Ceramic Grills

Pool & Spa News recently reported about the increased popularity in ceramic grills:10948837_417414951749894_233735330_n

Cooking with ceramics began thousands of years ago and is an ongoing practice on every continent. With all the fine cooking qualities that ceramics have to offer, we shouldn’t be surprised that they have arrived in American-style barbecue cookers in a big way.

Here, I’ll explain the science behind the ceramic cooker and why it might be a key ingredient that’ll add more flavor to your customers’ upcoming Memorial Day barbecue parties.

An ancient cooking method
After developing for thousands of years in Asian countries, the kamado-style ceramic grill was finally discovered by American military personnel during World War II in Japan. As they began to ship these cookers home, the U.S. became exposed to a new, yet ancient, method of cooking.

Originally used for all types of food, including rice and soup, the kamado’s properties were especially well-suited for backyard barbecue cooking. Because the kamado does not require a lot of air and fire to keep it hot, it tends to eliminate flare-ups, hold an even temperature, preserve moisture and burn very little charcoal in the process.

These unique properties help it to function well for high-temperature grilling, slow smoking and even baking. Here’s why:

Grilling: The kamado can get extremely hot for grilling and searing. It actually looks a lot like a ceramic pottery kiln. It may be used with the dome open, but is usually closed to hold in the heat and moisture.

As with most other charcoal-fired grills, the charcoal is placed on a grate in the bottom, and the cooking grid is then placed above. In most models, you can get the food close to the coals if you really want intense heat. Because of the gasket seal and air control, you also can slow the grill down for more gentle grilling temperatures and control or eliminate flare-ups.

Smoking and roasting: Smoking is probably what ceramic kamados are best recognized for. The ability to cook at low temperatures for many hours on a small amount of charcoal makes the whole process a lot easier. Most units will smoke for 10 to 15 hours or more on less than 10 pounds of charcoal. The size of the cooker and temperature settings will add more or less to those figures.

Indirect heat, low temperatures and smoke are the keys for smoking food. Most kamados use a ceramic barrier to provide the indirect heat. Pans, with or without liquid, may also be used to avoid the direct radiant heat from the charcoal. This flat, ceramic piece is placed between the charcoal and the food. A pan of some sort is often placed on top of the ceramic piece to catch the grease drippings. Now the user can place the meat on the grid and they’re ready to smoke.

Because of the indirect, convective heat flow and some radiant heat from the dome above, the user has even heating all the way around the food. No need to turn the food or use a rotisserie.

As for smoke, there are many species of wood that can be used to add flavor. Dealers should consider carrying bags of various varieties in chips or chunks. (Even for regular grilling, it is nice to throw in a small handful to add that extra touch of smoke flavor.)

Baking: Using the same indirect-heat method, a ceramic kamado can bake anything your customer would put in a conventional oven: breads, cakes, cookies, pies.

Of course, pizza is the backyard favorite. A kamado basically turns into a wood-fired pizza oven with a bit of fuel and a pizza stone. At high temperatures, a kamado can crank out pizzas very quickly.

Fuel of choice
Natural lump charcoal is the preferred fuel for kamados and it is easier to light.

It is just regular pieces of wood (you can still see the grain) that is turned into charcoal. Since it is not crushed up and compacted into dense little briquettes, it lights much easier. Most standard “charcoal” briquettes have a whole lot of coal added. Coal is a fossil fuel out of the ground (like you needed me to tell you that). It’s good for heating and blacksmithing, but not the same as natural wood charcoal. Since the lump charcoal doesn’t have any additives, you don’t have to wait for the whole pile to burn off those extra ingredients before you start cooking.

And you can skip traditional lighter fluid.1742236_444266102392466_324367846_n

Most kamado manufacturers recommend or require that you do not use lighter fluid. It smells bad anyway. Electric starters are inexpensive and make starting the charcoal easy. Different types of starters are available. For the standard type with a heating element, put the charcoal around the element and let it go about 7 or 8 minutes. Then pull the starter out and let the charcoal continue to bring the grill up to temperature for another 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how hot you want the grill.

After they’ve done it a few times and get their routines down, your customers won’t think of it as difficult or time consuming anymore.

There’s not much clean up required, either, as there is not much ash produced.

The beauty of kamado cooking is that the customer can cook anything, with a minimal amount of preparation, hardware or fuel, and turn out championship barbecue foods.Kamado Grill Enviroment

To read more information about Pool & Spa Scene, click here.

To purchase Cal Flame’s Kamado Smoker Grill, contact your nearest Certified Cal Flame Dealer here.

Barbecue Hacks

Barbecues call for family and friends to gather in the backyard to eat, laugh, and catch up with one another. Although barbecues are a great American classic pass time, they can sometimes be dreading. Between cleaning up, preparing food and getting ready to host a gathering, we can use all the help we could get. Follow these barbecue hacks to ensure your next barbecue is a success.Food-on-grill-1024x807

1.) Ice Cube Burgers – Keep your burgers moist by adding a single ice cube inside the burger meat to grill your burgers to perfection. To keep the ice cube from melting before cooking, make sure to add the ice cube right before placing on the grill.

2.) Smoking Herbs – Not exactly what it sounds like! Add fresh rosemary over hot coals to add a unique flavor to your meats. Smoked rosemary also serves as a natural mosquito repellent.

3.) Cooler Heater – Use a separate cooler to keep your meats hot! Meats should be kept at least at 140 for safety reasons, but also nothing beats enjoying a hot, fresh meal!

4,) Black Eggs – Use an empty egg carton filled with charcoal to help you start your barbecue fire.

5.) Clean Your Grill  – If you don’t have time to scrub your grill down, use a half sliced onion to wipe down your grill. The acidity of an onion and the ridges can loosen up caked on grime and will add a delicious flavor to your grilled foods.

6.) Write Orders with Ketchup – Write your order on the inside of your bun with ketchup so you make sure you get your burger done the right way! Your way!

7.) 6-pack – Use an empty six-pack beer carrier to carry condiments around. Not only will it organize your condiments, but also make it easier to carry them around.

8.) Double Your Fun – Using two skewers instead of one when cooking smaller foods will keep the food from rotating when it’s time to flip. It also ensures even cooking.

9.) Check Your Fuel – Heat water to a boil, tilt your propane tank to the side and pour lightly over the side. This will help you find your propane tank levels, where the tank stays cooler is how much propane you have left.

10.) Lying on a Bed of Lemons – Infuse and keep fish from sticking to the grill by cooking your fish over a bed of lemon slices. Top with garlic and butter, and vuala.Kamado Grill Enviroment

For more information about Cal Flame BBQ products and services, please visit www.calflamebbq.com.

Barbecue Grilling Safety

Barbecue is an all-American tradition where family and friends gather around in the backyard to enjoy delicious right-off-the-grill hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, steak and the company of one another. Unfortunately, barbecues are the perfect recipe for accidents. Since most people are preoccupied having a good time, sometimes barbecues can result in accidents leading to a trip to the ER. Reminding ourselves of the precautions we must take in order to have a successful barbecue is always a good thing, besides who wants to be the dud that ruins dinner?Food-on-grill-1024x807

Follow these barbecue grilling safety tips to assure your barbecue is a success!

1.) Fire can be very destructive if not handled properly – in any case, have a fire extinguisher handy. Have a designated person in charge of the barbecue at all times to monitor the fire. Remember to always cook in a well ventilated area!

2.) Beware of contamination of the food you are preparing. On hot days where temperature raises above 80 degrees, you won’t to leave you meats unrefrigerated longer than an hour. Also use different utensils when handling cooked and uncooked meats to avoid cross-contamination.

3.) Know the difference between handling charcoal and a gas grill. Only handle a unit comfortably you are familiar with. Charcoal tends to produce a lot of smoke, while gas grills can have leaks. Both can be toxic and very dangerous in large amounts, this is why cooking in a ventilated area is important.

Lastly, although barbecue is synonymous with a good time, consuming large amounts of alcohol can impair your senses and limit your ability to make safe decisions. Don’t drink and grill. Cal Flame BBQ Island

Follow these steps to make your next barbecue a blast, and not a disaster.

Remember to visit CalFlameBBQ.com for more information about our barbecue grills and islands to help you host your next BBQ get together.

Spring Showers

Barbecuing is a cultural phenomenon that some people partake in year-round. Unfortunately, it’s the season for sporadic rainfall but after all, Spring showers bring May flowers.

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Don’t let a little rain prevent you from enjoying a delicious meal prepared right off your Cal Flame BBQ. Of course, it probably won’t be smart to take the task of BBQing in heavy torrential rainfall, however light spring rain should be no problem.

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Protect yourself and your BBQ. Try using a large umbrella or a patio to keep yourself and your unit dry. Remember to allow enough free-flowing air to rid of any excesses smoke and carbon monoxide. The last thing you’ll want to do is get lightheaded while cooking over a flame. Also, pay attention to the winds that accompany rainfall, if you have a lighter grill make sure to use weights to keep your unit from toppling over.

Cooking times. If you don’t have an umbrella with you, and prefer to stay warm and comfortable inside, you must remember to constantly check on your meats! Rain is often accompanied by cooler temperatures, which means it’ll take longer for your barbecue to heat up and longer for your meats to cook. Give yourself a little extra time to prepare your meals on a rainy day.

Don’t leave the grill unattended. Beside winds and heavy rainfall, it’s easy to forget you have meats cooking outside on a barbecue. Don’t let your perfect steak burn and ruin your  entire day! Constantly check-up on your grill and food to make sure everything is going smoothly. Don’t forget to use a meat thermometer to check for readiness.

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Are you looking for the perfect BBQ unit to grill on this Spring? Visit Cal Flame BBQ to find the barbecue that was created with you in mind. You can also visit any of our nationwide dealers’ showrooms to see one of these bad boys in the flesh.

Don’t let the spring showers get you down, you can still grill in the rain with Cal Flame BBQ.