Tag Archives: summer

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.

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

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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!

Frozen Desserts: More Than Just Ice Cream

July 1 kicks off National Ice Cream Month! In honor of this delicious treat, why not learn more about other frozen desserts that you may see this summer? We’re not responsible for any brain freezes while reading!


frozen gelato

Gelato featured at the 2014 NRA Show in Chicago, Ill.

Gelato is an Italian frozen dessert, which is slightly denser than ice cream. While ice cream is made with cream, milk and sugar, air is then added to increase the quantity made. Gelato is made without adding air – producing a richer, creamier result!  Gelato also has about 18-26% less butterfat than ice cream. With this content, gelato will be less solidly frozen than ice cream, so it will melt faster when eaten. Lastly, gelato is served about 10-15 degrees warmer than ice cream. Like ice cream, gelato can be made in a variety of flavors.

Sorbet and Sherbet

The main difference between sorbet and sherbet is that sorbet is dairy-free – which is definitely a plus for anyone who is lactose intolerant. Both start with similar base ingredients – pureed fruit, sugar, and water. However, most sherbet does contain between 1-2 percent milk fat or cream.  Anything with more than 10% milkfat is considered ice cream.

Frozen Yogurt

It seems that frozen yogurt shops are everywhere now! Many ice cream franchises even have froyo options in their offerings. One reason is that frozen yogurt seems to be a healthier option for consumers, without sacrificing that sweet tooth.  But is it really better for you? In comparison, both ice cream and frozen yogurt are made from dairy products.  Frozen yogurt simply blends yogurt with an ice cream base. The calorie content doesn’t vary much between ice cream and froyo if both are made from whole fat dairy products. However, a low-fat, sugar-free frozen yogurt will cut back on calories, fat, and sugar. Just watch out for the toppings, which can really add up!

Frozen Custard

Frozen custard is similar to ice cream, with the addition of egg yolk, for a richer consistency. Frozen custard must contain at least 10% butterfat and 1.4% egg yolk. It also contains less air and ice crystals than ice cream. This makes custard a much creamier product. Like gelato, custard can be served at warmer temperatures than ice cream – typically around 18°F.

Shop with Central

frozen dessert

Ice Cream Dipping Cabinet #675-455

If you made it through without getting too hungry, why not check out our selection of ice cream equipment and supplies online? Whether you’re serving traditional ice cream or a creamy gelato, we can help! We have everything from ice cream cabinets to scoops – and you can always contact one of our helpful product consultants for more information!

Catering Tips for the Summer Event Season

When it comes to catering and event planning, there is much more involved than just throwing things together and heading out the door.  It’s about being prepared and providing superb service to develop relationships with customers. A happy customer will always come back and even recommend to others.

“We are always looking for ways to exceed our client’s expectations,” said Gus Rojas, owner of Five Star Catering in Indianapolis, Ind. “It is crucial to create relationships with your customers.”

For Rojas, creativity plus quality plus service equals a successful event.

It also never hurts to keep up with trends and provide a little variety, such as global cuisine action stations.

“They are fun, fresh, interactive eye appealing,” he said. “Some of the most popular for us are Mexican, Thai, European and Asian.”

And while catering alone can be challenging, the winter and summer months can make things even more challenging as you are battling the weather.

As we move into the summer months, here are a few catering tips to help you get through the heat from Central Product Consultant Michael Williams:

1. A proper inclement weather shelter/cooking area is a must. 

Weather can be very unpredictable.  Make sure you have a backup plan for cooking and hosting if the weather turns sour.  An often overlooked detail is having windguards/windscreens for chafers.  They are essential to keeping food hot.

Also, putting chocolate fountains outside on even a mildly windy day without proper windscreen is a recipe for ruined tablecloths, clothes and angry guests. (Trust me).

2. Pack an emergency kit.

You’ll often be away from your primary kitchen, so be sure to pack an “emergency” kit that includes:

  • Extra cleanup materials
  • Extra chafer fuel
  • Utensils and the like
  • First aid kit
  • Gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Jugs of water (Even if the outdoor sites do have water supply, it may be occupied by guests, too far away to be useful, or otherwise inconvenient)

3. Ensure food safety.

Summertime menus are typically lighter than their wintertime counterparts and often include more fresh produce and other temperature sensitive items which pose their own unique challenges due to the summer heat.

Make sure all foods are stored at safe temperatures during transport or aren’t set out of their storage zone too long.  Produce and other foods can wilt, degrade or spoil much faster this time of year.

 How do you gear up for catering events during the summer?

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.

Clean up on Spring Dining with Central!

Spring is almost upon us and with the warmer weather it’s time to start thinking about outdoor dining. Stumped on what you might need or just searching for ideas on what works best?  Whether you’re looking to begin seating outdoor or renovating the furniture in your current area, Central has tips and great deals on all the products you need to create the ideal outdoor setting for your guests!

Photo from grosfillexfurniture.com

The first step in choosing the right furniture (indoor or outdoor) is to analyze the available space and what you want to convey to your customers.  To make the most of what’s available, one option would be to use bar height products like the line from Grosfillex.   These tables and stools allow for smaller parties and groups looking to enjoy a nice cocktail on the patio.


Bar Height Table Bases          
Melamine Table Tops           
Havana Bar Stool 

Another major detail in picking out outdoor furniture is the material it’s made from.   The best choice will be durable and visually pleasing and require little to no maintenance.  Central offers three options that fit perfectly into these categories: wrought iron, aluminum and teak.

Photo from centralrestaurant.com

Wrought iron furniture is great because it lasts years with little maintenance and because it is constructed of such heavy duty material, it also stands up great to those spring days when the wind picks up a bit.  Create a classy look for a great price with Central’s Value series wrought iron furniture.

Value Series – Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture
Side and Arm Chairs
Bar Stools


Aluminum offers a lighter, rust-proof construction.   This option even has a sleek enough look to be used as indoor or outdoor pieces.  Central makes aluminum furniture even more affordable with our Central Value series.

Value Series – Aluminum Indoor/Outdoor Furniture
Aluminum and Aluminum/Wicker Arm Chairs 

Photo from centralrestaurant.com

Finally, there is teak, an extremely durable hardwood that requires little care and no preservatives or treatment of any kind to protect it from the elements.   The unique color changes of teak can also be a draw.  If weathered it can turn a silver gray, if used inside it will become a darker shade of brown and when teak oil is used the wood maintains the original tawny color.  Each color allows for its own unique look and adds to the charm of the item that requires little maintenance for years of service.  Central offers several different choices in teak tables and seating that allow for a layout that will fit any patio.

Florida Seating Teakwood
Bar Stools
Inlay Tables 
Standard & Bar Height Table Sets 

Photo from centralrestaurant.com

Once you’ve picked out the perfect items created from just the right material for your space, the final step is to create a specific space for your outdoor dining area.   Although some open-air dining spaces have a boundary of some sort (possibly a sidewalk), it’s always more inviting to create a defined section to make it seem more inviting.  Central even has this covered with Grosfillex portable patio fencing !  The fencing is easy to assemble, weather resistant and can be filled with water or sand for extra stability.

With all of these great products to get you ready for the big spring/summer outdoor dining rush, Central has everything you need to make the season a success and keep your customers lining up to sit on your patio.  

Don’t hesitate to contact Central with any questions about any of the offers listed at 800-222-5107.  And if you’ve purchased any of these wonderful outdoor products from us, please share what you think below, through a product review on our site or on our Facebook or Twitter pages!