~Tradition ~

Ideas for Grilling out


Let’s start with the grill (if the stove is the heart of the kitchen, then the grill can be the heart of the patio). If you’re shopping for a new grill, there are so many options it can be mind-blowing. First you have to decide on your fuel – charcoal or gas? If you can’t decide, go for a duel-fuel hybrid model. Then your budget will narrow down the number of choices. At the high-end, Kalamazoo’s Hybrid Fire Grilling System starts around $11, 000 and includes a myriad of bells and whistles. Some models are even tri-fuel, so you can cook with wood too. If your budget is more modest, both Char-Broil and Sears carry duel-fuel grills starting at around $229.

If you’re an urban griller who cooks out on a balcony or you like to take your grilling to the park or the game, there are some great smaller and portable grills that can help you whip up a feast.

With folding side shelves and a cabinet just under two-feet wide, Char-Broil’s RED Urban Infrared Grill fits neatly on a small patio or balcony. Despite its name, it isn’t a true infrared burner, but rather relies on propane and radiant heat for its cooking power. Nevertheless, it’s under-$300 price tag makes it a good option.

A little over two-feet tall and weighing in at a mere 35 pounds, Weber’s portable Q-series grills start around $170. These sturdy little grills have a handy push-button ignition and a cooking surface starting at around 1-1/2 square feet, enough room to cook plenty of burgers or brats at the beach.

Outdoor pizza ovens are all the rage. If you can afford the top of the line, go for a wood-fired Chicago Brick Oven. Their low-dome, high-heat design cooks pizza the way it’s meant to be cooked. You can buy the dome then have it encased in stone or brick so it becomes a permanent fixture in your backyard.

If a built-in model isn’t your thing, Kalamazoo has stainless-steel gas models that don’t require much assembly, and retail for around $6, 000.

If that’s still too much, opt for the KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit. The kit fits onto a standard charcoal kettle grill turning it into a pizza oven, it goes for around $140. Still out of your budget? Just get a plain $20 pizza stone and put it on your grill and close the top.

Are you looking to build an entire outdoor kitchen? Stainless-steel cabinets are the most popular due to their durability and ability to withstand a variety of climates. Plus, they’ll likely match your grill. Outdoor cabinets are now being manufactured in a waterproof, marine-grade polymer. The plastic-like material is very low-maintenance and comes in a variety of colors. If you want to go with wood cabinetry, try teak, bamboo or cypress.

If you don’t have the space or funds for new outdoor cabinetry, go to the thrift store and find something you can upcycle into a rolling cart or outdoor side table. Bulky end-tables (circa 1980s), baby changing tables and TV carts are all good candidates for making upcycled outdoor furniture. The only power tool you may need is a drill to put the casters on the bottom of the legs so you can move it around your patio. Use sandpaper to take off the existing finish; you don’t have to take it all off, just enough to help the new finish adhere better. Then apply a coat of spray primer and a coat of exterior-grade spray paint. Check out these three bar cart projects:

Even if you don’t have all the high-end grilling gadgets and deluxe outdoor furniture, you can still make your party a class act with a few little touches. Go to your local dollar store and get some pillar candles. Start with a pretty tablecloth (use a bed sheet if you have to) or table runner to dress the table, then add a bowl of fruit or a few flowers for a bold pop of color.

Here a burlap runner and a mix of old and new wine bottles filled with grasses make for a darling setting and didn’t cost a lot to put together.

Use food as your centerpiece. Place finger foods – like grapes, cherries or strawberries – in large bowls and place them in the center of your table. It’ll look charming and give guests something to nibble on while they wait for the main course.



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