Summer Grilling Tips

grilling tips

One of our favorite things about summertime is summer barbecues and cookouts. We know not everyone is a grill master. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of our best grilling tips to ensure you can have fun and be safe during your summer cookouts.

Here are 14 of our grilling tips!

The Pool and Spa Warehouse’s Grilling Tips

Clean Your Grill

Start with a clean grill. Don’t let last night’s salmon skin impart a fishy-char flavor to tonight’s chicken breasts. Use a sturdy metal brush to clean the grates in between uses.

The Less Movement The Better

Don’t move the food around. In general, the fewer times you flip something, the better (once is ideal for most meats). If the meat is stuck to the grill, let it cook more — it will unstick itself when it’s ready for flipping.

Don’t Press Down

Don’t squeeze or flatten meats. Yes, I know that burst of sizzling flame that comes from squishing a burger with a spatula is tempting. But you know what is creating that flame burst? Fat. And you know what fat is? Juicy flavor. Don’t squish meat, because you will squeeze out the taste and moisture.

Keep Water Near

Keep a spray bottle handy for flare-ups. Flames are not your food’s friends — they will char it unpleasantly. Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy; this will allow you to dampen flare-ups without interfering with heat.

Check The Temp with a Thermometer

Buy a meat thermometer. Unless you are a very experienced cook, it is hard to tell meat’s temperature merely by touching it. (Although if you are interested, here’s how to do it: Touch the meat. If it’s soft like the flesh between your index finger and thumb, it’s rare. If it’s soft like your cheek, it’s medium-rare, and if it’s firm like your forehead it’s well-done.) More accurate for most of us: A quick check of temp from a thermometer. Your confidence in grilling will skyrocket with this one $10 purchase.

Use aluminum foil to trap heat.

Really hot grill bars equal great grill marks on your steaks. To concentrate the heat and keep it from escaping, lay a sheet of foil over the grill for 10 minutes. Peel the foil off just before cooking, scrunch it into a ball (it cools fast) and use it later to scrape any residue or ash from the bars.

Bring the Meat to Room Temperature

Avoid putting cold foods straight on the grill. Letting meat come to temperature on the counter for 30 minutes before grilling will help it cook more evenly. (If you are looking for a rare sear, however — like if you’re grilling tuna, for example — then chilled is the way to go!)

Season meat liberally.

One of the most important grilling tips. Big, thick steaks need a lot of seasoning, so be sure to cover them liberally with salt, pepper, and any rub before grilling. A good rule of thumb for home cooks is to salt the meat twice as much as you think is needed.

Under not over

Undercook foods, just slightly. Carryover cooking is a real thing — food continues to cook after it leaves the grill. You can expect food temperature to go up about five degrees after leaving the grill, so plan accordingly.

Don’t poke.

When checking for doneness, resist the urge to repeatedly poke, stab, or pierce your meat with a fork or prongs. The juices will escape, making the meat drier and less flavorful. Use a spatula or tongs to gently move and flip your food

Create heat zones.

On a kettle grill, bank up the coals in the center. Sear food in the middle, where heat is highest, then moves it to the outer edges of the grill to perfectly cook without burning. On a gas grill, leave one burner on high, another on medium.

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 super sweet and smoky.

Let It Rest

Rest all meat! Allow the meat to sit undisturbed (and unsliced!) for five to 15 minutes after cooking, as this will allow the juices to redistribute. The bigger the piece of meat, the longer the rest time. Resting meat is an important key to juicy results.

Don’t Over Char

Don’t over-char to cook through meat with bones. No one wants to eat meat covered in thick, black char. If you have thicker meats with bones, such as chicken thighs or legs, cook them on high heat to get a nice crust, and then move to lower, indirect heat on the grill. This will allow the meat to cook through more slowly without overcooking the outside. Or, consider par-cooking the chicken in an oven for 15 to 20 minutes before grilling. Also great to precook: ribs!

Have any questions about grills? Or need more grilling tips? Don’t hesitate to contact us here!

Hot Tub Care and Maintenance

hot tub care

Hot Tub Care and Maintenance

A hot tub is a great way to relax at home. But owning a hot tub is not all fun and games. Hot Tub Care and maintenance is a big responsibility if you don’t want your investment to go to waste.

Fortunately for you, caring for a hot tub isn’t a complicated task. Let’s get right into it!

Cleaning the filter

Depending on how often you use your hot tub, spa filters need to be cleaned every 5-6 weeks. You should replace the filter cartridge every year to maintain water quality.

To be able to clean the filter, you must be familiar with its parts. A spa filter has 3 main parts:

The media

The media is the main part of your filter. It’s responsible for filtering the water and is polyester. The complex weaving enables the media to capture most of the solid dirt and debris.

The internal structure

The core of a filter is what gives it resistance to the water flow. Many filters come with a dual-core to give the filter a longer life.

End caps

These are found at the pole ends of the filter cartridge and are used to attach the filter to the hot tub plumbing.

Now that you are acquainted with the filter parts, let’s move on to cleaning it. You can access the filter at different points, depending on where the manufacturer has placed the filter cavity. It could be accessed from inside the spa itself or found underneath the tub. If that’s the case, you would want to shut off the valve to prevent water from rushing out once the filter is accessed.

For a regular rinse, you can wash out the debris from the filter by positioning a jet of water over it (preferably a gardening hose) and let the stream of water do its magic.

For more infrequent cleanses, use a chemical filter cleaner. Spray the filter’s weaving with the chemical rinse and let it sit for a couple of minutes so that the chemical can work. Rinse the filter thoroughly so that all of the chemicals are washed out.

Many people use household cleaners to cleanse filters. Especially, do NOT use cleaners like dishwashing liquid or bleach. These can hurt your filter and throw off the balance of your hot-tub.

Hot Tub Care: Clean The Shell

You also need to be sure to clean your hot tub shell. Just having a nice and clean set of filters isn’t going to suffice.

The hot tub seats can start accumulating scum and grime, giving your spa a gross and unappealing feel. If you have the hot tub spa installed outdoors, this will happen more often as compared to indoors. Your shell needs to be cleaned about every three months.

Do NOT use household cleaners or start scrubbing the shell with abrasive cleaners like steel wool. Since you have already invested so much in the hot tub spa, it would be worthwhile to spend a couple of bucks on quality spa cleaners. A nonabrasive cleaner like an old rag or a soft sponge would be great if you really want to scrub the shell clean. In fact, specially designed mittens can be purchased to remove scum from bathtubs and hot tubs.

If you feel the hot tub care does not require scrubbing, you can vacuum it to remove solid debris difficult to sweep out. Most of all, small battery-powered vacuums are great for sucking out grit.

Lastly, if water drainage is not yet in order, you could attempt to remove floating debris with a skimmer net. It’s great for quick cleaning when you don’t have time to replace the water or perform a deep cleanse, though it is only a temporary solution and not a substitute for the cleaning methods described above.

Clean the spa cover

A spa cover is often neglected by hot-tub owners. A hot tub cover acts as a barrier between dirt and debris and the clean sparkling water in your tub. Therefore, it can also help you conserve energy by providing insulation and keeping heat in.

Covers help prevent accidents like accidentally falling into the tub or drowning. In fact, getting a cover with a lock is a good precaution to keep away unwanted visitors from taking a soak in the tub when you aren’t around.

Check out our spa covers!

First of all, you should remove your spa cover at least twice a week to air it out. If your cover is heavy or difficult to lift, use a spa cover lifter to remove it. Leave the cover lifted for a couple of hours so that all moisture evaporates and the cover cools down.

If your hot tub is outside, buy a spa cover cleaner. Use it to wipe off any debris and stains. To keep your spa cover looking brand new for as long as possible, chemicals like a cover conditioner are of great help. Therefore, they will maintain the luster of the cover for quite a long time.

If you need any help choosing the right chemicals or cover for your spa, don’t hesitate to contact Cincinnati Pool & Patio. We’re always here to help with your hot tub care.