Weber Charcoal Grill – The King Of The Grill

There are few products whose very shape becomes so iconic that the shape itself dominates the genre. For example, what image comes to mind when I say the words barbecue grill? For many people, these two words conjure up a picture of a round object on a tripod base with a domed cover. In the mind of the buying public, a generic term, in this case barbecue grill, has come to mean a single product – the Weber Charcoal Grill. That’s a pretty amazing when you think about it. In this case though, the association is justified. The Weber Charcoal Grill has become synonymous with barbecuing because it is an amazing grill.

Back in the 1950’s. all outdoor grills were the same. A grill was a flat square object supported on four legs. The coals went in a single layer on the bottom. The grill went on top of the coals, nearly touching them. The flat grill top went on over everything else. That was it. You could grill up hot dogs, burgers and maybe steaks and chops, but that was all.

You couldn’t really control the heat of the fire or the height of the grill from the fire and the function of the grill top was to prevent the inevitable incineration of the food from happening too quickly. This type of grill was really only a mass produced brazier and braziers had been mankind’s barbecue grill for ages. Sure, it was convenient, in terms of having a place to start controlled cooking fire out doors, but in terms of food quality, it was a joke.

In 1952, a guy by the name of George Stephen, Sr. got fed up up with the barbecue status quo. George worked for Weber Brothers Metal Works, a company that manufactured marine buoys. He took one of the company’s buoys, cut it in half and fashioned a domed top for a cover. The Weber Charcoal Grill was born. George started making these grills for his neighbors, and the for the neighbor’s neighbors. Soon, supply couldn’t keep up with demand. In short order, the Weber Charcoal Grill became THE outdoor grill for the discriminating barbecue chef.

Why is the Weber Charcoal Grill so popular? The secret is in the grill’s versatility. Unlike traditional barbecue grills, a Weber’s round shape and domed top create a reflective cooking surface that intensifies the heat of the charcoal fire. This allows the grill to create higher internal temperatures which, in turn, can quickly sear the food being cooked. The object in barbecuing a lot of foods is to sear the outside while the natural juices of the food remain within. A Weber Charcoal Grill does this especially well.

Another advantage a Weber Charcoal Grill has over a tradition grill is room. The rounded shape creates more space inside the grill and that increased space means more room to cook. You can cook roasts and turkeys on a Weber with ease. You can also cook more food, period. Since the round shape radiates heat evenly, there are no cold corners or hot spots where food get over- or under-cooked. Finally, the rounded top and bottom of the grill, along with the placement of the vents, creates an induction within the grill. This means the hot air is circulated around the grill as cold air comes in through the bottom vents and hot air exist through the top vent. This circulation means even temperatures within the grill and these even temperatures mean evenly cooked food.

Today, the Weber remains the King of the Grill world. If you’ve never cooked on one, do yourself a favor. Pick up a Weber Charcoal Grill today and see how innovation can result in better tasting food.

Outdoor Gas Grills – The Obvious Choice

So, summer is just around the corner and you’re in the market for a barbecue grill to help you enjoy those hazy, lazy days. The good news is you have a lot of different types of grills to choose from. The bad news is you have a lot of different types of grills to choose from. How are you supposed to decide what grill is right for you? Don’t sweat it. This article is Decision Making 101 when it comes to selecting that perfect barbecue machine that will help cement your reputation as the King of Kabob, the Chancellor of Char and the Prime Minister of the Pit.

The first thing to decide is charcoal or no charcoal. The charcoal grill has many advocates and its list of defenders is long. However a charcoal grill has one major problem – charcoal. (Oh, and lighter fluid and while we’re at it where did I put those matches?) The problem with charcoal grills is that they need charcoal to work. Charcoal that is heavy. Charcoal that is messy. Charcoal that you never have enough of just when you’re ready to grill. (Not to mention lighter fluid and matches…again.) Even if you do have enough of everything you need to get the fire going, you still have to wait for the coals to get hot, you have to move the coals around if you’re cooking more than one thing at a time and after you’re done what have you got? A grill full of ashes. Yeah, yeah I know that incinerating lighter fluid is one of the smells that brings back childhood memories, but how many things does a responsible adult buy based solely on smell? No charcoal. Let’s move on.

Outdoor gas grills offer everything, and can do everything, that a charcoal grill can do and more. Outdoor gas grills run on liquid propane. Liquid propane is basically regular old natural gas under pressure. The advantages of burning propane are many, but the main one is…(wait for it)…no charcoal! Yup no hassle, no mess, no waiting and no ashy clean up. Outdoor gas grills are ready to cook when you are. All you do is turn on the gas, hit the ignition button and voila! You’re ready to get grilling. Why? Because liquid propane is a very efficient heat producer, much more so than mean, old charcoal. Outdoor gas grills are at grilling temperature about five minutes after you light them. Uber-convenient, no? Also outdoor gas grills come with at least two burner controls. This means you can easily turn the heat up on one side of the grill while keeping a more even heat on the other side. Try doing that on a charcoal grill without an asbestos glove. Oh and did I mention, no ash?

Finally, outdoor gas grills are really, really efficient. A tank of liquid propane will last the average outdoor chef an entire summer. Even the most maniacal flame junkie won’t run out for 4 to 6 weeks. Plus, propane is environmentally friendly. You are reusing and recycling the propane tank every time you get a refill, you’re saving trees (charcoal is made of compressed sawdust, sawdust is made of wood, wood comes from…you see where I’m going) and propane gives off way less carbon dioxide than charcoal. All the bunnies in the world will thank you!

See! Wasn’t that easy? Deciding to grill on outdoor gas grills really is a no-brainer.

Grilling Vegetables – The Healthy Barbecue Option

Everybody enjoys a barbecue! There are few things better than being outdoors with family and friends, enjoying the warm weather, while a grill full of delicious food cooks in the background. A healthy, and often overlooked, cookout alternative is to try grilled vegetables along with, or instead of, more traditional barbecue options. It turns out that, when properly prepared, grilled vegetables can be among the tastiest things you or your family and guests have tasted. The best part is that preparing vegetables for grilling couldn’t be easier.

The first step in preparing grilled vegetables is learning which types of vegetables are best suited for the barbecue. While nearly every variety of vegetable is capable of being grilled, some are better than others. In general, larger vegetables cook evenly and are easier to manage on the grill than smaller vegetables. Also, sturdier vegetables tend to handle the grilling process better than their more fragile counterparts. This means, for example, that bell peppers are a perfect choice for the barbecue, while broccoli is not. Other good choices include onions, zucchini or summer squash, and corn on the cob. Don’t forget to experiment, however. Sometimes, more exotic, lesser known, vegetables are perfect candidates for the grill. Radicchio and endive are delicious when grilled, as is fennel. In each case, the bitterness found in the raw plant is tempered by exposure to the flames.

The next step in making grilled vegetables is proper preparation. Start by slicing the vegetables to provide maximum exposure to the heat from the grill. You first want to remove all end pieces, pulp and seeds and then halve or quarter the vegetable in question. A rule of thumb is larger, regular sized pieces work better than smaller, irregular sized pieces. In addition, some vegetables, onions and mushrooms in particular, benefit from the use of a skewer. Always use stainless steel skewers. They are reusable and easier to manage. Stay away from bamboo skewers which tend to burn. Once the vegetables have been cleaned and sliced, place them in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes or so. This allows them to soak up a bit of water which will help prevent burning once they are on the grill.

While the vegetables are soaking, fire up your grill. Vegetables grill best over medium heat, so the key here is to prevent the grill from getting too hot. If you can hold your hand several inches off the grill for for three or four seconds, you’ve got the temperature just right. Take your vegetables out of the water, pat them dry, give them a quick brush of olive oil and place them on the grill. Not all of the vegetables will cook at the same rate, so be prepared to take different vegetables off the fire at different times. You want to lightly char the vegetables, but not burn them. When the side of the vegetable closest to the fire has browned and is marked by the grill, it’s time to turn it over. Only turn the vegetables once. When the other side is also browned and marked by the grill, that vegetable is done and it’s time to take it off. Grilled vegetables taste best at or just above room temperature, so serving is easy. Simply place all the grilled vegetables in the same bowl or on the same plate and let them cool for ten or fifteen minutes.

Grilled vegetables are easy once you know the tricks. Remember, when you’re grilling vegetables, you’re grilling smart.

Grilling Tools – Using The Right Tool For The Job

In order to do any job well, you need to use the right tools. In fact, you not only need the right tools for the job, you need good tools that perform well, time after time. While a backyard barbecue isn’t a job, every outdoor cook should be trying to prepare the best tasting food they can. Any experienced barbecue chef will tell you that you will never prepare tasty food without a quality set of grilling tools. No matter the recipe or the quality of the ingredients, bad grilling tools will always equal bad food. So, what kinds of grilling tools does the aspiring cook-out superstar need? Read on.

The spatula, tongs and fork are the holy trinity of grilling tools. If you own a grill and you don’t have one of each, stop reading right now and go out and purchase a set. Why are these three tools so important to barbecue cooking? It’s simple. When you barbecue you want to limit the number of times you turn the food. Usually, you want to turn your food only once. On the other hand, when you do turn your food, you want to do it gracefully and easily. A spatula, pair of tongs and a cooking fork are the grilling tools that will allow you to do this and do it well. Each one is adapted to work best with a specific type of food.

A spatula works best on lighter items, tongs are great either for heavier items, like steak, or smaller items, like hot dogs or vegetables, and a fork is the only way to go with larger cuts of meat or poultry. You can purchase a spatula, tongs and fork separately or in a set. Either way, look for grilling tools made of heavy grade stainless steel that have riveted handles. Pick the tools up and feel them. Do they fit your hand? Do they feel solid? If it feels like they could be used as weapon, then you’ve probably got yourself a good set of grilling tools.

While a spatula, tongs and fork are absolutely necessary for any barbecue, there are a couple other pieces of hardware that no good outdoor cook should be without. If you want to run with the big boys, you’re going to have to cook up some old fashioned barbecue, namely ribs. If you’re cooking ribs, nine time out of ten, you’re talking about some kind of sauce. The only way to properly sauce your ‘cue is with a good quality brush. There are those who favor a hardware store paintbrush. The problem there is that most paint brushes aren’t heat resistant and, let’s face it, your guests probably have enough toxins in their systems. Go with a real barbecue brush, made to take the heat of your pit. Look for sturdy, yet flexible bristles that are angled. A good brush will let you finish your ribs like the pro you are.

What else do you need? A set of barbecue skewers is essential for grilling vegetables or for shish-kabobs. (Gratuitous joke time. Q: How do you tell kabob to be quiet? A: Shish-kabob. Grilling humor. Catch it.) Once again look for heavier grade stainless steel and always choose a set that’s been torqued. The turn along the line of the skewer really helps to keep your food properly skewed. While you’re at it, pick up a grill brush too. You want to keep your grill surface clean and free of gunk and you can only do that with with a good grill brush. As always look for rugged durability. After all, you’re going to be using it to scrub burnt grease.

So that’s about it. Get your hands on a couple good grilling tools and get out there and get grilling!

Grilling Steak – An Art Form Explained

Barbecue season is here and it’s time to break out the grill and get cooking. Nothing says summer more than an outdoor barbecue and nothing is better on the barby than steak. Steak is perhaps the quintessential barbecue food. Anyone can grill a hot dog or a hamburger, but grilling steak to perfection over hot coals is an art. Unfortunately, it is an art form that few understand. This article aims to correct that culinary tragedy by making sure that the next time you’re grilling steak, you’re grilling it right.

The first step in properly grilling steak is choosing the right cut for your budget and taste. All steak is not created equal. The varying cuts differ not only in price but also in fat content, thickness and weight. A smaller, thinner cut with less fat marbling will cook more quickly to the desired degree of doneness than its larger, thicker, more marbled counterpart. Talk to a butcher about the differences in the different cuts of steak commonly available. Think about your own personal taste preferences and on how much you are willing to spend. The best steak starts with an informed product choice.

The next step in grilling steak is proper preparation. Ideally, you should be using a fresh piece of meat that isn’t frozen. Remove the steak from the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes prior to grilling. This allows the steak to reach room temperature which, in turn, insures even cooking. While the steak is warming, coat it with a rub of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Remember to apply the rub soon after the steak comes out of the fridge. The longer the rub and meat are together, the less rub you will leave on the grate of your grill and the more that will remain on the steak.

While the steak is warming to room temperature, prepare your grill. If you are using charcoal (and you should be), make sure that you have enough coals to cover an area several inches larger than the piece of meat to be cooked. Nothing will ruin your steak more quickly than cooking it on a under-fired grill. Always use a hot grill when grilling steak. The grill will be ready to go when the coals have all ashed over and you can’t hold your hand an inch or two over the grill surface more than a second.

Next, place your steak on the center of your hot grill. Let the steak sit until the down side is gray and seared with grill marks. This will take anywhere from three to six minutes depending on the type of cut and its thickness. When the down side is gray and seared, turn the steak over and let it cook an additional three to six minutes. Again, the time will depend on cut and thickness. Turn the steak once and only once! Don’t fiddle around with it. Leave it be and let it cook. When the other side is gray and seared, check the steak for the correct level of doneness by making a small cut across the grain of the meat. Remember, you can always throw an undercooked steak back on the grill, but once a steak is overcooked, it’s ruined. If the steak is done, take it off the grill and let it sit for about five minutes before serving.

So that’s it. Remember these steps the next time you’re grilling steak and you are guaranteed to have the best steak you’ve ever had.