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
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.
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!
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 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:
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.
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).
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
Can reach higher heat levels than a gas grill – 700 degrees Fahrenheit
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.
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
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
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.
Has the ability to function as a gas or charcoal grill
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.
Natural grilling taste reminiscent of a campfire
You have to tend to and keep up the supply of wood chips more regularly than a gas or charcoal grill
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.
Great for apartments and places where you can’t have a gas or charcoal grill
Aren’t typically able to add the same flavor nuances as charcoal, wood, or even gas 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?
Size restrictive as well as a long cooking process
Grill Cleaning and Maintenance
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.
This video has instructions on how to maintain and clean your gas grill.
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:
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.
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).
Do check your grease trap seasonally if you have one and clean it out so it can continue doing its job next season.
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.
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.”
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!
It’s almost here. Can you believe it? Just as we were gearing up for Spring, along came Summer and the 4th is right around the corner. In the Pacific Northwest, we like to say that Summer doesn’t officially start until after the 4th of July. The past few years we’ve seen plenty of sun and long warm nights leading into the holiday, but this year has given us a more cloudy lead-in to the firework extravaganza. Wednesday (the Fourth is unfortunately mid-week this year) will hopefully be a great day to go outside.
We are at least, looking forward to a day or at least evening of getting to enjoy some sun, time with friends and family, and the general festivities. It’s a holiday during peak summer weather with most celebrations being focused on the outdoors, especially around pools, parks and backyards. Heading into this celebratory time, we wanted to share some pointers on having a wonderful, memorable outdoor experience on your Independence Day this year.
Make sure your grill is clean and ready for the big day. There’s no doubt that the Fourth is a favorite for grilling and July is National Grilling Month. Take a few minutes this weekend to clean up the area around your grill and make sure you’ve got the cooking grates clear of excessive debris.
Quick Cleaning. Give the whole deck area a quick cleaning or once-over inspection so you can be sure that your yard is ready for the anticipated influx of friends, children, and pets. A well-kept backyard is also a great way to impress your guests and tell them that you were looking forward to them coming over to celebrate.
Stock up on meat (or your favorite meat substitute). Don’t forget to add your favorite grilling meats to your grocery list sooner rather than later. With everyone thinking about flavorful hamburgers, juicy hot dogs, and tender chicken it’s in your best interest to stock up before the night before.
Try a fun corn recipe. As far as side dishes on the grill, it’s hard to go wrong with corn, especially for outdoor eating occasions. It is fairly self-contained as well as pre-portioned. Cooking it with salt, pepper, and butter is the age-old standby; however, adding some accent spices or experimenting with cooking in and out of the husk could bring a layer of flavor to the golden vegetable.
Include fresh fruit on the table. Fresh fruit is healthy option to have on the table, with a high water content to subtly help with hydration. Strawberries and blueberries make a great addition to any dessert dish, or can be served fresh (and are easy to plate with a dynamic visual effect). Another great fruit to include this time of year is watermelon.
Bring on the colorful food. Food should be fun–especially on a holiday. Check out this list of awesome red, white, and blue deliciousness to make your backyard the go-to for the neighborhood party.
Decorate. Take some time to prep your outdoor area. Paper lanterns, string lights, and flags are summer favorites. Add in some celebratory color. For those that find most red, white, and blue color schemes to be a bit overwhelming, check out the modern, coordinated colors of the Montlake FadeSafe Collection–pairing a Heather Indigo cushion with an Antique Beige umbrella can liven up your patio subtly. There are some particularly patriotic options for steel and wooden hammock+stand combos.
Stay Hydrated. Seriously. Even if you’re spending time in and around the water, your body still needs to have liquids replenished. Water should be the focus throughout the day, especially when you have anything alcoholic planned for the evening.
Make sure your patio has options for shade. Summertime sunshine is hopefully in your local forecast for the Fourth. While the light is always welcome, keep in mind the heat and potential harm from UV rays. Make sure you have a sport/sweat resistant sun screen on hand. Sun screen is a must for your skin, but adding an umbrella to your patio goes a long way, especially ones with high UPF ratings. Montlake Umbrellas have a UPF rating of 50.
Take some time to review firework safety. It’s one of the highlights of the evening, gathering together with your friends and family to watch a grand display or put on one of your own. It’s a night of light displays, sparklers, rockets, and more. However, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind general safety for fireworks, as well as local regulations and fire bans in the area. Be sure to take extra care when handling any kind of firework on your own, and be aware of the risks of firework smoke inhalation.
Have fun. Regardless of the amount of time you may or may not have off, be sure to spend whatever time you do have with your friends and family.
We’re celebrating Father’s Day! Father’s Day truly is a special day we get to spend with our family and friends. It gives us time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the company of our loved ones. Out here in Washington, with the weather looking to be sunny and 75 for the weekend, Father’s Day will be particularly great, as we get to spend time outside on our patios and in our backyards, enjoying the great weather and some Mariner’s baseball. Since Father’s Day is all about the time we get to spend with our family and friends, we asked some of our employees to write about their experiences with their fathers, as well as with their kids on this special day.
Dorik Downing is our Senior Graphic Designer and has some fun plans for this Father’s Day. “My parents and in-laws are coming over and we’ll be cooking fried chicken, as well as skewered jumbo prawns, and my daughter is making an aioli,” he said. His mother is also baking a cake using the recipe for the wedding cake from the recent royal wedding.
Paul is our Vice President of Finance, and his submission was particularly moving, because Father’s Day is also a time to remember our passed loved ones, especially our fathers or grandfathers. Carrying on the experiences that our fathers have given us, like Paul has, to others is a powerful thing.
Sue Forberg is an EDI Supervisor and Analyst. What inspiring, lovely words from her dad! “My favorite memories were the lazy Sundays when we would make a day and go to a used bookstore together. We are both avid readers so this was a great bonding time. It was just great father-daughter time,” she said, when asked about her favorite moments with her father in the past.
Wendy Pfeifer is a Sales Assistant, and her picture perfectly shows off one of our very own Colorado XT pontoon boats, which can be found below in our list for recommendations for Father’s Day 2018 gifts. If your dad enjoys fishing or outdoor experiences, check out our top 4 fishing picks from one of our earlier blog posts.
Such heartfelt experiences and memories we’ve shared with our fathers and families are truly priceless, and certainly make Father’s Day all the more special. Check out more of our employees’ Father’s Day memories and stories on our Facebook page, or watch them in slideshow format.
Here are some recommendations for great experiences with your father:
What could be better than starting off the FIRST DAY OF SPRING? Oh yeah, and it’s also the start to one of our other favorite seasons …. Fishing!
It’s that time when Spring hits the air and some eyes are only on the water. It’s gear time and we know it all to well. A trip out to the garage to take stock in your tackle. Line, reels, waders, boat, flies … wait, you read that too right. Boat? If an inflatable pontoon boat or float tube isn’t already on your check list for this season – well the wait is over …
This season is your season! We are having a HUGE Start of the Season Sale on ALL of our Pontoon Boats and Float Tubes right now through April 15th, no code needed. (It’s the BIG one … and that’s no tall fishing tale.)
One of the biggest benefits of having an inflatable pontoon boat or float tube is the ease of them. They don’t eat up valuable garage space in the boring off-season, they are simple to assemble either at home or water-side and they get you ON the water and away from the crowd on the shores. Each of our designs have plenty of storage on the boat and they cost a fraction of what you would spend on a fishing boat. Our pontoon boats and float tubes are one of our top sellers and top reviewed products.
Inflatableguides.com says this about our pontoon boats: (They are) “Everything an avid fisherman would want. With all the storage capabilities, there’s no need to worry about not being able to bring all the gear with you. Even with all the gear packed, you will most likely have storage space left. The smart anchor system allows you to stay in your favorite spot without drifting away, something which we really enjoyed while we were out fishing.”
From pontoon boats to the smaller float tubes, we have the right inflatable for your next fishing trip for any angler, any age, any size and any price range.
One of our favorite sites to visit is Take Me Fishing where you can search by location on where are the best places to fish, boat, get licenses, download regulations, etc. There is even a page designated to FREE fishing days!
We know opening day is already here for those lucky enough for year-round fishing. We however are counting down the days, like many of the states above, to the start of the season.
Check us out on Facebook for your chance to WIN a pontoon boat on us!
Start this Season with Classic Accessories.
Take Me Fishing
We keep it easy to pair up any mixed or matching sets in our Montlake Fadesafe Collection of cushions and umbrellas. Take 30% OFF umbrellas with discount code: FebUmbrella now through the end of the month.
Be the first this Spring to get on the water and away from the crowd on our best selling inflatable pontoon boats or float tubes. Which one fits your fishing style? Both are convenient, both are easy, both get you on the water hassle-free for more time spent casting and creating memories. Take 25% OFF our Pontoon Boats and Float Tubes with discount code: 18FishCA now through March 10th.
Discover More Time Outdoors with Classic Accessories
Okay, we know it’s not even the middle of February, and yet we have our minds set on Spring already. To be fair, the Valentine aisles in grocery store are looking a little more like St. Patrick’s Day now too. Maybe a count down to Spring is in order, but first let’s start with taking 30% OFF all patio umbrellas NOW through the end of the month with promo code: FebUmbrella
We’re sure you can find the right color and style for your patio and backyard since they were all designed with natural elements in mind. Coordinating with the outdoors has never been so fun! Not to mention, they go great with our Montlake Collection of Furniture Covers and cushions. Take a look: