2 Barbecue Accessories That Will Transform Your Grilled Meats

During the dead of winter, few things can brighten your mood quite like a great football game and a nicely seared rack of ribs. Unfortunately, if you aren’t a great cook, you might end up with dried-out, flavorless meat that disappoints your guests. However, by upgrading your grilling equipment, you might be able to make those homemade dishes the star of the show. Here are two barbecue accessories that will transform your grilled meats:

1: Aromatic Wood Planks

Do you ever feel like barbecue sauce simply isn’t enough to season your meat? If you are looking for a way to increase the depth of flavor, you should consider investing in aromatic wood planks.

Aromatic wood planks are blocks of wood that are usually around an inch thick, and wide enough to sit underneath a few pieces of meat. The planks are placed directly on top of the grill grates, and then the food cooks right on the wood—instead of resting against the metal grill. Planks are typically soaked in water beforehand, which adds humidity to the grill and allows the wood to slowly smoke without burning. This smoking action infuses your meat with a mild smoky flavor. Believe it or not, you can even alter the flavor of your grilled meats by experimenting with different types of wood planks. Here are a few tips for pairing aromatic wood planks with your favorite meats:

  • Pork or Chicken: To give your white meat a pop of flavor, try using heavily aromatic woods such as apple, pecan, or maple wood.   
  • Beef or Game Meats: Red meats, such as beef, elk, and venison, meld well with traditional aromatic woods such as oak or hickory.  
  • Fish: Since fish has a delicate flavor, try to avoid woods that would lend an overly-smoky finish. Instead, opt for alder or cedar, which impart a mild, pleasant flavor.

To successfully pair your meat selection with the right aromatic wood plank, think about what ingredients you would typically pair with the meat. For example, since pork melds well with maple glazed carrots and apple stuffing, you could safely assume that apple wood would lend a great flavor to those pork ribs.

2: A Steak Weight

If you have ever wondered how professional chefs churn out perfectly cooked steaks with heavily-defined grill marks, you aren’t alone. If your grill is too hot, the outside of your steaks can burn before the inside of the meat is cooked. If your grill is too cool, your steaks can steam instead of sear, leaving them colorless and tough. Fortunately, those line cooks at your favorite restaurant likely have a tool that you have never heard of before—steak weights.

Steak weights are essentially a food-safe, thick metal plate with a fire-safe handle at the top. After the piece of meat is put on the grill, the weight is placed on top of the meat in order to press the meat against the grill. In addition to helping you to create gorgeous grill marks, steak weights also offer these great benefits:

  • Even Doneness: Because steak weights press the meat down against the grill, meat tends to cook more evenly. For example, if there are certain pieces of your steak that are thicker, the weight will press the steak down and spread it out, so that it all cooks in harmony. 
  • Speedy Cooking: Also, since weights are typically made of cast iron or aluminum, they heat up along with the grill. This means that the weight can actively cook the top of your steak, while the bottom of your meat develops those perfect grill marks. This speeds up cooking time, which means you might be able to enjoy your dinner a little sooner.

To top it off, steak weights also make it easy to accommodate your guests. If you have friends or family members who prefer meat more well-done, you can use a steak weight on their meat and leave it off of yours. Because their meat will have more contact with the grill and the top will cook faster, you might be able to serve everyone at the same time—without ignoring their personal preferences.

By investing in better barbecue accessories, you can enjoy food that looks and tastes professionally prepared—without spending more time than you need to away from the TV. If your big party is coming up fast and you don’t have time to invest in toys like these, contact a BBQ catering party for the big day.

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In Not-So-Hot Oil: Troubleshooting Tips For Commercial Deep Fryers

Fryers are coveted appliances in most commercial kitchens. They are in high demand and often spend almost every meal service working almost non-stop. If your deep fryer is suddenly not working as efficiently or effectively as it has been in the past, there are a few tips that might help you narrow down the source of the problem. Here are some troubleshooting steps you should follow when you’re dealing with a problematic fryer.

Pilot Issues

If you’re having problems with the pilot light on the fryer, the first place to check is the main gas supply valve. Make sure that the valve is open so that there is gas being supplied to the pilot light. If the supply line is open but the pilot light still won’t light, there may be a clog or air in the supply line.

Clean the orifice of the pilot light with a stiff brush to get rid of anything that might be clogging the outlet hole. Then, check the gas hose to make sure that it’s connected on both ends. Check the drain valve to be sure that it’s closed, too. The drain valve must be closed, otherwise the open valve will trigger a switch that prevents the pilot light from engaging.

Burner Failure

If the burner is malfunctioning, the first step is to check where the problem is. Turn the burner knob to ignite the flame beneath. If you’re only seeing flames on one side of the burner or you aren’t seeing all of the orifices light the way that they should, it may be a sign that some of the burner orifices are clogged. Turn the burner off and let it cool. Then, use the stiff brush over each of the orifices to clear out any debris.

After brushing the orifices, relight the burner. Watch the flames for any fluctuations or variances. If the flames are fluctuating, that may be an indication that the gas pressure is fluctuating or inconsistent. Check the fuel supply or have a technician inspect the fuel lines for damage.

Temperature Control Problems

Test the oil temperature with a probe-style thermometer. If you don’t trust your thermometer, consider testing it using an older observational method. If the temperature isn’t staying consistent, the thermostat in the fryer could need to be calibrated or replaced. It could also mean that the knob is loose or there’s a loose wire in the connection.

Check the wire connections behind the thermostat control. If the wires are disconnected, you’ll want to have a technician replace them. Tighten the control knob or the thermostat shaft. If none of these things fix the problem, install a brand new thermostat.

Oil Filtration Trouble

Listen to the oil filtration pump when the fryer is on. You should hear the pump running. If it is running, you should be able to see the oil circulation. If no oil is circulating through the filter, check the filter pan to make sure the O-rings are secure. You’ll be able to see wear on the O-rings if they’re deteriorating. When the O-rings start to show damage, it can interfere with the air pressure balance required for the filter to work properly. You’ll have to have the seals and rings replaced for proper function.

Shut the fryer down and let the motor cool if the pump isn’t working. Once the motor is cool, press the red reset button on the pump motor to cycle the system and restart the motor. If the motor starts correctly, watch the pump run for a bit. If the motor is running but the pump isn’t working, you may need to replace the filters in the pump. Clogged filters will prevent oil from flowing.

These are some of the most common issues with commercial fryers. If you’ve checked these things and none of the steps suggested here have resolved the problem, you’ll want to talk with a technician about more extensive troubleshooting.

If your fryer needs new parts, you can find them from local suppliers like K & D Factory Service Inc.

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Do you know what the difference is between that gas station food court around the corner and that fancy restaurant downtown? Although many chefs overlook the importance of quality, the fact of the matter is that each dish is only as good as the sum of the ingredients used to prepare it. Finding great components for your restaurant dishes could mean the difference between a successful business and a place that struggles to survive on a week-to-week basis. I want you to have a restaurant that you can be proud of, which is why I made this blog. Here, you will find helpful advice for how to manage your restaurant, so that you can keep doing what you love.


October 2016
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