Thursday, May 21, 2015

Boy Did We Miss a Grate Weekend in Magnolia Arkansas!

Winners 2015 World Championship Steak Cookoff
2015 World Champion Joe Stump won $5500!
This past Saturday, 87 teams competed in the annual World Championship Steak Cook Off and we weren't there! We were in Chicago exhibiting at the National Restaurant Show to Chefs all over the world. That's the good news. The bad part is we missed traveling to Magnolia this year to be part of the event. Last year I vowed we would attend every year, never make promises you cant keep.

Joe Stump of Smoke House Rats, the 2014 World Champion, became only the 2nd person in 26 years to repeat as champion. It gets better. His partner, Dustin Sanders placed 2nd. Since last year's win, Joe and Dustin have been on a roll, easily the top money winners in steak competitions. Yes, you read that right, competition steak cooking has hit the big time. The Steak Cook off Association is now in its 2nd season with cook-offs popping up all over the US, Canada, and even Europe!

The organizers in Magnolia have the formula down to an art form, including feeding over 3,000 people who pay for a sit down steak dinner on the town's square. After the teams submit their entries for the competition, they are given steaks to grill for the public who choose which team to get their steak.

The formula for a championship steak is an art form too! With a lot of practice and observation, I've boiled down the formula into three parts:

PK Grill with GrillGrates

 

Grate Tools + Great Technique + Great Meat


GrillGrate used on Weber Kettles has become synonymous with championship steaks, but this year a new grill emerged from the past. It's called the PK Grill. Born in 1952 (same year as Weber) and recently re-introduced to resounding success. In fact, 3 of the top 5 finishers grilled on PK Grills outfitted with GrillGrates.

Steak grilling techniques could fill a book, but one thing is a given; buy the best piece of meat you can find. Shane Vaughn of Snake River Farms says marbling is key. Marbling are the small rivulets of fat that run throughout a steak and are what give it it's buttery texture and outstanding flavor. M ore marbling equals a better steak!



Next year I am again vow not to miss the World Championship Steak Cook-off in Magnolia Arkansas. We'd love to see what we missed!  Got any pictures or video to share?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Feeling Full after The National Restaurant Show

I love Chicago even more after spending 5 days exhibiting at the National Restaurant Show (NRA) by day and eating well at night. The Amex card may singed but we got what we paid for! The NRA Show was a culinary experience and a huge show with over 70,000 people and 2000+ exhibitors. Four solid days of talking GrillGrate with people from all over the world. The show also provided us with valuable contacts for cleaning products, commercial grill manufacturers, even ball caps.


The NRA show formally marks GrillGrates extension beyond the back yard. Chefs and caterers have been using GrillGrates for some time now and we felt it was time to further test and develop the commercial / professional waters. The response was down right humbling! We thought we'd have to do some serious convincing so we put out an aggressive show special to encourage chefs to measure their chargrillers and flat-tops to test GrillGrates in their environment. We even called in an order from our booth for a caterer and shipped it that day so he could use them this weekend for a 150 person event at a Chicago Whitesox baseball game! As Werner Wolf says, “film at 11:00!”
GrillGrate Booth at 2015 National Restaurant Show

The NRA show hopefully becomes an annual fixture on our schedule even if it coincides with two of my favorite events; Memphis in May and the 26th annual World Championship SteakCookoff at the Magnolia Blossom Festival in Magnolia, AR. Talk about a culinary trifecta!

This past saturday Grillmaster Joe Stump from Boyd, Texas repeated as world champions! Yes they grilled on GrillGrates! Over in Memphis, The SHED Barbecue and Blues Joint won Grand Champion of Memphis in May. All around a winning weekend!

We're already talking about how next year we need to split up over the weekend and converge on Chicago on Sunday. Talk about a grate problem!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Grilling The Perfect Steak is a Fast Growing Competitive Sport


Steak Cookoff Association Logo
Brett Gallaway, Steak Cookoff AssoiationCooking the perfect steak is the holy grail for most grillers worth their salt. Now it can pay big money too! Over the past 5 years steak cook-offs have exploded onto the competitive barbecue scene. The Steak Cookoff Association was formed recently to help sanction and grow the competitive sport of grilling steaks. Brett Gallaway and Ken Phillips, the two fellows who created SCA were one of the winningest teams in steak cook-offs. Brett and Ken won the World Championship in 2011 and over a dozen first place finishes over the past few years. Brett was also featured in a Walmart commercial grilling steaks at Southfork Ranch! Now they're sanctioning events and helping create contests nationwide and in Europe. The first international SCA event was recently held in the Netherlands in early April with great success.

GrillGrate Steak ChallengeGrillGrate is proud to be a sponsor of the Steak Cookoff Association and recently introduced the GrillGrate Steak Challenge. GrillGrate is adding to the prize purse paying $500 to the top placing GrillGrate finisher in designated SCA contests in 2015.

Last weekend was leg #2 of the GrillGrate Steak Challenge. The winner was Cougar Pit of Magnolia, Arkansas.  Dave Nelson and Robert Baxley are no strangers to Steak Cook-offs. For the past 5 years Dave Nelson has run the WorldChampionship Steak Cookoff® in Magnolia, Arkansas. Along the way he decided it was more fun to particiapte. Now he and Robert compete most every weekend in the spring and summer.

first place steakThink you can grill a great steak? Join the SCA and
find out what all the fun and excitement is about!

Learn more about grilling the perfect steak and steak cook-offs:

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Grate Debate... Go on Top or Replace with GrillGrates

This is the question that gas grillers have to decide and this blog post is designed to help that decision.

When we introduced GrillGrate eight years ago, it was one size and one application, to sit on top of the existing surface of any grill, like re-surfacing a road by going on top of the old one. We began offering longer lengths and different shapes to cover more and more grill surface and more types of grills. Last year we began a custom cutting service due to strong demand for precise lengths. WHY? To replace the old, rusty, nasty grill surface, not sit on top of it. 

My grill is two years old and my grates are shot. We hear this every day.


We've always believed that over time GrillGrate would become a standard grill surface, not just an accessory. Today many of our customers are covering most or all of their surface either on top or replacing the existing grates. We are now in the business of full grill replacements as well as an "on top" solution.

Weber Spirit Grill with GrillGratesGrillGrates cook food identically whether they sit on top of existing cooking grids or not.
The difference is how the grill performs and it can be a big difference, especially if the old grates are cast iron. Cast iron is a heat sink. It takes a long time to get hot and a long time to cool down.  The opposite is true with aluminum. Stainless steel does not slow down GrillGrates heating up as much as cast iron.

Replacing your grates with GrillGrates will turbo-charge the
Charbroil grill with GrillGrateseffectiveness of your grill:
  • Very responsive- faster to heat up and cool down, and adjust grill temperatures.
  • More efficient- GrillGrates trap and hold more of a grills' heat, so gas consumption will be less. That saves you money each time you grill.
Weber Genesis Grill with GrillGrates
Precautions with GrillGrates in complete grill replacements:
  • Your grill will run significantly hotter, you may never use high heat setting again.
  • Clean out the grease tray and any grease in older grills before installing replacement GrillGrates.
  • Ideally, leave a gap on the left and right to allow heat to escape into the hood. The gap helps
    keep heat from building up inside the  The GAP is your friend and can be used to separate your grill into zones for searing and roasting as shown. 

2 zone grilling with GrillGrate
Need help deciding the best GrillGrate solution for your grill?
Now there are two ways to re-surface your grill with GrillGrates.  On top or a full grill replacement.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grate Spring Cleaning!

After a long hard winter, it was time to clean my GrillGrates and tune up my grills. The GrillGrates have not been off my grills since last spring- so it was time for their once a year deep cleaning.

Here are the steps to deep clean and “re-set” your GrillGrates:
  1. Remove GrillGrates to a driveway or area suitable for hose and water.
  2. Use the GrateTool on each panel starting at the hinge and scrape the build-up off as much as possible.
  3. Soak in a large (long) plastic container. I used Simple Green this year based on positive feedback from customers. 10:1 dilution. Soak for minimum of 3 hours, even overnight.
  4. Remove from soaking and use a scrubby on the raised rails and in the valleys. The rails should be smooth and slick after using the scrubby.
  5. You can also use brillo on the raised rails if they are not smooth and slick after using the scrubby.
  6. Hose off to rinse any remaining residue away.
  7. Back to the grills for a long summer ahead of grate grilling!

Other Deep Cleaning Methods:

  1. Power washing also works well.
  2. Face-down burn-off, just don't go to your neighbors for a beer! This will dry out the cooking rails requiring re-seasoning.
  3. Self cleaning oven works well but only if you have good exhaust. Do not use your oven to burn off without good exhaust- the smell is not something you want in the house. This will also require re-seasoning.

Do NOT Use:
  1. Aluminum foil over hot GrillGrates as it can cause temperatures to spike to over 1000F and cause warping or even melting.
  2. Oven cleaner or other caustic degreasers as they will pit and tarnish GrillGrates over time.

Got any tips to share how your care and clean your GrillGrates?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Back to The Griller's Diet


Now its official, I brought out the summer shorts over the weekend and they confirmed what my tight jeans were telling me... I packed on a few pounds over the winter and it looks like I gave up a belt notch too!
 
Time to get back to the griller's diet that helped me drop those pounds and inches in the first place. I've dedicated April to be  healthy grilling month with two simple rules to grill by:
  1. Never let the meat grill alone. I'm taking this one a bit further by dedicating a grill just to vegetables when we have friends and family over for dinner. Family style vegetables off the grill really helped my broaden my eating habits.
  2. Grill more fish, chicken and lean. You would think we're practicing for Steak Competitions with the amount of red meat we grill. Time to sharpen the shears and get spatchcocking chicken! Instead of rib-eye steaks, I'll be grilling salmon and tuna like a steak- hot and fast!

Two Zone Grilling Vegetables Roasting while Steaks are Searing

These vegetables are the top 5 vegetables that are most often on my grills. They pack tremendous health benefits beyond helping with weight!  GrillGrate, Eat Well on the Grillers Diet.





Food Antioxidants Benefits
Beets Betanin and vulgaxanthin, Lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Protects the skin and promotes healthy eyes
Red Bell Peppers Cartenoids-alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Vitamins C prevention of cardiovascular disease and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Promotes healthy eyes. Anti-cancer benefits, anti-inflammatory properties
Sweet Potatoes Beta-carotene, peonidins and cyanidins, sporamins antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties, helps prevent oxidative damage to our cells, may reduce the risk of breast and other types of cancer, promotes healthy eyes
Yellow Squash alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin, Vitamin C prevention of cardiovascular disease and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Promotes healthy eyes. Anti-cancer benefits, anti-inflammatory properties
Asparagus asparanin A, sarsasapogenin, protodioscin, and diosgenin, quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium, glutathione Anti-inflammatory, reduces risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, helps regulate blood sugar, supports healthy eyes

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Honey You Can Start the Grill!

King Crab on GrillGrateThose are some of my favorite words! I don't know about you but I am not taking my sweetheart out to dinner on Valentine's day.   We'll be grilling dinner for two at home.  Granted we grill a lot, GrillGrates has taken over the menu.  Before GrillGrates I was more a bystander in the kitchen and only occasionally at the grill doing the regular old routine- hamburgers, steaks, chicken. We've or should I say I have come a long way since.

Happy Valentines Day! Honey You Can Start the Grill!
Grilled Corn Cake on GrillGrate

Here's a Dinner Menu for Your Valentine:


GrillGrate, Eat Well & Prosper!