Tips For Grilling In Winter

grilling in winter

Tips For Grilling In Winter

When the temperatures start to drop, our first reaction is to escape to our homes and avoid braving the cold as much as possible. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to become a recluse this winter! You can actually enjoy a delicious grilled meal just like summertime! Yes, you can enjoy grilling in winter.

Keep it Covered

Getting a cover for your grill before winter is important because it not only will protect your grill from the elements, but a cover makes grilling more convenient during the months of heavy snowfall. Simply dust the snow off the cover with a shovel or brush, then remove the cover, and you have yourself a snow-free grill. We always recommend keeping a shovel or brush right outside your back door to clear a path to your grill as well.

Fuel Check

Make sure to keep extra fuel nearby during cold months. Charcoal should be stored in a dry place protected from snow or rain. When you are grilling with charcoal be sure to use a little extra because it will burn quicker in colder and windy weather. For all gas grilling, remember to preheat with all burners on high for at least 15 minutes. Having a full gas tank and extra charcoal ensures you will be able to keep your grill at the desired temperature.

The colder temperatures will mean your grill will need a little more time to get up to the temp you want for cooking. Give it a good 5-10 minutes extra from what you would normally wait. It is best to pre-heat to 400 or 450 degrees as a minimum and then adjust the temperature. When you place your food on the grill and it doesn’t sizzle then that tells you that it is not nearly hot enough. If cooking on a charcoal grill, make sure to use plenty of charcoal to get the heat needed for grilling.

Stay Warm and Safe

The Midwest hit some low record-breaking temperatures last year, so just remember if you are going out in the cold to grill, bundle up in your winter gear, tuck in any scarfs inside your coat, and use your grilling gloves when handling the grill!

Safety First

Just because it’s cold outside remember it is never a good idea to grill in an enclosed space that can trap deadly carbon monoxide, like inside a garage, under an over-hang, indoors or in an enclosed area. In addition to carbon monoxide accumulation, accidental fire damage, and smoke damage are all possible to be aware of any loose or dangling clothing that could catch on fire.

Being well-prepared is the best way to avoid problems. Place your grill on a firm level surface—a wooden deck is not the best choice for obvious reasons! Keep your spare fuel away from the lit grill.

Winter clothing like scarves can trail into the flames, so be sure you’re safely dressed when grilling.

 

Good Lighting

 

If you’re grilling in winter after dark, you’ll need to choose outdoor lighting, both for atmosphere and for practicality. Light strings are an attractive feature when draped around your deck. Don’t rely on extension cords as your power source because they are a trip hazard. And beware of naked flames like candles if children and pets are around.

For grilling, a good overhead light is best, but you can get excellent visibility with a powerful headlamp that leaves your hands free for cooking.

 

Invest in Grilling Gloves

 

Normal winter gloves might keep out the cold, but they won’t cut it for grilling. Purposely designed grilling gloves are made to withstand extremely high temperatures and have long cuffs to protect your hands and wrists against burns. Made from fire-resistant material such as silicone, they won’t wear into holes, and they often have special non-slip grip for safety when handling hot food and utensils. And best of all, they’re easy to clean—some are even dishwasher-safe.

 

Avoid Catastrophes

Planning is key: Locate your grill at least 10 feet away from fences, buildings or other flammable materials. Have a designated place for raw and cooked food and don’t mix the two—no one wants food poisoning to follow a great barbecue! Use separate utensils, too.

 

Build a Permanent Grill Shelter

For confirmed winter grilling fanatics, the best solution is to construct a purpose-built shelter that houses your grill, and also has a wide range of customizable features like built-in cooler space, storage for barware and beverages, lighting and bench seating.

Have any questions about grills, grilling in winter,  or any other products that we offer? Contact us here. 

Cleaning Your Grill

cleaning your grill

Like any good relationship, you need to put some work into the one you have with your grill. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a top-of-line model or a cheap knock-off, with proper maintenance, cleaning your grill bound to keep it working a long time.

Polish the Outside

If you have an enamel grill, you can just spray a paper towel with glass cleaner and wipe down the exterior. For a stainless steel grill, you should use a brush and polish made for steel. Then you can buff along the grain with a microfiber cloth.

CLEANING THE GRILL GRATE

After getting a fire going, the first order of business is cleaning the grill grate. The grill grate will see the most action and because of this—and the fact that food will come into direct contact with it—most of your cleaning attention should be focused here.

If you haven’t already, invest in a good grill brush with a long handle and firm bristles or scouring pad.

Soak and Scrub

Remove the grates and the metal plates underneath, and place everything in a bucket of hot, soapy water. After a few minutes in the bucket, give the grates and the plates a good scrubbing with the grill brush; dip and redip it in the soapy water as needed. Give the grates a rinse with the garden hose and set aside. Use the grill brush to scrub the inside of the hood with hot, soapy water (that stuff that looks like peeling paint is a harmless buildup of carbon), and use steel wool for hard-to-get nooks.

Remove and clean the drip pan, then toss it into the soaking bucket. Let sit, then scrub with the grill brush and rinse with the hose. Reassemble the grill (no need to dry anything), and reconnect the propane tank. If there’s a cabinet below, give it a good sweeping with a whisk broom, then wipe it out with a damp paper towel.

OILING THE GRATE

After cleaning the grate, the question is: “To oil, or not to oil.”

Oiling your grill grate helps prevent food from sticking when cooking. To do this, dip a wadded paper towel in a little oil and, using tongs, wipe the oil evenly over the grate. Be careful not to use too much oil, because that’s a sure fire way to start a good flare-up—a little goes a long way here.

CLEANING YOUR GRILL

Cleaning the grill grate and the ash out is very important, the rest of the grill—not so much. About once a month take a rag and some cleaner to the outside of the grill to keep it looking nice and shiny. Like a good cast iron pan, grilling over and over seasons the inside of your grill.

Fire up the grill, cranking it high for 15 minutes to burn off any food residue. Use a stainless-steel grill brush to scrape anything loose off the grates. Then turn all the knobs off, disconnect the propane tank (or, if your grill is connected to your main gas line, turn off the gas line), and wait until the grill is cool to the touch.

Clean the burner

Make sure the propane tank is turned off. Remove the briquettes and cooking grates, and carefully detach the gas tubes and burner. Clean the tubes with warm, soapy water and dry them with a towel. Wipe the burner clean with a damp cloth.

If you have a gas grill, one part that often gets clogged is its burner tubes. Symptoms of dirty burners include reduced flame size. They may also burn with an orange color instead of the usual blue. Both indicate abnormally low temperatures and an underpowered grill.

Typically a gas grill has multiple burner tubes, though some may only have one. Use a nylon or steel wire brush to gently clean the small holes on the tubes. Be sure to brush from the center of the tube outward, moving sideways (not up and down). Otherwise, you may push debris into the tube or holes themselves instead of clearing them.

Burn Off The Grease

During grilling season, briquettes transfer heat to the cooking grates, leaving them coated with grease. Before firing up your grill, flip over the briquettes, close the lid, and heat the grill on high for 15 minutes.

Certain practices can help discourage deposits of dirt and grease from forming in the first place. One method is to grease the grates of your hot grill with a little cooking oil right before you start cooking. In the same vein, scrubbing grates with raw onion is another tactic you can try. If you do have a grill brush without bristles, it’s a good idea to scrape your hot grates both before and after grilling.

Wrap It Up

If you don’t have a grill cover or never use the one you do have, change your ways. It could reduce your monthly deep-cleans to once a season. Best are vented covers, which allow moisture to escape.

If you have any questions about grills or cleaning your grill then you should contact us here!

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 the go!)

Season meat liberally.

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!

The Benefits of Outdoor Kitchens

outdoor kitchens

Have you considered getting an outdoor kitchen for your home? Outdoor kitchens can be a great addition to the right home.

We’re going to discuss all of the benefits that come with installing a kitchen in your backyard or patio arrangement.

Increased Home Value

Outdoor kitchens are generally thought to be a luxury item, that can make your house more marketable. Outdoor kitchens have a higher rate of return on your investment, like constructing a garage door in comparison. In case you don’t have a huge yard, make sure you take into account the dimensions of your kitchen. Prospective home buyers enjoy having an open area which isn’t consumed by structures, like pools and kitchens.

More Living Room

If you don’t have a large gathering space inside your home, an outdoor kitchen is a great option for you. If you’re hosting a party, guests will be able to have more space to relax on the patio and lounge around the outdoor kitchen

Whenever your outdoor patios are coupled with an outside kitchen, food prep becomes sort of a group activity. Therefore, no one gets stuck inside cooking while everyone else is drinking on the patio.

Maintain The Smell of Cooking Outdoor

Another benefit of having an outdoor kitchen is you can keep the smells of grilling or charring foods outside. You won’t have to deal with the smokiness or worry about your house smelling like whatever you’re cooking in the summertime.

An outside kitchen retains cooking grease, odors, smoke, and heat outside–a big plus in sweltering summertime.

Save on Utilities

Cooking outside can also help you save money and energy on your bills. When you cook outside, your A.C. won’t have to work overtime to deal with the heat in your kitchen.

Design Factors of Outdoor Kitchens

When designing your outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to put a lot of time and thought into what exactly you want and need.

A great first place to start is thinking about the ventilation. You’ll want to create a way for smoke to rise and dissipate from the area.

Another priority you should think about first is the size of your patio and the measurements of the accessories. You’ll want to make sure you have enough space for the items, and for anyone on the patio to fully relax.

When planning your layout are some developments to consider:

All About The Grill:

First, you’ll have to think about the size of the grill you want. This solely depends on how many people you want to cook for, what you’re going to cook, and how often you’re going to use the grill. If you plan on hosting large parties and cooking for every guest, a bigger grill is more your style. Though if you just want to cook for your family, and medium to a smaller size will be fine.

You can also decide if you would like your grill to be connected to the ground, or if you would like to be able to freely move it around. This will also be dependent on the size of the grill you need.

Countertops:

When thinking about countertops, you need to think: “How much prep space do I need?”  If you plan on preparing a lot of recipes outside, you’ll want a lot of space. If you’re unsure, get a countertop that’s easy to change out or add to.

Constructed Cabinets:

Cabinets are a great convenience to have outside. With this addition, you won’t have to run in and out from your house to retrieve extra silverware or plating. You can also invest in cabinets that you can lock if you’re worried about theft.

Lighting:

Lighting is what separates the good, bad, and ugly outdoor kitchens. Proper lighting will ensure that you can use your outdoor kitchen at any time you want. Floor lighting, fairy lights, LED, and lamps are all great options.

Lighting can add ambiance and will ensure your guests will be able to see all the delicious food you cook them.

Sink:

Having an outdoor sink can be really convenient for you and your guests. You can wash and rinse any outdoor plates right outside, or allow your guest easy access to water refills.

The only limitation you have to a sink is making sure you’re able to connect it to your water source.

Refrigerator:

Outdoor refrigerators are a great item to have that will completely separate your outdoor and indoor kitchens. You can store the ingredients you want to use outside there, and you can reduce the number of times you have to run back inside.

You can go with mini or full-size options, it all depends on your needs and wants.

Floors:

Your best option for flooring is to go with a material that will be able to stand the elements of being outdoors. Concrete, brick natural stone, and tile are great options that can look good and last.

If you have any questions about how to create your own outdoor kitchen, don’t hesitate to contact us here. 

How To Prepare Your Grill For Spring

grill

With spring on the horizon, so is the season’s first backyard cookout. If your grill has been braving winter’s storms on your back deck, it might be time to get it ready for this year’s BBQ season.

Follow these simple steps to care for your grill and your neighbors will be jealous of the delicious smells coming from your backyard in no time.

Make sure you’re covered.

When your grill isn’t in use, you should ensure you have a cover that will protect it from the elements.

How’s the tank?

It’s important you check your propane tank to ensure all connections are tight, and that you have enough in it to start grilling.

Check burners and grill.

Your burner should evenly distribute heat and flame. If it seems blocked it may be time to replace parts. Leftover food from last season? Nothing a little soapy water and a wire brush can’t fix.

Contact the Cincinnati Pool & Patio with any questions about our wide selection of custom gas grills to liven up your outdoor living space.

Safety Measures to Take For Summer Grillin’

grill

Summer is the season for grills and barbecues.

The increase of grill usage comes with an increase in accidents related to grills too.

When using your grill, make sure you’re taking the precautions necessary to keep your summer party safe and fun!

1. Fire Safety

When dealing with fire, it’s important to take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of you and anyone who is near your grill.

The first important task is making sure you have a fire extinguisher close. In the case of any accidents, you need to take care of it quickly.

When dealing with fire, it’s important to know how to stop it from spreading.

2. Charcoal Safety

On average, charcoal grills cause more fires than gas grills. The biggest problem with these type of grills is lighting the charcoal.

Dealing with lighter fluid can be quite dangerous, and using too much or using it at the wrong time can cause mishaps or accident to happen.

3. Food Safety

Basic rules for food safety are: inspect everything you’re serving, keep it covered while it’s outside, keep it cool before you cook it, thoroughly heat it up, and always use your head.

Bacteria can grow at any temperature above freezing and will stay alive until it reaches 165 degrees.

4. Gas Safety

For a gas grill, you need to regularly check your gas lines, and make sure none of them are clogged up from debris, food, or bugs.

At the first sign of any trouble, you should turn off the valves, the fuel tank, and disconnect everything before you attempt to fix it.

5. Alcohol Safety

It’s important that when you’re operating a grill, you should be wary about how much alcohol you consume.

Just like when you operate a moving vehicle, you shouldn’t operate a grill under the influence of alcohol.

6. Smoke Safety

Even though there’s no way to stop smoke coming from your grill, it’s important not to breathe it directly or have it blow towards others at your barbecue.

Smoke from your grill contains carbon monoxide and other dangerous substances. It’s not healthy for your guests to be directly exposed to these chemicals.

If you have any questions about our supply of grills, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

3 Ways To Keep Your Grill in Top Shape

grill

Like any good relationship, you need to put some work into the one you have with your grill. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a top-of-line model or a cheap knock-off, with proper maintenance, any grill is bound to keep working a long time.

Cleaning the Grill Grate

After getting a fire going, the first order of business is cleaning the grill grate. The grill grate will see the most action and because of this—and the fact that food will come into direct contact with it—most of your cleaning attention should be focused here.

If you haven’t already, invest in a good grill brush with a long handle and firm bristles or scouring pad.

Oiling the Grate

After cleaning the grate, the question is: “To oil, or not to oil.”

Oiling your grill grate helps prevent food from sticking when cooking. To do this, dip a wadded paper towel in a little oil and, using tongs, wipe the oil evenly over the grate. Be careful not to use too much oil, because that’s a sure fire way to start a good flare-up—a little goes a long way here.

Cleaning your Grill

Cleaning the grill grate and the ash out is very important, the rest of the grill—not so much. About once a month take a rag and some cleaner to the outside of the grill to keep it looking nice and shiny. Like a good cast iron pan, grilling over and over seasons the inside of your grill.

Have more questions about how to keep your grill in great shape? Contact us here!

Gas Grill Care 101

gas grill

It’s that time of year. Cold, dark winter days are slowly becoming longer and warmer, which can only mean one thing…grilling season is back!!!

Soon it will be time to fire up your gas grill and start enjoying the great outdoors, but before you throw those steaks and burgers on you’ll want to give your grill a thorough cleaning to ensure it’s ready to go! Cleaning your grill before its first seasonal use will help extend it’s life, as well as improve the flavor of the food you cook.

Whether you own a tried and true stand-alone gas grill or the latest in built-in island luxury, the following steps will help ensure that you get the most from your appliance.

What You’ll Need:

  • A bucket of hot soapy water
  • A Wire scrub brush
  • A sponge
  • Cleaning cloth or rag

Get Cleaning:

  1. Make sure your gas source is off
  2. Remove the grates
  3. Scrub grates with the soapy water and wire scrub brush
  4. Remove the metal plates that protect the burners, and clean using your sponge
  5. Use your rag or cloth to wipe down the burners with the soapy water
  6. Remove any food drippings or burned bits from the bottom of the grill
  7. Replace the grates
  8. Turn on your gas source and fire the grill up to high
  9. Close the lid and let the heat finish the job by burning off any remaining food bits or residue
  10. Use a clean cloth and tongs to distribute an even coat of canola oil over the grate this will help keep food from sticking

For more information on how to get the most from your gas grill, please contact us.

Warmer Weather Brings BBQ Grills Out of Hibernation

Grills at Pool and Spa Warehouse

It’s been a long winter in Ohio, but with spring on the horizon, longer days and warmer temperatures are promised.  Soon, clear skies and long weekends will create the perfect recipe for the season’s first backyard cookout. If your grill has been braving winter’s storms on your back deck, it might be time to pull off the cover and get it ready for this year’s BBQ season.  Grill grates can rust during winter’s downtime, and propane connections can loosen due to improper storage. You’ll need some quick tips to get your grill back in tip-top shape. Follow these simple guidelines to care for your grill and your neighbors will be jealous of the delicious smells coming from your back yard in no time.

  1. Check your propane tank. Make sure all connections are tight and you’ve got a full tank ready to go. You wouldn’t want to run out in the middle of making the burger of the century!
  2. Clean those grates. Leftover food from last season? Nothing a little soapy water and a wire brush can’t fix. You can also wipe down the outside of your grill to remove greasy residue with a vinegar and water solution.
  3. Invest in a grill cover. Once you’ve done all the hard work of cleaning your grill, you should grab a cover to protect it from the wind and rain Spring brings with it.
  4. Check burners. Make sure that you’ve wiped excess grease out of the interior of your grill with a paper towel and check burners for blockage. Your burner should evenly distribute heat and flame. If it seems blocked it may be time to replace parts.

If you’ve done all these things, and your grill has still seen better days it may be time to upgrade to a new model. Contact Cincinnati Pool & Patio with any questions about our wide selection of custom gas grills to liven up your outdoor living space. A new grill may be just what your springtime BBQ bash needs!