Friday, March 14, 2014

GRATE Times at the National Barbecue Association Annual Conference

The NBBQA holds a special place in my life and our business. We met Mike Mills in a dusty parking lot in Douglas GA in October 2008. He encouraged us to join the NBBQA and come to their conference in 2009 and we've gone every year since. The NBBQA is the heart and soul of this all american industry.

Three organizations/companies really stood out to help make this year's conference the best yet!
  1. The SHED, Linda Orrison aka “Mama Shed” is the incoming president of NBBQA. She
    worked incredible hours before and during the event to pull together so much content and talent it is hard to fathom. Linda had a lot of help but she herded the cats. The family SHED always shows up big and is always giving of their time and energy. What excites me the most is what will Linda do now that she is president? I have high expectations for the future of NBBQA!
  1. Meyer Natural Beef Products. There was a different smell in the air this year and it
    wasn't blue pork smoke! Meyer brought the world of red meat to NBBQA and fed this gang better than I have seen at any previous event. I learned a lot about “never / ever” beef and humane practices for beef production. Chef John Enright needs to do a Ted Talk! He has such a powerful message that is very timely to this organization and the public. Chef John also was the featured speaker / teacher in a day long workshop that has become a highlight of the annual conference. Meyer Natural Angus Beef Products are in stores under popular brands such as Laura's Lean Beef, Local Harvest, Greenwise and others. 
  2. Steak Cook-off Association. Brett Galloway brought the world of steak competition to the NBBQA. Brett convinced 3 World Championship Steak Cook-off winners and the organizer of the World Championship Steak Cookoff to come to San Marcos to compete in a steak competition. These champions were also pitted against 16 Low & Slow champions on Friday night in a celebrity grill-off . To cap it off these steak champs grilled 250+ steaks (in a driving rain) on Saturday night for the awards banquet. Merging the world of traditional barbecue contests with steak competition is magic. We all witnessed that Friday night and again on Saturday.

GrillGrate got a lot of content for our 2014 TV spot but more importantly we all got a much needed injection of time well spent with good friends around the grill! Thanks NBBQA for being such a unique and outstanding group of people. See you next year in Nashville!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Grate Shadow Of Winter Is Lifting!

To hell with the groundhog! GrillGrates are casting a shadow on my grill and that tells me spring is almost here. Warmer weather and longer days means we can cook outdoors once again. Time to dig out, clean up and tune up your grill!

Spring is the perfect time to give your grill some attention. A few hours devoted to your old friend now will help keep it working flawlessly all summer long. My 4-burner Char-Broil gas grill has been a year round workhorse since I bought it 7 years ago and of course GrillGrates have made it a grilling machine with terrific control and consistency. I've become attached to this grill and a tune-up was over due but I had never repaired a gas grill before, I just junked them. This Char-Broil is a grill worth saving and I'm proud of the fact that it cost under $100 to make it as good as new.

  1. Burners and cooking grates are the first thing to wear out on most grills. Broken burners are not hard to replace, contrary to my expectations. No screws or bolts involved. Replacement burners sit inside an area behind the knob. I decided to replace all 4 burners even though only 2 were broken. I did not bother repairing the igniter, using a lighter is just as easy and less chance of a ka-boom after lots of clicking on the starter.
  2. Replace the flame tents- also known as "flavorizer bars". They are there to diffuse the heat around the tent to provide more even heating and to protect the burners from debris. I discovered that If you let them deteriorate they'll collapse on to the burner and take it out too.
  3. Careful removing too much of the rust inside your grill you may not have anything left! I realized that the bottom of my grill will be the next thing to go so I gently removed some of the rust pile but stopped after realizing it was going to cave in. 
  4. Hats off to Char-Broil for a super replacement parts web site that led me right to the parts I needed. Right now they are offering 15% off grill parts.
  5. Replacing the existing grates with GrillGrates is a turbocharger for your grill! For the first 3 years I had 5 standard 13.75” GrillGrates across the grill with a couple of inches clear in the back and I was thrilled. I finally listened to our customers and introduced longer lengths. I replaced the 13.75" with our 18.5" GrillGrate 2 years ago. My Char-Broil is like a souped up Chevy Nova! It gets hotter faster and uses a lot less propane. My grill is better than new and may have another 5 years in it!  Grate Grilling Ahead!
Check out our YouTube video about cleaning your GrillGrates