Tag Archives: grilling

Grilled Nachos: A Summertime Favorite

It is warming up outside which means people will be spending more time outdoors, particularly cooking outdoors.  One of the best things about summer is grilled nachos.  Yes, you heard right. Grilled nachos.  With a little bit of prep work, this is a real crowd-pleaser.  The reason it works so well is that everyone gets the toppings they want!  People get to customize!  Read on to find out how you can have a nacho bar at your next gathering!

Grilled Nachos: The Necessities

  1. Baking pans, Pizza pans work great for this!
  2. Tortilla chips. You can use white or yellow corn chips, but if you want to change it up or add some color, you can opt for black bean and rice or red bean and rice chips.
  3. Ground beef cooked with taco seasoning
  4. Refried and/or black beans
  5. Jalapeno peppers, fresh, not pickled and cut into medallions.  I prefer to leave the seeds in for extra heat, but you can remove them if you want a milder nacho.
  6. Poblano peppers, chopped and seeds removed.
  7. White onion, chopped
  8. Shredded Mexican style cheese
  9. A Hot grill
  10. Salsa  or Pico de Gallo, guacamole, and/or sour cream:  These items go on after you have pulled your nachos off of the grill.

Grilled Nachos:  Assembly Line Strategy

Once you have all the above items prepped and in their own separate bowls, line them up on the counter or a table.  This will resemble an assembly line process.  People get their pan, fill it with chips and whichever toppings they desire.  Make sure to place the chips nicely on the pan, not just a pile.  This will help ensure that each chip gets its share of toppings.  Put the cheese on last, to help hold all those great toppings in place!

Fire Up the Grill!

Now you are ready for the grill.  You will want to make sure that the grill is preheated at medium high, and the grate is clean before you place your nacho pan onto the grill.  There is no real set time for them to cook since each pan is a custom job.  Just keep an eye on them, when your cheese is all melted and the edges are nice and crispy, they are ready to enjoy!

Get Geared Up!

We’ve got all the cutlery, dishes and pans that you will need to make this a success.  If you don’t want to cut up vegetables by hand, try a food and vegetable processor!  Have questions about which products are best for you?  Call 1-800-215-9293 to speak with one of our knowledgeable product consultants.

8 Steps To Becoming a Grillmaster!

This Tuesday Tip is all about how to finally become the grillmaster you’ve always wanted to be! Follow these steps and make the best food you’ve ever made on the grill!

1. Start with a clean grill! 

Always start and finish your grilling sessions by cleaning the grate with a wire brush. It is best to clean the grill once it is already hot, so be patient and diligent and you will get those grill marks all BBQ Masters desires!

2. Oil the grill!

Once you’ve brought the grill to temperature and cleaned it, it is recommended that you oil the grill with Canola Oil. The best way to do this is to dip a paper towel in the oil and use tongs to wipe the paper towel on the grill. This will prevent the meat from sticking and make cleanup even easier.

3. Get the grill hot before you start grilling!

As you may have gathered from the previous two tips, a hot grill is crucial. Not only does it need to be hot before you clean and oil the grill, but it definitely needs to be hot before you put any food on the grill.

4. Season before you start grilling!

If you are using a marinade or a rub, make sure to give your meat enough time to get properly seasoned. Some marinades or rubs take as little as thirty minutes but often require an hour or more. Remember that it is best to grill your meat once it has been brought to room temperature and that seasonings such as salt and pepper can be added just a few minutes before grilling.

5. Flip just once!

It is impossible to properly gauge grilling time or to get those coveted grill marks if you are compulsively flipping the meat every 30 seconds. This will also help retain the juices and flavor!

6. Don’t poke your food!

When grilling, be sure to use a spatula or tongs! If you use a BBQ fork or any other sharp objects, you will let all the juices escape and you will be left with flavorless and dry meat. If you need to check the meat to see if it is done, make sure to use a very sharp knife and simply make a small slit.

7. Know when it’s done!

For steaks, chops and chicken, poke the meat with your finger: If it feels soft and squishy, it’s rare; yielding, medium-rare; only slightly yielding, medium; firm and springy, well-done. For large cuts of meat, use an instant-read meat thermometer (even barbecue pros use them). Just don’t let it touch any bones, or you’ll get a false reading.

8. Let it rest!

If you serve your meat right off the grill it will seem tough and dry, but if you give it time to reabsorb the juices that were released during cooking, you will get a tender and succulent piece of meat. It is recommended that you let meat rest for about 15 minutes.

5 Ideas for a Successful 4th of July

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. It means barbeque, parades, fireworks, and if it is possible, it is red, white and blue – all to celebrate this great nation! So how do you as an operator prepare for the holiday and make sure to have a profitable day? We have you covered:

  1. “All American Foods”

You know the drill. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and beer! Does it get more American than that? Have fun with these all-American foods and create special “limited time” burgers or hot dogs just for the 4th of July weekend. Make it extra unique! Soon enough, your customers will think of your burger when they think of 4th of July and come back year after year!

 

Tip: Keep your hot dogs and buns warm and fresh with a hot dog roller and bun warmer!

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  1. Red, White and Blue

Say it with me – décor is your friend! Show that you are proud to be an American with flags, balloons, streamers, flowers, hats and more! Your enthusiasm for the holiday will attract a crowd!

Want to take it a step further? Make specialty red, white and blue drinks or desserts!

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

  1. Back Yard BBQ

If you own a small restaurant, switch it up and have a parking lot picnic or BBQ! There is just something about having a BBQ on the 4th of July that we all know and love, so play to your customer’s wants! To attract even more customers, make it an event with an eating contest or yard games! Keep the good times and good food coming and end the evening with fireworks!

Tip: Add concession treats like snow cones or cotton candy for an even more memorable picnic!

  1. Catering

If you’d like to have a back yard BBQ, but don’t have to space to do so, try catering trays! This option still allows customers to get the “back yard BBQ” experience without them having to do the cooking – which they will love! Keep trays simple with limited options to increase your efficiency in the kitchen. Think about what you like to have when grilling out with your family! Don’t be surprised if you get last minute requests – so have the kitchen stocked to be able to quickly create your masterpiece for your customer’s events.

 

  1. Parade

Does your town host a 4th of July parade? Purchase a spot and participate! With so much of today’s interactions occurring online, it is refreshing to put a face with a name (brand). Hand out flyers, treats or coupons and get to know your community. Let them know about specials that you are having and encourage them to stop by with the whole family (or to pick up a catering tray!).

DSC_0110-ok-the-parade-gets-underway

 

Overall, remember that the 4th of July is a holiday to celebrate our great country and the freedom that we have here. Serve delicious food, but also create an atmosphere that celebrates our freedom and enables your customers to enjoy time with their friends and family – that is how they will remember you!

10 Grilling Hacks for The Perfect Barbecue

When you think of summer, what comes to mind? Warmer weather? Fun in the sun? Delicious, grilled foods? If grilling is your thing, summertime brings about a world of joy! You can grill just about anything now, but every year introduces new grilling hacks to help make your favorite activity a breeze! Here are 10 essential grilling hacks every griller needs to know about!

1. Before you start grilling, make sure your meat is marinated!

Marinating adds flavor and tenderizes meat, ensuring it doesn’t dry out and tastes delicious! Here’s a fun fact: scientists discovered marinating meat in dark beer prevents carcinogenic chemicals that form in meat as a result of grilling. So dark beer actually makes meat healthier!

Photo credit: lmnop88a / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: lmnop88a / Foter / CC BY

2. Did you leave your grill a mess the last time you used it? Clean it up with an onion!

Warm up the grill and cut an onion in half. Using tongs, grab the onion and rub it along the grate cut-side down. The onion actually disinfects the grill, too.

3. If you end up running out of fire starters and planned on grilling, grab a bag of tortilla chips.

Tortilla chips, surprisingly enough, make great kindling for a barbecue!

Photo credit: anitakhart / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: anitakhart / Foter / CC BY-SA

4. Prep your grill with oil to avoid cleaning up a mess later on!

Fold up a paper towel and soak it into the cooking oil of your choice. Use tongs and wipe down your grill thoroughly. The oil will help your food cook and will prevent food from sticking to the grill, so you won’t lose the cherished charred flavor!

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks / Foter / CC BY

5. Two pairs of tongs make for a great barbecue!

Invest in one good pair that has a grip to turn meat, and another pair for moving hot coals around to get the right amount of heat.

Photo credit: Didriks / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Didriks / Foter / CC BY

6. Don’t have skewers for kebabs? Use chopsticks or rosemary sprigs!

Chopsticks allow for a great presentation! Just remember to soak them in water for at least thirty minutes beforehand if you’re using wooden ones. Rosemary sprigs are not only pretty, but also infuse flavor into the meat and vegetables on the kebab. Making fruit kebabs? Try using cinnamon sticks!

Grilling Hacks

Photo credit: david.nikonvscanon / Foter / CC BY

7. Use a spray bottle full of apple juice to spray your meat as it cooks.

This method keeps your meat tender and gives it extra flavor. Pork works really well with this hack!

Photo credit: anneh632 / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: anneh632 / Foter / CC BY-SA

8. Want juicy burgers? Ice and mayonnaise to the rescue!

Mixing mayonnaise into your ground meat adds moisture to your burgers. Another way to ensure moistness is to make a thumb print in your burger patties and add an ice chip in them for extra juiciness.

Photo credit: flowolf / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: flowolf / Foter / CC BY-SA

9. Cooking burgers for a lot of guests? Use ketchup to write their burger order on buns!

Write the order on one side of the bun and keep it the writing facing up so you can put the correct patty on each plate.

Photo credit: jeffreyw / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: jeffreyw / Foter / CC BY

10. Use muffin tins and an empty six pack to keep condiments organized.

Place your condiments in each cup of the muffin tin, from relish to barbecue sauce to tomatoes! If you have an empty cardboard six pack, you can put bottled sauces in each compartment for easy carrying and making sure the wind doesn’t knock them down!

Grilling Hacks

Shop Central

Need some new grilling supplies to help with these grilling hacks? Shop Central today and call one of our knowledgeable Product Consultants today at 800-215-9293 or chat with them live!

Barbeque Season: Are You Ready?

School’s out, it’s getting warmer, and summer is just around the corner. It’s time for swimming, vacations, and barbeques. Make sure you’re ready for grilling season in your barbecue grillestablishment by reading our guide and checking out our products online!

Depending on the size of your crowd, it’s important to know what size grill you need. Central carries grills in sizes from 30”W to 80”W, and many in between! Remember to consider not only the crowd size, but also the products you will be grilling.

Gas Grills

If you have a gas grill, you have definitely thought about how many BTUs you need. Keep in mind that higher BTUs does not always mean it’s a better product. It’s more important to look into how many burners are included. Individual burners with adjustable heat will allow for more control over your cooking, and more even heat distribution. Gas grills will be a lot quicker to start, and easier to control the flames.

Charcoal Grills

Commercial charcoal grills can be a more economical option for your establishment. Another advantage is that your food will have that distinctive smoky flavor that customers love! Central carries charcoal grills that are transportable, and perfect for catering and other outdoor parties.

Customize Your Cooking

barbecue cleaning

Don’t forget accessories! Check out our variety of options so you can create a more personalized cooking experience.

Patio Space

bbq sink

Now that you’ve mastered outdoor cooking, why not spruce up your patio space? Central has a great selection of outdoor furniture and umbrellas. Be sure to also check out the outdoor patio heaters for chilly evenings! Having a tailgating event and need to stay sanitary? We have portable sinks so you’re always ready to go – no matter the situation!

Shop at Central

Not sure where to start? We’re always adding new products, so feel free to browse our website, or call to talk to one of helpful product consultants. Tell us below what your favorite part of grilling season is!

Image from MorgueFile

Central’s Guide to Summer Grilling

The tradition of grilling has really been around since man discovered fire.  However, over time it has gone from an essential cooking method to a weekend pass time and in current years it’s even evolved into contests and cultured cuisine.   Just as the entire idea of cooking outdoors has progressed, so has the tradition within the United States.  In a Salon.com article on grilling it is said that George Washington recorded all of the barbecues he attended/hosted mentioning that he may have in fact been responsible for creating the “first presidential barbecue.”

Image from MorgueFileAs time went on, grilling out seemed to regress back into the survival mentality with Food Network saying, “Until well into the 1940s, grilling mostly happened at campsites and picnics.”  Then in 1951, the world of grilling experienced a huge change, bringing barbecuing and grilling into virtually everyone’s backyard.  According to a piece of trivia in the San Matteo Daily Journal, 1951 was the year that the first kettle-shaped barbecue grill was designed by George Stephen, a worker at Weber Brothers Metal Works near Chicago.  Not only did this invention make is much easier and cheaper to grill on a more frequent basis, it also made way for grilled food to become a common entrée at even the trendiest of restaurants today (including a chain of its own design, Weber Grill).

So with this rich (and tasty) history in mind, Central now shares with you our guide to summer grilling complete with mouth watering recipes that will get the word out that your restaurant has the best grill in town!

Prep/Safety:

  • Temperature safety:

ο To prevent frivolous flipping and ensure cooking temperature use a
meat thermometer like this Dual-Sensing Probe
Thermometer/Timer
and/or a grill thermometer.  Eating
undercooked meat could cause salmonella.

• It’s also helpful to know the general rules on how hot to cook
your food and how long on each side.  Go here for a nice guide.

ο After meat is cooked, do not leave it outside any longer than two
hours when the temperature is lower than 90°F or one hour if the
temperature is above 90°F.

*Tip* – Always pre-heat your grill (both charcoal and gas) to
ensure that the temperature is stabilized so food is not
cooked unevenly.  Whole Foods Market’s Grilling Guide
suggests, lighting coals at least 30 minutes before beginning
to cook on a charcoal grill and at least 15 minutes before on a
gas grill.

  • Do not cook on outdoor grills indoors or under an awning:

ο  If you would like to grill indoors, it is safe to use a Charbroiler
instead.  Using an outdoor grill inside could cause a fire or
even Carbon Monoxide poisoning (when using charcoal).
Always keep water, a fire extinguisher and a burn kit on hand
in case a fire does break out.

  • Be aware of cross-contamination:

ο Be prepared with two plates: one for raw meat and one for
cooked meat.

ο Keep fresh marinades and sauces on hand to use on cooked
meats instead of using those that have been used with the raw
meat.

Image from MorgueFileCharcoal vs. Gas Grilling:

  • Convenience = Gas wins since it’s as easy as turning the knob to get cooking.  Charcoal involves a longer wait, stacking charcoal briquettes or lumps, lighter fluid levels, etc.  Charcoal also requires a little more attention to make sure that the coals are staying hot while gas usually stays at a steadier temperature and can be regulated by a knob.
  • Expense = Charcoal grills are usually less expensive initially, but do require new coals more often whereas a tank of propane can last for a while.  However, with gas prices at +$4/gallon, charcoal may be the winner this summer.
  • Cleanliness = Overall gas is a cleaner burn.  It does not produce much in terms of air pollution due to smoke levels and there is less waste from the actual coals and fluid bottles.
  • Taste = While it is a matter of opinion, there are definitely more options when it comes to a non-gas grill.  In a charcoal grill, briquettes could be used or even different forms of wood chips to add a smokier flavor.  But the only true difference is that a charcoal grill can reach a higher heat which creates a sort of crusting on the outside of the meat, sealing in flavor more easily. However, according to the Amazing Ribs site, “If you use strong flavored rubs, marinades, and sauces, you will never notice taste differences because they hamper browning.”  So all in all it mostly comes down to personal preference.

How to bring it all together:

Once your grilled meal is all prepared, this final thing to always remember when grilling is the importance of a great presentation and marketing!   While you’re wonderful smelling/tasting barbecue may be enough to get most people in the door, invest in a barbecue sign to assure customers that yours really is the place to go for the best barbecue in town.   Once guests are in the door, vinyl tablecloths lend a fun, picnic type vibe to the meal.   As an extra added bonus they are also easy to clean with a damp cloth and are resistant to stains so guests can really dig in without any fear of ruining the table coverings.  To add to the outdoor food vibe you can also serve up all of your delicious food in some rectangular plastic food baskets, which are great for everything from barbecue to fries to just about any other side.   While you’re at it you might want to look into an iced tea brewer to make your guests some sweet tea to wash it all down with!    And although it’s often overlooked, guests full on barbecue will appreciate you placing a toothpick dispenser out once plates have been cleared.

Recipes to try:

Now that you have everything from the past to the dining appearance and all that goes in between down, there’s nothing left but to grab your grill and fire up a few dishes for your anxiously awaiting customers.  We’ve gathered a few for you to try that will be sure to have them coming back for more.

Sweet & Spicy Sauce and Rub: Hank’s Barbecue Sauce (Simply Recipes) & Meathead’s Memphis Dust (Amazing Ribs)

The Classics:  Beer Can Chicken (Simply Recipes) & Barbecued Pork Ribs (Delish)

Something Different: Aussie Burgers (Martha Stewart) & Ancho Chili and Cinnamon Shrimp (Grilling Companion)

For the Veggie Lover: Grilled Eggplant Panini (Eating Well) & Corn n’ Squash Quesadillas (Taste of Home)

Tasty sides:  Bacon and Corn Stuffed Peppers (Taste of Home) & Fire Roasted Artichokes with Herb Aioli Sauce (Razzle Dazzle Recipes)

For your Sweet Tooth: Grilled Bananas Foster (Better Recipe) & Grilled Nutella and Pecan Pound Cake Sandwiches (L.A. Times)

What’s your biggest grilling secret?  Do you have the best sauce recipe around?  Share with us in the comments below.

BBQ, Image from MorgueFile

Central’s Week in Brief: June 10

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1)       Just in time for Father’s Day (next Sunday, June 19) comes Barbecue scented cologne, by Pork Barrel BBQ.    If your dad, grandfather, husband etc. would love to smell like smoked meat without actually having to fire up the grill, this item can be purchased for $24.95 including shipping.   If you think he’d rather eat the BBQ, check out our recipe below and keep an eye out for Central’s upcoming grilling guide.

2)       MIT has been hard at work lately working on a robot named PR2.  What does this have to do with the food industry?  Well, PR2 may be the next in a line of robots coming in to the food industry following robot waiters and cooks.  Currently, this particular robot is training on how to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch and even clean up after itself!   BBQ, Image from MorgueFile

 3)       While we did report on “A Taste of America” on our Facebook earlier in the week it’s definietely worth another mention (especially since our home state of Indiana is still in the running).  The contest, run by Capitol Hill’s CQ Roll Call and sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, is five weeks long in total  with one more round to go before the winner is announced on June 21 at We, The Pizza in Washington, D.C.  Check out the contest here and remember to vote for your favorite (again, we recommend the Indiana pork tenderloin, but we may be a bit biased).   

4)       Groupon filed to take their company public last week and now this week they went to the grocery store.   Instead of your traditional online-only deal, Groupon paired with Massachusets grocery store Big Y to load a deal for a seafood grill pack (normally $39.99) onto the buyers Big Y grocery loyalty card, the discount was then reflected when the loyalty card is scanned at checkout.  While it may just seem like another way to get a good deal to you and me, it’s really the next step in the discount system for Groupon putting them in place to compete with general coupon suppliers and partner more easily with stores that have loyalty cards. 

5)       And since it’s been getting hotter and hotter out there lately, why not kickback and celebrate the weekend with a cold drink?  Try this Strawberry Agua Fresca from Eat, Live, Run and pair it with this great recipe for Grilled Spicy Citrus Ribs from Simply Recipes (to get the food along with the BBQ smell).

 

Central’s Week in Brief: June 3

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

New Food Pyramid

Last week we told you the well-known food pyramid was getting a change–and indeed it did! This week, the USDA released the new version of the food pyramid, which isn’t a pyramid at all.  It’s now a food plate! On it, you will find a plate which shows you how many fruits, vegetables, grains and protein you should be eating.

Image: ChooseMyPlate.gov

European E-Coli Outbreak

Europe is experiencing a new “super-toxic” E-coli outbreak of an unfamiliar bacteria that has left at least 18 people dead and over 1500 sick.  The source of this outbreak is still unknown and has spread to at least ten countries in the EU.

Burger King Revamping its Image

Burger King is saying sayonara to their King mascot and this Miami Herald article says the chain will be getting a dramatic makeover in advertising, menu items and even in the restaurants themselves.  By upgrading, they will be joining several of chains who have already done so.  No worries though, the famous Whopper isn’t going anywhere but they will be adding in more healthier items to the menu.

National Donut Day

June 3 is National Donut Day! There’s still some time left, both Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme are using social media to promote special offers. If you love donuts, be sure to take advantage of the occasion!

Summer Recipe

Since we just kicked off summer, which is also a kick off for grilling season, check out these tips for safe grilling from the Patch website.