One of life's great pleasures is cooking outdoors with friends and family. With the smell of grilling food wafting through the air and a cold drink in hand, it is hard not to have a good time. The one thing that can put a damper on it is running in and out of the house for various reasons. Building an outdoor kitchen eliminates this and allows you to relax and be able to spend more time with your guests. An outdoor kitchen can be as basic as just a small grill or a full blown food preparation and cooking area that has every component imaginable. Either way, you will have created another living space that is a natural gathering spot.
The primary component of an outdoor kitchen is the built-in grill. It could be a gas grill, charcoal grill or pellet grill and vary in size from about 24” to 50”+. When determining where to place your grill, try and place it so the it does not interfere with guests who are using the counter space. It is important that your island is large enough to accommodate your guests. A good rule of thumb is that each seat will take up about 30”. The seating area should be in a location that allows individuals to come and go from the island without disturbing the other guests. In addition to the eating area you need to have plenty of open space to prepare and serve food. Don't make the mistake of skimping on counter space. It will come back to haunt you. At a minimum you want at least 24” of open counter space to one side of your grill. This gives you room to prep food and set plates or whatever else you need for your meal. The rest of the components should be built around the grill and close enough that you don't have to move around much. If you include a sink, refrigerator, storage cabinet and trash bin they should all be close to each other.
Choosing your outdoor kitchen grill
The main types of grills are gas, charcoal and pellet. Gas grills start at about $1200 for the most basic models and top out at over $6,000 for top of the line grills. Charcoal grills range from $500 to over $1,000 for quality stainless steel model or ceramic kamado grill. Lastly we have pellet grills. No matter what type of grill you decide on, at a minimum you should make sure it is constructed from stainless steel or ceramic. Those two materials are almost impervious to the elements and will provide a much longer lifespan than grills made of inferior materials.
What else do you need?
The rest of the component you should include in your outdoor kitchen depend entirely on how you are going to use it. Here is a breakdown of the most commonly chosen secondary components.
Storage Drawers and Access Doors | Access doors make storing things like BBQ utensils and charcoal simple. If you have a propane setup an access door makes it easy to swap your tank in and out. Storage drawers are great for storing smaller items like your smoker boxes, wood chunks and seasonings.
Side Burners | Adding a side burner to your outdoor kitchen is must for many people. Not only can your keep sauces warm with one, you can fry turkeys and blacken fish without filling your home with smoke.
Sinks | Having a sink in your island makes cleaning up much easier. No more running in and out of the house to wash dishes or your hands.
Trash Bins | Trash bins come in a variety of styles, there are roll out, tilt out and trash holes. No matter which one you select, keeping your area clean just became a whole lot easier. If you recycle, you can even get ones that have both a regular trash can and a recycle trash can in them.
Refrigerators | Depending on how often you use your BBQ island you may want to consider adding an outdoor rated refrigerator. Being able to stage your food right next to your cooking components makes the whole experience that much more relaxed. As a bonus you can also use it to keep sodas and beers ice cold.
Beverage Coolers | If you think a refrigerator is a bit to much you can always just add a beverage cooler. Load it up with ice and drinks and you can keep that party fuel flowing all night long!
Grill Lights | Many times a grill is not always in the best lit area. A good grill light can really make cooking at night much easier. With one of these you can stop squinting and wondering if you need to flip your food yet.
Paper Towel Dispensers | Once you use a paper towel dispenser you will not know how you cooked without one for so long. From cleaning up spills to drying your hands, this is one component you will use every time you cook.
Smokers | Want to really kick your kitchen up a notch, add a smoker. That's right a grill and a smoker. Your friends minds will be blown. While grills are good for cooking hot and fast, they don't do low and slow very well. If you want to smoke long meats like brisket and pork butts you are going to need to get a smoker or a Kamado Grill, like the Big Green Egg.
Warming Drawers | Not many people get these, but if you really want to pack your island with every available feature a warming drawer should be on your list. These are great for keeping casseroles and other foods warm.
Pizza Ovens | These take up a bit of space, but being able to crank out wood fired pizzas at your get togethers definitely raises the bar. A hot, smokey, cheesy pizza with that super crisp crust will have people talking about the food you served for days.
Fire Pits | There always comes that time in an evening when everyone is stuffed with food and drinks and just wants to relax. Hanging out around your fire pit is great way to end each evening. Fire pits can be designed to blend in seamlessly with any outdoor living space.
Outdoor Sound System | No get together is complete with out some good music playing. With so many options available these days, you are sure to find a system that meets your needs and your budget.
Outdoor TV | One of the most common reasons to get together with your friends is to watch a ball game or a race. With an outdoor TV you can cheer on your favorite team while still tending to your food.
Patio Heaters | Extend your entertainment season by adding some patio heaters. When other people have closed down their kitchen for the season you can still be going strong for another month or two. You also gain a month or two in the spring.
Beauty - Available in many styles, with sizes ranging from 12" to 72" in length, fire log sets are handcrafted, hand painted, and look stunningly realistic. From active natural flames to a glowing bed of lifelike embers, fire logs bring pleasure of a wood fire to any hearth setting.
Convenience - No more hauling wood, cleaning ashes, worrying about bugs and sparks, a fire log set is ready when you are. Ignite the fire that brings people together to enjoy a moment by the fireside.
Cost Savings - Fueled by natural gas or propane gas, a fire log set is less expensive to operate than burning purchased firewood. With the abundance of fuel available, heating with gas is more economical today than in the past.
Environmentally Friendly - Tests showed that by burning fire logs rather than wood, particulate matter and other air toxins released into our atmosphere are reduced by 90 percent. Additionally, burning fire logs instead of wood preserves precious forest resources for generations to come.
Visit the BBQ Grill Outlet to see the full collection of fire logs!
The XXL Big Green Egg was a Big Hit!!!
The XXL Big Green Egg will soon arrive in our stores in Orange and San Diego County.
I've always prided myself on grilling my steaks "naked". No sauce, no seasoning and no rubs. As it turns out; you can teach an old dog new tricks and I'm better for learning them.
When it comes to the perfectly grilled steak, I now do 3 things differently:
Don's Steak Butter Recipe
2 teaspoons of minced garlic, roasted if possible
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir all ingredients until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Also wonderful for sautéing mushrooms!
We are often asked, “Why one grill is so much more expensive than another grill?” Many people look at a grill and really can’t see the difference. So, I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about this.
Lets start with the stainless steel. Not all stainless steels are the same. They are made up of various elements with different percentage mixes. The better grills are made of 304 stainless, which has less iron in it, but more nickel and chromium. This makes the metal more corrosion resistant and….. more expensive. The gauge of the stainless steel is also important. It increases the longevity or life of the grill. The thicker the stainless steel, the more it will hold up to extreme heat. Again, the heavier the gauge, the higher the cost. Some grills are double walled in the hood and sides. As you would expect, double walled adds cost, but also adds to the quality.
Burners are a very important part of the grill. Some are cast and some are tubular. Some are made of stainless steel, while others are made of brass or cast iron. The brass and stainless steel cost more but hold up better-- again, the heavier the gauge, the longer they last. The S/S tubular burners seem to heat up faster, but I don’t favor either cast or tubular over the other. Pay attention to the warrantees too. I favor the longer warrantees on the burners. Some manufacturers offer life time warrantees.
Grates are another important consideration when picking a grill. I like stainless steel grates over cast grates or powder coated metal grates. The heavier gauge grates will last longer. Again, check the warrantees.
Other features that increase the cost of a grill are lights in the grill and lights on the knobs, the type of igniters, rotisserie motors and rods, infrared back burners for rotisserie cooking, briquettes vs. flavorizors, smoker boxes, hood assist systems and even digital temperature indicators. Most of these items are very nice to have and improve the grilling experience.
So, when you’re determining which grill to buy, make sure your sales representative shows you the differences between the grills you’re considering and explains the features to you to help you choose a quality grill that will last!
By Jim DeLong
Todays’ backyards are an expression of lifestyle, combined with the proper balance of design and function. Often, the design incorporates and mimics the interior of the home’s three main gathering points-- the living room, dining room and kitchen. The placement of the areas can occur in multiple arrays, from straight linear positioning to typical offset triangular depth.
When exploring the Outdoor Kitchen design, the sky’s the
limit. We take pride in our indoor kitchen, with its beautiful counter tops, backsplashes and quality stainless steel appliances. So, the question is, why not create the same with our outdoor kitchen? The answer may seem simple, but there are common mistakes that are made, which can compromise the kitchen’s function and beauty, such as placement, shape, materials and appliance placement. Here are a few of the pitfalls to avoid while expressing yourself with your outdoor living space:
1. Location, location, location: Just as todays’ kitchens are a focal point and gathering place, you want to consider your outdoor kitchen as a social gathering area as well. Usually in the tri-area landscape, the living room is a retreat area separated by the dining area. If you’re considering having a seating area built into your outdoor kitchen, take a quick check of the views. Common location mistakes are having your guests face a blank wall or guests find their selves being smoked out while “relaxing” behind a monster grill. If the seating direction must face away from open views, consider being creative with backdrop views. For example, use decorative wall hangings or
2. The chef: Even though we may entertain on occasion with friends and neighbors, with the California climate, many of us cook outdoors 2, 3 or more time per week. If you like to Barbecue frequently, you probably don’t enjoy walking to and from your grill as a form of exercise. You want to keep it close, with easy access.
A common mistake with the design of the grilling area is having adequate room to move. In one of the typical “U”
shape designs, I’ve had a number of customers say that they only need 3 feet of room to grill. Big mistake! If your outdoor kitchen has doors or drawers, you’ll find yourself bumping and kicking hard surfaces. If possible, give
yourself at least 4 feet or more of working width.
3. Appliance positioning: This is really where the pro can help. Think about just a few of your appliances on your wish list and where they need to be. First, refrigerators are the second highest request next to the grill. Place the fridge in a convenient place for your guests to have access to, without getting in your cooking space.
Second, side burners are a big want. They can be used for sautéing and are often used as part of the buffet self serve for chili, beans, corn, etc. Often, I see the placement of the side burner right next to the grill. Another big mistake, especially if there are two chefs in the kitchen. Of course, if you love bumping elbows with your sous-chef, then go for it.
4. Finish materials- Again, in today’s world “Express yourself” is the key. Sometimes, it’s all about keeping it simple with smooth contemporary tiles, or go wild with colored glass mosaics. Color is the key. If the flooring is dark, than contrast with light matching tones on the base and black to dark on top. Here’s an easy way to remember: dark-light-dark or light-dark-light. Don’t try to match two darks or two lights. It will look like you tried to match, but made a mistake. Another mistake, in my opinion, is using rough counter tops, such as flagstone, because plates and wine glasses will sit uneven.
Enjoy your creativeness, but stay away from some of the typical pitfalls of old school designs. Be comfortable in your new outdoor kitchen. You’ve spent the money, so love where you cook!
Twin Eagles is a top of the line manufacturer for BBQ equipment,
which are built right here in Southern California. Designed by award-winning gas engineer, Dante Cantal, the grills are sleek, with a beautiful modern design that conveys both beauty and performance.
The Twin Eagles grills come in 30", 36", 42" and 54." All of the BBQ grills have the 14 gauge tubular stainless steel burner, which have a
lifetime warranty. The grills are built using 304 stainless steel-- the highest rated steel for outdoor BBQ equipment. The beautiful hexagon grates allow for more food-to-surface contact, and also come with a lifetime warranty.
A reliable hot surface ignition with a glow plug element allows for an easy start-up. The grill has blue decorative LED control panel lights, along with interior grill lights for easy nighttime grilling. The warming rack also adjusts to multiple positions, which can’t be found on any other grill. A double position infrared rotisserie and a variable heat level infrared sear zone are available options on every Twin Eagles grill.
The Twin Eagles grills and appliances are one of the top choices of our satisfied customers!
If you’d like to learn more about the top of the line Twin Eagles BBQ equipment and grills, head to one of the BBQ Grill Outlets’ locations or give us a call today!
Soak a cedar plank in salted water for 1 to 2 hours, then drain. Rinse the salmon under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Generously season the salmon with salt and pepper. Lay the salmon skin-side down (if skin is still on) on the cedar plank and carefully spread the mustard over the top and sides. Place the brown sugar in a bowl and crumble between your fingers, then sprinkle over the mustard.
Set grill to medium-high. Place the cedar plank in the center of a hot grate. Close the grill hood and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Check to be sure the cedar plank is only smoking and not catching fire or overly black around the edges. If so, turn the burner down or off under the plank and continue cooking (indirect cooking) with the other burner(s). Total cook time will be 15 to 25 minutes. The internal temperature should read 135 degrees F. With a spatula cut under the meat leaving the skin attached to the plank and transfer the salmon to a platter for serving.
Finding a wine that works with the big flavors of BBQ is easier than you might think. The taste of BBQ is bold (and sweet when combined with sauce) so not every wine is a good choice. Avoid wines over 14.5% in alcohol content. They can open your taste buds to the point that the barbecue taste is overwhelming. Here are some general guidelines and a few specific recommendations:
Practically any sparkler from California, Spain or Italy is great with BBQ. Those tiny bubbles will scrub your palate and make each bite taste like your first. Blush sparkling wines are especially good with BBQ. Whatever your budget is, there are a lot to choose from. Try Taittinger Domaine Carneros Brut Rose ($33), Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rose ($22) or Domaine Ste Michelle Brut ($9).
Reds are often a favorite with BBQ but some white wines work as well, especially with pulled pork, chicken and of course fish. Instead of Chardonnay look for whites with a crisp, bright taste. They will cut through the rich, tongue coating qualities of BBQ much better. Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Viognier are all good choices. Try Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc ($26), Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc ($16), Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc ($10), Dry Creek Chenin Blanc ($10), Foxen Chenin Blanc ($20), or Miner Viognier ($15).
Dry Southern French blush wines are a great choice with BBQ. California has jumped into the action by using the same combination of grapes to produce a dry, not sweet blush wine. If your only memory of a blush wine is white zinfandel you'll be pleasantly surprised by this change of pace. Try: Moulin De Gassac ($10), Chateau Puligny Montrachet ($20), Domaine Fontsainte ($12), Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare ($13).
Reds are an obvious choice particularly with beef and lamb. While Cabernet works well with BBQ, you might enjoy trying some of the following.
Syrah (Shiraz - same grape with a different name down under) A nice syrah with silky, smoky tannins, red berry and ripe fruit flavors will work well with BBQ. Try: Zaca Mesa ($15), Blackjack Estate Double Down ($20), Peter Lehmann Barossa ($12)
Zinfandel - The young spicy ones with lots of black pepper and raspberry work especially well with BBQ. Try: Hartford RRV ($30), Tobin James Paso Robles ($15), Manzanita Creek MC2 ($10).
Cote Du Rhone is another good choice. From the South of France this wine is smooth with well behaved tannins and smoky finish is just right with pulled pork and pork ribs. Try: Aphillanthes Villages "3 Cepages" ($23), Domaine Gour De Chaule ($16), Espirit Delas Freres ($10).
Rioja is possibly the best choice for BBQ. This Spanish red made with the tempranillo grape is spicy with great fruit making it a big, bold wine. Rioja can stand up to the assertive flavors of BBQ like brisket, ribs, tri-tip and steaks. Try: Muga Reserva Seleccion Especial ($40), Baron De Ley Reserva ($27), Marques De Riscal Reserva ($17), Vina Santurnia Reserva ($15) or Gran Familia ($10).
When a hamburger is done right, you know it--the smokey, char-grilled outside and all juicy inside is barely contained in a toasty roll. It's an American tradition that’s hard to beat! Here are some general guidelines to get the very best results.
Tips to Grilling the Perfect Hamburger…
There are a lot of ways to grill a burger but there is agreement on one point: The best, juiciest burgers are made from ground beef chuck, which is about 20 percent fat. Meat labeled "ground beef" or "hamburger" can be up to 30 percent fat. 10% or less fat, although a healthier choice will lead to dry hamburger. An even better idea is to select a piece of chuck and have your butcher grind it and ask for a "coarse" grind.
Experiment with Different Types of Meats or Combining Them
Almost any kind of ground meat can be used to make burgers, or mix together different ones. I've heard of mixing pork with beef, chicken with lamb, or even buffalo with beef. For flavor, try mixing some fresh sausage in with another type of meat.
Don't Handle the Meat Too Much
The heat from your hands begins to melt the fat and makes the patty too dense. Wet your hands first and move it lightly from hand to hand. Make a patty ¾- to one-inch thick.
Don't Press Down on the Burgers When Cooking
This compresses the meat and squeezes the juices and flavor out of the meat.
Adding Flavors to the Meat
Many people argue that the perfect burger is made with great beef, straight up with salt and pepper. But it's also fun to add flavors, and if you are using leaner meats, or leaner cuts of beef, you can add moisture at the same time. Finely minced vegetables such as onion, mushrooms, or mild chiles are especially good for this. You can also take a lean cut of meat and add some olive oil for good fat, although this will cook faster than meats that are naturally fattier. Tip: When adding other ingredients to ground meat, use a spoon or spatula to avoid heating the meat with your hands - see above.
Liquids : Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce are perhaps the two most common liquids to add to burgers. Most recipes call for about a Tablespoon of liquid per pound of meat. Wine is another possibility, or, for blander meats, concentrated beef stock.
Spices: Other than salt and pepper, almost any spice in the cabinet is a good addition. Garlic or onion powder is probably the most common, but experiment with everything from chili powder to Asian spices to salad dressing mixes. Tip: Here's one ingredient to use carefully…wait on the salt! Salt will extract moisture from the meat, leaving you with bone-dry burgers. Instead of adding salt while making the patty, sprinkle each burger with salt right before you put it on the grill.
Before Grilling: Let the meat patties chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, even overnight to allow all the flavors to mingle. Stack the patties on a plate and separate them with waxed paper. Cover the plate with plastic wrap until ready to grill.
Grilling the Burgers
Get the BBQ and cooking grates really hot and grease the cooking grates with some olive oil. Put the burgers on and don't move them until they release naturally. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how hot the grill is, the type of meat (leaner meat cooks faster), and how done you want it to be. Then flip the burger and cook on the other side until done, about 4 to 6 minutes more. It’s best if you have a meat thermometer and cook until 160° F.
The easiest way to get your grill ready for the season is to schedule a grill service or cleaning with us over the phone or in one of our stores (click here to schedule a cleaning). With a little elbow grease, it’s not too hard to do it yourself. Here’s what we recommend:
Many people stress over the thought of barbecuing for guests. Actually, the process is quite simple.
When grilling steaks, focus on three levels of doneness: rare, medium rare and medium. Well done is really a no-brainer. People who order their meat well done haven't learned to appreciate the qualities of a good piece of meat yet and are likely to be less judgmental of your work.
Preparing the Steak. Trim any excess fat from the steak before placing it on the grill. It is the fat drippings that cause flare-ups and flare-ups burn the outside of the meat. It is a catch twenty-two when it comes to the fat on a steak. Fat within the piece of meat is called marbling and it is marbling that gives a piece of meat its flavor. It is the fat around the edges of the cut of meat you want to trim back.
The grill should be pre-heated on the high setting. You want the grill as hot as it gets. A few minutes after turning the grill on is the best time to brush the grids clean. Brush off any left over food and dust that my have gotten into the grill. In order to do this you will need a long handled BBQ brush so you don't burn your hands or arms.
If you have a searing section on your grill, start your meat on this section of your grill. A searing section is nice to have but is not necessary to produce a wonderful steak.
Sear the meat for about one to two minutes on each side while the grill is set on high. This char on the outside of the steak helps retain the moisture inside the meat. Do this no mater what level of doneness you are targeting. One word of caution, if the steak is less than an inch thick this might be all you need to get it to medium rare. To continue cooking, move the steak off the sear burner or turn down the temperature to a medium to medium high setting depending on your grill.
A rare steak is bright red in the middle (about 1/3 the thickness of the steak) and charred on the outside. The temperature of rare meat is between 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It would be a good idea to use a thermometer at first to help you learn the characteristics of a rare steak. When the steak gets to 120 degrees F. touch the steak with your index finger. Notice that a rare steak is still soft, but a little firmer than the raw steak.
Medium Rare Steak
A medium rare steak is cooked to a center temperature of 130 to 135 degrees F. The color is red in the center (about 1/4 the thickness of the steak) and then pink. The outside surface is charred dark brown. When you use the touch technique it will feel firm on the sides but still soft in the very center.
A medium cooked steak has an internal temperature of 140 to 150 degrees F. The center is pink (not red) and then brown. The outer surface should be charred dark brown. The steak should feel firm to the touch with some flex to the meat.
1) All grills have different settings with different temperature ranges. You will have to learn how hot your grill will get at the different knob settings. This will take a few times to get it right but remember a thermometer and/or the touch technique will let you know when the meat is done.
2) The thicker the piece of meat the longer you will cook it to get to the internal temperature you want. The temperature of the grill should be turned down for thicker cuts after the initial searing because the outside will get too charred if you leave it on longer. You don't want to burn the outside while you are trying to cook a medium or medium rare steak.
3) When you have a number of steaks on the grill and different requests for the degree of doneness you have to pay closer attention to what you are doing. Have the grill set at different temperatures and know where the grill gets hotter and cooks faster. Move the meat around and stagger when you start the steaks. Rare steaks are going to get done a lot sooner than a medium steak. Don't be afraid to get a steak off the grill early if it is cooking too fast – it’s better that then over cooking it. You can always put a steak back on the grill if it is not done enough. If you over cook it, there's no going back.
4) Meat continues to cook after you take it off the grill. You are better off taking the meat off the grill about 5 degrees below your targeted temperature.
5) Don't pierce the steak with a fork, use a spatula or tongs to turn and move the steak. Piercing allows moisture to seep out and dries out the steak. Hold the salt until you are done grilling for the same reason. Salts pulls moisture to the perimeter and makes for a dryer steak.
Well that's it! After trying this method a few times you should be able to have the confidence to have your friends over for a BBQ and wow them with your skills. GOOD LUCK!
Here's an day by day step through on building a BBQ Island in 5 days. Our process calls for building a welded frame in sections which is then assembled level at the home.
We offer the assembly and finish work service but also turn over the welded structure to the homeowner or contractor who wants to finish the island themselves.
1. Do not use wood (fire hazard) or interior galvanized steel studs that are available at the big box stores. Interior galvanized steel studs are too thin and do not have enough galvanization to hold up for exterior use.
2. Purchase 20 gauge, galvanized 60 steel studs commercially. It’s best if you use both stud and track, since the track allows the studs to slip inside for perpendicular assembly.
3. Using screws to attach the stud and track works, but will make the top and sides “lumpy” when you apply the cement board. The finish product will look better if you can rivet or weld the pieces together.
4. Use a square to keep the structure and stainless openings true and remember to cross brace the studs so the structure will remain square.
5. Think about the spacing between items on the top and face so they are symmetrical. The bottom of every opening should be the same distance off the ground.
6. When cutting upright pieces, its best to use a chop saw with “stops” so each piece will be exactly the same height. This will help keep the structure square and level.
7. Most of the stainless appliances have an outside flange (top, bottom and both sides) that is larger than the opening. If you don’t space the openings far enough apart, the items may not install properly if the flanges overlap.
8. When figuring the height of the grill, side burner or beverage center, be sure to take into account the finish material. If you only measure from the outside of the unfinished top, the gap below the grill, side burner or beverage center will be exaggerated.
9. Depending on which grill and doors you selected, the unfinished structure may have to be a minimum of 36” tall. To properly calculate the minimum island height, you need to add up the height of the doors including the top & bottom flange, plus the height of the grill, plus a minimum of 2” for spacing above and below the door flange.
10. The island depth (front to back) can be usually be determined by adding to the depth of the grill plus the “hood throw” (the clearance distance between the back of the grill and the furthest distance the hood reaches when fully opened. The island depth is particularly important when the island backs up against the house or a wall; or if a backsplash or raised bartop will be used behind the grill. Be careful not to make the island depth too shallow resulting in the grill hood only able to partially open.
11. If you use 20 gauge galvanized 60 steel studs, the distance between studs can be 16” apart as they would be when framing a house.
1. There are four cement board options for facing the studs to make the island structure finish ready. Of the four, only one is warranted for exterior use: PermaBase manufactured by National Gypsum. Its available at specialty building material supply stores like Thompson’s.
2. Avoid using Hardibacker. It’s clearly stated right on the label that the material is for interior use only.
3. ¼” thick material is available, but we only recommend using ½” thick material. It will add significantly to the structural integrity of the island.
4. Try to minimize the amount of seams, using larger 4’ x 8’ pieces will add to the structural integrity of the island and also reduce the number of seams that will have to be taped prior to applying stucco.
Leveling & Anchoring
1. You’ll probably notice the ground on which the island sits slopes, often in two directions. Gas appliances operate more efficiently and your island will look better if it’s installed level, not sloping with the ground.
2. Use pieces of PermaBase to shim and level the low sides of the island. This is best done before installing PermaBase on the sides, so the PermaBase sides can run all the way from the top of the island, over the shims to the ground.
3. Once the island is shimmed, level and ready to install the sides, you’ll have to decide if you want to anchor the structure to the ground. Red Heads are a good anchoring device if you elect to do this. However, most islands once finished with the stainless installed are heavy enough not to require anchoring.
1. The countertop should be finish ready after the PermaBase is installed. We recommend using a higher grade thinset, such as Versabond for applying tile, travertine, slate, etc to the counters.
2. Stucco Preparation. Prior to applying the stucco, you will need to tape all the PermaBase seams with drywall net (yellow or white plastic net). Adhere the net to the PermaBase with speedset or thinset using a taping blade as you would with drywall mud. Make sure the taping is applied smoothly since you don’t want to sand the speedset or thinset after it dries.
3. Stucco Application. We use a premixed acrylic product called DryVit for the sides. The product comes in different textures and can be finished smooth, semi-smooth or sanded. It’s possible to either spray or trowel it onto the PermaBase. The product comes in many standard colors but can also be custom colored. The application is quite thin, approximately 1/8” thick.
4. If you are using stone or rock on the sides, you may be able to apply it directly to the PermaBase. If the rock is quite thick, you may have to attach a diamond steel mesh to the sides prior to installing the rock. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
1. Thompson’s Building Materials (714) 637-7373 – PermaBase
2. Cal-Wal (714) 637-3450 – 20 gauge/galvanized 60 steel studs & DryVit stucco
3. Home Depot – self tapping stainless screws for screwing steel studs & track, self taping drywall screws, VersaBond
Designing a BBQ island that works for you and your yard is not overly complicated but it’s easy to make mistakes. Here are 7 tips that will help you design an island that is both beautiful and functional…
1. Put the grill downwind from where your guests will be sitting so the smoke does not blow in their face
2. The back of the grill is the “messy” part of the grill. Position the grill so the back has the least amount of exposure as possible from the yard or home.
3. Try to keep the cooking appliances together and the cold appliances together. The grill and sideburner should be at one end and the sink & refrigerator at another end as an example. If possible leave enough room for others to get into the refrigerator without making the chef step aside from the grill.
4. Leave a minimum of 9” to 12” inches of counter space on each side of the grill or sideburner if possible. Dinner plates are typically 9” in a diameter and you’ll appreciate having enough room to set one down on both sides if possible.
5. If you are including seating behind the island, try not to put anyone behind the grill since it will be hot, smoky and messy. Figure on 30” per chair for seating. A five foot (60”) bar top will seat 2 people for example.
6. Consider adding a kickplate with the same material you use on the countertop around the base of the island to protect the stucco finish from standing water.
7. If you plan to use stone on the sides of your island, you will want the top to overhang the sides by at least the thickness of the rock. The island looks better when the top overhangs the sides.
Take advantage of our free island design service by contacting any of our stores or just come on in. Store locations and hours can be found at http://www.bbqgrillsandislands.com/locations.html
Pairing wood chips with meat is little like pairing a wine with a meal. The right wood with the right meat makes the meal that much better. Before talking about which wood works best, let’s get some wood chip smoking myths out of the way. Here are a few myths you can ignore:
1) Mesquite – adds a hint of sweetness with a strong earthy smoky flavor to it. It is very popular and often used in restaurants. Sweeter and more delicate than hickory, it's a perfect complement to richly flavored meats such as steak, duck or lamb.
2) Hickory – the classic BBQ flavor and is more pungent and smoky producing a bacon-like flavor. The most common wood used. Good for all smoking, especially ham, pork and ribs.
3) Apple – has a more delicate flavor than either Mesquite or Hickory. Apple works wonderfully with poultry, game birds, seafood and pork. Serve with a chutney made with apples to accentuate the flavor even more. Slightly sweet with a fruity smoke aroma.
4) Grape (Cabernet) – is traditionally used in Italy and France, and offers a more delicate flavor than hardwoods. Grape wood is recommended for use with fish and poultry. Aromatic, similar to other fruit woods.
5) Pecan – is the best for a beautiful golden-brown turkey. Try it with other poultry products, game birds, seafood and even pork for that delicate pecan flavor. Similar to hickory, but not as strong.
6) Cherry – is also a lighter smoke than mesquite and hickory. It has lighter, sweeter smoke and is excellent with poultry, game birds, seafood and pork. Serve with a chutney made with cherries to accentuate the flavor even more.
7) Maple – is lighter than mesquite and hickory but stronger than apple, alder or cherry. The smoke is slightly sweet and is excellent with poultry, game birds and pork.
8) Oak – is a heavier smoke, similar to mesquite and hickory. Oak is excellent with beef, pork and game meat.
9) Alder – another lighter wood. It’s the perfect choice for salmon and turkey.
See the link below for store locations and hours to purchase wood chips and smoker boxes:
Like every industry marketing departments for grill manufacturers like to find ways to differentiate their product from the competitors. This can become very confusing. Do you really need an infrared burner? Is a back burner important? Is a stainless burner better than a brass burner or is it the other way around?
Let’s take a look at a few of the most important components in a BBQ grill, which include:
2. Flavor grids or briquettes
3. Sear Burner
4. Rotisserie Back Burner
Other than avoiding cast iron burners, the two most important things about any burner is how much heat will it produce and what is the warranty. The manufacturers are getting better at producing heat, but all burners will fail over time. How long is the warranty and how good is the company behind the warranty? A lifetime warranty from an unknown manufacturer doesn’t help very much when they go out of business. So in the end brass is no better than stainless or vice versa it’s all about the warranty and the company.
Flavor Grids or Briquettes
The middle layer in any gas grill is primarily there to produce smoke, aroma and flavor. The material doesn’t matter so much, it’s the heat that does all the work. Here are four important questions you want answered about the flavor grids or briquettes:
· Does grease easily pass through to eliminate flare ups?
· How easy are they to clean?
· What is the warranty, like burners they will fail over time?
· Will they help produce even heat to the grilling surface?
Infrared Sear Burner
Most manufacturers offer and want you to buy an infrared sear burner. For some people it makes a lot of sense and not so much for others. Some grills produce so much heat that a sear burner is not necessary. Other grills are too small and when you lose 33% or 50% of your BBQ to searing, you don’t have enough space left over for grilling.
Rotisserie Back Burner
If you like to rotisserie, a back burner is a really nice feature. It does two important things. With the heat in the back you no longer have to worry about grease dripping from the meat and catching fire from the burners under the cooking grates. Moving the heat source to the back, your meat is safe. Secondly it allows you to place a collection pan under the meat to collect drippings for gravy.
In every grill this is the weakest component with normally a shorter warranty than other compone. There are 3 types of grill igniters:
· Battery - The most likely to fail but can usually be replaced easily.
· Piezo – A mechanical igniter that produces an electrical charge when a “hammer” strikes a quartz crystal. Usually more reliable than battery igniters.
· Electrical Glow Plug – It uses electricity to produce high heat on a metal probe next to the burner, hot enough to ignite the gas. The most reliable igniter system used in BBQ grills.
You’ll enjoying see the various components and options in our stores. Our staff will take as much time as you want to explain the various options. We have the best grills at the best prices on display in our stores. The following link shows store locations and hours. http://www.bbqgrillsandislands.com/locations.html
Picking out the right size BBQ grill is one of the most important decisions in selecting your new grill. The choice requires some balancing between cost, available room and actual grill space.
If the grill is a free standing cart, be sure to note if the shelves fold down if your space is limited. Some grills have folding shelves, many do not. If the grill is built-in to an island, it’s always best to leave at least 12 inches of counter space on either side of the grill. 12 inches allows room for a plate or platter. If the grill section on the island is 5 feet long, a 3 foot grill (or less) is the perfect choice to leave enough counter space.
Rule out the largest party or two a year and determine what size is a “typical large” group to entertain. For my wife and I that is about 12 people. Next determine what you typically grill when you entertain. Both chicken breasts and steaks take up a good amount of space.
Let’s say that the average chicken breast or New York steak takes up about 24 square inches with a little room between the pieces. For every 100 square inches of primary cooking space you can cook for 4. For a party of 12, I need a grill with at least 300 square inches of primary cooking space. (some manufacturers include the warming rack as available square inches so it’s best to measure the width and depth of the actual cooking grates to determine the square inches).
I also like grilling our vegetables; asparagus and artichokes are two of our favorites. If you enjoy this too, then you need still a bigger grill. Add 30% to 50% more grill space for the vegetables. For our typical large party of 12 people; 400 to 500 square inches of primary cooking space is going to be perfect for the meat and vegetables.
A last consideration is to exclude the sear burner from your available space. Most sear burners are too hot for normal grilling. This means when you calculate the square inches, deduct the width of the sear burner when determining the available grilling area.
This is almost too obvious to mention but in every line, the larger the grill the higher the price. As a general rule of thumb a value grill will run about $50 per inch in width. That means a 32 inch wide grill will run around $1600, give or take.
With a premium line the typical cost will be about $100 per inch in width. This means a 36” wide grill will cost approximately $3600, give or take.
The best recommendation we can make is to buy enough grill, but not more than you will use.
See the link below to find our store locations and hours. We’d like to help you figure out the perfect size grill.
With so many grills to choose from, how do you select the "right" grill?
If we continue with this analogy there are Junkers, Honda’s and BMW’s. One you want to avoid and two you want to purchase.
What makes a BBQ grill a junker?
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