An outdoor summer staple, grilling allows you to enjoy the sunshine and make healthy, yummy meals for your friends and family. Whether you’ve been grilling for years or are new to the game, chances are you have a favorite kind of grill. But if you’ve ever wondered about branching out, here’s our simple comparison of charcoal, gas, and smoker grills. And with the 4th of July just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to mix it up and try something new.
Charcoal grills arguably give you the most authentic grilling experience. Lighting the charcoal, watching the fire grow, and waiting until the grill is hot enough to get cooking is all part of the fun. While these grills do tend to be the smokiest, charcoal lovers claim this actually makes the food more flavorful. These grills are often smaller and more portable than their gas and smoker cousins. And if you want the flavor but don’t like waiting for the coals to heat up, try a chimney charcoal starter to cut the time in half.
Gas grills light quickly and easily with the use of propane, reducing the amount of time you have to spend waiting to cook your meal. These grills maintain a consistent temperature, which takes the guesswork out of cooking and makes the overall process easier. Cooking with a gas grill tends to go faster, and the minimal amount of smoke means you won’t walk away smelling like a campfire.
If you’re craving a different experience that could churn out some of your new favorite dishes, consider trying a smoker. While they may take longer to cook and don’t offer the same cooking-over-an-open-flame experience, meats tend to be juicier and more flavorful when smoked. And smokers can also be a great option for cooking desserts like an apple pie or peach cobbler.
Whatever your grilling preference may be, it can be fun to explore other options every once in a while! Who knows, you may get hooked on a new method just in time for that 4th of July party.
The first official day of summer is upon us and you know what that means – more fun in the sun! But sometimes summer entertaining can turn out to be far more taxing than it is relaxing – so why not pick this weekend to do a few things to make your outdoor space ready for any occasion? These three tips will help make sure you’re stressing less and entertaining more.
1. Create Conversation Nooks
The grill, the appetizer table, the drink station…these are all popular spots for your guests to hang out during summer barbecues. But take a look at where you might want them to mingle. Create gathering areas; make them big enough to be social but quaint enough to be cozy. Whether it’s chat sets for small spaces, dining tables where you can enjoy a meal or a board game, or lounge sets for conversations lasting into the night, just thinking about the function of each space can help you adjust outdoor furniture appropriately. Already have a patio set? Consider upgrading your outdoor patio cushions. You’d be surprised how inviting a fresh set of seat cushions will be on last year’s furniture.
2. Make an Outdoor Kitchen
Don’t have a built in grilling station outside? No problem. It’s easy to setup an outdoor kitchen – from grills to smokers or even an outdoor pizza oven, you just need to designate a space for the cooking magic to happen! Throw in a shade-friendly gazebo and you’ll have a perfect spot for people to chat up the grill master. Add an outdoor folding table for prepping, a spot for grill accessories and a patio cooler to keep some cold drinks handy, and your chef will be one happy griller! Of course if you want an all-in-one, a grill gazebo might be the ticket. Either way, it doesn’t take much to take your cooking outside.
3. Set the Mood for Entertaining
Outdoor lawn games, pool toys, drink stations…they all help create an inviting and entertaining addition to your summer party. Whether it’s setting up different areas for a bean bag toss, giant checkers or croquet, games are sure to be a hit for kids of all ages. Then think about placing different tubs around for guests to quickly grab a drink – galvanized steel tubs can denote adults-only beverages and colored rope handled tubs can hold child-friendly options. And don’t forget to add ambiance with charming string lights, lanterns, candles or solar-powered path lights. Fire pits also help light up the night and are perfect for smores!
Once you realize how simple these little projects can be, you’ll probably see tons of opportunities to update your outdoor living space. And your neighbors at Orchard are always here to help. After all, summer is all about being outside– so let’s get you out there enjoying the season!