How to Properly Clean Different Grill Grates

Posted by Stevenski Brewster on

If your grill grates are covered in burnt-on food, it might be time to clean them. An estimated 48 million Americans contract food poisoning each year. You need to make sure you always cook on clean grill grates to avoid this. You don’t want to fall victim to a dirty grill at your house or a filthy kitchen; you’ll look like a rookie chef. Heat-resistant gloves are good for more than just picking up hot meat or reaching over the grill. Use them to properly clean your grill and accessories—don’t spend the summer in the bathroom paying for a mistake that could have been avoided.


Porcelain grill grates need to be kept clean, even though they’re rust resistant. Bacteria forms on them just as easily as on cast iron or stainless steel. Scrapes or chips in the porcelain leave the metal underneath exposed to water, which can lead to rusting. When you use metal utensils, be careful not to make too much contact with the grates. Don’t use wire brushes when cleaning porcelain; instead, use a soft brush made from a material such as nylon. A soft brush will prevent you from scraping the finish.

Cast Iron

Cast iron grates are very durable, and they can withstand high temperatures during cooking. Iron rusts easily if water is left on it, though. Use a wire brush to clear off any excess food and stuck on bits while the iron is still warm. Iron grates can be cleaned with water, but do not use soap. Soap will seep into the iron and leave behind a residue and a foul taste. Use only water and a stiff bristled brush; it’s all you really need. Make sure to dry them thoroughly immediately after, and then coat them in vegetable oil. The oil serves as a layer of protection to prevent rust.

Stainless Steel

Similar to cast iron, stainless steel is durable and can take high heat for a long time. It is fairly rust resistant, and food doesn’t stick to it as easily. A wire brush or scraper should remove any excess food with no trouble. Steel isn’t as porous as iron, so you can wash it with soap and water, as well.

Deep Cleaning

For a deep cleanse, you can soak any of these above grates in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Mix the vinegar and baking soda at a ratio of 2:1. Find a receptacle large enough to put the grate in, a garbage bag usually works if you have no other options. Put the grate in your container, pour in the vinegar mixture, and let it sit overnight. Rinse it off with a hose, and the stubborn food should fall right off.

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Cloth Oven Mitts for Grilling

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In life, there are influential moments that can change your course. Moments that, at the time, don’t feel like a critical decision. After reflection though, history judges that moment as one that had an impact. Decisions get made every day and those decisions take that life on a new path. When it comes to grilling, no longer allow yourself to wander through the wilderness, alone and without purpose. Take a new direction when you venture into the backyard to face the eternal challenge of mastery over fire and food.

Not for the timid, grilling challenges the senses, the physical body, and determination of all who embark. Remember the day you embraced destiny and forged ahead into the grilling world with armaments for your hands against the raging inferno of the backyard! Cast aside any flimsy protection made from cloth and choose battle defenses that will protect you from the flame that burns eternal in the grill of destiny.

Every griller knows the proper tools are required for a successful odyssey in this rite of passage, and cloth oven mitts are the past. Silicone gloves for grilling are the future, and it’s time to start living there. Don’t get tossed into the bin of history because you held on to the past for too long. Below, we explain why silicone grill gloves are better than cloth oven mitts.


Decreased Dexterity

Let’s face it, an oven mitt is just that, a mitt. Wearing an oven mitt turns four fingers and a thumb into one giant finger and thumb. The design limits your ability to grab utensils, food, the lid to the grill—everything. Mittens are made for children because they can’t get their fingers into a glove easily. Welcome to being an adult, here are your gloves. A glove increases your dexterity while you cook in ways that an oven mitt can’t because you have all five fingers at your disposal. You want to have a solid grip on the grates and tongs, so you don’t drop them. Dropping a hot grate or spit will increase the chance that you will get burned while it bounces around on the ground.


Mitts Can’t Handle as Much Heat

Grilling and smoking foods outside is a long, hot process that involves wood, metal, and fire. Those ingredients put together almost guarantee that you will get burned at some point. Temperatures on a grill or smoker can reach up to 500 degrees. The grates, lids, and handles get extremely hot, and it isn’t a good idea to touch anything without a glove that can take the heat and keep you from getting burned. A silicone glove keeps the heat off your hand at higher temperatures and for a longer period of time than a common oven mitt. In the event you forget the tongs in the house and need to turn your brisket, silicone gloves allow you to grab the food and turn it.

Keeping your fire at an even temperature is key to making good food. Logs and charcoal can burn unevenly and need to be turned so they burn at the same rate. Gloves will allow you to grab that burning log and turn it over quickly, so you don’t lose any more heat than necessary.


Silicone is a Synthetic Polymer

Silicone rubber was developed around 1940 in the search for better insulating materials for electric motors and generators. The Dow corporation was the first to make silicone and quickly realized how versatile it was and that it could be used for many applications. One of the great things about silicone being a synthetic polymer is the different properties it has. Not only can it withstand high temperatures and protect the wearer, it is a nonstick substance. The nonstick property means you can handle the food you are cooking without the fear of anything sticking to the glove. You can also wash it the same way you would wash your hands. Leave the gloves on and use soap and water to clean them. This is also good for safety and contamination. Being able to wash the gloves after every use will kill any bacteria that may grow and killing bacteria will prevent food borne illnesses from contaminating your food.


Mitts Only Come in One Size

Oven mitts come in one size—huge. They’re made oversized because they have to be “one size fits all”.  That approach isn’t so good, though, if you have tiny hands and slender fingers. Because they come oversized, an oven mitt is basically the same as a baseball mitt; cumbersome and bulky. Silicone gloves come in a variety of sizes, so you can find one that fits your hand. Proper sized gloves will fit better, improve dexterity, and keep you from dropping food and tools. They also come in a variety of colors, so you can find ones that fit your other grilling gear. They’re also available it fairly bright colors, so you’ll never misplace them.


Oven Mitts are Outdated Tech

Quilted cloth oven mitts are just old fashioned. Saying those words conjures up images of a kindly old, white haired grandma in the kitchen making pies and cookies. Her oven mitts are ever present next to the stove, ready to be slowly pulled on when the timer dings. Those are nice, heartwarming images about a simpler time when the world made sense in grandma’s kitchen. Heat resistant gloves for cooking, however, represent the future traveling at the speed of light on a rocket ship fueled by rich, smoky, grilled treats. Grab a hold of the after burners and speed into deep space with gloves designed by scientists! It’s time to live in the future. Grilling is great, and everyone knows it, but leave the past behind and start grilling in the future. Your future should include, of course, grilling for every major holiday and sporting event you possibly can. Don’t limit yourself to holidays though. The HPBA says that when they surveyed consumers, “Beyond holidays, 49% barbecued for birthday parties, 24% on a camping trip, 21% at a vacation home party, and 11% during tailgating activities for a sporting event.” That’s a lot of grilling and a lot of opportunities to burn your hands. Make sure you have some space-aged gloves and spare your hands.


The great New York Yankee and Hall of Fame baseball player Yogi Berra said, ‘I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?” That’s a good point there. If you keep burning your hands while grilling, don’t blame yourself, it’s not your fault. Blame your tools. It is obvious you’re using inferior hand protection, and that’s why you get burned. Get better tools and don’t get burned.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Cloth Oven Mitts for Grilling infographic

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A Brief Waterproof History of the Umbrella

Posted by Stevenski Brewster on

It may surprise you that the history of the umbrella is long. Umbrellas are one of the oldest tools man has invented and has been around for centuries. According to ThoughtCo.,  “Ancient umbrellas or parasols were first designed to provide shade from the sun. The Chinese were the first to waterproof umbrellas for use as rain protection.”

The long handle and ribs, the long fingers that make up the canopy, of early umbrellas were made from whale bone or wood. The canopy was often made from palm frond, feathers, leather, or paper. When the Chinese started to use them to repel water, the paper was covered with wax and lacquer to waterproof them.

In the ancient world, when umbrellas were being developed, they were a sign of power and affluence. Only emperors or kings could use an umbrella, and they would not hold it themselves. The umbrella holder even became an official position within the royal court. The ancient Greeks and Romans used umbrellas in the same fashion as the Chinese, as a parasol for relief from the sun. They felt that to use an umbrella was effeminate and only for women, unless you were in a position of power.

As the Roman Empire spread, so did their influences. The umbrella wasn’t used in northern Europe until the Romans conquered these lands and moved north. After the fall of the Roman Empire, though, the umbrella disappeared in Europe. In the middle ages, European people used cloaks to keep dry instead. Around the 16th century, however, umbrellas started to appear in paintings as an accessory, and by the middle of the 17th century, there was more use among the population. The umbrellas popular then were made from silk and other expensive materials, and they were used as an accessory and fashion statement, not a tool.

The first lightweight folding umbrella was introduced in the 18th century. It was first designed to only block the sun, but soon after, they started to cover the fabric with wax to make them waterproof and repel the rain. This is when umbrellas took on the modern use and look seen today.

The overall look and function of umbrellas hasn’t changed much in 300 years. Advancements made in fabrics and waterproof coatings keep us drier than ever before. Better designs, and stronger materials have been introduced to better stormproof umbrellas, so they can withstand high winds.

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5 Items to Grill Other Than Meat This Summer

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Meat is awesome in all its forms—steaks, chicken, lamb, pork chops, bacon, and even fish, they’re all amazing! However, eating the same stuff can get tedious. In fact, a Statista report stated that, “88% percent of U.S. consumers typically barbecue meat or steaks.”

Everyone likes a little variety when they go to a cookout, and if you keep serving the same stuff, your next barbecue may put you on the neighborhood blacklist. Nobody wants that. It’s time to break the cycle, determine your individual cooking style, and start grilling!

Become a Grill Master

Start off by getting some high tech, trendy accessories to use with the grill. Items such as heat resistant silicone cooking gloves and windproof butane lighters should do the trick. Even if you don’t really know what you’re doing, these accessories will make it look like you do. Once you’re ready to go, it’s time to decide what you’re going to cook. We’ve put together a few ideas of what items you can grill other than meat this summer.

Frozen pizza

Instead of sliding it in the oven, put it on the grill. You can still use the cooking instructions that come with it; get the grill up to the recommended temperature and lay down the frozen pizza—it’s that simple. That smoky flavor will change the way you cook frozen pizza forever.

Corn on the cob

A summer staple, corn on the cob tastes great on the grill. Leave the corn in the husk and cook it using indirect heat. It may take a while, as the corn is steaming inside the husk. Once it’s done, peel the husk back and leave it on the grill for a few minutes—this will give it a nice char. Use the husk as a holder while you eat.

Grilled cheese sandwich

You need to grill this; the name alone demands it! Butter the bread and assemble the sandwich as you normally would. Cook it for two to three minutes, then rotate it 90 degrees and cook for another two to three minutes. Flip it and repeat. You’ll love the end result.


Don’t spoon guacamole onto your grill—it will be a mess. Halve some avocados, take out the pit, and put them on the grill. A few minutes will be enough to get them soft and smoky. From here, you can make guacamole as you normally would.

Portobello mushrooms

Cut off the stems and clean the caps. Next, brush on a mixture of melted butter, garlic, and onion and let it sit, gills up, for an hour. Once it’s ready, you’ll want to grill the mushrooms for 10 minutes. Immediately serve it as is or make a sandwich.

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The Art of Grilling: Grilling Tips for Beginners

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Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of grilling out: it’s actually one of the most basic cooking methods. It harkens back to a more primitive time and a place absent of streaming, technology, social media, and screen time. Something about fire and food activates those primal instincts that we all still have deep down. It’s time to embrace that caveman feeling by cooking a chunk of meat over fire.

Cooking on a grill is simple, but you may want some more information if you’re just getting started. Here, we outline some grilling tips for beginners that will take you from grill rookie to grill master in no time.

Gas vs. Charcoal Grills

The biggest decision to make is which type of grill to purchase: gas or charcoal. Each backyard griller has an opinion on their grill and which type is best, so don’t make a hasty decision when deciding which one to buy for yourself. There are some glaring differences between these cousins, the first being taste. The same cut of beef will taste differently depending on which type of grill it was cooked on. Charcoal will deliver a smoky flavor on top of the seasonings and the taste of the meat, while a gas grill will give a cleaner flavor.

Another difference is the cost. You can purchase a stripped-down charcoal grill with no extras for as little as $20. Gas grills, on the other hand, usually come with a wide array of options such as warmers, shelves, and lighting, and they can cost thousands of dollars. Gas grills are also more convenient, which can justify the higher cost: you just turn the dial to ignite the burner and start cooking. With a charcoal grill, you’ll need more time and patience to light the fire and let it get up to temperature. Each style of grill comes with its pros and cons, and one isn’t better than the other—it comes down to personal preference.

Accessorize Your Grill

Wherever you land on what type of grill to buy, you’ll need some accessories. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, “The majority of [grill] consumers have three or more accessories, indicating that consumers have invested in ways to customize their grilling experiences.” Personalize your own grill by getting a metal utensil kit that includes tongs, a spatula, and a wire brush. Some heat-resistant gloves for cooking will come in handy, too. Adding a rotisserie will elevate your grill game when you start roasting chickens and prime rib roasts. Also get a digital temperature probe to quickly check the progress of your grilled meats.

Lighting the Grill

If you bought a gas grill, this part is easy: just turn the knob to ignite the gas and heat up your grill. For charcoal grills, this process takes some time. Don’t use lighter fluid to start the coals: the odorless fluid can still leave an unsavory flavor on the meat. Instead, get a chimney, which is a large cylinder that holds the charcoal. Light some newspaper underneath, and it will burn the coals evenly and leave no odor or flavor. Leave the coals in the chimney until they’re all burning, then dump them into the grill. Spread them out evenly and wait until they burn white and the temperature has stopped climbing before putting your food on the grill. Be patient and use this time to season your meat and prep any side dishes.

What to Grill

You can cook almost anything on the grill—not just meat! If you can dream it, you can grill it. Fish, shrimp, whole ears of corn, and pineapple all taste delicious on the grill. If you’re a complete beginner, hamburgers are some of the easiest things to learn how to cook. Get a pound of ground beef, make some patties, and give it a go. Once you’re comfortable, get your favorite cut of steak on the grill.

The Art of Grilling

Once the coals are ready and the grill temperature has stabilized, it’s time to cook. Don’t cook the meat straight out of the refrigerator. If you can, take it out a few hours ahead of time so that the meat can come to room temperature. Let the grates heat up for a few minutes and scrub them with a wire brush. An artist always starts with a blank canvas, so you’ll want to get your last meal off there first.

Don’t huddle all the food in the center: this is usually the hottest place on the grill, and your food could burn. Instead, use an indirect approach and arrange the food around the middle of the grill. You’ll soon be able to gauge where the hottest point is, and you can then rearrange the food accordingly so that everything cooks evenly.

Close the lid and leave it shut until it’s time to flip the food. If you’re cooking meat, you ideally only want to turn it once. Let the meat cook for a few minutes on each side, depending on how done you like it. Remember: if you’re looking, you aren’t cooking—so leave the lid closed and watch the clock to know when it’s time to turn. Use your temperature probe to check the meat’s internal temp when you turn it. You can always put something that’s undercooked back on the grill for a few more minutes.

Keep a close eye on the grill once the meat is on. Fatty pieces like chicken, bratwurst, or burgers can drip fat onto the coals, causing flare-ups. The fire can char the outside, and the charred meat won’t taste so great. If this happens, move the meat and close off the air flow temporarily until things calm down.

You can also open or close the vents to control the temperature. If the grill is too hot, then close the holes slightly to choke off the oxygen. However, be careful not to close the vents all the way—this can put the fire out, and you’ll have to start over.

Don’t be discouraged if your first shot at grilling isn’t a life-changing success. In fact, the odds are that it won’t be. Like anything else, you will get better with practice and become the grilling legend you were born to be. You have the tools, the drive, and the ambition to get better at grilling, so keep trying and experimenting with different foods on the grill.

The Art of Grilling Tips for Beginners

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