Celebrate the Season with an Outdoor Holiday BBQ Cookout

By Angel Beltran

Whether we’re ready for it or not, the holiday season is rapidly approaching. That, of course, means family, friends and food!

Due to the dip in temperature during the fall and winter seasons, holiday dinners are typically hosted within the home. However, a non-traditional form of holiday fare can take place in the backyard or patio.

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Entertaining guests in the backyard or patio encourages a more laid back atmosphere. Combine that with good food and company, and you’ve got the recipe for a successful holiday dinner party! Most outdoor/patio gatherings occur during the daylight to prevent extreme cold from ensuing on your guests. If the party continues into the night, a bonfire or fire pit provides heat and visibility for your guests, as well as an excuse to make s’mores!

Decorating amongst natural foliage can enhance the look and feel of your outdoor holiday get together. Hanging twinkling lights from your patio will have a dramatic effect at dusk. You can also make your own garland by attaching cut outs onto a string: bat shapes for Halloween, leaf-shaped cutouts for Thanksgiving and snowflakes for Christmas. Simplicity is key!

Outdoor umbrellas don’t only provide shade during the day, but also help define your outdoor dining room space. If wind is an issue, you can weight dishes by placing a treat on your guest’s plates as a welcome gift, try a candied apple for a Halloween party! Setting up tables in different locations throughout your patio or backyard with food on one table, and drinks on another, will encourage guests to roam and be more convivial. Simplicity will make your holiday dinner a success and take the stress out of hosting a formal dinner.

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The best part about hosting an outdoor holiday fare is the ability to grill your meal on an authentic grill. Several traditional holiday recipes have been given the rustic treatment and translated into barbecue. Favorites such as corn on the cob, sweet potatoes and even whole turkeys can be prepared on an outdoor grill.

Cooking on an outdoor grill will give you more versatility than cooking on a traditional stove top oven, which is essential while preparing a holiday dinner. The direct heat and indirect heat an outdoor grill produces allows for a variety of cooking styles to occur at once. Direct heat is identified with cooking meats, while indirect heat provides the ability to steam or even bake some of your favorite side dishes. Imagine cutting down your holiday cooking time in half! That means more time to spend with family and friends!

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Whether you enjoy a succulent steak fresh off the grill, or seek comfort next to a cozy bonfire, Cal Flame can help you host your next gathering. Cal Flame has the ability to customize its wide range of hearth and barbecue products depending on the need of each customer. Ranging from barbecues, to fire pits, and fireplaces, Cal Flame offers products that will entertain guests and turn your backyard or patio into a “Home Resort.”

Since outdoor entertaining means simplicity, once guests have gone home or moved the party indoors, your patio or backyard will be a breeze to pack up. Pre-made desserts and holiday-themed cocktails drinks can be shared once the party moves inside.

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Spending quality time with family and friends in a unique setting and Cal Flame products can create a whole new entertaining holiday experience!

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

Eat Healthy with Cal Flame BBQ Grills

Healthier Cooking Methods: Grilling versus Frying / Nutrition / Healthy Eating
www.fitday.com

Cooking methods have a significant impact on the quality of food you consume. Grilling and frying are two popular methods used to cook food. To grill foods, you place them on a wire grid placed under or above a dry heat source. The food is cooked by thermal radiation. It is also referred to as broiling or pan grilling.

Fried foods are usually dipped into a fryer or pan that contains very hot oil or fat. Foods may be deep fried or shallow fried. The high temperatures and high heat conductivity cooks the food. This yields attractive, crispy food with a great aroma. However, the quality of food drops considerably when fried. Many fried foods can be grilled as a healthier alternative.

Disadvantages of Frying

When foods are fried, they absorb a lot of fat. Even if the food was a low fat item, it ends up with a high fat content when fried. When consumed, it increases the blood cholesterol level. High cholesterol levels pose greater risks to health. Arteries get clogged over time. This prevents the smooth flow of blood and increases blood pressure. High cholesterol levels also increase the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Higher calorie intake from fried foods results in weight gain. It becomes more difficult to manage a healthy weight program when fried foods are eaten regularly in the diet. Other foods, such as vegetables, loose much of their moisture and easily perishable vitamins when fried. This is because of the extremely high temperatures of the heated oil. Although fried food may be tasty with a great texture, it is harder to digest than grilled foods. This is because of the high amount of fat absorbed by the food as it cooks. Foods with a high fat content exert more pressure on the digestive system and organs. This contributes to disorders of the digestive tract. It also exacerbates conditions such as ulcers and gallstones. A healthier cooking alternative to frying is grilling.

Health Benefits of Grilling

Grilled meats have a reduced fat content. This is because the fat drips off as the food cooks. It results in healthier meals and makes it easier to manage a low fat diet. Grilled foods also have lower calorie content than fried foods. This helps in weight management and keeping fit. Reduced fat intake helps to lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Healthy cholesterol levels improve cardiovascular health. Various health conditions such as obesity, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes become a risk with fried foods.

When you grill your food, it helps to reduce the risk of such diseases. It also ensures that you get more value out of your food. This is because of the shorter cooking time involved when you grill. It results in minimal loss of moisture and vitamins from vegetables. This ensures that as much of the nutritional content is retained in the food when cooked. Healthy cooking contributes to good health and overall wellbeing.

Transform Your Backyard into the Ultimate Homecation

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Create a fabulous getaway in your own backyard. Check out all of the wonderful products available on the #Calflame websitewww.calflamebbq.com. Your outdoor living space can be an extension of your interior home decor or you can create something total different to enjoy with friends and family.

8533918045_3f76651a46_oVisit Cal Flame and start creating the perfect Homecation!  www.calflamebbq.com 

Unusual Foods to Grill:

Peach Pie the Easy Way
Caramelized peaches wrapped in a buttery crust and then cooked over a charcoal grill until crispy and golden brown? Yes, please. These half-moon pies aren’t just delicious; they’re also the neatest way to eat a gooey, oozy fruit pocket, since you don’t have to worry about cutting slices (just let people pick theirs up and eat with their hands). 

http://www.oprah.com/food/Grilling-Recipes-Unusual-Foods-to-Grill/1

2014 Cal Flame BBQ Brochure Available NOW!

Check out the 2014 Cal Flame BBQ Brochure available for download on the Cal Flame website. Great new products available!
http://www.calflamebbq.com/catalogbbq2014/index.html

Cal Flame BBQ Brochure 2014

Throw an Awesome 4th of July Backyard BBQ

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You can celebrate a fun and exciting 4th of July with friends, family and grilled favorites cooked on your Cal Flame BBQ Grill.  Plan a day full of tasty food, amazing activities and the thrill of fireworks.

Get Your Cal Spas Hot Tub Ready

Crystal clear water is the first step in preparing your backyard gathering.  It’s important to make sure your water has the right chemical levels and the filters are clean and working properly.  When there are a large number of people enjoying the hot tub bacteria is more likely to grow.  Cal Spas offers some of the best filtration systems in the industry to combat issues with water cleanliness and to ensure maximum protection against harmful build up.  The latest innovation is the Dually™ Pump System that uses 50% less energy with double the power.

The night prior to your event make sure jets are turned on and water is circulating to ensure your water is an inviting addition to the festivities.

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Invite Friends & Family! The More the Merrier

The backyard will be a bevy of activity, so don’t worry about inviting more people than your hot tub can accommodate.  Make sure you have plenty tables and chairs to allow your guest to socialize while others are relaxing in the hot tub.  Since it is recommended that time in a hot tub is limited to 15 minutes, guest will be able to have a good time in and out of the water.

Card games, games of wit and interesting conversation will keep your guest involved with the party and give many options for their enjoyment.

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Time to Eat

It’s time to break-out the grill and serve up a variety of delicious choices for your guest.  Cal Flame offers grills that do everything from grill fabulous meats to baking sweet desserts. Their product line-up also includes beautiful islands that make outdoor food preparation a breeze.  The skies the limit with what your menu can consist of.  Think outside of the box and give your guest delicious food that will keep your backyard party on their minds for the rest of the year.

Snacks and finger foods are a wonderful way to keep guest happy and in good spirits while the meat is smoking on the grill.  Mouth-watering treats are always welcomed and should be plentiful during the party.  Prepping food a few days early will allow you to enjoy the party with your guest and make sure all of your detailed work is already completed such as seasoning and marinating meat, cutting vegetable and fruit, and putting together salads.

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Remember people love snacks so have plenty on hand.  Backyard gatherings should always include some of the basics such as chips & dip, color themed candy, and fruit such as blue berries, watermelon and strawberries with whipped cream to make your table look colorful and patriotic.

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Refreshing Drinks

It’s important to keep plenty of water on hand for your guest especially those enjoying the hot tub.

There are plenty of delicious party punches that can be served to keep the fun going and make the day a blast.  Also offer non-alcoholic fruit drinks, sodas and once again the ever important water!  If you really want to do something fun make refreshing fruit smoothies for minors or non-alcoholic drinkers and ad just a splash of liquor to turn up the recipe and create a delicious frozen treat with a kick.

It is recommended that you use plastic cups rather than glasses at a hot tub party; accidents happen and you don’t want anyone breaking a glass in or near your hot tub.

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It’s Time to Party!

Now that you have invited your guest, created the menu, chose your games and activities and made your drink choice it’s time to get the music going and start the party.  Cal Spas hot tubs and CalFlameIslands offer state of the art sound systems that work with your iPod or iPhone to help create the perfect party environment.

 Now get the party started and enjoy Independence Day!

Cal Flame offers a complete line of BBQ & Hearth products to transform any backyard into a Home Resort!

Take a moment to learn more about Cal Flamehttp://youtu.be/Ko7q6Rjqpgo

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Cal Flame Found 3 Secrets to Perfect BBQ!

Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson BBQ and Ray Lampe of Southern Hospitality share
3 Secrets to Perfect BBQ!
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Men’s Health Magazine

Everyone loves ribs. But most folks have no idea how to cook them at home. So when the National Pork Board invited me to a cooking demo at Rib Fest 2011, I couldn’t refuse. Firing up the charcoal was Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama, and Ray Lampe of Southern Hospitality here in Manhattan. Both men are legends within the grill game and the stage was set for a serious pork throwdown.

Lilly started out by emphasizing the seductive allure of his ribs. “I could serve you pork ribs six days in a row, Monday through Saturday,” began Lilly in his quintessential southern drawl, “and on the seventh day you’d come in here and guess what you’d ask me for…”

You get the picture.

We had two different racks to choose from. Ray prepared the smaller, leaner Baby Back variety, while Chris grilled up the larger, more indulgent Spare Ribs. Both involve a three step cooking process that anybody can complete on their own grill:

Step 1: Season the rack.

Create your own dry rub starting with even amounts of salt and sugar and adding whatever spices you like. Don’t be shy. Use a charcoal grill whenever possible, wrap your wood chips in foil and place them on the coals. Keep the coals to one side of the grill and the meat on the other for indirect heat. Never cook ribs over direct heat.

*Common Misconception: Rubs should be rubbed in. FALSE: you don’t need to grind seasonings into the meat. As a matter of fact both of our chefs simply sprinkled it on by the handful and moved straight to the grill.

Step 2: Foil the rack

After about two hours (less for the Baby Backs), remove your rack and wrap it in foil. Add a splash of apple juice, Jack Daniel’s or some other refreshing combination to moisten and tenderize the pork. Follow up with more of the rub (both sides, please). Wrap tightly and return to the grill.

Step 3: Sauce/Season and Serve

Give the ribs about 30-60 minutes in the foil. It’s important to note that if you leave the meat in the foil for too long, the added liquid will wash out that smokey flavor you worked so hard to impart in Step 1.  Remove from the foil, add more of your dry rub or homemade BBQ sauce, divide into serving sizes and dig in. A connoisseur will serve Spare Ribs as singles and Baby Backs in pairs.

 

 

Cal Flame Top Gun Gas Grill Review

Top Gun Grill
By Chef Tony Matassa, ShoppersChoice.com, LLC.

The Skinny:
Convection technology means faster cooking time & even heat; innovative glass window lets you watch food cook; rugged cast stainless burners that last; full line of outdoor accessories.

Things To Love:
The first thing that catches our eye is the hood mounted glass window. This lets you monitor your BBQ while it’s cooking, and when you turn on the interior lights it looks really cool. We also like the angled hood design and stylish curved handle which stands out nicely. Cal Flame also has exclusive v-shaped cooking grids and multicolored control lights. Another nice feature is the front splash guard with vent to help keep grease away from controls.

The grill is powered by five, commercial-grade cast stainless burners. Cast stainless is popular on premium gas grills, mostly due to their unyielding strength and ability to radiate extremely high heat. Top Gun also uses Cal Flame’s exclusive convection technology, which uses a fan to circulate hot air evenly throughout the grill (the same technology can be found in many indoor ovens).

A couple of other nice extras include independent ignition on each burner, and any cast burner can be swapped out with an optional searing burner for even more grilling options. (Searing burners are excellent for creating the grill marks that everyone loves.) The grill also includes rotisserie and a built-in smoker box.

Cal Flame produces a complete line of outdoor kitchen products, which is a nice benefit if you’re building an outdoor kitchen and would like to have matching components.
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Things To Consider:
Top Gun has innovative features and good performance, but it doesn’t excel with flare-up control since it uses flavor bars instead of stainless grids to reduce flare-ups. The cast burners offer high temperatures but doesn’t have a wide temperature range when you need to cook at low temps. This grill also doesn’t have a double lined hood, to hold in high heat and protect the hood from discoloration. Even though this grill doesn’t include the searing burner, you can still add it as an option.

http://calflamebbq.com/product/?id=126

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.