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Plank Grilling Pointers, Tips and History

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Plank Grilling Pointers, Tips and History

Planking is a great way to add smoky flavor to anything you put on the grill. Cooking on a plank transfers flavor from the wood as the food cooks. Salmon on cedar is one of the more  common types of planked food. However, nearly any food can be cooked over a plank to add subtle smoke and make a creative presentation. The smoky flavor is what makes planking so popular. As a plank warms up, the natural oils and moisture from the wood become absorbed by the food. That transfer creates the flavor; different types of woods have their own distinct flavors.Grilling_Planks

Planking probably began with Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. They tied fish and game to Western Red Cedar and alder planks, then placed them around an open fire to cook over the indirect heat. Over the centuries, the practice of planking has moved from necessity to art, and now meats, poultry, vegetables, cheese, fruits, and even pizza can be cooked on a plank. See our blog on the History of Plank Grilling or read the Why and History of Plank Grilling below.

With thanks and inspiration from Robyn Medlin Lindars and the folks at fix.com, the GrillJunkie team is proud to provide a succulent yet mercifully brief History of Plank Grilling followed by some great Plank Grilling Pointers and Tips including how to Pick a Plank, Meat-to-Plank Matching and Plank Grilling Instructions.

First Up: The Why and History of Plank Grilling

The GrillJunkie team took a deep dive into the subject of wood plank cooking and discovered that early cooks utilized wood plank cooking over open flames to capture the essence of wood as a seasoning in fish and other meats. Today, chefs and home cooks alike prize the simple, straightforward style of plank roasting that adds complex flavors and moist texture to a range of foods. Plank cooking works because the porous wood surface absorbs moisture at room temperature and then releases the moisture and a smoky aroma to flavor foods as they’re slowly cooked in a hot oven or on a BBQ grill. As a result, plank-cooked foods are juicier, more flavorful and less susceptible to nutrient loss with a complex layering of flavors. An added benefit for health-conscious cooks: most recipes can be prepared using less fat or oil, sauces or liquids.
 
Most of our research uncovered that plank cooking originated in the Pacific Northwest and was the preferred method for salmon and other fish by Native Americans, yet others feel this technique is Scandinavian and brought to America by early travelers. It is well documented, however, that Native Americans occupying the Pacific Northwest would spear or club salmon from the shores of the inland streams during the annual salmon runs. The fish were then brought back to their settlements for cleaning and smoking, then stored for the brutal winter months ahead.
 
Plank cooking originates with seasonal rituals of Pacific Northwest native people. Not surprisingly, many of these rituals are integrally linked with annual wild salmon migrations. For millennia, wild salmon flashing silver as they swim from the open sea to birthplace streams far inland have been a visible presence of sustenance and hope for native tribes living in the region. The native people believed that salmon were a gift bestowed by the sacred water of rivers and ocean. At ritual ceremonies, native villagers living beside the Columbia River and its tributaries celebrated the arrival of the first wild salmon swimming home upstream with dances and songs.
 
Pacific Northwest people traditionally cooked salmon by smoking a whole fish or a salmon filet on a wood plank. The planks used most often were aromatic wood from indigenous trees of the Pacific Northwest such as alder and cedar, a tree that was also sacred. To prepare the salmon for cooking, women would tack or wrap the fish with vines to secure it on wood planks and stand the planks vertically on end around a fiercely burning open firepit. Slowly roasting in their own juices, the fish absorbed the smoky aroma and moisture of the cedar or alder plank to gain extra flavor and succulence. Pacific Northwest natives later shared the plank cooking method for wild salmon with European explorers and settlers. In the 1890s, the method gained popularity when some of the first hotels in the Northwest treated guests to this dramatic local cooking style.

In the early days, the catch was hung over open fires or tacked to big wood slabs and then slowly cooked, absorbing the natural flavors from the smoke. As the settlers became more civilized, huts and smokehouses were built to contain and intensify the smoke flavor. As these techniques advanced over the centuries  and with the invention of the grill, plank cooking as we know it today was born. The earliest documented recipe for plank cooking appeared in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook in 1911 and was written by Fannie Farmer. This recipe featured planked chicken and duchess potatoes. Today, we have many spices, marinades and sauces to help flavor our foods, but back in the early days wood was the primary source to add flavor. With the evolution of modern smokers and grills, these original methods of smoking have slowly been displaced by easier, quicker techniques. Many traditionalists all over the world still cook over fire pits or in their own hand built smokehouses, but in slightly modified versions. The incredible smoky flavors of wood such as Western Red Cedar, Alder, Sugar Maple, Hickory, Mesquite and Oak from old wine barrels can be infused into your favorite foods as you grill or bake. We highly recommend western red cedar as our choice of wood for plank cooking. It can be used for all types of fish, beef, chicken, pork, even fruits and vegetables.

However, we encourage you to experiment and try other woods on your own. Try to stay away from woods that contain a lot of sap such as Pine. Use of this type of wood will not produce a desirable flavor and could be harmful to your health.

We hope that you will try plank cooking and that you will enjoy one of the most exciting cooking methods in the world. See for yourself why this technique of cooking has become one of the hottest methods of gourmet cooking. Take a look at our Grilled Salmon recipe using Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks!!

Today, chefs and home cooks alike prize the simple, straightforward style of plank roasting that adds complex flavors and moist texture to a range of foods. Plank cooking works because the porous wood surface absorbs moisture at room temperature and then releases the moisture and a smoky aroma to flavor foods as they’re slowly cooked in a hot oven or on a BBQ grill. As a result, plank-cooked foods are juicier, more flavorful and less susceptible to nutrient loss with a complex layering of flavors. An added benefit for health-conscious cooks: most recipes can be prepared using less fat or oil, sauces or liquid.

Plank Grilling – Wood to Food Matchup

Pick a Plank: The type of food and the type of flavor influences the best wood choice for the plank. However, all planks should be untreated wood. Also, avoid planks made from trees that have sap; the resulting taste will be bitter.

The six most popular wood types used for planks include:

Alder is best used with seafood. It produces a light sweet flavor that doesn’t overpower. Alder is similar to cedar.

Cedar is the most well known type of plank. Commonly used with salmon, cedar pairs well with almost all seafood.

Cherry has a mild, fruitlike flavor. It can be used with a variety of meat, including beef, pork, and poultry. Fruits and vegetables are also a good match for cherry.

Hickory produces one of the strongest smoky flavors. Poultry and beef are excellent choices to pair with hickory.

Maple has a sweet and subtle smoky flavor that’s not as powerful as hickory or oak. Pork and poultry are the best selections for a maple plank. A maple plank also enhances fruits such as peaches and cheese such as Brie.

Oak produces a medium, nutty, smoky flavor stronger than maple but not as powerful as hickory. Beef, pork, and poultry all benefit from oak planks.

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 Plank Grilling – Wood Thickness

After wood type, plank thickness is the second key factor in a successful plank-grilled meal. The shorter the time an item needs to be cooked, the thinner the plank.

Thick Meats

  • Pork Roasts, Prime Ribs & Whole Fish
  • Cooking Time – 1 to 2 hours
  • Plank Thickness – 1″+

Medium–Thick Meats

  • Pork Roasts, Prime Ribs & Whole Fish
  • Chicken, Pork Chops, Steaks, Salmon & Tuna
  • Plank Thickness – 3/4″

Side Dishes

  • Desserts, Fruits & Vegetables
  • Cooking Time – 20 to 30 minutes
  • Plank Thickness – 1/4″ to 1/2″

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 Plank Grilling – Preparation

Prepare the Plank: Before cooking with planks, you must soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. Soaking the planks eliminates the fire risk from using wood on the grill.

Prepare a grill for medium heat, with both direct and indirect cooking zones. There are differences related to Charcoal versus Gas when it comes setting up grilling zones when plank grilling. Create cooking zones on a charcoal grill by moving the charcoal to one side: the side with no charcoal is the indirect cooking side. On a gas grill, simply leave two burners off.

The planks are placed on the “indirect” side of the grill; the food roasts on the planks while absorbing the smoky flavor from the wood. Grilling time varies, based on the food.

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Planking Practice Recipes: For the recipes below, prepare planks and grill as instructed above, then serve the finished food still on the plank.

Smoked Cheese: Place Brie or Camembert on a cedar plank and smoke for up to 20 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and melt. Add fresh herbs, nuts, dates, craisins, balsamic glaze, or other toppings as desired.

Cedar-Planked Salmon: Melt butter, mix in fresh dill, salt, and pepper, and brush over salmon. Grill at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on indirect heat until an internal-read thermometer reads 140 degrees. Grill lemons on direct heat until char marks form; serve with the salmon.

Alder-Smoked Shrimp: Drizzle shrimp with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin. Smoke for five minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Finish with fresh-squeezed lemon.

Maple-Planked Chicken: Make a seasoning paste of orange zest, oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Rub this on chicken thighs. Cook on a plank until an internal-read thermometer reads 170 degrees.

Planked Flatbread Pizzas: Generously spray the plank with nonstick cooking spray and then dust with cornmeal so the dough does not stick. Use store-bought or homemade dough; roll out on plank. Grill the planked pizza dough until it begins to rise – about 5 minutes or so – and then add cheese and other toppings, perhaps including precooked meat. Grill pizza for another five minutes or until the cheese begins to melt and gets bubbly.

Planked Dessert Fruit: Drizzle stone fruit such as peaches with honey and cinnamon and grill until the fruit begins to caramelize. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

Reusing Planks: Planks can be reused two to four times. Since the flavor of the food may transfer to the plank, reuse planks with the same type of food. Do not use soap; scrub the planks with a brush and water, then let them air dry to prevent mold. Store them in an airtight container until the next use.

 


 

What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? 

We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on! Don’t want to miss a GrillJunkie blog post? Join our Newsletter Club or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Squealers BBQ Mustard Madness Sauce: BBQ Sauce Reviews

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Squealers BBQ Mustard Madness Sauce: BBQ Sauce Reviews Hot Seat

On a consistent basis the team here at GrillJunkie™ sets time aside to conduct and communicate our formal opinion on either a Grilling, BBQ or Burger related product inclusive of BBQ Sauce Reviews & Rubs. As you certainly can imagine, and most likely have experienced yourself, these products run the gamut from Gotta Have It!CoolUtilitarianRidiculous and the, well, Just Plain Assinine!

Today’s BBQ Sauce Reviews candidate is:

Squealers Mustard Madness Sauce

 Squealers BBQ Mustard Madness BBQ Sauce

Based on our extensive field research, the GrillJunkie Product Review team assigns a formal rating to every product that we test. This rating is based on a 1-5 Firepot structure as illustrated by our Grilling Product Review (GPR) scale below. The number of Firepots given to the grilling product indicates the product’s final rating. The higher the number of Firepots, the more positive the BBQ Sauce Review.

We are NEVER compensated for our Grilling Product Reviews so as to protect our integrity, brand and Product Review objectivity.

GrillJunkie Grilling Product Review GPR Firepot key with logo

GrillJunkie GPR Four FirePot ratingQuick BBQ Sauce Reviews Rating: For the more impatient reader who needs to get the rating right away, we gave the Squealers® BBQ Mustard Madness Sauce 4.3 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots on our BBQ Sauce Reviews scaleA Hot! product but not quite Searing! This BBQ Sauce was a well balanced Spicy style BBQ Sauce that curled our toes, made us squeal with taste drenched delight while not overpowering us with  an off-the-chart and typical vinegar/mustard mixture. The Squealers Mustard Madness Sauce has both Outside Bottle appeal that delivers Inside the Bottle with an impressively balanced formula of a sophisticated mustard sauce based in a sweet yet tangy vinegar medium with embedded and layered depth of complementary lager beer undertones, rich molasses, tangy and crisp apple cider, the fresh and earthy aroma of garlic and anchovy undertones, balanced with rich brown sugar, butter and earthy spices. A volatile balance that if not in the hands of a BBQ Sauce expert would have been a potential failure…but with genius comes Madness! For more detail on this BBQ Sauce Review, including a History of BBQ Sauce as well as the many upcoming BBQ Sauce Reviews and Grilling Product Reviews on our schedule, read on!

First Up: A Bit of BBQ Sauce History

The precise origin of barbecue sauce is unclear. Some trace it to the end of the 15th century, when Christopher Columbus brought a sauce back from Hispaniola, while others place it at the formation of the first American colonies in the 17th century.

References to the “saucy” substance start occurring in both English and French literature over the next two hundred years. South Carolina mustard sauce, a type of barbecue sauce, can be traced to German settlers in the 18th century.

Not Far Enough Back My Friends! Think this is pretty far back in time, huh? Well, think again. The idea of putting sauces on food goes back much, much further. In fact, according to Harold McGee’s superb book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, in 239 B.C., Chinese Chef I Yin, in “Master Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals” discusses the harmonious blending of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty, and the importance of balancing them harmoniously in sauces.Arawak Tribe - Grilling History

“The transformation which occurs in the cauldron is quintessential and wondrous, subtle and delicate. The mouth cannot express in words; the mind cannot fix upon an analogy. It is like the subtlety of archery and horsemanship, the transformation of Yin and Yang, or the revolution of the four seasons.”

The Yin and Yang of mixing sweet and sour is, of course, a Chinese specialty, and at the heart of most barbecue sauces. McGee also quotes a Latin poem from 25 A.D. It describes a farmer pounding herbs, cheese, oil, and vinegar, and adding it to a flatbread. The paste sounds quite a bit like pesto genovese, and the flatbread sounds like a pesto pizza or calzone.

The first actual mention of the term “barbecue sauce” we have found was in the Bolivar Bulletin from Hardeman County, TN in 1871. The author of an article thanks a Dr. J.H. Larwill for:

“a fine lot of Barbecue Sauce, of his own invention. For fresh meats of all kinds it cannot be excelled.”

For a more detailed History of  BBQ Sauce, we highly recommend the article from Meathead Goldwyn of AmazingRibs.com.

Did it Curl Our Tails?: Squealers Barbeque Mustard Madness Sauce

Before we proceed to the formal BBQ Sauce Review, it is important to note that our BBQ Sauce Reviews follow an organized and comprehensive structure which includes the:

  • Product Source Stats
  • Outside the Bottle Review
  • Inside the Bottle Review
  • Final Verdict and GrillJunkie™ GPR (Grilling Product Rating)

So let’s dig in to Squealers Mustard Madness Sauce!

Official BBQ Sauce Review and GPR

Product Source Stats - The Facts M’am. Just the Facts.

  • Name: Squealers® Mustard Madness Sauce
  • Cost: $5.29 MSRP / 18 fl. oz or 510 g
  • Ingredients: Yellow Mustard (Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Tumeric, Paprika, Spice, Natural Flavors and Garlic Powder), Brown Sugar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Budweiser Beer (Barley – contains gluten – malt, rice, hops), Salted Butter, Chile Powder, Worcestershire Sauce (distilled vinegar, molasses, water, salt, caramel color, Sugar, Spices, Anchovies, Natural Flavor, Tamarind, Soy, Lecithin), Hickory Smoke, Hot Sauce (Aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Vinegar, Water, Salt and Garlic Powder), and Chili Pepper.
  • Color: Deep Rich Yellow with Grainy Spices and Peppers Squealers_Smokin_Hot_Sauce

Outside the Bottle

This subcategory reviews the variables such as the attractiveness of the product, its overall visual appeal and/or how “perty” it is, etc. This subcategory does come with a GrillJunkie GPR rating.

  • Packaging & Labeling – Upon unpacking, we found the 18 oz. wide-mouthed glass bottle attractive, quirky, eye catching, crazy-mad with personality and adorned with awards. You’ll find who we called “squealy”, the central logo-figure on the label, added a touch of uniqueness. The package, labeling and overall design were complete and seem to have been professionally designed. A few fonts were hard to read, but overall a step above most of the packaging out there without going too mainstream and generic.
  • Story/Background – A great concept born from an obvious BBQ passion and good old American hard work and stamina. Jeff Yater is the founder and creator behind the Squealers Barbeque restaurants, BBQ Awards and BBQ Sauce lineup. Here’s the basic story:

“Squealers Smokin’ Trail: With a vision of the finest Barbeque, Squealers Award Winning Barbeque hit the road to put their stamp on the BBQ circuit. The first step was to equip a well thought out design for a custom smokin’ wagon. End result; a 30 foot enclosed trailer with a 500 spk smoking bad boy with a 3 bay sink system and refrigeration. Very easy to see, it’s “all in” on this one. 

With the smokin’ wagon ready Squealers started their journey in the world of cooking outstanding BBQ. Competing and selling in over 24 cities in 1999 Squealers got a real feel of what it takes to score high with the judges and win the “now” loyal customers over. Achieving over 65 awards at assorted National barbecue, World barbecue, and Ribfest events through the South, East, and Midwest, Squealers wanted to bring home all the expertise they had acquired. As the smoke grew high so did the need for Squealers to fuel the fire. 

In May of 2001 came the first Squealers dine-in barbeque restaurant with 175 seats, a full bar, and a banquet room to hold 125 festive people. Squealers was just needed that one main ingredient to make a giant splash in Mooresville,

Jeff Yater_Squealers Barbeque_bbq_sauce_reviews

Jeff Yater of Squealers Barbeque

Indiana… GREAT BARBEQUE. Squealers delivered the great barbeque and is now known for great eats miles around. It was not long before it was time to make a wave in a bigger pool. 

In 2004 Squealers Award Winning Barbeque did it again. This time equipped with 212 seats, a full, separate bar, and 2 spk 700 Southern Pride smokin’ pits, they were ready to tag the Indianapolis market with great award winning southern style barbeque, once again hitting a home run with this outstanding truly authentic smoked barbeque.”

Squealers has become a favorite stop to many around. We’re the real deal — come join us for lunch or dinner, we would be happy to have you!

  • Logo & Graphics – The Product Review team found the Squealers BBQ Mustard Madness logo appropriate and effective as it leverages the trail that’s been blazed by Jeff Yater and his team. What you’ll find is a beefy looking hog standing proud with a race winning checkered flag apron, with flames behind him while he admires a couple of brats he just fired up. Appropriately Squealers Mustard Madness Saucecannibalistic and right on target with masculine subtle humor without being too contrived. Unlike it’s BBQ Sauce brethren’s label (see our Review of Squealer’s Barbeque Smokin’ Hot Sauce) the label is brighter and more eye-catching, hence strengthening it’s great appeal on a large grocery store shelf. Maybe a bit more white background or a black outlined border may help here. Please note that a few of us on the GrillJunkie team are branding experts, a.k.a. “snobs”so the compliment is genuine and we apologize for the residual corporate pretense.
  • Cyber Marketing Presence / Web Site: Although we found the physical outside product appeal to be strong, we were a bit disappointed with the company’s web site utility. Not the web site itself, which tells a great story both visually and verbally about the  company history, BBQ Awards, restaurants, menu, etc. When looking for specific information about the BBQ Sauce line, ingredients, pictures and the like we were left a bit Squealers_ordersaucehungry for more. Maybe a dedicated page focused on the retail food products and BBQ Sauce. Just a thought. With such a good looking product that will inevitably draw consumers to the site to not only learn more and order a few bottles, it seems that they may be leaving a few dollars on the table by not enhancing the site’s appeal and interactive links. Again, more pretense and corporate blah, blah blah from the GrillJunkie team sticking their noses in it as usual.
  • GPR#: 4.2/5.0 Firepots

Inside the Bottle

This subcategory reviews important variables such as the Flavor Profile, Consistency and Taste before being cooked and after. This subcategory come with a GrillJunkie GPR rating as well.

  • Dominant Taste / Ingredient Match – The Dominant Taste of this Mustard Madness BBQ Sauce matched fairly well with our expectations from the product label and ingredient list. Strong, fresh mustard seed-base, a well-balanced vinegar taste tone with a perfectly balanced complement of  crispy barley-based lager beer, brown Squealers BBQ Mustard Madness BBQ Saucesugar, molasses, salted butter, hickory smoke with tart and earthy spices. With such a gamut of ingredients, easily knocked off balance by a poor mixture ratio, we were prepared to experience a potentially off balanced mish-mosh of flavors. We were prepared for a bit more heat and maybe a bit of overwhelming smokiness from this bottle as indicated by the labeling. We expected more heat but were pleased that we weren’t dealing with yet another heat drenched sauce that overwhelms the overall balance of the remaining earthy flavors.
  • Pre-cooked Flavor Profile – A strong and balanced Flavor Profile. We found a appropriately thick mustard and vinegar-based sauce that unveiled layers of spice, beer/lager crispness and acidity, molasses and tangy apple but not an overwhelming and off-balancing amount of vinegar, and the earthy tones of brown sugar. Overall, a well-balanced mixture of natural sweet, spice and savory warmth that leaves you hankering for  more to drench on a long smoked brisket, some ribs or to just dip into as a sauce.Squealers BBQ Mustard Madness BBQ Sauce
  • Consistency and Texture - Although we would categorize this BBQ Sauce as slightly thick, we found that the extra texture of the sauce, due to the beer, brown sugar, butter and peppers possibly, created solid differentiation. The thickness of the mustard base, the molasses and the spice define the texture and consistency of this BBQ sauce. A good thing when trying to get an even crust on our baby back ribs and/or for simply using as a dipping sauce.
  • BBQ Sauce on Ribs GrillJunkieSlathered & Cooked Flavor Profile - Compared to the “intense heat-lack” we experienced during the pre-cooked portion of the BBQ Sauce Review, we found that the kick and spicy depth of the Budweiser Beer, Worcestershire Sauce, Butter and Brown Sugar awakened when the sauce was mopped on, slathered and cooked, especially during longer periods such as on our 6 hour brisket smoke-a-thon. However the lack of the boorish and typical off the chart vinegar kick madness was replaced by a deeper tone of smoky molasses, sugar and the awakening of the beer tones.
  • The fresh and subtle fruit notes of the lager with its delicate malt sweetness and balanced bitterness adds a clean, snappy finished undertone. Not at all a bad thing for the GrillJunkie team but a possible budweiserdisappointment for those who expect to get that overwhelming mustard-vinegar kick “tongue kick-to-dollars” ratio worth. Those folks should do their research and realize that we were not dealing with a basic and easy to make yellow-vinegar mustard sauce. There was a hint of genius in the madness of this Mustard Madness BBQ Sauce.
  • GPR# – 4.3/5.0

The Verdict

Squealers_Smokin_Hot_SauceOverall, the GrillJunkie Product Review Team give Squealers Barbeque Mustard Madness Sauce a 4.3 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. Hot! product but not quite Searing! This BBQ Sauce was a well balanced Spicy style BBQ Sauce that curled our toes, made us squeal with taste drenched delight while not overpowering us with  an off-the-chart and typical vinegar/mustard mixture. The Squealers Mustard Madness Sauce has both Outside Bottle appeal that delivers Inside the Bottle with an impressively balanced formula of a sophisticated mustard sauce based in a sweet yet tangy vinegar medium with embedded and layered depth of complementary lager beer undertones, rich molasses, tangy and crisp apple cider, the fresh and earthy aroma of garlic and anchovy undertones, balanced with rich brown sugar, butter and earthy spices. A volatile balance that if not in the hands of a BBQ Sauce expert would have been a potential failure…but with genius comes Madness!  The GrillJunkie BBQ Sauce Reviews team is very much looking forward to reviewing more of the unique sauces that come from Jeff Yater and the Squealers Barbeque Sauce kitchen. Stay tuned!

GrillJunkie 4 Firepots

 

cook-airNext Grilling Product Review:  Cook-Air BBQ Grill

What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? 

We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on! Don’t want to miss a GrillJunkie blog post? Join our Newsletter Club or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Grilled Pizza Dessert – Honey, Berries and Mascarpone

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Grilled Pizza Dessert Recipe: Mascarpone, Berries and Honey!

grilled-pizza-honeyGrilling Pizza on the grill is not only a delectable treat, it is also easy, fun and an incredibly adaptable form of grilling that goes beyond the traditional cheese pizza. Whether it be in the backyard with the family or at the Big Game, Tailgate time or just looking for a great excuse for Family Pizza night, this GrillJunkie Grilled Pizza Dessert Recipe is a must try! There’s nothing like Pizza on the Grill as the backyard grill mimics that warm and rich wood fired oven flavor and texture from your favorite pizza place more than your conventional indoor oven. “We don’t need no stinkin’ ovens!” This particular recipe is a grilled dessert pizza that you will enjoy “berry” much!

Whether using charcoal or gas, the high heat and smoke from the grill will help give your pizza great texture, a crisp crust and deep flavor. It’s also fun and extremely easy. No, the pizza dough does not fall through the grill grates. Assuming you’ve properly heated the grill, your dough will form a lightly charred crust. The trick is that you grill the plain, un-topped dough first on one side. Then remove it from the grill, flip it, brush the grilled side with a little cooking oil and toppings and return the pizza to the grill for final cooking. It’s a great idea for having the kids make their own pizza, a fun Game Time treat, or anytime of the year!

Serves: 6 to 8 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Grilling time: 18 to 24 minutes | Special equipment: pizza peel(optional)

Grilled Pizza Recipe: Tools and Equipment

  • Gas or Charcoal Grill
  • Long-Handled Grill Tongs
  • Paper towels lightly soaked in canola oil
  • Sheet Pan Grilled Pizza Recipes Grilldough
  • Pizza Peel
  • Stand Mixer Machine
  • Patience

Grilled Pizza Dessert Recipe Ingredients:

Dough – Enough for 3 (16-inch) round pizzas:

3 pre-formed Pizza Dough balls from grocery store. To make your own dough:

  • 16 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter-top, peel and rolling
  • 1 envelope instant or rapid rise yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 10 ounces warm water, approximately 105° F
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus 2 teaspoons for bowl
  • 1 tablespoon malted barley syrup
  • 1/2 cup corn meal

grilled-pizza-pearsGrilled Dessert Pizza Toppings:

  • 3 store-bought pizza dough
  • 4 & 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 6 plums, cut in wedges and grilled
  • 3 cup raspberries
  • 3 cup blackberries
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Grilled Pizza Recipe: Preparation/Directions

Dough (if making from scratch) – otherwise go to Grilling Instructions below:

  • Combine the flour and yeast in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt, water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and malted barley syrup. Start the mixer on low, using the hook attachment, and mix until the dough just comes together, approximately 1 1/2 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for 15 minutes.
  • Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disk. Gently stretch the dough until thin. Hold it up to the light and look to see if the bakers windowpane, or a see-through, taut membrane has formed. The dough will be quite sticky, but manageable. Fold the dough onto itself and form it into a smooth ball.Grilled Pizza Recipe GrillJunkie pizzadough3
  • Oil the bowl of the stand mixer or other large canister with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl and roll it around to coat with the oil. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to double in size, approximately 1 hour. The dough will rise and double.
  • Split the dough into 3 equal parts using a knife or dough scraper. Flatten each piece into a disk on the counter top. Form each piece into a ball. Roll each ball on the counter until they tighten into rounds. Cover the balls with a tea towel and rest for 45 minutes.

Grilling the Plums and Pizza Instructions:

 

Grilled plums are a great way to serve as luscious summer and early fall delights. They are wonderful alongside grilled pork or sausages, but even better when served with ice cream, frozen yogurt for dessert or in this case on pizza!

  1. Prepare a grill to medium hot heat: You should be able to hold you hand 1 inch over the cooking grate for 2 to 3 seconds. Make sure the cooking grate is clean and well oiled.
  2. Halve and pit the plums. You can peel them if you like, but it’s not necessary.
  3. Put the plums on a tray or baking sheet. Brush them with a light, neutral flavored oil such as canola oil or grapeseed oil.
  4. Put the plums, cut-side down, on the grill. Cover and cook until they’re grill-marked and heated through, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

grilled-pizza-dessertKeep the fire up if grilling the pizza immediately. If you’ve prepared and grilled the plums beforehand, preheat a gas grill or charcoal grill to high and make sure the grill grates are clean and free of debris.

  • Lightly flour the counter top and flatten 1 of the dough balls. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12-inch round, rotating and stretching the dough as you go. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza peel and stretch to re-shape if necessary. Repeat for the remaining dough balls. For a unique texture and taste, toss a little bit on corn meal under the dough.
  • Oil the grill grates by rubbing the grates with a paper towel soaked in canola oil held by long-handled tongs. Decrease the heat to medium. Brush the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of canola oil and flip onto 1 end of the hot grill, leaving room for more pizza crusts as desired.
  • Cook until the bottom is golden brown. After about 1 minute check the bottoms of the dough by lifting with a pair of grilling tongs to see if it is getting browned. If it is on browned on one part, but not the other, use a spatula or tongs to rotate the dough 90 degrees and cook for another minute. If it is still not beginning to brown, cover the grill and continue to cook a minute at a time until the bottom has browned evenly. (It should only take a couple minutes if you have a hot grill.) The top of the pizza dough will also start bubbling up with air pockets.grilled-pizza-mascarpone
  • Once the pizza dough has browned on the bottom, flip over and grill until golden brown and the dough is just firm, another minute or so. Remove to a sheet pan. Cover the grill so it retains the heat for the next step.
  • Combine the mascarpone cheese and honey. Smear 1/3 of the mascarpone over each pizza and scatter the plum wedges and berries on top. Put the pizza on the sheet pan back on the grill, close the cover and cook just to warm the fruit, about 2 minutes. Using the peel or grilling tongs, remove the pizza, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.


KettlePizza_ReviewSmile and Enjoy your addiction to grilling and your newly found skill as the neighborhood Pizza Grilling dude or dudette! Be sure to check out our Review of the KettlePizza. We used this product to grill a few of these grilled pizza desserts and we were impressed with the results as it added a smoky, wood-fired flavor to this already amazing dessert.

Serves: 6 to 8 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Grilling time: 11 to 15 minutes | Special equipment: pizza stone (optional)

_____________________________________

 

What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

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Grill Tools Reviews : KettlePizza – Italy Meets the Grill?

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Grill Tools Review : KettlePizza – Italy Meets the Grill

On a consistent basis the team here at GrillJunkie™ sets time aside to evaluate and communicate our formal rating on either a Grilling, BBQ or Burger related product. We do this via our Grilling Product Reviews process. As you certainly can imagine these BBQ Grill Tools and products run the gamut from: Gotta Have It!CoolUsefulUtilitarianRidiculous and the, well, Just Plain Asinine! The spectrum of grilling related products is wide. NOTE: We are NEVER compensated for our Grilling Product Reviews so as to protect our integrity, brand and Product Review objectivity.

Today’s Grilling Product Reviews candidate:

KettlePizza Oven Kit

Kettle_Pizza_Grill_Tools

The GrillJunkie™ Grilling Product Reviews (GPR) Scale

Based on our extensive field research, the GrillJunkie Product Review team assigns a formal rating to every product that we test. This rating is based on a 1-5 Firepot structure as depicted through our Grilling Product Review (GPR) scale illustrated below. The number of Firepots given to the grilling product indicates its final rating. The higher the number of Firepots, the more positive the review.  

GrillJunkie Grilling Product Review GPR Firepot key with logo

  GrillJunkie GPR Four FirePot rating Quick Product Reviews Rating: For the more impatient reader who needs to get the rating right away, we gave the KettlePizza4.3 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  The product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in a highly effective, intelligently designed, uniquely useful, attractive and durable grill tool product. In fact, KettlePizza provides an affordable way to cook real wood-fired pizzaMade-In-USA-Flag-Label-D1675  on a traditional charcoal kettle grill by solving the problem of overcooked bottoms and undercooked tops: a common result when cooking pizza on an outdoor grill. Done correctly, the KettlePizza can perform equally well as a traditional wood fired or professional pizza oven that cost thousands of dollars. For more detail on this Made in the U.S.A. Grill Tools Product Review, a quick Slice of Pizza History, an overview of the Science Behind Excellent Pizza as well as the many upcoming Grilling Product Reviews on our schedule, read on! Below is quick video overview YouTube Video of the KettlePizza Product Review.


First Up: A Slice of Pizza’s History

The further back the GrillJunkie team looks in time, the more interesting details we uncover surrounding pizza. Rumaging through stories from our Italian ancenstry, while checking our collective information to sift myth from fact, we found some deliciously interesting things about the history of pizza. Today this iconic dish is one of the most popular foods on the entire Earth, but that fame and recognition came from the tireless backs and decades of work of many immigrants and international pizza restaurant franchises which spread this dish to all four corners of the world. ItalymapandflagBefore these Pizza chains were formed, pizza slowly rose in popularity in the United Stated, brought from Europe by Italian settlers who did not want to be parted from one of their most iconic meals. There, in the Mediterranean coastal city of Naples, rich with culinary culture, the modern Pizza was created. Although 19th century Italy is vehemently guarded and regarded as a home of modern pizza, its deep roots go all the way back to the ancient Roman, Greek and Persian empires. The records from those times uncover various types of bread in round and flat shapes, complemented by a wide variety of toppings. Although many European civilizations continued to use meals created in this fashion even up to today, exemplified by Parmesan cheese from Parmigiano-Reggiano, coca from Catalonia and Valencia, or Greek Pita just to name a few, the cooks from Italy became most interested in pizza. They produced variousParmigiano-Reggiano pizza products from ancient times to the middle ages. In the preserved ruins of the Italian city of Pompei, archeologists have found unmistakable signs of the impressively inter-wined network that supported pizza production – from the street stands to the restaurant kitchens where pizzas were made. Interestingly, the most important ingredient that elevated the local Italian dish to the worldwide fame was the arrival of the tomato from the New World in the 16th century. Although Italian nobility looked down upon the lowly tomato as a poor man’s food, the inventive recipes and designs of Italian pizza cooks from Naples soon managed to change their minds, not dissimilar to some present day food trends. As the popularity of the pizza grew, pizza artisans started to expand their business. The first Tomotoes_Dominant_BBQ_Sauce_Reviewsrestaurant dedicated only for selling pizza was opened in Naples in 1830, and after that many more appeared across all of Italy. The pizza from which almost all designs are based was created in 1889 by the hands of the famous Naples chef Raffaele Esposito who made three pizzas for the King and Queen of Italy. King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889. Legend has it that the traveling pair became bored with their steady diet of French haute cuisine and requested an assortment of pizzas from the city’s Pizzeria Brandi. The variety the queen enjoyed most was called pizza mozzarella, a pie topped with soft white cheese, red tomatoes and green basil. (Perhaps it was no coincidence that her favorite pie featured the colors of the Italian flag.) From then on, the story goes, that particular topping combination was dubbed Pizza Margherita. Esposito’s design of Pizza Margherita became gold standard for all future pizzas.History_of_Pizza_kettlepizza

America became acquainted, and quickly enamored, with pizzas in the late 19th century when many Italians colonized several US cities. Concentrated Italian presence in Chicago, New York City, Boston and Philadelphia became one of the first areas where pizza was sold in the United States. At first, street vendors sold pizzas in Italian districts, but soon after street peddlers expanded their reach by walking up and down Chicago’s Taylor Street selling hot slices of pizza to surrounding traffic. As the popularity of pizza grew, the need for dedicated restraint that served only pizza brought the foundation of the first pizzeria in the USA. Created by Gennaro Lombardi in Little Italy, Manhattan, this pizzeria was active all up to 1984, until it was reopened 10 years later by Lombardi’s grandson.
Lombardi_Pizzeria_1905Although popularity of pizza grew modestly in the USA, it was mostly limited to the Italian immigrants and their descendants. The key time era that brought true international fame of the pizza happened after end of World War II, when soldiers returning from the European fronts brought back with them an appetite for this incredible dish. Another big promotion for pizza happened during the 1950s when many American celebrities of Italian origin started promoting pizza, most notably Jerry Colonna, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, and baseball star Joe DiMaggio.
As the new pizza parlors formed across America, the beginnings of the modern pizza industry was beyond inertia. Some of the most famous worldwide pizza franchises founded in that period were Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas (1958), Domino’s (1967) and Papa John’s (1984). Today, American pizza business has shifted from selling meals at the location of restraint to the companies that specialize in pizza delivery. Many of the old giants have also accepted the transition to this business approach. Popularity of pizza continues to grow even today, exemplified by many public events and festivals held in the honor of this iconic dish (such as the World Pizza Championship where top cooks from the entire world fight for the title of best pizza maker).

Today pizza continues to enchant hungry consumers all around the world. New combinations of crust, toppings and inventive combinations are created daily, influenced by the local cuisines and food traditions. The world of pizza has certainly expanded beyond the Margherita-style! But one challenge remains: kettle_pizza_kettlepizza_review_1recreating that unmistakable crust and taste of an authentic oven-baked or wood-fired oven pizza on the outdoor grill without spending a fortune. Did the KettlePizza team make a leap forward and bridge the gap between excellent pizza and the grill and qualify to become part of Pizza History?

 


Now let’s see how well the KettlePizza performed under the GrillJunkie Product Review Team’s merciless testing!

KettlePizza - Did Italy Meet the Grill?kettlepizza_logo

The GrillJunkie Grill Tools Review follow a comprehensive structure which includes the:

  • Problem that needs to be solved or addressed
  • Solution to that problem
  • Good, Bad and Ugly elements of the product
  • Verdict – the official GrillJunkie™ GPR (Grilling Product Reviews Rating)

Official Product Review and GPR

Problem – The way we view it, there are three problems inherent to grilling a pizza with the desired result of authentic, consistent and professional results. The first issue is maintaining the critical high heat environment of a pizza oven in an outdoor grill prone to losing a massive amount of heat as soon as the lid is opened.

Great pizza is cooked from both the bottom and the top

Great pizza is cooked from both the bottom and the top

Secondly, there is an issue of creating and maintaining the high heat necessary to quickly cook a pizza both below and above its surface so as to cook the pizza’s top and bottom to perfection. Try cooking a pizza on a grill and you will immediately see that the results are an overcooked bottom and undercooked top….even with a grilling stone which at times makes the problem even more pronounced. Lastly, designing an outdoor pizza oven environment can cost thousands of dollars as many are simply indoor wood-fired ovens replicated outdoors with brick and mortar. The key is to design and emulate an authentic, high-heat pizza oven environment that can be used within an already existing grill at the fraction of the cost of highly expensive and space robbing outdoor units.

The Science of Excellent Pizza:

An authentic Neapolitan pizza is cooked by leveraging two means of transferring heat. The bottom of the pizza is cooked by conduction which directly transfers energy from the immensely hot oven bottom, brick or stone to the crust. The top of the pizza is cooked via convection which transfers the heat energy via hot air. The key is to get the Conduction to Convection ratio right! Conduction is a much more efficient method of heat transfer, which explains why in a professional oven, to cook a pizza properly, the base of the oven need only be around 750°F or so, while the air above must be significantly hotter—in the 1,000°F to 1,200°F range. The problem with trying to cook a pizza on a simple pizza stone, whether it be in an indoor oven or on an outdoor grill, is that the stone under the pizza dough gets really hot, yet it’s difficult to get the air temp above the pizza hot enough to match that high temperature environment with the critical Conduction to Convection ratio. The bottom of the pizza burns before the top takes on any color. The important variable is that KettlePizza_Reviewmoving air cooks a lot more efficiently than still air. The ultimate goal when cooking a pizza on the grill is to get as much hot air circulating over the top surface of the pizza as fast as possible. Product’s Genesis and Solution Pitch – The KettlePizza™ team’s approach to addressing the problem was to develop, market and distribute their line-up of Kettle Pizza Oven Kits and accessories. Here’s a bit of the KettlePizza story:

“Al Contarino is an inventor who had a passion for grilling. His main frustration was that whenever grill lids were opened or removed, all the stored heat would be lost stalling the cooking process. In 2005, he started developing a new type of gas grill that maintained the heat when the lid was opened. Countless hours and a substantial amount of money went into the patented design with the hopes of licensing to a major grill manufacturer.

Al Contarino, Inventor of the KettlePizza, with one of the first prototypes

Al Contarino, Inventor of the KettlePizza, with one of the first prototypes

Five years later, Al was completely frustrated with the challenges of licensing his ideas and he decided to focus his efforts on developing a product that he could design, manufacture and market completely on his own.  This new product was KettlePizza.”

In May of 2010 Al built his first prototype of the KettlePizza. He called his friend and fellow inventor, George Peters, to check out the design of a crude pizza oven insert made to fit on top of common charcoal kettle grills. The prototype seemed to solve the problem of maintaining high temperatures throughout the cooking process and so they decided to invite some friends over for a pizza party. Everyone loved the pizza and the concept. That was all that Al and George needed to hear, they knew they had a winner.

In the upcoming months, Al and George took on the challenge to design, manufacture and sell the KettlePizza right out of Al’s barn in Massachusetts.  They made the challenge even harder by pledging to source as many of the KettlePizza components as possible from American suppliers.  The goal was not just to build a product and a company, but to create US jobs. Their first employee was Lynne Graziosi who continues to be an invaluable member of the KettlePizza team.

The KettlePizza Product Pitch:

KettlePizza was developed to give people an affordable way to cook real wood fired pizza on a traditional charcoal kettle grill. The stainless steel sleeve goes between the grill top and bottom creating a cooking chamber that remains consistently hot throughout the cooking cycle because the lid never needs to be removed. This solves the problem of overcooked bottoms and under cooked tops which is the common result when cooking pizza on an outdoor grill. Done correctly, the KettlePizza can perform equally as well as a traditional wood fired pizza oven that costs thousands of dollars.”kettlepizza_howitworks_webrgb_72

This diagram provides a basic three  step overview of how the KettlePizza works:

 

 

 

 

kettle_pizza_kettlepizza_review_IMG_4297The Good – The product has many important positive attributes. First of all, the KettlePizza® product team did indeed address the problem head on with a top quality, attractively packaged, uniquely-featured grilled pizza oven product. Under extensive product testing using various grills and a myriad of pizza dough and toppings, the hard to impress GrillJunkie team found that this grilling product:

  • Arrived in a well-packed, easy to assemble packaging.
  • Creates an immensely high-heat pizza cooking environment that sustains upper and lower heat throughout the entire grilling cycle.
  • Creates good convection currents…a key variable to great pizza. With the coals banked in the back, hot air rises off the coals toward the domed lid, then gets drawn back down and out the oven door opening. This moving air cooks the top of the pizza a lot faster than the relatively still air inside a completely sealed kettle.Made-In-USA-Flag-Label-D1675
  • Is designed to cook pizza in an existing outdoor kettle grill eliminating the need for an expensive and space robbing investment.
  • Uses a well engineered stainless steel sleeve that goes between the grill top and bottom creating a cooking chamber that remains consistently hot throughout the cooking cycle because the lid never needs to be removed.
  • Easily installs between the top and bottom of a traditional kettle grill. The product is adjustable and fits either 18.5 or 22.5 in. kettle grills such as Weber One Touch Silver or Gold Grills.KettlePizza_KPB-22WEBER22_5
  • Utilizes the grate of the grill as the floor of the cooking chamber.
  • Is proudly designed and manufactured in the USA with an expanding worldwide dealer and reseller network.
  • Is packaged in an attractive, visually-rich and see through design – fire one up at night and you will see what we mean.
  • Makes pizza that looks and tastes like you ordered it at a high-end brick oven restaurant. See our grilled pizza recipes that were cooked on a KettlePizza. For a unique Pizza experience, be sure to check out our Grilled Dessert Pizza!
 

The Bad – The product has a three, mostly minor negative attributes. These are more challenges than negatives. Getting the fire and positioning of the stone right takes a bit of practice and patience. Once mastered, life is good. We experienced a slight challenge getting the temperature hot enough at first and went through an extra 10 pounds of coal before we hit a sweet spot. A little tweaking and some hot coals on standby from our Charcoal Chimney readily prepared to maintain the high heat and the grill maintained its temperature at well over 950°F for a good 55 minutes (with a stone temperature of around 650°F).  At about 3 to 4 DSC_0166minutes per pie, the GrillJunkie team found that was sufficient time to rapidly crank out 10 pies. In fact, after the pizzas were done, the coals were still hot enough to fire up an additional 6-8 Jalapeño burgers. Also, we found that it was a bit challenging to keep the fire stoked to maintain the high heat environment. No more challenging than maintaining a proper fire in a professional wood-fired oven but a bit of a tighter space and a little extra hustle and patience just the same. We recommend to be prepared to start with 3 to 3.5 chimneys’ worth of charcoal if you want to achieve the temperatures the KettlePizza needs to work.

The Ugly- We did not believe that this variable directly applied to this product. In fact, the KettlePizza has a clean and enticing design and the product itself is a very attractive, well produced and an extremely effective grilling tool. The only ugliness is that the product line is not available for non-kettle-sized grills but maybe that’s something that Al Contarino is working on.KettlePizza Review by GrillJunkie_ketttle pizzaIMG_4095

Verdict – We give the KettlePizza 4.3 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  The product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in a highly effective, intelligently designed, highly useful, unique, attractive and durable grill tool. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  In fact, KettlePizza provides an affordable way to cook real wood-fired pizza on a traditional charcoal kettle grill by solving the problem of overcooked bottoms and undercooked tops: a common result when cooking pizza on an outdoor grill. Done correctly, the KettlePizza can perform equally well as a traditional wood fired or professional pizza oven that cost thousands of dollars.We look forward to conducting our Grilling Product Reviews on any new product developments that will come from the KettlePizza team.

GrillJunkie 4 Firepots

   GrillJunkie Rating of KettlePizza 4.3 / 5.0


 

Next Grilling Review: Squealers Mustard Madness SauceSquealers_BBQ_Sauce_Product_Review_GrillJunkie

What do you think? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Don’t want to miss a GrillJunkie blog post? Join our Newsletter Club, subscribe to our RSS list, or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

Grill Tools Review : Kuisiware Grill Light

Grill Tools Review : Grill Light from Kuisiware

On a consistent basis the team here at GrillJunkie™ sets time aside to evaluate and communicate our formal rating on either a Grilling, BBQ or Burger related product. We do this via our Grilling Product Reviews process. As you certainly can imagine these BBQ Grill Tools and products run the gamut from: Gotta Have It!CoolUsefulUtilitarianRidiculous and the, well, Just Plain Asinine! The spectrum of grilling related products is wide.

NOTE: We are NEVER compensated for our Grilling Product Reviews so as to protect our integrity, brand and Product Review objectivity.

Today’s Grilling Product Reviews candidate:

Kuisiware Grill Light / Lantern

The GrillJunkie™ Grilling Product Reviews (GPR) Scale

Based on our extensive field research, the GrillJunkie Product Review team assigns a formal rating to every product that we test. This rating is based on a 1-5 Firepot structure as depicted through our Grilling Product Review (GPR) scale illustrated below. The number of Firepots given to the grilling product indicates its final rating. The higher the number of Firepots, the more positive the review.  

GrillJunkie Grilling Product Review GPR Firepot key with logo

  GrillJunkie GPR Four FirePot rating Quick Product Reviews Rating: For the more impatient reader who needs to get the rating right away, we gave the Kuisiware Grill Light 4.1 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  The product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in a highly effective, intelligently designed, highly useful, unique, attractive and durable grill tool product. In fact, this particular Kuisiware grill tool, the Grill Light / Lantern, is not only made of high-quality, heat resistant ABS, can illuminate for up to 50,000 hours, but boasts a unique Touch Sensitive On/Off button that makes the BBQ grill light extremely easy to operate, especially important when your hands are otherwise occupied on the task at hand, grilling.

For more detail on this Grill Tools Product Review, our Top 10 Grilling Tools, as well as the many upcoming Grilling Product Reviews on our schedule, read on! Below is a quick overview YouTube Video of the Kuisiware Grill Light / Grill Tool Product Review.

 


First Up: Our Top Ten Grill Tools

You don’t need much to become a great griller, but there are a few things that make grilling easier and more  successful. There are also a few things you will need in order to take care of your grill. These suggestions are intended to help you put together a few of the basics that work well and make you a better griller. Remember that these are just suggestions. To be a great cook, you need patience, passion and the right tools and accessories that work best for you. Here is our Top 10 Grill Tools list:

Tool 1: The Grill – What Fires You Up?

This is the age old question of outdoor grilling and the main inspiration for our tagline, “What Fires You Up?”  What kind of grill do you want? Although there are grills that run on wood pellets, electricity, and gel fuel, there are two that truly come to the forefront – Charcoal and Gas Grills.

Gas Grill Review of CharBroil Commercial Series GrillJunkie Product ReviewCharcoal grills will give better flavor, depending upon the type of charcoal used, and provide a more authentic grilling experience, but can be challenging to get started and can prove frustrating to maintain a proper temperature. Gas is faster to start and much more convenient for those weekday cookouts. Whether you choose to use your gas grill to grill your meals with propane or natural gas, be sure to use the proper equipment and follow all safety procedures when installing and using these fuel sources.

Deciding between the two main types of grills available, Gas or Charcoal Grills, boils down to what kind of cooking you want to do. Be sure to find a good quality gas or charcoal grill. If used and maintained properly, a good quality grill can last a lifetime. Next, let’s explore the fuel source possibilities available for Charcoal and Gas grills.

Tool 2: Fuel Source

For most gas grills, this is simple; Propane. The small, portable, and refillable tanks are convenient and, with an extra one on hand, your fuel source can last a whole season. You don’t want an angry mob on your hands because you ran out of fuel during your backyard gathering.  Also, some grills can be set up to run on natural gas fed from inside the house. For purists, the charcoal grill is the only way to go. There are many fuel choices, shapes and sizes available including coal-based charcoal briquettes,  all-natural lump charcoal, hardwood charcoal, as well as pure hardwood. When burned, these fuel sources are all designed to transform into embers radiating the heat necessary to cook food.

Hardwood Lump Charcoal is a great alternative to petroleum based briquettes.

Hardwood Lump Charcoal is a great alternative to petroleum based briquettes. Natural, and easy to light.

 

There is contention among grilling enthusiasts on what type of charcoal is best for grilling. Users of charcoal briquettes emphasize the uniformity in size, burn rate, heat creation, and quality exemplified by briquettes. Users of all-natural lump charcoal emphasize subtle smoky aromas, high heat production, and lack of binders and fillers often present in briquettes.

There are many methods and gadgets available to help get your briquettes, lump charcoal, or hardwood fired up besides stinky and unhealthy lighter fluid. These include rolled up newspaper, kindling, and fire starters, but we suggest you look into purchasing a Charcoal Chimney Fire Starter.

Tool 3: Charcoal Fire Starter

An ideal and convenient way to light charcoal is without anything more combustible than a few pieces of rolled-up newspaper. This can be done with a charcoal chimney, available at most any hardware store.

These cone-shaped chimneys allow you to get a lot of coals burning Weber Chimney Starter how to via GrillJunkiecompletely and quickly while avoiding the introduction of anything to the fire that you wouldn’t want to add to your food such as lighter fluid. In addition, charcoal chimney starters allow you to get more coals going while cooking in order to add to the existing fire as needed. This is a great way to help with temperature control on a charcoal grill.

Tool 4: Spatula and/or Tongs

Get your hands on a good spatula and you will be able to tackle even the most challenging of burger or grilled recipes. And let’s be clear on the meaning of the word “good”. A good grilling spatula doesn’t need loads of extra gadgets on it. Get a large bladed, bent and long-handled spatula. You want something that you can get under your burgers easily and large enough to flip a fish fillet without it falling apart. Don’t skimp on this tool, as you really owe it to yourself to get a good quality spatula that will work well and last.

A good spatula should easily slip under foods allowing you to quickly and safely lift, turn and flip. That’s all it needs to do, but it needs to do it well.  A good pair of spring-loaded tongs will also help you get a solid grip on your food and can also help when you need an extra pair of hands or need to grip something.

Long-handled grilling tongs

Long-handled grill tongs. Picked up ours at bbqguys.com

An ideal pair of tongs should be easy to squeeze, yet bounce back quickly allowing you to get a grip on both small and large items without damaging even the most delicate of foods. Find tongs that fit your hand, are lightweight but sturdy and have enough length to reach deep into your grill without leaving your arm over the fire.

Tool 5: Grill Grate Scraper/Brush

Cleaning the metal rack or grill grate is a messy task made simple with a wire brush, (or a bristle brush for non stick coated racks). You will need this important tool for cleaning off the grate before and after you grill. It is most important that you do this after you finish grilling before the foods have had a chance to bake on.

Tool 6: Basting Brushes

It’s a good idea to have a couple of food basting brushes on hand. You can buy these as pastry, basting, mops, or silicon brushes. You decide which is cheaper or better for your particular needs. Don’t spend a lot on these because they don’t tend to last even if you take good care of them. You should have one brush dedicated to oiling surfaces. Dedicating a brush to put a coat of oil over your cooking grate is a good idea. The brush will get the oil over the surface of the grill grate quickly and easily. You need to keep this brush separate from other brushes, since you don’t want to use this one for basting foods. In addition to your oiling brush, you need a brush for basting your food when desired. If you grill a lot of different kinds of food types, you might want several.

 Tool 7: Grill Light

For those of you who grill after a long day at work or after mowing the lawn on the weekends this may all be familiar territory. You begin grilling around 6 pm only to find you’re running out of daylight. You switch to the porch or patio light only to be frustrated by the fact that YOU are now the source of the grill_tools_grilling_light_kuisiwarecasted shadow on the grill with it’s precious contents and you can’t see what you’re doing! When in for the long-haul on a 12 hour low & slow BBQ  smoking of a Brisket, then you really need to rely on more than moonlight. A good grill light can help illuminate the situation. Look for a good quality, adjustable light that you don’t have to fuss with in order to position correctly. Also, look for one with a touch sensitive on-off switch. Your hands should be focused on grilling, not dealing with turning on a hard to handle light switch.

Tool 8: Meat Thermometer

The difference between the perfect meal and a trip to the emergency room due to food poisoning can be only a couple of degrees. Having a good, working thermometer is a must have. There are a whole host of Meat_Thermometergood thermometers on the market, but remember, accuracy is the most important factor, so when buying a thermometer it’s better to bypass cool features in favor of reliability.

 Tool 9: Fire Extinguisher

Although we provide guidance on preventing and dealing with flare-ups in a previous post, entitled, Houston, We Have a Flare-Up” , it is always important to have a small household type fire extinguisher close by just in case things get out of hand.grill-accessory-08

 Tool 10: Grill Mitt

A fireproof mitt allows you to safely complete many grill jobs. Whether it’s a pair of fireproof gloves or a kitchen mitt you should always have something close by that will let you pick up the hot stuff. A pair of fireproof grilling mitts is your best bet, as they not only allow you to pick up hot metal cooking equipment, but they won’t catch on fire if or when flames hit them. Having a kitchen mitt catch fire while you have it on your hand is not fun. You might just find yourself sitting next to the guy who didn’t listen to us about the need for a Meat Thermometer under Tool 8!


Now let’s see how well the Kuisiware Grill Light performed under the GrillJunkie Product Review Team’s merciless testing!

Kuisiware_Grill_Tools_Grilling_LightKuisiware Grill Light – Grill Tool Product Review – Did It Light Up Our BBQ Life?

The GrillJunkie Grill Tools Review follow a comprehensive structure which includes the:

  • Problem that needs to be solved or addressed
  • Solution to that problem
  • Good, Bad and Ugly elements of the product
  • Verdict – the official GrillJunkie™ GPR (Grilling Product Reviews Rating)

Official Product Review and GPR

Problem – The way we view it, first and foremost, as grilling and BBQ addicts we all have the right and privilege to grill 24 x 7 x 365. Unfortunately, as night falls on your backyard BBQ or tailgate, seeing what you’re grilling can be difficult never mind unsafe. And who is a fan of losing money and time only to have burned that NY Strip Steak to a crisp due to lack of proper illumination. Even a well-positioned porch or tent light will not suffice as you are inevitably standing between the light source while tending the grill creating a frustrating shadow. Secondly, the majority of BBQ grill lights on the market today are decent, however most are either awkward, poorly constructed, expensive, unattractive, not bright or focused enough to get the light where you need it most. Lastly, most grill lights are not easy to operate, position or turn off and on; all important variables when your hands are already occupied handling food, spatulas, tongs, tending to the fire and focusing on safety.

Product’s Solution Pitch – The Kuisiware® team’s approach to addressing the problem was to grill_tools_bbq_grill_light_grilling_light_kuisiwaredevelop, market and distribute their line-up of Grill Tools, with a debut focus on their Grill Light / Lantern. According to the company’s marketing material and ad copy:

No more burned meat, no more frustration, no more wasted time and money…only good time with your friends or family. Picture this: It’s summer, it’s 10 o’clock in the evening, and you are grilling some of the most delicious ribeye pork chops and some finger-lickin’ chicken wings on a nice hot grill. You always wanted to be the hero of every BBQ, whether day or night, and this is finally possible thanks to a gadget that is designed to impress. The Kuisiware “Grill Lantern” barbecue grill light will help you cook the perfect BBQ each and every time, no matter how dark the night is, leaving your friends and family wanting for more”.

The Good – The product has a few important positive attributes. First of all, the Kuisiware® product team did indeed address the problem head on with a top quality, attractively packaged, uniquely-featured grill tool product. Under extensive product testing using various sized grills and a myriad of food , weather and illumination scenarios, the hard to impress GrillJunkie team found that this grilling product:

  • Is packaged in an attractive, visually-rich and see through packaging
  • Has an adjustable screw clamp that makes this a very easy to install LED grill light, suitable for most grill handles
  • Accommodates circular and oval handles (max diameter: 1.45″).
  • Has a unique touch sensitive On/Off button making the BBQ grill light extremely easy to operate
  • grill_tools_grilling_light_kuisiwareCan be turned on or off by touching it with almost anything
  • Includes 3 x 1.5V AA batteries that power the light up to 12 hours
  • Drives 1o super-bright LED bulbs that can illuminate for up to 50,000 hours
  • Swivels 180 degrees horizontally and vertically for full coverage of your grill
  • Is made from heat resistant ABS with a smooth finish, it will withstand intense heat for longer periods of time
  • Was safe to use on the myriad of gas grills, charcoal grills, pellet grills, electric grills and BBQ smokers we have in the GrillJunkie testing lab
  • Is protected by a 12 Month Warranty which completely eliminated the risk out of our purchase

The Bad – The product has a three, mostly minor negative attributes. The first is that the grill light only comes in one flavor, black. For those of you focused on individual style wanting to color match your stainless steel or Blue Weber One Touch grill, at present you may be a bit frustrated with the narrow color-spectrum offering from this product. Secondly, the battery compartment, albeit necessarily weather tight, is accessible via a very tiny Phillips head screw. Lastly, the price of the grill tool product is slightly higher than most of the utilitarian, poorer quality grill lights on the market today. The MSRP of this grill light is $59.99. However we’ve learned that the price is significantly lower on Amazon.com for $28.00 with FREE shipping. Additionally, you can use this code: KREW7OFF We applied it at Amazon.com checkout for another $7 discount, which gave us a total of 65% off list price.

We’ve also learned that they give away a FREE “Grilling Recipes” ebook. As an alternative to using the Coupon code on the Amazon.com link, you could visit the Kuisiware site where signing up for their email list will help you save a few dollars.

Kuisiware Grill_Tools - BBQ Grill_LightThe Ugly- We did not believe that this variable directly applied to this product. In fact, the Kuisiware Grill Light, albeit a tad pricier than some common, lower grade grilling lights, has a clean and enticing package design and the product itself is a very attractive, well produced and extremely effective grilling tool. The only ugliness is that the product line is not available in every retail, BBQ or grocery store worldwide, but they’re getting there! We’ll let the Kuisiware sales and marketing team tackle that one.

Verdict – We give the Kuisiware Grill Light 4.1 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  The product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in a highly effective, intelligently designed, highly useful, unique, attractive and durable grill tool. In fact, this particular Kuisiware grill tool, the Grill Light / Lantern, is not only made of high-quality, heat resistant ABS, can illuminate for up to 50,000 hours, but  leverages a unique Touch Sensitive On/Off button that makes the BBQ grill light extremely easy to operate, especially important when your hands are otherwise occupied on the task at hand, grilling.

The GrillJunkie team members will now be able to significantly reduce their frustration due to poor lighting and grill lights that are hard to operate, bulky, and just not bright enough. This handle mount grill light eliminates all these problems through its light weight, adjustability, ease of install and touch-sensitive feature. We look forward to conducting our Grilling Product Reviews on any new product developments that will come from the Kuisiware team.

GrillJunkie 4 Firepots

   GrillJunkie Rating of Kuisiware Grill Light 4.1 / 5.0


 

Kettle_Pizza_Grill_ToolsNext Grilling Review: Kettle Pizza

What do you think? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Don’t want to miss a GrillJunkie blog post? Join our Newsletter Club, subscribe to our RSS list, or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

 

 

Grilling Product Reviews: Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks

Grilling Product Review : Cedar Grilling Planks from Fire & Flavor

On a consistent basis the team here at GrillJunkie™ sets time aside to evaluate and communicate our formal rating on either a Grilling, BBQ or Burger related product. We do this via our Grilling Product Reviews process. As you certainly can imagine these products run the gamut from: Gotta Have It!CoolUsefulUtilitarianRidiculous and the, well, Just Plain Asinine! The spectrum of grilling related products is wide.

Today’s Grilling Product Reviews candidate:

Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks

Fire_&_Flavor_grilling_planks

The GrillJunkie™ Grilling Product Reviews (GPR) Scale

Based on our extensive field research, the GrillJunkie Product Review team assigns a formal rating to every product that we test. This rating is based on a 1-5 Firepot structure as depicted through our Grilling Product Review (GPR) scale illustrated below. The number of Firepots given to the grilling product indicates its final rating. The higher the number of Firepots, the more positive the review.  

GrillJunkie Grilling Product Review GPR Firepot key with logo

  GrillJunkie GPR Four FirePot rating Quick Product Reviews Rating: For the more impatient reader who needs to get the rating right away, we gave the Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks4.2 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  The product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in an attractively packaged, sustainable, highly effective, affordable and fun to use product. In fact, the Fire & Flavor™ Grilling Planks are not only high-quality, center cut grilling planks, which create a significant taste difference when it comes to the robust aroma and smokiness of the planks, but the company also honors the age-old Indian cooking method of wood plank cooking that has no equal.  For more detail on this Product Review, including a History of Wood Plank Grilling, as well as the many upcoming Grilling Product Reviews on our schedule, read on!

See, or click below for a quick overview YouTube Video of the Fire & Flavor Cedar Plank Product Review:

 

First Up: The Why and History of Plank Grilling

The GrillJunkie team took a deep dive into the subject of wood plank cooking and discovered that early cooks utilized wood plank cooking over open flames to capture the essence of wood as a seasoning in fish and other meats. Today, chefs and home cooks alike prize the simple, straightforward style of plank roasting that adds complex flavors and moist texture to a range of foods. Plank cooking works because the porous wood surface absorbs moisture at room temperature and then releases the moisture and a smoky aroma to flavor foods as they’re slowly cooked in a hot oven or on a BBQ grill. As a result, plank-cooked foods are juicier, more flavorful and less susceptible to nutrient loss with a complex layering of flavors. An added benefit for health-conscious cooks: most recipes can be prepared using less fat or oil, sauces or liquids.
Most of our research uncovered that plank cooking originated in the Pacific Northwest and was the preferred method for salmon and other fish by Native Americans, yet others feel this technique is Scandinavian and brought to America by early travelers. It is well documented, however, that Native Americans occupying the Pacific Northwest would spear or club salmon from the shores of the inland streams during the annual salmon runs. The fish were then brought back to their settlements for cleaning and smoking, then stored for the brutal winter months ahead.Grilling_Planks
Plank cooking originates with seasonal rituals of Pacific Northwest native people. Not surprisingly, many of these rituals are integrally linked with annual wild salmon migrations. For millennia, wild salmon flashing silver as they swim from the open sea to birthplace streams far inland have been a visible presence of sustenance and hope for native tribes living in the region. The native people believed that salmon were a gift bestowed by the sacred water of rivers and ocean. At ritual ceremonies, native villagers living beside the Columbia River and its tributaries celebrated the arrival of the first wild salmon swimming home upstream with dances and songs.
Pacific Northwest people traditionally cooked salmon by smoking a whole fish or a salmon filet on a wood plank. The planks used most often were aromatic wood from indigenous trees of the Pacific Northwest such as alder and cedar, a tree that was also sacred. To prepare the salmon for cooking, women would tack or wrap the fish with vines to secure it on wood planks and stand the planks vertically on end around a fiercely burning open firepit. Slowly roasting in their own juices, the fish absorbed the smoky aroma and moisture of the cedar or alder plank to gain extra flavor and succulence. Pacific Northwest natives later shared the plank cooking method for wild salmon with European explorers and settlers. In the 1890s, the method gained popularity when some of the first hotels in the Northwest treated guests to this dramatic local cooking style.

In the early days, the catch was hung over open fires or tacked to big wood slabs and then slowly cooked, absorbing the natural flavors from the smoke. As the settlers became more civilized, huts and smokehouses were built to contain and intensify the smoke flavor. As these techniques advanced over the centuries  and with the invention of the grill, plank cooking as we know it today was born. The earliest documented recipe for plank cooking appeared in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook in 1911 and was written by Fannie Farmer. This recipe featured planked chicken and duchess potatoes. Today, we have many spices, marinades and sauces to help flavor our foods, but back in the early days wood was the primary source to add flavor. With the evolution of modern smokers and grills, these original methods of smoking have slowly been displaced by easier, quicker techniques. Many traditionalists all over the world still cook over fire pits or in their own hand built smokehouses, but in slightly modified versions. The incredible smoky flavors of wood such as Western Red Cedar, Alder, Sugar Maple, Hickory, Mesquite and Oak from old wine barrels can be infused into your favorite foods as you grill or bake. We highly recommend western red cedar as our choice of wood for plank cooking. It can be used for all types of fish, beef, chicken, pork, even fruits and vegetables.

However, we encourage you to experiment and try other woods on your own. Try to stay away from woods that contain a lot of sap such as Pine. Use of this type of wood will not produce a desirable flavor and could be harmful to your health.

We hope that you will try plank cooking and that you will enjoy one of the most exciting cooking methods in the world. See for yourself why this technique of cooking has become one of the hottest methods of gourmet cooking. Take a look at our Grilled Salmon recipe using Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks!!

Today, chefs and home cooks alike prize the simple, straightforward style of plank roasting that adds complex flavors and moist texture to a range of foods. Plank cooking works because the porous wood surface absorbs moisture at room temperature and then releases the moisture and a smoky aroma to flavor foods as they’re slowly cooked in a hot oven or on a BBQ grill. As a result, plank-cooked foods are juicier, more flavorful and less susceptible to nutrient loss with a complex layering of flavors. An added benefit for health-conscious cooks: most recipes can be prepared using less fat or oil, sauces or liquids.


Now let’s see how well the Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks honor this age-old American Indian cooking method!

fandf-site-logo1

Fire & Flavor Product Review – Grilling Plank Masters or Commoners?

The GrillJunkie Grilling Product Reviews follow a comprehensive structure which includes the:

  • Problem that needs to be solved or addressed
  • Solution to that problem
  • Good, Bad and Ugly elements of the product
  • Verdict – the official GrillJunkie™ GPR (Grilling Product Reviews Rating)

Official Product Review and GPR

  • Problem – The way we view it, grilling salmon can be a challenge as it can notoriously stick to a hot grill, and infusing a natural smoky flavor into the delicate flesh is not easy.  Additionally, fish can easily dry out, char, lose flavor and essential nutrients if not cooked correctly, especially on a grill.

Product’s Solution Pitch – The Fire & Flavor™ team’s approach to addressing the problem was to develop, market and distribute their line-up of Grilling Planks and Papers. According to the company’s marketing material and ad copy:

Plank Grilling adds a delicious smoky flavor to your favorite foods. Fire & Flavor’s planks are perfect for seafood, meats, vegetables, and even fruits. Soak the plank for 1 hour or more, heat on an outdoor grill and cook food right atop the plank. Based on an old Native American technique, plank grilling is a fun and easy way to add amazing flavor to your next meal.

How to Use Fire & Flavor™ Grilling Fire & Flavor Grilling_PlanksPlanks

  1. SOAK plank under water for at least one hour.
  2. HEAT grill to 350F, add soaked plank to grill rack, close cover, heat 3 minutes and flip plank.
  3. SMOKE add food to heated plank, close cover: cook until done, no turning or flipping necessary.
  4. EAT super-moist seafood, meats or vegetables with rich, all natural smoky flavor.

 

The Genesis of Fire & Flavor Grilling Planks

Mission: To change the way people think about food. To inspire optimism, balance, and togetherness among those who come in contact with Fire & Flavor.

Their Story

Fire & Flavor’s story began years ago in a busy kitchen in Reynolds, Georgia where Gena Knox prepared many delicious meals with her mother and grandmother. It began with a love of family, friends, and Southern cuisine. In 2003, Gena Knox set a cedar plank on her grill and unknowingly started a culinary and entrepreneurial journey with her husband, Davis. Gena’s love affair with cooking became a passion for sharing delicious, gourmet, natural food with the people she loved.

Today Fire & Flavor shares all kinds of ways to make food more delicious, more nutritious and with less work. Davis and Gena are blessed with large families that share in many Southern traditions—in every one of them (it seems), food was the connector. Food continues to be that today. Sharing food at the

Gena Knox of Fire & Flavor

Gena Knox of Fire & Flavor

table is a time when many memories are created. Laughter, love and happiness make our world a better place.

Great food is so important to us that we anchor our company on a few core beliefs:

  • We believe in the truth of history and in the optimism of all the tomorrows ahead.
  • We believe great food is the means; memories and togetherness are the end.
  • We believe in the blessings of friendship, the power of family, and the reward in adventure.
  • We believe that great food belongs with people in the places they live.
  • We believe in helping people make food better than they ever have, more easily than they imagined.
  • We believe in all natural, made simple.

The Good – The product has a few important positive attributes. First of all, the Fire & Flavor product team did indeed address the problem head on with a top quality, center cut and attractively packaged product. Under extensive product testing using various sized grills and a myriad of food , seafood, burgers, and of course salmon, the hard to impress GrillJunkie team found that this grilling product:

  • Is packaged in an attractive, visually-rich and see through packaging
  • Comes in a variety of sizes from 6″ square, 4″ x 6″ and the larger 15″ x 5.75″ x .75″, 12.7 oz. size
  • Comes with easy to follow 4 step instructions and in-package recipe suggestions
  • Is made of all-natural Western Red Cedar
  • Derives from the Center Cut of the tree and not lower grade outer cuts
  • Derives from sustainable Canadian forrests
  • Is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative
  • Infuses a robust but not overpoweringly sweet and naturally rich smoky flavor
  • The Cedar grilling planks are great for grilling salmon, beef, pork and other fresh water fish and seafoods
  • Is easy and fun to use on a grill or BBQ
  • Is re-useable up to 2 times if not overly charred

The Bad & The Ugly- We did not believe that this variable directly applied to this product. In fact, the Fire & Flavor Grilling Planks, albeit a tad pricier than some common, lower grade grilling planks, have a clean and enticing package design and the product itself is very attractive, well produced, instruction-rich and extremely effective grilling plank that creates a juicy, aromatic and lusciously sweet, naturally smoky cedar flavor while minimizing essential nutrient loss and essentially eliminating foods from sticking to the grill. The only ugliness is that the product line is not available in every retail, BBQ or grocery store worldwide, but they’re getting there! We’ll let the Fire & Flavor sales and marketing team tackle that one.

Verdict – We give the Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks 4.2 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  The product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in an attractively packaged, sustainable, highly effective, affordable and fun to use product. In fact, the Fire & Flavor™ Grilling Planks are not only high-quality, center cut grilling planks, which create a significant taste difference when it comes to the robust aroma and smokiness of the planks, but the company also honors the age-old Indian cooking method of wood plank cooking that has no equal.We look forward to conducting our Grilling Product Reviews on the Grilling Papers, Spices and Brines, their Lump Hardwood Charcoal and any new product developments that will come from the Fire & Flavor team.

GrillJunkie 4 Firepots

   GrillJunkie Rating of Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks = 4.2 / 5.0


 

Kuisiware Grill Light 

Next Grilling Review: Kuisiware Grill Light

What do you think? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Don’t want to miss a GrillJunkie blog post? Join our Newsletter Club or subscribe to our RSS list.

 

Grilled Salmon on Cedar Plank with Cucumber Sauce

Grilled Salmon Recipe: Plank Grilling Nirvana!

This is our GrillJunkie recipe for making memorable Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon, adapted from our friends over at Fire & Flavor. If you’re not familiar with cedar plank salmon, it’s time to get familiar with this simple yet ancient cooking technique. Grilling fresh fish on a wood cedar plank, and other appropriate wood species creates the difference between a mediocre cookout and an incredible backyard cooking memory. The three keys to the recipe are the choice of fish to be grilled, the quality of the cedar plank and the ancient American Indian art of wood plank cooking.


Cedar_Plank_Grilled_Salmon_RecipeMastering wood plank grilling marks the difference between the casual backyard cook and the neighborhood grilling legend. We’re talking about the kind of grilling that professional chefs deliver and win championships that have that perfect mixture of flavor, texture and aroma derived from a rich and earthy hardwood smoke all held together by that unmistakable flavor of salmon.

The technique isn’t terribly difficult to master. Just pick up some cedar planks at a kitchen supply store (or online, or wherever you buy your propane), and use them as a platform for grilling. Check out our Grilling Product Review of some great Grilling Planks from Fire & Flavor. You’ll need to soak the planks in water or cider for a few hours beforehand, but that’s a small price to pay for the smoky, woodsy flavor they lend to meats, vegetables, and especially salmon. Cedar plank grilling is a must at your next barbecue! You really can’t go wrong, but here is one exceptional salmon recipe to get you started:

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon Recipe


Serves: 6 | Prep time: 60 minutes | Grilling time: 12 minutes| Special equipment: Grilling Planks


It’s the wood that makes it sizzle! Based on an old Native American technique, plank grilling is a fun and easy way to add amazing flavor to your next meal. When in season, grilled salmon is a simple and delicious dish. The extra oils and fats (known as omega-3s) that wild salmon store for their upstream journey is what gives them their distinctive taste.

When cooking wild Alaskan salmon on the grill, to make the most of their uniquely delicate flavor soak a cedar plank for an hour or overnight to grill the fish on. After the plank has been soaked, simply season the fish with a little salt and pepper to bring out its natural flavors. Then, place the salmon skin-side down on a heated cedar plank and place it directly on a hot grill. Close the grill lid for 6 to 12 minutes, or until the center of the fish is flaky and opaque in color. When done cooking, the fish should have a deeply succulent but not overwhelming wood-smoked flavor. Fresh wild Alaskan salmon is available from mid-May through the end of September, so fire up your grills and take advantage of this outstanding fish while it’s in season.

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon Recipe: Hardware Essentials

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon Recipe: Ingredients

chili powder

Salmon:
2½ pounds fresh salmon
2 teaspoons olive oil
1½ tablespoons Dry Rub* or try Fire & Flavor Classic Rub
1 (11 or 15-inch) Cedar Plank, soaked

Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce:
1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped
½ cup red onion, sliced into very thin half moons
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 small cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh mint
½ teaspoon salt

Ingredients For the Dry Rub*

  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dill or for a spicier kick use chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon Recipe: Preparation

Soak Cedar Grilling Plank in water or cider for at least an hour before grilling. Soaking overnight is optional but a great experiment if you have the time. Adding a little salt to the water or cider really brings out the flavor of the wood plank when smoked.

Preparation for the Dry Rub

Mix all of the Dry Rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Preparation for Grilling

  • Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium-low heat or 350°F. Rub salmon with oil and season with Dry Rub; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine cucumber and onion. Top with yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, mint, and salt. Fold into cucumber mixture and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside while salmon is grilling.
  • Place soaked plank on grill, close lid and heat for 3 minutes. Flip plank and place salmon on heated side of plank. Close lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon. Remove from grill when salmon is medium-rare or medium-well (fish will continue to cook after removing from grill). Serve with Cucumber-Yogurt sauce.

Serves: 6 | Prep time: 60 minutes | Grilling time: 12 minutes| Special equipment: Grilling Planks


Fire & Flavor Grilling_PlanksEnjoy, pound your chest in pride, smile and cherish these precious times with your family and friends.

What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Bring it on! Leave a reply or comment. Don’t want to miss a GrillJunkie blog post? Join our Newsletter Club or subscribe to our RSS list. We also have a YouTube channel!

Grilled NY Strip Steak Recipes

Grilled NY Strip Steak Recipes

NY_Strip_Steak_RecipeNew York Strip is one of the GrillJunkie team’s favorite steaks to grill.  Grilling recipes for steak don’t get any simpler, succulent and enjoyable than this!  As with many high end steak cuts, less is more when grilling NY strip steaks.  The best way to grill this kind of steak is over direct high heat.  This method is ideal for NY Strip Steak as it seals in the juices and cooks the steak quickly, not allowing the steak to dry out. 

Tip 1: Keep the Dry-Aged NY Strip Steaks dry by patting with paper towels before grilling…otherwise any excess moisture steams the meat leaving a tough chew!

Tip 2: Look for meat with the most marbling, i.e., visible grains of fat running through the steak. As the steak is cooking, the fat melts, naturally tenderizing the meat and building in flavor. (Avoid vein steaks — the ones with a half-moon-shaped vein running through the cut — because they’re too tough.)

_________________________________________________

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 30-45 15 minutes | Grilling time: 10-12 minutes | Special equipment: Small Sauce Pan and Grilling Tongs

_________________________________________________

 Grilled NY Strip Steak Recipes: EQUIPMENT

    • Gas or Charcoal Grill
    • Long-handled Grilling Tongs
    • Large Serving Plate
    • Small Sauce Pan

 Grilled NY Strip Steak Recipes: INGREDIENTS

  • 4 prime-grade, dry-aged New York strip steaks (1 1/2 inches thick, about 14 to 16 ounces each;  thickness is more important than the weight)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup corn oilNY_Strip_Steak_Recipe
  • 8 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 teaspoons cracked black pepper

 

Grilled NY Strip Steak Recipes: PREPARATION

  • In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and skim the milk solids from the surface. This clarifies the butter. Set aside to cool.
  • Remove the steaks from the refrigerator about 30 to 40 minutes before grilling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the steaks to come to room temperature. Before grilling, shape and stabilize the steaks by gently pushing the sides into the center to create height.
  • Mix the oil and 1/2 cup of unsalted, clarified butter on a large serving plate. Put the steaks into the oil-butter mix to coat each side, then lift the steaks to allow the excess oil to drip off. (Make sure that the steaks don’t have too much oil-butter mix on them, as this will create unwanted flare-ups on the grill.)
  • Coat each side of the steaks with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.

 

Grilled NY Strip Steak Recipes: GRILLING

  • Pre-heat Gas or Charcoal Grill to High heat. Note: For charcoal grills, wait until red hot coals peak and to all gray before placing steaks onto grill.
  • NY_Strip_Steak_RecipePlace the NY Strip Steaks on the hottest part of the grill. If at any time the grill flares up, move the steaks to the outside edge, returning them to the center when the flame dies down.
  • NEVER slide the steaks across the grill; gently pick them up with tongs. The key is not to flip them around. Ultimately you want to turn a New York strip steak only three times, cooking each side twice for 3 minutes at a time (for a total cooking time of 12 minutes), to get a rare steak with adequate char.
  • Remember!! The secret is dipping the steak in a combination of butter and oil, coating it with a generous layer of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and searing it over the hottest possible fire.
  • The Goal – the perfect steak defined by the contrast between the charred exterior and the warm, juicy center.

_______________________________________________________

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 30-45 minutes | Grilling time: 10-12 minutes | Special equipment: Small Sauce Pan and Grilling Tongs

_____________________________________________

What are your thoughts on this Grilled New York Strip Steak NY_Strip_Steak_RecipeRecipe? What Fires YOU Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Don’t want to miss a GrillJunkie blog post? Join our Newsletter Club, subscribe to our RSS list or our YouTube Channel!

 

Grilled Cheesy Jalapeno Bison Burger Recipes

Grilled Burger Recipes – Jalapeño Bison with Caramelized Onion Burger

Bison_Burger_recipesThere is nothing more American, tempting and satisfying than a perfectly prepared, grilled, seared and stacked Hamburger! Make it into a Bison Cheeseburger with incomparable Wisconsin Cheese and, well, America shines and life does not get much tastier. Add jalapeños and onion rings and bam!

The team here at GrillJunkie is constantly tweaking and evolving all of our grilling recipes, and one our favorite categories is the incomparable Grilled Bison Burger Recipes. Growing our burger recipe repertoire is one of our favorite pastimes. We love to prepare and share our free on-line recipes with our readers. This one is directly adapted from, yet inspired by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s, Cheese-lovers www.cheeseandburger.com site. We call it The Cheesy Jalapeño Bison Burger and is described as such:

“This bison burger is one of our all-time favorite patty concoctions. Look past the fried onions and jalapeños and health nuts even get to justify that you’re eating lean meat. This burger is devoured by friends and family looking for the enjoyment of a regular burger, but wanting a little kick into the extraordinary. The lure of fried jalapeños appeals to the “heat”-seeker. The bison is lean and rich, and combines well with the spice from the jalapeños and sweetness of the honey-dijon spread.”

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Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Grilling time: 10 to 12 minutes | Special equipment: Grilling Sauté Pan

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Burger Recipes – Tools and Equipment

  • Gas or Charcoal Grill
  • Long-Handled Grilling Tongs
  • Long handled Spatula
  • Paper Towels
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • Grilling Sauté Pan

Burger Recipes – Patty and Fixings Ingredients

80% lean chuck burger patty with center impression to avoid bulging when grilled.

Lean Bison burger patty with center impression to avoid bulging when grilled.

  • 24 ounces ground bison
  • 8 slices Beefsteak tomato
  • 4 pieces red leaf romaine
  • 8 slices of apple-smoked bacon – cooked
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced Vidalia onions
  • 8 jalapeños sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4 tablespoons honey dijon spread (mix equal parts mayo and honey-Dijon)
  • 4 slice white Wisconsin cheddar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup of canola or light olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls

Bison_Burger_recipes

Burger Recipes – Instructions

 

For Perfect Burger Recipe Grilling Tips see our Basic Burger Recipes and/or our Burger Infographic.

  1. In a large bowl, gently divide the Bison meat into four equal portions. Each patty should consist of approximately 6 ounces of ground meat.
  2. Carefully and loosely form each divided portion into a patty that is ¾ – 1 inch thick and about 4 & ½ inches in diameter, again being careful to not overwork the meat. Make a shallow depression in the center of each of the meat patties with your thumb. This helps to keep the burger from bulging up in the middle while grilling which, if not done, causes a round burger and inconsistent cooking temperature throughout.  Plus, it’s kinda cool to do! (Check out our GrillJunkie™ Build a Better Burger Infographic)
  3. Once formed, place patties on a clean plate, sprinkle both sides with salt and gently press the black peppercorns into the meat, cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  4. In a heated sauté pan, add olive oil and sauté both the jalapeño slices and Vidalia onions until the onions are translucent and nicely caramelized to a light golden brown. Be sure to keep the flame at medium heat so as to not burn the jalapeños. Remove from heat and transfer to a clean plate.Set aside.
  5. Preheat the gas or charcoal grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F). If using a charcoal grill make a two heat range fire: one at high heat, the other at medium.
  6. Brush the cooking grates clean. With a canola oil soaked paper towel held with grilling tongs, oil the grates to prevent patties or the skillet from sticking.
  7. Adjust the heat of the grill to medium-high heat and again coat grill grates with cooking oil so as to avoid patties from sticking. Remove Bison patties from refrigeration, brush the burgers with light olive or canola oil, and place the patties on the hot grill grates. Ah, the joy of grilling a burger! Grill and sear patties over medium-high heat for 4‐5 minutes per side, or to desired done-ness being sure they are cooked through and have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  8. NEVER press down on burgers while they are grilling. Yes, it’s fun to create a flare-up but all your doing is drying out the burger into a dried out hockey puck.
  9. During the last minute of cooking time let’s turn those Burgers into Cheeseburgers by placing a slice of the earthy and richly textured Wisconsin White Cheddar onto each patty to melt. You can build a small, loose covering tent made of aluminum foil over each patty to help melt the cheese but in most cases simply closing the lid works wonders.
  10. About 30 seconds to 1 minute prior to removing the burgers from the grill, place the bacon slices directly on the grill to warm them. Warm the jalapenos and onions in a saute pan. Remove grilled patties from grill and let them rest for 2‐3 minutes.
  11. To assemble and stack, arrange the Hamburger or Kaiser roll bottoms on a clean plate, spread each bun bottom with 1 TBSP of honey mustard, lay down 1 slice of tomato and lettuce, layer on the burger patty with melted White Cheddar followed by two bacon slices. Top with the jalapeños and caramelized onions. Finally, crown with the upper bun slice! Your Cheesy Jalapeno Bison Burger is now ready to be admired and of course consumed!
  12. Serve, Smile, and Pound your chest in pride and enjoy the precious time with family and friends.

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Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Grilling time: 10 to 12 minutes | Special equipment: Grilling Sauté Pan

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What are your thoughts on this Grilled Burger Recipe? What Bison_Burger_recipeFires YOU Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

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Grilling Product Reviews: GrillBot – Did it Push Our Hot Buttons?

Grilling Product Review : GrillBot – Did it Push Our Buttons?

On a consistent basis the team here at GrillJunkie™ sets time aside to evaluate and communicate our formal rating on either a Grilling, BBQ or Burger related product. We do this via our Grilling Product Reviews process. As you certainly can imagine these products run the gamut from: Gotta Have It!CoolUsefulUtilitarianRidiculous and the, well, Just Plain Asinine! The spectrum of grilling related products is wide.

Today’s Grilling Product Reviews candidate:

GrillBot

 

GrillBot_Grilling_Product_Review

The GrillJunkie™ Grilling Product Reviews (GPR) Scale

Based on our extensive field research, the GrillJunkie Product Review team assigns a formal rating to every product that we test. This rating is based on a 1-5 Firepot structure as depicted through our Grilling Product Review (GPR) scale illustrated below. The number of Firepots given to the grilling product indicates its final rating. The higher the number of Firepots, the more positive the review.  

GrillJunkie Grilling Product Review GPR Firepot key with logo

  GrillJunkie GPR Four FirePot rating Quick Product Reviews Rating: For the more impatient reader who needs to get the rating right away, we gave the GrillBot4.3 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  The product brilliantly addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in an attractive, energy efficient, rechargeable, durable and well engineered robotic grill cleaning product. In fact, the GrillBot may be one of the best ideas to arrive on the grilling scene in years as it directly addresses one of the main challenges of grilling; clean up by minimizing, if not eliminating the chore of manually scraping your grilling surface leaving more time for you to enjoy precious time with family and friends. For more detail on this Product Review, including an overview of the present array of grilling surface and cleaning tool choices, as well as the many upcoming Grilling Product Reviews on our schedule, read on!

Here’s a quick overview YouTube Video of the GrillBot Product Review:

First Up: 7 Types of Grilling Surfaces

Type 1: Stainless Steel – Stainless steel can be made from thin or thick rods. Stainless steel grates are not to be confused with chrome or nickel plated grates which are not as beneficial. The real advantage to stainless steel is that it has the potential to have a long life span and is easy to clean. Good quality and/or true stainless steel grates will never rust or corrode while cheap stainless eventually ceases to be truly “stainless”, and eventually will require replacement. Stainess_Steel_Grill_Grates_GrillJunkieThe last thing you want on your grates is rust or other oxides that can make their way onto your food. Some prefer thinner stainless steel grates that allow more radiant heat through, especially for charcoal grills. There are those that believe that the challenge with thick rods is that they block radiant heat and, although they make large dark grill marks, some find them less adequate in creating all over and even browning.

Type 2: Enamel-Coated Porcelain – A sturdy porcelain enamel coating is applied to a variety of metals Enamel_coated_porcelain_grill_grates_GrillJunkieof different weights. Some grill manufacturers put it on rods or on upside down V or U-shaped rails. It can be coated on cast iron or tempered steel. Some prefer the thin rods so they don’t block the radiant heat needed to brown the surfaces of foods. Porcelain is easy to clean. It is hard to crack the surface, but dropping them can create a fissure in the coating allowing for the creation of rust. Vigorous scrubbing and scraping can scratch them and eventually wear off the coating. However, with proper care they work just fine, should last for years, and are much less expensive than stainless.

Type 3: Chrome or Nickel Plated WireInexpensive and easily replaceable, these types of grates warp under extremely high heat. After a year or two they pit and the plating begins to chip off. Once this occurs the exposed metal is susceptible to rust. But they’re so cheap that replacing them is not a budget-breaker. Their main advantage is that they allow radiant heat from below to find the food on the grate by leaving the heating surface of the grill open for real searing. They’re the next best thing to no grates at all and as close to open fire cooking that you can get. An example is what you will find as standard equipment with the Weber Hinged Cooking Grate.  weber grill grates

Type 4: Cast Iron Grates – Unlike cast iron fry pans and griddles that can become non-stick with use, many people believe that the same is true for cast iron grill grates. Untrue! Pans and griddles become non-stick due to their design. The metal is slightly porous and the surface is textured so oil becomes embedded in the surface pores forming a slippery polymer that can last for years.  The key to the longevity of these types of surfaces is to not allow them to become overheated or scrubbed with abrasives. Therein lies the problem with cast-iron grill grates. They become a lot hotter than most frying pans and that intense heat burns off the embedded surface oil and/or turns it to carbon. This eliminates the intended advantage of a non-stick surface. When finished cooking on a grill, excessively scrubbing and scraping the grease and food residue off actually removes those non-stick properties.

Cast_iron_grill_grate_GrillJunkie_product_reviewAdditionally, because cast iron grates are so heavy and therefore highly efficient at holding and transmitting heat to meat, they make definitive grill marks. You might ask, “What’s wrong with that?” The answer lies in the fact that it’s not the grill marks in and of themselves but the intensity of and quickness at which the grill marks were created! What is produced at too high of a surface temperature is a very significant contrast between those marks and the rest of the meat, leaving much of the meat surface under cooked and underdeveloped, never mind the potential of unsafely under heating the inner portions of the meat. What is desired is an even browning of the meat across the entire surface leaving dark mahogany tones of brown caramelized stripes slightly contrasted by medium mahogany surface colors between the stripes. Not only does the food being grilled look richer and more attractive, the taste tones are more satisfying and complex!

Furthermore, cast iron grates need extra and immediate TLC. You have to scrape them immediately after cooking, then oil them while they are still warm. The oil will fill the pores that have opened during cooking and prevent rust. To perform this maintenance ritual constantly and consistently is a hassle as you will find yourself on a frantic time scheduled obstacle course of leaving the fire on in order to burn off residue, running the food into the house, and while everyone is waiting for you, running back out to scrape and re-oil. If you forget to do this, you will notice that within days the cast-iron grates can start rusting. If you don’t use cast iron grates for months, they will rust even if you oiled them after the last use.

expanded metal grill grate Type 5: Tempered Steel – Common on large barbecue pits, tempered steel grates often come in expanded metal diamond grids. Their main advantages are that they are lightweight, inexpensive, and make diamond shaped grill marks without having to rotate the meat. Their disadvantages are that they rust, warp easily and they are extremely hard to clean. Similar to cast iron, they must be oiled.

Type 6: Teflon and Non-Stick Coatings – These surfaces are typically found on electric “grills” and a few portable gas grills. As with non-stick pans, the surface is easily scratched, must be treated gingerly and the use of a metal spatula, tongs, or fork, never mind a grill cleaning brush is verboten. Also, some are known to put out dangerous gases if they get very hot. Depending on the specific coating, “very hot” is usually 500° F, which is the range of a good direct grill surface. Their top feature is that they clean up easily, usually with mild soap and water, and some can even go through the dishwasher.

Type 7: Hard-Anodized Cast Aluminum – Made from aircraft quality aluminum into various shapes, (either as a pure flat plate, aerated and shaped for strength and air-flow, or raised railed wide rectangles), this light weight material is well suited for grilling as it allows if not epitomizes the infrared cooking method. Not GrillGrate_Product_Review_GrillJunkie_GPR4typically used as standard grilling surface material direct from the original equipment manufacturer – OEM, they are available as an after market product either as complete replacement grates or designed to sit on top of existing grates. Dependent upon the surface shape and design, aluminum grates have been shown to amplify heat, reduce hot spots by evening out the heat transfer across the grilling surface, minimize flare-ups and are easier to clean. The GrillGrate is made of this material and is shaped to maximize the infrared grilling method. Click here for the GrillGrate Product Review.

Next Up: Traditional Grill Surface Cleaning Tools

There are many tools that can be used to scrape and clean your grilling surfaces. These tools run the gamut from the traditional brass grill brush to cleaning stones to steam cleaners and even using an onion. Here are a few of the most frequently used grill surface cleaning tools:

Traditional Grill Surface Cleaning Brush – The utilitarian brass-bristled brush with handle canthLRZBGUZS typically last a whole season, does a respectable job of cleaning grilling surfaces but usually needs to be replaced or repaired after one season.

thJ74N6XE5Triangular Grill Brush – A bit different than the traditional handled brush, this design is more flexible to avoid scratching sensitive surfaces, covers more surface area, yet is capable of getting into nook and crannies.

Steam Cleaners – Exemplified by the GrillDaddy steamer, this type of grill surface cleaning tool combines hot water vapor with the traditional brush design.

Grill Cleaning Stones – Either mounted on a handle or as a standalone, grill cleaning stones are designed to conform to the grill grate surface to do its part in cleaning your grill.thVLQ2ZWIC

Aluminum Foil – By rolling aluminum foil into a loose ball and gripping the ball with grilling tongs you can make a decent make-shift grill cleaning tool.

An Onion? – By cutting an onion in half and grasping it with tongs to slide across the grilling surface you can not only clean the surface but lubricate it as well as the onion contains oils that prevent food from sticking to the hot surface.  


Now let’s see how the GrillBot stood up to cleaning these surfaces and it’s competition:

GrillBot logoGrillBot Product Review – New BBQ Cleaning King or Elitist Toy?

The GrillJunkie Grilling Product Reviews follow a comprehensive structure which includes the:

  • Problem that needs to be solved or addressed
  • Solution to that problem
  • Good, Bad and Ugly elements of the product
  • Verdict – the official GrillJunkie™ GPR (Grilling Product Reviews Rating)

So let’s dig in to the GrillBot product review.

Official Product Review and GPR

  • Problem – The way we view it, although the options for cleaning your grill are vast, mostly we all wish we had only one option; to NOT do it!  There are some chores we simply all despise doing. From backyard weekend warriors to grill pros everywhere, the last thing we look forward to is having to clean the grill after an enjoyable and successful grill gathering. The GrillJunkie team adamantly agrees as we have up to 15 grills in our outdoor test kitchen all of which need to be constantly cleaned in preparation for our next product review session.

Product’s Solution Pitch – The GrillBot team’s approach to addressing the problem was to develop, market and distribute the GrillBot™ lineup of grill cleaning robots. According to the company’s marketing material and ad copy:

“The GrillBot, which was invented by Ethan Woods, is the world’s first automatic grill cleaning robot. Launched January 13, 2014 GrillBot is here to make your life easier. Our mission is to enrich your life by simplifying it. We believe that by taking the grunt work out of cleaning your grill it will leave more time to enjoy your friends, family and grillbot brushesthe party! Simply place the GrillBot on your grill, press a button and you’re done. The GrillBot does all the work for you. No more scrubbing the grill. The GrillBot is the easy-to-use, fun-to-watch, fully automated device that easily cleans your grill with just the push of a button.”

The Genesis of GrillBot

Ethan Woods didn’t like cleaning his grill either. Woods had his “a-ha” moment while attempting to scrub and clean his grill with a wire wheel brush. An inventive minded guy, he attached the wire wheeled brush to a power drill and the impetus for the Grillbot was afoot.

“For most of my adult life, it’s been a dream to invent a product and bring it to market,” says Woods. “After some research it was clear there was a very large market for something like this. I certainly was not the only person who did not look forward to scraping my grill with a poorly made grill brush. So I started by contacting engineers and prototype development companies and, surprisingly, they all said it couldn’t be done. It was just too difficult with the heat issue on a grill and you can’t make anything move around well enough to cover this type of surface.Not one to take no for an answer, I finally found some very sharp German engineers in California who said they could do it. They develop high tech medical equipment, among other things such as pool robots so I decided to give them a chance.”

GrillBot on grillEnd Result: The GrillBot

What Woods developed is the heat-resistant plastic Grillbot that features three independent motors, in addition to three rotary brass or stainless steel brushes that spin as it maneuvers itself in a repetitive, random pattern across your grill’s surface. The Grillbot will clean your grill in about 30 minutes or less and all you have to do is put it on the grate, push a button and close the grill’s lid. And if the grill gets hotter than 250 degrees, the device has a sensor that will set off an alarm. It also has a smart computer brain to regulate speed and direction and can be recharged with an AC adapter.

Grillbot features:

  • Push button operation
  • Three electric motors
  • Three replaceable brushes WIN_20140422_095041
  • Built in LCD alarm and timer
  • Smart CPU or computer brain to regulate speed and direction
  • Rechargeable battery with AC adaptor
  • Four colors

The Good – The product has a few important positive attributes. First of all, the GrillBot product team did indeed address the problem head on with an attractive, well designed, well constructed, automated, materially strong and versatile product. Under extensive product testing using various sized grills and a myriad of food and burnt-on messes, the hard to impress GrillJunkie team found that this grilling product:

    • Arrived in an attractive, appropriately hefty and see through packaging
    • Comes with an informational DVD
    • Is easy to charge and re-charge
    • Is powered by three strong electronic motors
    • Has a built in, easy to read LCD timer and audible alarm
    • Is easy to clean with removable brass cleaning wheels
    • Can be upgraded to use stainless steel brushes (optional)
    • Performed well on all sized surfaces: rectangular, square and round
    • Can be time adjusted for various sized grills and messes
    • Shuts off automatically if it overheats

05_21_grillbot_product_reviewThe Bad – There are, however, four main negative attributes to the GrillBot.

  • Price – Presently, the GrillBot retails for $129.95. This may be a bit steep for the budget conscious casual griller who may opt to simply stick with his or her utilitarian brass scraping tool. However, the laws of supply and demand may be in your favor as the GrillJunkie team believes that there are plans to get the price below the $99 point. With that said, we look forward to not only cleaning our grills more easily but maybe buying a few and entering a modified GrillBot into MIT’s annual Robot Wars.  Don’t try this at home kids!
  • Carrying Case Please – This product screams for a carrying case in order to store the device, its AC adapter and DVD safely between grilling sessions. In fact, it appears that one may be in the works as you can see by the dedicated spot on the GrillBot website.
  • Keep the Lid Closed – (For those without a substantial front or surrounding lip edge) – Although it is fun to watch the GrillBot in action, it is so powerful and grime hungry that the lid must be closed while in use as without a substantial front lip on your grill the device may pull itself off the grill surface before the electronic sensor realizes that it needs to make a critical turnaround.
  • Teflon Averse - Cannot be used on Teflon grilling surfaces – Similar to all grill cleaning products, the GrillBot cannot be used to clean Teflon surfaces. Not a big deal as these sensitive surfaces are designed to be cleaned easily with a simple wipe.

The Ugly – We did not believe that this variable directly applied to this product. In fact, the GrillBot has a clean and enticing package design and the product itself is very attractive, well designed and extremely effective. The only ugliness is that the product cannot clean the entire underbody, heat chamber, grease canister while also shining up the exterior stainless steel! We’ll get Ethan Woods on that right way. Stay tuned.

Verdict – We give the GrillBot a 4.3 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing.  The product brilliantly addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in an uncomplicated, attractive, energy efficient, durable, and well engineered product. In fact, the GrillBot may be one of the best ideas to arrive on the grilling scene in years as it directly addresses one of the main challenges of grilling; clean up by minimizing, if not eliminating the chore of manually scraping your grilling surface leaving more time for you to enjoy precious time with family and friends. We look forward to any new product developments that will come from the GrillBot team.

GrillJunkie 4 Firepots

    GrillJunkie Rating of GrillBot = 4.3 / 5.0


 

Fire_and_Flavor _grilling_planks

Next Review: Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks

What do you think? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Don’t want to miss a GrillJunkie blog post? Join our Newsletter Club or subscribe to our RSS list.