Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cinco de Mayo Is The Perfect Time To Try Grilling Quesadillas

Old man winter finally released his grasp and warmer weather has returned across the country. Even our friends way up north are finally thawing out and embracing the change of seasons. April found us doing our spring cleaning and getting our grills ready for action and now that May is upon us we are locked, loaded and ready to grill!
cinco de mayo art

Cinco de Mayo is the first holiday of grilling season. Many folks will be celebrating the occasion with a cook out. Contrary to popular belief Cinco de Mayo is not independence day for Mexico but rather a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Good enough reason to fire up the grill and crack open an icy cold Corona! Along with this day comes a lot of tasty Mexican food and there is no reason you should not join in on the fun at your grill.
Grilled quesadillas
Grilled flour tortillasWe have found one of the easiest and most versatile things you can grill is a little gift from our friends south of the border- the flour tortilla! Traditionally tortillas are toasted on a super hot “camal” or a cast iron skillet before serving. Toasting the tortilla brings out an authentic nutty flavor and crispiness that will make your taste buds sing. Put two of these tortillas together with some killer fillings and you have a recipe for something truly Grate, the quesadilla. Naturally the quesadillas translate perfectly to the grill and we find ourselves cooking them all year round. GrillGrates allow you to toast the tortillas in a much more controlled fashion than a traditional grill surface. The end result is a crispy golden brown exterior with stunning grill marks.
grilled tortillas with salsa

Tortillas are the perfect platform for any number of ingredients and go well with just about everything. Quesadillas can be made well in advance and thrown on the grill as needed. But don't stop there, why not gather a bunch of tasty toppings? Salsa, guacamole, sour cream and fresh veggies all lend themselves nicely to quesadillas. We like to set up a toppings bar of sorts and let our guests customize to suit their individual tastes. A toppings bar is perfect for parties plus it's fun, kind of like a quesadilla “social” if you will.

Our go-to recipe for grilled quesadillas includes quite simply mashed/seasoned black beans, salsa and cheddar cheese. The prep work is minimal, just buy canned black beans, your favorite salsa and shredded cheddar cheese. You can feed an army of folks for next to nothing using these humble ingredients and of course your GrillGrates. This year try adding quesadillas to your cook out menu and your guests will all be saying “Viva Mexico!”

Friday, April 18, 2014

GrillGrate Spring Cleaning Survey Results

Thank you to the 100 people who took our survey last month. It was great to hear the various things people have done to clean their GrillGrates.

35% of People Owned their GrillGrates 3+ Years!

Deep Cleaning:
  • Never 17%
  • 1-2 times a year 36%
  • 3-4 times a year 17%
  • 4 times or more 32%
75% Use GrateTool to Clear Valleys and Sides

72% Have Never Soaked GrillGrates

22% Flip GrillGrates Over and Burn Off

Other interesting methods and our comments:
  • Power washing & steam cleaners- I took my buddy Tom's GrillGrates to the car wash once! It works. One customer “bungy corded” GrillGrates to a tree and power-washed them after rending a dozen pork butts on them. Believe me I asked for a picture next time! Maybe he should leave them out over night for the animals to feast on pig love?
  • Oven Cleaning Cycle- Several reported using the self clean setting on their ovens with great success. Just a little ash left. I need to try it and see no reason not to. I suspect a re-oiling the first use might be needed.
  • Pry Bars, Butter Knives and Ash Tools along with the GrateTool to clean the valleys of debris.
  • Turn to high and wait until they catch fire! Then turn off the gas and let them burn off. We don't suggest this method but have experienced a few fires in the valleys, especially from juicy rib-eyes.
  • Aluminum foil sheet over GrillGrates at high temps for a few minutes. Again a risky move if left on for 30 min or more 1000F temps will be reached and WARPING is eminent!
  • Dry Grass Trimmings to remove grease and clean them? How green!
grill brushes we've tested
Nothing beats the GrateTool in the valleys

Our BRUSH TRIAL was a failure and we learned that a valley brush gunks up so fast and bends too easily. However the survey did lead us to a simple ash tool. Stay Tuned!

Groover On the Grill Cleaner
On the Grill Cleaner

Thanks again to people who responded. We welcome you to take the GrillGrate Cleaning Survey or send us your tips and ideas via email. We really appreciate the feedback.

We sent out 25 packages of Groover and based on positive feedback will be selling soon on our webstore.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Teach a Man to Grill a Fish and His Family Eats Well for a Lifetime!

Grilling fish is not easy.  Just consider the myriad of grill gadgets designed to make it easier to grill fish because grilling fish is truly hard. Before GrillGrates I never grilled fish. We wrapped fish in aluminum foil so it was essentially steamed on the grill. Many people avoid grilling fish altogether or resort to baking it or only eating fish out at restaurants just to avoid the grill. GrillGrates solve this fishy dilemma. Most of us would eat fish more often if it were as easy to prepare and cook as beef or chicken. With GrillGrates grilling fish is as easy as grilling a steak or a hamburger.

The raised rail design supports fish filets, shellfish, crab cakes and more while the GrateTool reaches below the fish to gently lift, rather than scrape it off the grill. The GrateTool is an integral part of the patented GrillGrate grilling system. Part fork, part spatula, The GrateTool fits between the rails to make it easy to lift and turn even the most delicate fish. Together they overcome the fish sticking and breaking apart problem. GrillGrates also provide protection from flare-ups and hot drying air that quickly dries out a moist filet. Fish can be grilled hot and fast like a steak and seared just as pretty too, while whiter, delicate filets can be marinated and grilled at lower temps.

In addition to using GrillGrates- Follow these tips to grill perfect fish fast and easy.

  1. Oil the fish then season.  Lightly coat with olive oil or avocado oil if grilling very hot for fish such as tuna or wahoo. The oil helps the seasoning stick to and penetrate the flesh. The oil also helps when the fish is placed on the grill to prevent sticking.
  2. Grill on a HOT / clean grill. Most people don't grill fish hot enough. Oil the GrillGrates (use a paper towel with Canola oil) just before putting fish on the grill.
  3. Don't touch it! Leave the fish sitting where it hits to allow searing and better release. Grill 60% of time before turning and cook to finish. One flip is plenty.
  4. Two skewers are better than one. Smaller shrimp and scallops are ideal to use a skewer but only one skewer allows them to rotate and some will not turn. Using two skewers solves this dilemma and makes turning all at once easy.
  5. Leave the shell on. Think of the shell as a flavor savor. The shell keeps marinades and moisture in the shrimp or lobster. The shell itself is a flavor booster.
  6. Marinade shell fish, salmon, talapia, catfish. Simple oil and spice mixtures are easy and flavorful. Give the fish a soak prior to grilling.
  7. Top with relish, salsa or olive tapenade. Whitefish such as Talapia are mild and benefit from a tasty topping such as mango peach salsa with bits of chopped shrimp.
  8. Don't fret if you get some sticking. With GrillGrates, the meal will not be lost nor will the fish break apart. The GrateTool will lift the fish off with just a few morsels left on the rails.

Grilling fish is a key element of the griller's diet!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Conductivity- The Science Behind the Sear

In our continuing quest to define the science behind GrillGrate, we challenged Ian the Intern to come up with a conductivity chart comparing common grill surfaces. It was impressive to watch him use Wiki-pedia, Google and other pillars of knowledge to come up with this chart. Explaining Watts Per Meter – Kelvin took him some doing!

Aluminum's conductivity is 3 times that of cast iron and over 15 times that of stainless steel. 

GrillGrates conduct heat more efficiently and more evenly. The hottest part of the GrillGrate is the cooking rail as heat is conducted up and through the grate. 

The conductivity of the GrillGrate panels and the radiant heat (infrared) they generate is the reason why they grill food so much better. 

Should we give Ian an A?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Grill for Your Best Health & Beat the Cancer Hysteria

Spring is finally here and so to are the stories and articles about the dangers of grilling!  HOGWASH! Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook, AND there are simple steps we can take to minimize and neutralize the "potential" carcinogens that are formed during high temperature cooking of proteins.
Together with our daughter, Dr. Sara Jean Barrett ND, who compiled research studies, we released to the press healthy grilling tips and links to those studies to counter the grilling causes cancer scare AND ... a little 1 min rant video from me.  You can view the press release and 1 min video here.

Introducing The Griller's Diet...Don't Let Your Meat Grill Alone!

Grill for Your Best Health!  It's our motto!   I ate my first beet at 50! I now love sweet potatoes and a host of vegetables that I never ate before.  We ALWAYS grill at least one and often two vegetables every time we grill.
I lost 30lbs and improved my cholesterol and blood sugar while grilling more not less.
 Tips for Healthier Grilling:
  1. Meat is not the enemy- just don't burn it: The research is not in dispute here. Charred, burned meat does contain known carcinogens (HCA's and PAH's) but there are plenty of ways to off-set them. Grill food to goal temps, avoid too much open flame or grilling too well done. Grilling faster can also reduce the amount of char.
  2. Eat more vegetables: Grilled vegetables contain counter-balancing antioxidants that research shows neutralize carcinogen formation and works to counter-act it.  Research points to this neutralizing effect with the use of herbs and spices too.
  3. Grill more kinds of vegetables: No butter or calorie-rich sauces required. Sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and squash caramelize at grill temps letting the natural sugars deliver the best and tastiest flavor. Grill peppers, onions, zucchini, with just a touch of olive oil and pepper. Enjoy all that antioxidant power working to improve your health while offsetting the effects of cooking red meat.
  4. Grill more fish and chicken: Grilled chicken does not have to be slathered in barbecue sauce. A simple rub of herbs and spices is healthier and contains more antioxidants. Salmon is ideal to spice up and grill hot and fast like a steak. Is there a tastier way to eat fish than grilled?
  5. Grill on a clean hot grill and ban flare-ups. Eliminating flare-ups is the best way to control char and gain control of the grill.

Spices & Marinades Have Anti-Oxidant Power to Neutralize and Inhibit the formation of Carcinogen Compounds

  • Spice up grilled meats: The antioxidant power of herbs, particularly rosemary, paprika, garlic, sage and black pepper, retard the formation of HCA's. For example, adding dried cherries to hamburger shows significant reductions in HCA formation.
  • Marinade meat before grilling: Research again points to significant reductions of HCA's. Be careful not to use flammable marinades as they may do more harm than good.

Introducing Dr. Sara Jean Barrett ND

Sara Jean is a Naturopathic Doctor and is tuned into how food is a key driver for overall health and wellness.
As her proud parents we are excited to watch her build a growing practice in the Minneapolis area and beyond.  She not only contributes to our health but our business as well!
I encourage you to sign up for her newletter.  Here are a couple of links to recent blog posts:

GrillGrate, Eat Well and Prosper!
Welcome Spring 2014! 
We Wish You Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Grate Grillling!