Monthly Archives: November 2013

Outdoor Patio Ideas for Small Spaces

Whether you live in a crowded urban area, a condo, or an apartment, an undersized patio can present distinct decorating challenges. However, just because a space is small doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish, functional, and fun to spend time in: a place to grill out and spend quality time with friends. With a little planning, you can transform even a small patio space into an outdoor grilling and entertaining haven.

Choose Your Theme

Start by deciding on a theme for your patio space. Go with a garden theme and make plants the focal point of your décor. Display them in hanging planters or plant climbing vines in containers to grow up a fence, wall, or trellis. A small electric waterfall or fountain can help to drown out city noises and make your patio a private oasis.

A country-themed look could incorporate wicker furniture, wildflowers, and gingham accents. Turn a sunny corner into a small container garden for a few vegetables and herbs. Some antique accents and rustic flower pots can finish the look.

Minimalist Decor

Take care not to clutter your patio space. Be very selective in what you choose to put on your patio and go for a “minimalist” look. Remember that less can be more. Include a disguised storage area to help keep the space organized. Choose a grill size that works with your space and position it so that it is accessible, yet not in the way of your guests.

Color Choices and Lighting

Creative use of lights and color can help to make a space look larger and more open. Choose lighter colors rather than darker ones to give the illusion that your patio is larger. When selecting pillows and cushions, choose smaller patterned fabrics in light, neutral colors (as opposed to dark fabrics and larger patterns). A light or neutral-colored outdoor rug can help to lighten up the space while adding comfort. Brighten any dark corners with sconces or up-lights.

Don’t let the size of your patio prevent you from having an amazing outdoor grilling season. Follow these decorating tips and make the most of any size patio space.


Protect Your Gas Grill in Winter to Enjoy it in Summer

When winter comes, many package their gas grill and grilling tools for the cold months until a warm spring day comes back again. However, a good grill cook takes care of his equipment, even when it means lying dormant during the winter months.

The first step is to start in the fall before the cold sets in with moisture and rain. This involves pulling apart all the grill components and thoroughly cleaning each one. This can be done by heating up the grill grates so that every bit of food is powderized and burned off. Then, when cooled, the residue can be easily removed with a variety of tools including scrapers, wire brushes, and other similar tools.

Grease and grit will still be left. The second phase involves using a good amount of soap and water to break down the oils and fat. This will allow you to clean out the hard-to-reach parts that can trap residue and create hot spots. While giving the grill a good scrubbing, removing the grates is a good idea for internal access to the BBQ pit.

With the inside of the BBQ cleaned out, it’s time to work on the outside. The same soap and water cleaning should be performed, removing all the oil, carbon, and grease layered around the controls, sides, and flat surfaces of the grill.

When the outside is cleaned and dried, examine the surface condition. If the paint is peeling or gone, it’s time to sand the area and re-coat it with a high-temperature spray paint.

After the cleaning is finished, it’s a good idea to check all the hoses and junctions for any cracks or aging. Old gas lines are a serious risk, and winterizing is a good time to replace them.

Finally, cover the grill with a good, waterproof grill cover. A decent one can be found at better-equipped hardware stores or BBQ specialty supplier, like Gas Grills Now. Now, with the grill prepared for winter, it’s time to start marking days on the calendar until grilling time is back again.


The Grill Accessories Dad Really Wants for Christmas

To be fair, Mom might love some grill accessories for Christmas, too. In fact, all the outdoor-cooking enthusiasts on your gift list this year would appreciate a new tool or two that helps them create even more delicious dishes on the grill. But we know that dads can be so hard to buy for; how many ties or watches does a guy need? Put this list to work for you this holiday season and you may finally have a shot at being Dad’s favorite.

Smoker Box

A grill smoker box provides a safe place for adding aromatic woods like hickory or mesquite into a gas grill. It’s perfect for the griller who occasionally enjoys the extra flavor smoking provides, but doesn’t have the space or desire for a dedicated smoker. Find smoker boxes from under 20 dollars to 80 dollars and beyond, but make sure you know the measurements of the grill before purchasing.

Grill Baskets

A tisket, a tasket, grill your veggies in a basket. A grill basket makes it easy to cook large quantities of vegetables without fuss. No more slices of zucchini falling through the grates and no more being limited by what type or size of vegetables can go on the grill. Grill baskets come in a variety of sizes, including rotisserie baskets. Shop for a basket with a long handle for easy turning and small to medium openings between grates.

Fish Spatula

Dad might grill lighter entrees once in a while if they were easier to handle. A specialized fish spatula is the right size and shape to turn over even an entire fish without fumbling. carries a gift-worthy tool that boasts a genuine rosewood handle and a handsome stainless steel spatula.

Grill Gloves

Perfect for cleaning hot grates and handling large roasts and birds with security, if Dad doesn’t already own a pair of heat-resistant grill gloves, he’s probably hoping to find some in his stocking this year. Look for gloves that are ambidextrous to avoid any clumsy grappling for the correct glove at a crucial moment.


Top Safety Tips On Grill Use for Homeowners

When families get together, they usually like to cook out and spend some time playing games and having fun. To help keep everyone safe and satisfied, there are some things that you will want to do when it comes to your grill. Take the time to follow these simple tips to keep you and your family safe when using your grill.

Safety Tips to Know When Using Your Grill

  • Before lighting the grill, you will want to make sure that there is nothing around the burners that can catch on fire. Once you have cleared all the debris from the burners, go ahead and light your grill.
  • Examine the hoses that run from the burner to the gas tank under the grill for any cracks or signs of damage.
  • Be sure to follow the instructions when lighting your grill. If you are using a propane grill, do not keep the gas on too long before lighting or you could get burned. A charcoal grill can flare up if you use too much starter fluid.
  • Get the grill to full temperature before cooking any food. Some foods have to reach a certain temperature before they can be eaten. You will also want to keep the temperature of the grilling surface at an even temperature to avoid burning parts of the food.
  • When your food is ready to come off the grill, use the proper tools to avoid burning your hands.
  • Do not use the same plate that previously held raw meat. Use a clean plate to place the cooked meat to avoid contaminating your newly-cooked food.
  • When you are finished cooking, shut the gas off and allow the flames to go out. Close the lid to avoid any accidental burns on the hot surface.

Grill safety is a top priority when getting together with family and friends. If you follow these simple tips, you can avoid any unnecessary trouble. The grilling season is a time of fun so be safe and keep your grill working safely.


Thanksgiving on the Grill

Look outside on your back deck. See that gas grill? That’s the extra oven you wish for every Thanksgiving. Utilizing your grill for holiday feasts is a smart solution for a too-small oven. Whether you like to experiment with new flavors or keep it traditional, there’s practically no end to the delicious holiday dishes you can prepare outside while the turkey cooks to juicy perfection inside.

Acorn Squash

Instead of yams cooked in the oven, slice acorn squashes in half, clean out the seeds, and spoon in a dollop each of butter, brown sugar, and chopped walnuts. Season with salt and pepper and a light sprinkle of nutmeg before placing the squash on indirect heat in a 350-degree grill. Close the lid and cook for about 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Cast-Iron Cornbread

Who wants crescent rolls from a can when they can have homemade cornbread? Follow your favorite cornbread recipe and while you’re mixing the batter, preheat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in a 350-degree grill. Place approximately 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet to melt and pour in the batter. The extra fat in the pan makes a delicious crispy crust on the cornbread. Cook on indirect heat for approximately 25 minutes with the lid closed.

Pumpkin Pie

Yes, you can bake a pie in your gas grill. No more waiting until the turkey comes out – bake your pies in the grill while Tom is roasting. Simply set the grill temperature to your recipe’s heat recommendation, place the pie on indirect heat, and close the lid. Grill the pie for the same amount of time you would normally bake it in the oven.

More Meat

Don’t limit yourself to two little turkey legs or only enough leftover white meat for a sandwich or two. Cook meat on the grill – turkey meat that is. Buy extra legs or a turkey breast roast to make sure everyone gets their favorite part.

By using indirect heat (not directly over flames) a gas grill becomes a dependable oven that can do almost anything that hot box inside the house can do – plus it makes those gorgeous grill marks.


Get Your Grill in Tip Top Shape for the Winter

Closing down the pool and storing away the patio furniture is a rite of passage that marks the seasonal change from summer to fall. By spending a few minutes properly preparing your grill before you store it, you can rest assured that it will ready to use as soon as the warm weather rolls out again.

Clean it Up

When you are preparing your outdoor grilling equipment for storage during the months that you will not be using it, it is important to be very thorough about cleaning. Be sure to clean the grates and dry them completely. All food and cleaning materials should be removed under the hood and on the sides of the grill. Completely dry surfaces to reduce the possibility of rust forming. Ensuring that every speck of food and debris is removed from the grill helps to keep animals, rodents, and other pests from thinking that your grill is a great spot to take up residence.

Disconnect the Propane

While you should never store propane tanks inside your home, you still want to turn off the propane and unhook the tank before storing it near your grill. Cap the end of the outlet to the propane cylinder to prevent accidental leakage.

Remove Components

If the racks of your grill lift out, remove them and place them in a garbage bag before securing it. Tape another bag around the area where the racks are located. This will help prevent insects from nesting in your grill over the winter.

Cover it Up

Keeping your grill covered when you will not be using it through the cooler months is important, even if you will be storing it inside your garage. Covering it keeps dust and dirt from accumulating on the exterior and the interior of your grill. Rather than simply covering it, you also want to tie the cover in place. This is particularly important if you will be storing your grill outdoors or if you have a free-standing grill island.

By taking a few extra steps to prepare as the cooler weather approaches, your grill will be ready to be fired up once the warm breezes start blowing again.


Want To Know Who Makes The Best Chicago-Style Brick Oven Pizza? You Do!

There’s no pizza in America quite like Chicago-Style brick oven pizza … that’s for sure. But you won’t always have to travel to Chicago to get a slice because we’ve got a recipe from one of Chicago’s most famous pizzerias: Pizzeria Giordano. Making your pizza at home and from scratch is easier and more authentic than ever when you bake your pie in your very own Chicago brick oven.

Here’s the recipe:

Pizzeria Giordano Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

1-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp yeast

3/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 tsp sugar

6 tsp olive oil

6 tbsp warm water

10″ pie pan

First, mix together flour, salt, and sugar. Next, add yeast to the mixture. Scoop out a bit of the dry mixture, then begin forming dough into rough ball, adding in olive oil until it comes together into cohesive ball. If you need to, add a little water until you achieve the doughy consistency.

Knead the dough for about two minutes. (Secret: The more you need, the more the dough turns into a bread-like consistency; therefore, to maintain the pie-like consistency, do not knead too long). Allow a few hours for the dough to rise (up to 8 hours, or you can leave the mixture in the refrigerator overnight).

Roll risen dough with rolling pin until it is thin. Fold into quarters and repeat. The dough should be at least 12″ in diameter. Grease the 10″ deep dish pan with oil or butter, then drape the dough over the pan and line the sides with the dough. Press the dough firmly across the bottom and sides; the leftover dough can be cut off along the edges of the pan.

At the bottom of the pan, you will add mozzarella cheese (generously). Next, add your tomato sauce. (Giordano’s pizza sauce is made of fresh, crushed tomatoes, but you can add canned, crushed tomatoes if you prefer). Spread the tomato sauce very generously. (While this recipe is for cheese pizza, if you’re adding toppings, you’ll want to layer the meat or vegetable toppings on the tomato sauce). Finally, top with lots of Parmesan cheese.

Place your pie into your Chicago brick oven and bake for 30 minutes; remove and enjoy!