The last weekend in April always brings a weekend full of
family friendly fun and fishing! Trout fishing at its finest if you ask any of
the kids at our local Lake Wilderness that night.
Lake Wilderness is an easy 30 minutes East from our office. The afternoon brought campers into the park to set up camp and to get their tackle ready for the trout derby that started at midnight.
Anglers get to launch out at midnight and fish until noon the next day. Local chambers and rotary clubs sponsor the annual event and give families a great night full of fishing, camping and fun including outdoor movies, games, camp fires, concessions, prizes and a fisherman’s breakfast the next morning.
This weekend, Seattle celebrates the Opening Day of Boating Season!
From its earliest days Seattle has celebrated important occasions with water festivities. The opening day on the Montlake Cut began in 1920 and has been celebrated the first Saturday in May and is steeped in tradition with kicking off the parade with the blast of a cannon and the raising of the Montlake Bridge. Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day has become the nation’s largest regional celebration of water, Spring and the opening of boating season. Participating yachts will be decorated to illustrate this year’s theme for Opening Day, “Boating Through the Decades”.
Take advantage of our local celebrations with our On The Water Sale. Take 20% off all Boat and Fish items with discount code: OnTheWater at checkout.
Discover More Time Outdoors with Classic Accessories
Source: Seattle Yacht Club, Pixabay, Voice of Maple Valley
Spring is here, and so are the tee-times. Booking the first few rounds of golf as the daylight extends itself is something every golfer looks forward to this time of year. Even though your swing may not be ready, the Master’s weekend kicks off the sudden urge to get ready for weekends on the links.
Although most of us can only dream about the fairways at Augusta on early mornings or sneaking in before the shadows stretch across their world famous greens, we find our favorite local courses and have just as much fun. Our Fairway™ Collection offers golfers comfort and peace of mind during the round and off with enclosures, covers and accessories that let you keep your focus on game and not on the forecast.
We can only hope for blue skies all day without any frost delays, but we also know that all golf days can’t be perfect. We also know that any day on the course beats a day at work 100% of the time. We celebrate that with products that lean into your play time and allow the hours spent on the paths to be as comfortable as possible. Plan your rounds with these days in mind, especially in early spring when mother nature plays with you, no matter if it’s a morning round or twilight.
Celebrate golf’s kick off to the season this weekend with our Master’s Sale. 25% OFF all Golf items through the end of the major this weekend. No discount code needed. Take an additional 15% OFF every day when you sign up to be a loyalty member.
We are finally starting to thaw out here after Winter decided to come and dump its season’s worth of snow on us. Every station you watched or listened to or read gave us the warnings. So much so that grocery stores in all of our neighborhoods quickly became social memes after shoppers posted their photos of empty shelves and checkout lines rivaling holiday shopping before the first flake fell.
When it came, it didn’t stop for days. Luckily though we had peace of mind after we took the time to throw on our covers over our patios sets, grills and toys that get to sit out in some of the worst weather of the year.
After the last trip of Fall, my husband and I winterized our trailer and boy are we glad we did! *Fun Fact – since we wanted to give the trailer a final wash before putting the cover on, we used a leaf blower to get the majority of the water off and used soft rags to dry the rest. Worked like a charm! We recommend allowing any thing you are covering to air-dry.
Not long after, we found ourselves thankful we took the time to cover the trailer with our PermaPRO Travel Trailer Cover since 16+ inches of snow came along with ice, high winds and tree branches!
Our Art Director, Dorik Downing, had the same story with his backyard. There’s no question Dorik loves to grill and spend time in his backyard. His ceramic grill, tables and dining sets have our Madrona Patio Furniture Cover Collection on them:
Talk about peace of mind! Although it’s freezing cold, all of our favorite pieces are protected from harsh weather just like this!
Our forecasts are calling for more winter weather coming this way for the rest of February here in the great Northwest so we are extending our Love the Outdoors SALE until the end of the month. Take 25% OFF site-wide on classicaccessories.com no code needed!
It’s the day before all the sales hit. You name it, it’s on sale in some cyber way or another. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday “Early Bird” Specials and into Cyber Monday.
There are plenty of websites popping up and into feeds whose sole purpose is finding the best deals for you. Are they following you too?! Do a quick search online right now and that perfect gift for this Christmas will show up all directions this side of Cyber Monday.
I’ll be honest, I don’t brave the crowds on Black Friday. I am not, nor have ever been, the sales-diva who maps out the deepest discounts with latte in hand waiting for her favorite store to open at 2 o’clock am. I enjoy waking up AFTER the sun comes up on the Friday after Thanksgiving, call me crazy.
I remember the days with countless bags in your arms, shuffling through the mall from store to store … only to sit in traffic when what little patience you had left was spent on the lines to the cashier.
Cyber Sales are more my speed. I can’t complain that I do my shopping without running shoes these days, and from the comfort of my own homecouchcomputercell phone pace.
Shopping that looks like this? … Sign me up!
Comfort aside. The best thing about Cyber Shopping for me is TIME…
The time it gives me to do the things that matter. Take away the commutes, the walking down aisle after aisle or thumbing through hangers to find the right size for growing kids … the time I save is time I cherish.
We are all about TIME here at Classic Accessories. Time spent outdoors. It’s your time and your friend’s and family’s. To us, it’s also about much more than that.
Because it’s not just about the fishing boat; it’s years of father-son time on the river.
It’s not the RV; it’s a route to grandkids scattered all over North America.
It’s not the patio furniture; it’s time spent laughing and sharing stories
with family and friends.
It’s about protecting dreams, adventures and memories,
and all the irreplaceable experiences that make your belongings worth protecting.
That’s why we do what we do. And why we’re committed to doing it so well.
We are starting our Cyber Week Sale early this year. Today through November 28th.
30% OFF site-wide! So go ahead and put on those embarrassing cozy socks and pull up your browsers, the sales are waiting.
Here’s to Discovering More Time Outdoors with the ones you love this Holiday Season …
and every season – it’s kinda our thing.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at Classic Accessories.
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:
PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Weigh-In: Aluminum
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Weigh-In: steel
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
The Weigh-In: Wood
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Weigh-In: Wrought Iron
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.
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.
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.
Maintenance is a breeze if your plastic furniture is intact. Simply wash with a mild soap and rinse with water to clean these pieces.
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.
The Weigh-In: Plastic
PVC (Poly-vinyl chloride)
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.
PVC is pretty movable since it’s lightweight, but not as movable or lightweight as plastic furniture.
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.
Easy to maintain by washing with soap and rinsing with water. May need additional maintenance with UV discoloration.
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.
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: