Archive for the ‘BBQ’ Category

Trends in Outdoor Kitchen Design 2012

June 5, 2012
Stainless steel outdoor kitchen

New Orleans Rooftop Outdoor Kitchen by Danver

With outdoor living projects on the rise, DANVER is proud to be an industry trendsetter and major contributor for the past ten years.  We have seen with our years of experience, sales and daily interactions, that the principal trend in upscale outdoor living is moving beyond just building an outdoor kitchen toward creating a complete outdoor living and area where the kitchen is one component.

During the first half of 2010, we noticed a major shift in outdoor kitchen design.  The transition consisted of a change from the traditional BBQ island or masonry kitchen island to modular cabinets, either inside a three-sided surround, made of a stone, brick, or framed stucco, or completely stand-alone.  Increasingly, these kitchens are being made with custom finishes to really look like indoor cabinetry, but able to withstand all the elements.

The force behind this growing trend is twofold. First, homeowners are seeking a fully functional kitchen, which is not easily accomplished with masonry islands. The islands typically have cutouts for the appliances (grills, side burners and refrigerators), access doors and small drawer inserts.  The access doors typically lead to an unusable black hole and the drawers tend to be too small for real storage. In the past year, we have seen a substantial increase in designs that started as BBQ Islands and morphed into fully functional outdoor kitchens utilizing space via storage cabinetry. In many cases, these homeowners and their contractors were simply not aware of cabinetry as an option or the door styles, colors and finishes available on the cabinets.

The builder/remodeler is the other major force.  Builders realize the cost of modular cabinetry is very similar to the labor and material costs to build a BBQ or masonry kitchen island. The more stone work involved, the more work for the contractor. With modular cabinetry and a stone surround, the crews can quickly finish an installation and move on to the next project so the cost is close for the homeowner but they get a superior product in looks and functionality.

The kitchen is still the focal point of any outdoor design, but the layout and materials are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and complex.  Outdoor living spaces are now given as much detail, budget and design as indoor kitchens and living rooms.  Outdoor kitchens should also serve multiple purposes. When designing an outdoor kitchen, always consider the flow of the area, especially if the backyard includes a pool.   From layout, to size, to door styles–every little detail should be taken into consideration to help make your outdoor living area a creative, warm and inviting space to entertain family and friends.

Contributing to the Leisure Industry’s 15% to 17% annual growth is the creative freedom architects and designers are enjoying by offering realistic wood grain and designer color powder coat finishes.   With the durability of stainless steel cabinetry at their base, Danver’s high-quality, no-maintenance powder coat finishes offer the perfect choice for the discriminating homeowner. Production and technical advances in outdoor furniture, floor and wall coverings and electronics also help make outdoor kitchens more like “outdoor rooms” thus creating a need for cabinetry that requires a painted or wood grain appearance. Over the past three years, Danver outdoor kitchen sales incorporating powder coat or wood grain finishes have grown from about 10% to over 30%!  So whether you are a homeowner, designer or builder, keep this alternative in mind.

There are many things to consider when planning to build your outdoor kitchen.  We can help with any questions you have!

Danver Stainless Steel Cabinetry Honored with 2012 ADEX Award for Cabinet Finishes

April 17, 2012

Your Painted Finishes on Stainless has won a 2012 Platinum Award.

DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry was honored with a Platinum ADEX award for its painted stainless finishes. Along with DANVER’s long-standing reputation for quality, the ADEX awards reinforce DANVER’s dedication to innovative solutions for outdoor living spaces.

“DANVER is proud to offer our customers award winning products. Every year, we focus on developing stylish designs for our performance products,” stated Mitch Slater, president of DANVER. “An ADEX award is a distinguished honor in our industry, and we are delighted to receive Platinum recognition for our outdoor living products.”

Design Journal introduced the Awards for Design Excellence in 1994 and it is the largest, most prestigious awards program for product design of furniture, fixtures and finishes marketed to the design trade. An anonymous panel of professionals representing a cross section of the design industry conducts all voting for the ADEX awards.  Each category has potential for three award levels of platinum, gold or silver. Winners are announced each year in the April issue of Design Journal.

DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry is the leading provider of stainless steel cabinetry and amenities for outdoor living. DANVER is dedicated to providing a luxurious outdoor living experience through its vast array of products to complete any space.

For more information on DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry and their award winning outdoor living products, visit www.danver.com or call (888) 441-0537.

Contemplating Electric Grills

July 15, 2011
Danver Outdoor Kitchen for Condo

Electric Grill on Balcony

There are many instances when people are unable to use a charcoal or gas grill at their home. Typically this occurs in apartment complexes and condominiums that have balconies. Usually these spaces are somewhat small and many have restrictive codes that don’t allow cooking over an open flame for fear of fire or smoke. However, these homeowners like to entertain as much as first floor dwellers. The answer may be an electric grill.

Understanding how these grills work can help you make a decision on a manufacturer. To help understand the challenges, consider how conventional grills typically work (either gas or charcoal). Generally, when cooking directly over the heat source, they must heat the air between the heat source and the food (convection) which is why you have to prehet the grills with the cover down. To retain the heat during cooking, the cover is also closed periodically. (For a discussion of Infrared grilling where the top is left up, refer to an earlier blog post.) Consistent temperature is hard to hold when relying on convection heating, so many grill manufacturers use techniques to even out the heat. Some use a series of ceramic briquettes, angled “flavorizer” bars and the like. These help reduce flare-ups because they catch some of the dripping juices and fat which is then vaporized and returned to the food to add flavor. These techniques vary in success, but they don’t overcome the inherent weakness of relying on the air being heated to cook the food. If it is cold out or somewhat windy, the heating can be inconsistent causing hot and cold spots or the grill just may not get hot enough to cook the food without drying it out. (This is where infrared grilling shines. The heat is consistent and the cooking times repeatable.)

Looking at the electric grill, its heat source is a heating element like you might see in a toaster oven but heavier duty. One of the key issues with electric grills is whether to get a 220v or a 120v. Conventional wisdom says 220v is better because it can get the element hotter than 120v, but many balconies don’t already have that installed so it can be an expensive retrofit. If it is new construction it can be less expensive, but these types of add-ons are not typically part of the original fit-out in the condo. Many people are stuck with looking at 120v units. Regardless of the voltage, these grills suffer the same heat retention issues as conventional grills, with the added burden of not getting as hot as gas or charcoal. It can be similar to having an outdoor toaster oven with the element about 3 inches from the food. This makes it hard to sear the food which helps retain the food’s moisture, so it is drying out as it cooks. The open element also can cause flare ups and smoke when juices and fat drip on it.

A few manufacturers have approached the heating differently. They have moved the heating element up to and touching the bottom of the cooking surface. This serves 2 purposes: 1. The heat is transferred directly to the cooking surface (the complete surface doesn’t vary by more than 3 degrees) making it hotter than the other method of heating the air, and 2. The cooking surface shields the element from drips which cause flare ups and smoke. This type of electric grill is a better design and can get as hot as 600F.  Since they are 120v though, the limitations are typically the size of the cooking area. Some manufacturers have recently come out with double-sized grills which each require a 120v outlet with the appropriate circuits (still easier and less expensive than installing a 220v circuit). In addition, some manufacturers have developed a Ceran (glass) top side burner as an accessory to their electric grills.

I hope this discussion helps you make your decision when researching and purchasing an electric grill.

DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry Honored with Silver, Gold and Platinum ADEX Awards for both Cabinetry and Outdoor Living Amenities

April 11, 2011

WALLINGFORD, CT – (April 11, 2011) – In the Design Journal’s April issue, the 2010-2011 Awards for Design Excellence (ADEX) were announced and DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry was honored with two Platinum ADEX awards for its manufactured products, Designer Cabinet Finishes and Specialty Door Styles. Additionally, for their distributed products, DANVER was awarded a Platinum ADEX for the Solaire Anywhere Portable Grill and a Gold ADEX award for the Solaire Grill and a Silver ADEX award for the Saffire Ceramic Smoker Grill. Along with DANVER’s long-standing reputation for quality, the ADEX awards reinforce DANVER’s dedication to innovative solutions for outdoor living spaces.

“DANVER is proud to offer our customers award winning products. Every year, we focus on developing stylish designs for our performance products,” stated Mitch Slater, president of DANVER. “An ADEX award is a distinguished honor in our industry, and we are delighted to receive Platinum, Gold and Silver recognition for our outdoor living products.”

Design Journal introduced the Awards for Design Excellence in 1994 and is the largest, most prestigious awards program for product design of furniture, fixtures and finishes marketed to the design trade. An anonymous panel of professionals representing a cross section of the design industry conducts all voting for the ADEX awards.  Each category has potential for three award levels of platinum, gold or silver. Winners are announced each year in the April issue of Design Journal.

DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry is the leading provider of stainless steel cabinetry and amenities for outdoor living. DANVER is dedicated to providing a luxurious outdoor living experience through its vast array of products to complete any space.

For more information on DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry and its award winning outdoor living products, visit www.danver.com or call (888) 441-0537.

About DANVER

Headquartered in Wallingford, Conn. DANVER is the leading provider of stainless steel cabinetry and amenities for outdoor living including island inserts, grills, specialty burners, pizza ovens, bartenders, refrigerators, freezers and beverage coolers, sinks and faucets, floating shelves and kitchen carts, and door and drawer fronts. DANVER is dedicated to providing a luxurious outdoor kitchen experience.

Understanding Infrared Grilling

March 2, 2011

Understanding Infrared Grilling

Industry Experts Give Helpful Advice to Make the Correct Choice Among the Many Available Grills

Cooking

Charcoal vs. gas; infrared vs. conventional. What does it mean?

We all like to eat good, tasty food. Everyone who grills outdoors wants to achieve or exceed “restaurant quality” results, and to do so consistently. For this discussion we want to focus on direct heat cooking (most frequently done) as opposed to indirect (like smoking). With direct heat cooking the food is usually placed over the heat rather than to the side.

With so many grills to choose from and new ones entering the market all the time, many people are confused. Sales hype and too much conflicting information make it difficult to make an informed decision. In this short space I hope to give you practical facts to help you with that decision.

When people say they like charcoal better than gas, they are usually referring to the taste of the final product. They feel they have more control over the fire, more consistent heat and a hotter fire. In some respects, this is true. When the coals turn white hot, that’s when to put the food on because you can sear it properly. Then you finish the cooking process by moving the food to a less hot area which yields juicy, succulent food regardless of whether it is meat, fish or vegetables. Gas grill manufacturers have tried to simulate that cooking process while giving the chef the convenience of gas (easy to light, continuous heat settings, less mess).

Everyone is familiar with the actual gas grill results that keep people searching for a better grill or keep the ”traditionalists” using charcoal:

  • There are hot and cold spots because the burners clog and rot so you have to keep moving the food around
  • if it is cooler out, it takes longer to cook, so results vary
  • you have to keep the grill cover closed so you can’t watch the food
  • the fire is not really hot enough to sear the food so the entire cooking process is really drying out the food

Grilling is a simple matter of the relationship between the type of food, heat and time. By following guidelines and modifying them through your experience to match your specific tastes and degree of doneness, it will allow you to consistently achieve great grilling results. Unlike infrared grills, the problem with conventional grills is their inability to be consistent.

With a conventional gas (natural or propane) BBQ grill, your food is actually cooked using an indirect source of heat because you are really heating the air between the heat source and the food. It is referred to as convection heating because it is similar to cooking in an oven. Conventional grills have burners usually made from a metal (steel, stainless, cast iron, brass) tube with 35 or 40 jets and will reach a temperature of approximately 450°-600°.  It doesn’t get hot enough to sear and you have to cook with the lid down to hope to maintain a consistent temperature. If there is a metal piece between the burner and the grate or ceramic “briquettes”, sometimes called a “flavor enhancer” or “flare-up” retarder, the heat at the grate will not reach 600°. Attaining temperatures above 600° is very important for searing. Meats need to be seared at temperatures of at least 650° and 700° to lock in the flavor and juices.

How Infrared Cooking Works

With a charcoal grill, when the charcoal turns white, it is producing heat at approximately 1200°, which is infrared heat. Infrared cooking is nothing new. It has been used in commercial kitchens for 50 years. In restaurant kitchens, infrared burners are called Salamanders and are positioned over the food. Going back to the concept that grilling is a matter of the relationship between the  food, heat and time, infrared burners produce a consistent heat so that restaurants can produce consistent quality and doneness regardless of the type of food! Every time you visit a Morton’s or Capital Grille, that’s how they get it right every time.

To achieve this same consistency and cooking quality for the home grilling market, several years ago the Thermal Engineering Corporation (TEC) obtained a patent to position an infrared burner below the food in a grill. These grills are powered by either natural gas or propane. They led the revolution that continues to this day with infrared grills. The burners in these grills are rectangular shaped ceramic, stainless or inconel units with approximately 300 gas jets that reach a temperature between 1200° and 1400°. At these temperatures, you can truly sear food. These burners allow the cook to achieve white hot charcoal temperatures in 3 minutes, and maintain that temperature for as long as the cook needs to! That is the breakthrough of infrared grilling!

This is how the infrared technology works: as the burner is heated to a very hot temperature, it starts to emit infrared radiation which cooks food and is independent of the ambient air temperature. A good example of this is when you are standing in the shade but you put your arm in the sun; your arm warms up. That is infrared heat!

Using infrared heat to cook will make your foods taste more flavorful as the high heat locks in the moisture and natural juices. The thing to remember when cooking on infrared burners is to keep the grill lid open, sear for the appropriate short time, and use the two other settings on the control knob, medium and low, to finish the cooking process depending on the type of food. If the burner is left on high, you will burn everything. However, using your heat/time relationship and experience, you can cook anything and everything: meat, chicken, fish and vegetables. These grills heat in 3 minutes and food cooks in half the time of ordinary grills. And because of the consistent heat, the cooking times are unaffected by the air temperature because you are not heating the air to cook like with conventional burners. So a steak cooks the same in the winter as in the summer! Just remember your time and temperature relationship.

The Grill Market

After TEC’s patent ran out, around the year 2000, there were only 2 companies making all-infrared grills: TEC and Solaire. The traditional grill and well known indoor appliance companies (Viking, DCS, Dacor, Wolf, etc.) spent time and money pooh-poohing the need for infrared heat in grilling rather than embracing the technology. Over the next several years, a segment of the market was converted to grilling with infrared heat so the traditional grill companies were forced into offering their own infrared burners. Typical initial infrared burner introductions by these companies were in the form of rear rotisserie burners which they contended was the only time necessary to use infrared heat. With some of these companies, this continues today. While this is an excellent use of infrared burners, it neglects the 99% of the other cooking that occurs on the grill.

Most of the traditional grill companies now sell an infrared burner option in the normal burner position (with conventional burners in the rest of the grill). They market these as “sear zones” and instruct their customers to sear the food on the infrared burner and move it over to the conventional burners to finish it. This is required with some manufacturers because their sear zones don’t have a temperature control; they only work on “high”. Others have temperature controls, but they still instruct the cook to move the food over. While this works, it effectively reduces the cooking surface area of the grill by as much as ¼ to ½ of your cooking area depending on the number of burners. If a manufacturer is instructing the use of a grill in this manner, a better option might be to purchase a “sear pod” or separate infrared burner that can be built in alongside the built-in grill. The obvious downside is the chore of transferring all of the food from the “sear pod” to the grill.

Many of the outdoor kitchens today employ several types of grills depending on the type of cooking being done. Just like indoor kitchens where several cooking appliances from different manufacturers (“Best in Class”) are used, the outdoor kitchen offers the same opportunity for “Best in Class” cooking appliances. Consider the type of cooking required and employ the best appliance for each job. Some of the popular products are Ceramic “Egg” smoker grills powered by charcoal, high output “Power Burners” that can boil large stock pots for lobsters, crabs, crawfish and shrimp, pellet grills and many others. I believe you will find the infrared grill ideal for direct-heat cooking. The infrared grill has made it possible to char broil steaks and other types of barbecuing that could formerly only be done with commercial equipment. The infrared technology is easy to use and will have you barbecuing great tasting food in a fraction of the time that it takes with traditional gas and charcoal grills.

For more information on infrared grilling, please visit DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry online www.danver.com.

Latest Gourmet Grilling Option for these Sizzling Summer Days: The New Saffire Grill

July 22, 2010

Are you looking for a luxury grill that cooks food with precision heat? Well, during the prime heat of summer coupled with upcoming Fall cook-outs, we are thrilled to introduce our new Saffire Grill and Smoker to our extensive list of quality outdoor kitchen products. The ceramic Saffire Grill and Smoker produces gourmet quality steaks, seafood, pizzas and barbecue every time, through precision heat control and ceramic construction.

Many types of ceramic grills are available, but we have found one that fits with our cabinetry and offers unrivaled flexibility in the grill family. Whether hosting a party or cooking a family dinner, the Saffire Grill’s versatility and precision cooking is a perfect addition to any outdoor kitchen.

This grill’s heat-efficient construction allows it to smoke food for several hours with a limited amount of charcoal. Minimal air flow prevents fires and allows food to retain its moisture. The Saffire Grill sustains temperatures from 200 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure even cooking for several hours.

The exterior of the Saffire Grill does not retain as much heat as a standard charcoal grill, making it a safer option for an outdoor kitchen. Plus, our Saffire has a self cleaning mechanism when heated to high temperatures, which greatly minimizes maintenance. With a quick start-up of less than 10 minutes, the Saffire Grill is also an excellent option for a quick outdoor meal.

Check out a couple of our favorite summer recipes using the Saffire (courtesy of Food Network).

Sixteen Spice Smoked Chicken

Grilled Corn on the Cob

For more information on the DANVER Saffire Grill and Smoker, or to design your own outdoor kitchen, visit www.danver.com or call 888.441.0537.