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This is the Fire Pit and Grilling Guru Guide newsletter, from the Fire Pit and Grilling Guru website. Each issue brings you updates on what's new in the world of fire pits, grilling, barbecuing, and cooking with fire.
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Contents of this issue of the Fire Pit and Grilling Guru Guide
- What's New at the Fire Pit and Grilling Guru - New Articles
- How to Get Ready for the Grilling Season - Clean up that dirty grill!
What's New at the Fire Pit and Grilling Guru?
Well summer is upon us so, if you haven't already, it is time to get your outdoor cooking fired up and ready! This is the time that we are all pulling out our grills and fire pits and preparing for a long, warm and fun season. Get your equipment organized and cleaned up so that you can start hosting great cookout parties. If you don't have the equipment yet, then now is a good time to get some! You can learn all about types of grills, fire pits, accessories and even whole pig roasting on my website.
Here are some recent articles which I have posted to the Firepit and Grilling Guru website:
Fire Pit Barbecue Cooking
Cooking on your fire pit grill can be a lot of fun and create delicious, wood-fire cooked foods. However, if you are using real firewood as your heat source in your pit there are some differences from traditional charcoal or gas grill cooking. This page introduces you to some of the unique things to keep in mind when pit cooking and includes several tips on how to do it right.
Fire Pit or Grill Skillet Cooking
A skillet or pot is not just for the stovetop! You can use these cooking utensils on your grill or fire pit to good effect. There is something more fun, more primitive and more "caveman" about cooking over a real wood fire instead of on your stove. So grab your cast iron skillet and have some fun!
Rotisserie for Gas Grills
Many current models of gas grills, and even some charcoal ones, come with built in automatic rotisseries, and that is great news! Rotisserie cooking is an outstanding way to produce succulent, juicy roasts. While bigger cuts of meat, like whole poultry, leg of lamb, etc., can be cooked on a grill by indirect heat methods, an automatic rotisserie is easier and more fool-proof.
Grilling Steak the Right Way
Yup, steak is one of the most classic grilled dishes that almost everybody loves. However, most people don't know the tricks to making that great cut of meat really shine on the grill. First of all, good quality meat is the absolute most important factor. Spend a bit of extra money and you won't regret it. However, here are some other tips and tricks to cooking the perfect steak every time.
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How to Get Ready for the Grilling Season - Clean up that dirty grill!
Many would-be grillers miss out on grilling season because they are afraid of their old, rusted out grill gathering dust in their backyard or garage. They think it will be too hard to rehab it and get it in working order again. Don't let this be you! Don't miss out on the great food and good times you could have this summer because you were too lazy. And besides, its not as hard as you may think!
First of all, if you are just too lazy or think your old grill is just too worn out to get it in working order then consider trashing it (or donating it) and starting new. This doesn't have to be a huge investment! Great, basic charcoal grills can be found for well under $100, often even as low as $60-70 in the case of a basic Weber kettle grill. They may be cheap and basic, but they are great grills and capable of just about any type of grill cooking you can throw at it. They also last a long time if you take care of them. Nicer gas grills can be a bit more expensive but don't have to break the bank either. Either way, remember to invest in a grill cover to keep it protected from the environment so that it will give you many seasons of use.
Now on to cleaning your grill. First of all, with charcoal grills, many people don't empty the built up ash often enough. The built up ash in the bottom of the grill is messy and eventually can clog up your air intake vents on the bottom of your grill, making your heat production less effective! With most grills it is easy to clean out quickly. I like to keep an old coffee tin next to my grill and simply bring out a large bag with me when I go to set up my grill each time. Simply scoop out the left over ash, dump it in the bag, tie it up and throw it away! Some grills have a container or tray underneath that the ash can be swept into or onto. It can then be removed to dump the mess right into the trash. Again, it is best to simply take the minute or two it takes to do this each time you grill rather than wait until it is overflowing and a much more difficult mess!
Gas grills require a bit less cleanup since they don't use wood or charcoal. However, bits of food and grease can drop down and eventually build up in the grill. Simply take the grill grate off and use a scouring pad or metal brush to break up and remove any caked on, charred food bits. Generally, little mess in the bottom of a gas grill won't cause much of a problem. However, if your actual burners are exposed and get built up much on them, it can block the gas holes. If any of your outlet holes are clogged, try brushing the debris off the surface. If this is not enough to open them, you can use a thin poker such as a toothpick or un-bent paperclip to unblock the holes.
Now to the grill cooking surface itself. As I'll mention below, it is best to clean your grill each time you use it to keep ahead of the work and to prevent thick build-up of crust on your grill grate. However, if you have your old dirty grill left from last season (or seasons) then it will take a bit more work. Start with a basic, sturdy copper wire grill brush. Give it a good scraping to get off as much as you can. In many cases this is all the work you need to do and you are ready to grill! Remember, your grill grate will never look like new. It will be black and a bit bumpy, but as long as you can get off the majority of crust, you're in business! If the brush doesn't work, try this trick...Bring the grill inside to your kitchen or bathroom. Liberally cover the grate with baking powder. Then moisten with distilled white vinegar. Let sit for several hours or overnight. This helps to loosen a lot of baked on grease and crust. Then simply rinse and scrub the grill grate and much of the cooked on muck should come off much easier. This combination works well for burnt on messes on other cookware as well.
Of note, if you have a grill grate which is porcelain coated, try to avoid ever using a metal brush on it. Use a sponge or heavy hair or plastic brush or spatula to scrape off the build-up. The good thing is that these coated grates usually clean up much easier as the build-up doesn't stick to them as tenaciously. If you do use a metal brush on them, the porcelain surface can become scratched and food will stick much more easily!
And remember, the best way to avoid having a big clean up job each time you pull out your grill is to do preventative work. Take the few extra seconds it takes to clean off your grill a bit after cooking each time. It only takes a few minutes of scraping. A good copper wire brush works well here. Invest in a nice sturdy one. The cooked on bits come of much easier when fresh and when still hot on the grill. Don't let them build up over several cooking sessions until you have layers of baked-on, hard crust across your whole grill!
Don't forget to stock up for the summer on all your grill and fire pit related supplies!
Here are a few places you should check out that have a great selection of "cooking with fire" related items:
SpitJack is a great online retailer that sells all sorts of tools for food & fire. They have all the basics like fireplace tools, wood storage and fire pits. But what makes them really special is that they have hard to find fireplace cooking items like fireplace grills and fireplace rotisseries! They also have big outdoor rotisseries for next spring or summer's pig roast.
The Fire Pit Shop has dozens of choices of fire pits and outdoor chimneys. Get warm this winter with a nice outdoor fire pit to cozy up next to!
Grills Direct stocks virtually every major brand of grills, barbecues, fryers and smokers. While it's probably too cold in most areas to grill right now, this can be a great source for gifts for your grill loving friends and relatives.
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Have a Reader Tip or a Question? Contact Me!
I love to hear from my readers and visitors. If you have a handy tip to share or questions or comments on anything related to fire pits and grill cooking, please contact me! If you want to submit a recipe idea for inclusion on the site, go to the Share Your Recipe page. If you want to submit a fire pit design idea or pictures of your homemade fire pit then go to the How to Build a Fire Pit Submission page.
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