grill, baby, grill
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Grill, Baby, Grill
January, 2012, Page 70
Photo courtesy Oldcastle Building Products
Outdoor grills cook up culinary thrills.
From outdoor pizza stones to drag-and-drop modular kitchens, outdoor grilling has never been so thrilling. Backyard kitchens now boast under-the-counter speakers and ambiance-friendly lighting for four-course meals that are cooked, baked, roasted and seared al fresco.
It’s tempting to blame the recession for driving people into their backyards. It’s also tempting to imagine that the explosion of outdoor creature comforts (wine racks, dishwashers and everything including the kitchen sink) is an example of neighborly one-upsmanship. However, two outdoor living experts believe there’s a bigger picture in play.
“Outdoor kitchens are rapidly [claiming] the largest proportion of outdoor living,” says Joe Raboine, president of Harmony Outdoor Living, a partner of Belgard Outdoor Living Products, available at several Valley locations. “It’s a phenomenon to be sure… but it would be superficial to say people are trying to keep up with the Joneses. I don’t think that would be sustainable.”
So what is driving the trend? In Raboine’s estimation, it’s a desire for the stabilizing human camaraderie afforded by a nice group-meal in the open air. “The core of outdoor living is a fundamental human aspect,” he says.
Chad Dupre, owner of Creative Outdoor Kitchens in Litchfield Park, says Valley customers seek everything from outdoor side burners and slow cookers to griddles and gadgets because they’ve found their inner Emeril. “What we’re experiencing here is a resurgence of flavor in cooking, especially with the explosion of cooking shows on TV. People think, ‘Hey, I can do that,’” Dupre says. “They just need the tools to do it.”
Here are a few to get you started.
Modular outdoor kitchen (pictured above)
This Belgard Outdoor Living modular 10-by-18-foot outdoor kitchen unit features a brick pizza oven, wine rack, sink, grill and bar seating for three. This scalable mix-and-match unit can be added to or rearranged over time. Made from concrete designed to look like natural stone, modular outdoor kitchens range from $15,000 to $25,000. For a listing of where to find Belgard products locally, visit
Weber Pizza Stone
Made of cordierite ceramic, this pizza stone distributes heat evenly to create a light, crispy crust. The stainless steel frame doubles as a tray, keeping food warm while serving. Dimensions: 16 by 14 inches. Cost: $45. Today’s Patio Furniture & Decor,
Place this lightweight Bone Collector Edition Can Cooker on a campfire, burner or grill, and sit back while it locks in heat and steam to turn ingredients into tender meals. Dimensions: 15 by 10 inches. Cost: $79. Cabela’s, 9380 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 623-872-6700,
Made from pre-seasoned cast iron, the Cabela’s Oval Roaster weighs a whopping 26 pounds and can be used for roasting or grilling. The lid doubles as a griddle. Holds 12 quarts. Cost: $75. Cabela’s, 9380 W. Glendale Ave.,
Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven
Available in red and blue, this Dutch oven features chip-resistant surfaces and baked-on enamel layers to make cleaning it easier. Great for cooking, marinating and refrigerating. Holds 7.5 quarts. Cost: $120. Cabela’s, 9380 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 623-872-6700,
Lodge Logic Cast Iron Grill Press
Handy for eliminating bacon curl or pressing fats from meat, this heavy-duty grill press features a stay-cool spiral handle. Dimensions: 6 by 4 inches. Cost: $22.95. Sur La Table, Three Valley locations (Scottsdale and Chandler),
Broil King Keg Smoker
This all-charcoal, double-steel walled smoker features a cast iron cooking grid and a secondary chrome-coated cooking rack. Durable stand with large wheels allows for smoking on-the-go with a base that is trailer hitch-adaptable. Dimensions: 27 by 47 inches. Cost: Starts at $849. Creative Outdoor Kitchens, 13000 W. Indian School Rd., Litchfield Park, 623-547-0110,
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