Grill a Little Greener

In recent years, more and more people are becoming aware of the Eco-Friendly Movement. When it comes to grilling, we can choose to grill a little greener to reduce and limit the permanent damage being done to Mother Earth. Between choosing products that reduce the use of natural resources, to being a little smarter when cleaning our grills, it’s really up to us to make a difference.

Though there doesn’t seem to be an obvious eco-friendly choice when it comes to what fuels your grill, there are still a few things you can do to lessen the environmental impact of your weekend barbecue.17_Family Cal Flame_Lg

Follow these simple tips from ChowHound.com on how to grill and be environmentally friendly.

Use Nontoxic Cleaners
It’s best to clean your grill with a heavy-duty grill brush and some elbow grease, but if you’re going to use a spray-on cleaner, go for one that’s nontoxic.

Buy Sustainable Charcoal
If you’re buying lump charcoal, look for brands like Wicked Good, Nature’s Own Chunk Charwood, and the Original Charcoal Company, which are made from sustainably harvested wood. Lazzari also produces a 100 percent mesquite lump charcoal made from prunings, dead and fallen wood, and selectively harvested wood.

If you opt for briquettes, avoid instant-light varieties—they’re soaked in petroleum products—and conventional briquettes that use fillers like coal dust and petroleum binders.

Grill Good Food
What’s on top of your grate is just as important as what’s underneath it. Try to use seasonal, local, and organic produce and meats.

Put Down the Lighter Fluid!
There’s no need to use toxic lighter fluid to ignite charcoal when you can use a chimney starter. They’re simple: Stuff some old newspaper in the bottom, fill the top with charcoal, and light the paper. At around $10 to $15, they’re also cheap. Plus, your food won’t have any off flavors from unburned lighter fluid residue.  You can also make one out of an old coffee can by removing both ends, using a church key bottle opener to cut holes around the bottom rim, placing the chimney on top of your grill, and proceeding with the newspaper, charcoal, and ignition.Food-on-grill-1024x807

For more information about Cal Flame, please visit www.CalFlameBBQ.com.

Grilling in Winter

El Nino has complicated things a little bit for us barbecue lovers. Heavy rainfall, heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures and a little wind can be troubling when trying to enjoy a barbecue cookout that is OUTSIDE. But, there are some things you can do to try to enjoy some grilling in winter. IMG_1545

The Globe and Mail have written up a little guide of things you can do to make your outdoor party a little more enjoyable this winter, amidst all of the craziness El Nino has brought us:

Here are some dos and don’ts for how to get started with hosting your own outdoor party this winter:

Do keep it simple.

For winter cooking outdoors, Rose suggests meals that lend themselves to slow cooking, like barbecue. “The longer, the slower, the better,” he says. Whether you’re using your grill, an outdoor oven or an open fire, he suggests dishes like roasted pork butt or brisket and adding wood chips to enhance flavour. “If you start early in the morning, then there’s little work to do when guests arrive,” Rose says. Add simple vegetable sides like roasted potatoes, mushrooms and cauliflower – ideally also cooked over the fire – and you’ve got an impressive and satisfying meal.

Don’t complicate beverages.

Dark spirits are made for winter drinking by the fire, both inside and out. Just one bottle of highquality whisky and a few glasses are all you need. It’s warmth in a bottle – and it’s also one of the easiest ways to serve drinks. Ron Swanson would approve.

Click here to read entire article. Cal Flame Outdoor Kitchen

For more information about Cal Flame, please visit www.CalFlameBBQ.com.

Tips for Grilling in Winter

Cal Flame wants to ensure that you enjoy grilling all year long, including Winter! In some areas of the United States, extreme weather conditions can make grilling outdoors more difficult. Follow these tips for grilling in winter:

1.  Cal Flame Grills are Built to Last
The porcelain-enamel is glass fused to high-quality steel, and it is baked on at an estimated 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.  This superior quality that means that your grill will hold in heat well during the colder weather, and keep you grilling through the winter. Cal Flame BBQ grills are built to last and have been rigorously tested for performance. 

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2.  Cover Your Grill
Cal Flame BBQ Grill Covers are a must-have not only during the colder winter months to protect your grill from snow, but also during summer and fall to keep your grill scratch free and debris free. During the winter, your grill may be covered in snow so we suggest dusting snow off with a shovel.

3.  Keep it Charged
It’s a good idea to keep an extra tank of gas next to your grill for extra power. During the colder winter months it will take more gas to keep your grill hot how you want it. Having an extra tank will keep your grill going and prevent the need for returning to the store.grill-a-la-cart-series

4. Don’t Open Your Grill 
It is cold outside, opening your grill will reduce your grill’s temperature and extend your cooking time. Instead of peaking inside your grill to check on your food, get your grill to the desired temperature, set your meat, set your timer and close the lid. Keep the lid closed! Once your timer goes off, check on your meat.

5.  Stay Warm, Stay Safe
Make sure to keep yourself protected. Wear your protective grilling gloves and warm gear to protect yourself from extreme weather conditions. A Cal Flame outdoor fireplace or firepit also makes a great addition to your patio. 12143333_751258724985997_5222259300474666428_n

Cal Flame has a grill or outdoor kitchen perfect for your backyard or patio. Find it here: www.CalFlameBBQ.com 

Enjoy Patio Season

When cooler nights begin to creep in, it’s a sign that Patio Season is coming to an end. However, an outdoor fireplace and/or firepit is a great way to enjoy patio season for much longer than the allotted 5-6 months given to enjoy the great outdoors. Adding a fire, whether place or pit, is a rather inexpensive way to create a warm gathering space outside. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are now the most requested design features of yards.FPT-R1050S

Before implementing a hearth product as such to your backyard, it’s important to note the following safety, liability and legal considerations:

It’s important to check with your homeowner insurance policy to make sure it allows for outdoor fires. Check your local fire ordinances for guidelines to avoid potential fines for noncompliance. Rules state that no permit is required for recreational firepits less than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height, but they must also be 25 ft. away from any structure and 10 feet away from burnable material.12143333_751258724985997_5222259300474666428_n

The end of summer brings with it the end of enjoyment from summer activities. Relaxing outside does not need to be one of them. Create a glowing focal point with an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, and add year-round enjoyment to your deck, patio or porch.

www.CalFlameBBQ.com

Gas or Charcoal?

The ever standing questions still stands: Gas or Charcoal? Though either can get the job done, many chefs swear by one or the other. What’s the right cooking technique for you?Cal Flame Outdoor Kitchen

Here are some pros and cons, first for charcoal:

Pros: Most professional cooks prefer charcoal grills. It gives a deeper smoky flavor, and, used properly, it produces a clean heat with a high temperature. Cooking over coals gives a seared crust, and once you’ve got it, you can move the meat to a lower-heat area to finish cooking. Some charcoal grills have a “gas-assist” feature that helps light the charcoal but uses the charcoal for cooking.

Cons: It is time-consuming to light the fire and wait for the coals to burn to the right degree. Like, say, 2-year-old kids, coal fires can be unpredictable and messy to clean. The charcoal may need to be replenished during the cooking process to handle long, slow-barbecued meats.Food-on-grill-1024x807

And now for gas:

Pros: Gas is convenient, easy to use and quick to light, and gas fires have an even heat. Longing for that smoky flavor? You can create it by allowing the juices and fat to drip onto the stones and briefly catch fire (be vigilant watching for a bonfire when cooking chicken with skin on). The fuel supply can be used over and over again and is easy to replace.

Cons: Most gas grills won’t burn as hot as a charcoal grill, although a few high-end gas grills hit the heights of heat. Drippy fat or no, gas doesn’t quite give the level of smoky flavor that charcoal grills do.

Cal Flame BBQ offers additional add-on features to increase the flavor and intensity of your barbecued meats. From rotisserie baskets, to sear zone burners and smoke trays, Cal Flame makes sure that each and every meal grilled on a Cal Flame is the ultimate feast!Charcoal Helper Tray

www.CalFlameBBQ.com 

Fourth of July Cookout

Okay everyone, this is it: the biggest barbecue day of the YEAR! While some of us might be preoccupied wondering what the headliner on their plate will be at this year’s Fourth of July Cookout, and others have made up their mind after wrapping up last year’s feast. But this isn’t about the main dish, oh no ladies and gentleman, contrary to popular belief the delicacies are only a portion of what makes a cookout a real EVENT. It’s really all about coming together on a warm evening to celebrate with friends, family and food. Here are some Independence Day-inspired activities you could share with family at this year’s Fourth of July Cookout!4th of julyFourth of July is, for the most part, a warm day/evening, cool off with some water activities that the entire family can join in on. Water balloons are a fun, and cost-effective way to cool down while waiting for the food to be ready. Hot Potato is an all time favorite.

For dessert, host a watermelon eating contest. Whoever wins gets first-pick on fireworks or an extra sparkler. How about having a ring-toss game with glowsticks? Stake down some sticks upright and toss glowstick necklaces, and see how many you can make in.

When your Fourth of July get together begins to wind down, get in a last sugar rush with some tabletop s’mores. Place a foil cover inside small terracotta pots, drop-in some charcoal and let the sparks keep flying.Al-La-Cart-Deluxe-medium

Of course, these are only a few of the many activities that can supplement your enjoyment this Fourth of July. For the ultimate Fourth of July Cookout experience, why not get a Cal Flame BBQ Outdoor Kitchen? The ultimate customizable BBQ Island that will cater to each one of your needs Make sure to visit www.CalFlameBBQ.com to shop through our extensive BBQ Island selection.

 

 

 

 

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 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.

EIGHT THINGS NO ONE EVER TEACHES YOU ABOUT GRILLING

Food-on-grill-1024x807TV’s grilling expert offers barbecue techniques for how long to grill, how much to grill, and pretty much everything else you need to know for perfect meat this summer

By Steven Raichlen
Esquire Magazine, May 2014

1. Get the Grill Screaming Hot
For steaks, chops, and burgers, hold your hand three inches above the grill grate and start counting, “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc.” If “ouch” comes at two or three Mississippi, your grill is properly preheated.

2. …and Squeaky Clean
Always clean your grate immediately before and after cooking, using a long-handled stiff wire brush. In a pinch, you can scour the grate with a ball of crumpled aluminum foil held in tongs.

3. …and Well-Lubricated
Use a tightly folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil or a chunk of bacon fat held at the end of your tongs to oil the grate before you put on the food. Or do as Israeli grill masters do: Impale half an onion on the end of a barbecue fork. Dip the onion in oil and rub it across the bars of the grate.

4. Edible Skewers
Skewer meat or seafood on sprigs of fresh rosemary (great for lamb), cinnamon sticks (great for pork and peaches), or lemongrass stalks (great for chicken, shrimp, and swordfish).

5. The Beer Bottle Basting Brush
Open a longneck bottle of beer, cover the mouth of the bottle with your thumb, then shake it. Gradually slide back your thumb and direct the resulting stream of beer on the meat.

6. The Four-Finger Thermometer
Form the “okay” sign, touching the tip of your thumb to the tip of your forefinger. The pad of flesh at the base of your thumb will feel soft and squishy — exactly the same way a rare steak feels when you poke the top with your forefinger. Now move the tip of your thumb to the tip of your middle finger: That’s medium-rare. Thumb to the tip of your ring finger: medium. Thumb to pinkie: well-done.

7. Cook on the Coals
Lay sweet potatoes, onions, and even corn in the husk directly on the embers. Roast, turning with tongs, until the skins are coal black. When you scrape off the burned skin, the vegetable inside will be supernaturally sweet and smoky.

8. The Indirect Method
Solves several potential problems: Large or tough foods have time to cook through without burning. Fatty foods don’t cause flare-ups. And because you measure the cooking time in hours, you don’t have to worry about split-second timing. To set up a charcoal grill for indirect grilling, light the coals (ideally, lump charcoal) in a chimney starter and dump or rake them into two mounds at opposing sides of the grill. Place an aluminum drip pan in the center. (The pan serves to catch the dripping fat, while obliging you to configure your fire the correct way for indirect grilling.) Next, place the food to be grilled in the center of the grill, away from coals, over the drip pan. Close the lid and adjust the vent holes (more air, hotter fire; less air, cooler fire) to obtain the desired temperature — usually moderate (300 to 350 degrees) for roasting whole poultry or pork shoulder. The ultimate meat for indirect grilling is that barbecue icon of the Carolinas: pork shoulder (sometimes called Boston butt). The relatively high heat (higher than the true low and slow barbecue of the American South) produces succulent meat with a crackling-crisp crust, while deftly eliminating the risk of flare-ups.