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How to Turn Your Barbecue Grill into a Baking Oven

If you have an outdoor barbecue grill with a cover that closes over the top of the grill, you can turn it into an outdoor oven. Why would you want to do that? To preclude the need to heat up your kitchen this summer to bake pizza, cookies, cakes, bread, and casseroles. And to expand your camping-out cooking repertoire.

pizza on an outdoor grill

General

You can bake nearly anything with a covered grill. If your grill doesn’t have a cover, improvise with a large inverted pot. The heat rises and circulates in the covered area just as it does in your oven. The heat source can be charcoal, gas, or even wood, however, gas is preferable because it is easier to control and does not transfer a smoked taste to the baked items.

Temperature

This is the challenge. The hardest part of using a gas grill as an oven is temperature control. A built-in accessory thermometer can be useful but these can easily be off by more than 50°F, which can really interfere whether you’re baking a great meatloaf, a whole chicken, or homemade bread.

If your grill has a temperature gauge installed, you’re in luck. If not, you’ll need to get a small oven thermometer so you can more accurately regulate the inside temperature of your grill when it is closed.

Pre-heat

Always fire up the grill for a few minutes to set the temperature before baking.

Get bricks

When baking, never set the baking pan directly on the grill. Instead, set a brick or two as necessary on the grill, then the banking pan on top of the brick(s).  Read more

The Easiest Summer Barbecue Ever— Ribs, Beans, Slaw, Dessert

Does your fear-of-ruining-a-pile-of-ribs keeps your backyard grilling events stuck in hamburger mode? If so, you can let those fears go with these easy barbecue recipes. You’re about to learn a fool-proof, easier-than-easy method for turning out perfect baby back ribs every time you give it a try.

delicious bbq ribs with beans, cole slaw and a tangy bbq sauce

Consider this easy summer barbecue menu: Easy Baby Back Ribs, followed by  Coleslaw, Baked Beans, and Grilled Peaches to round out any summer celebration. Read more

July is Best Time for Shopping Bargains on These 9 Items

Finding authentic hot bargains and deep discounts on the things you need often has more to do with when you shop than where. It’s all about knowing the best time to buy.  And the time is now for great July shopping bargains.

In the same way that cars are often discounted late in the season and just before new models are introduced, appliances, clothes, sporting goods, linens, home decor, and even travel deals are predictably discounted for a variety of different reasons. In fact, 4th of July sales are known as Black Friday in July—a chance to get a deal iPads, 4K TVs, outdoor grills, appliances, and sporting goods, too— at Black Friday-like prices.

As July temperatures soar, keep an eye out for these hot bargains.

A book sitting on top of a wooden table

Outdoor grills

July is smack dab in the middle of summer, and grill retailers are starting to sweat. They’re checking inventory. Most people purchase grills at the beginning of the season and traffic is starting to slow. What to do with all the inventory? Sell it, baby! As soon as the last fireworks display is packed up for another year, expect every kind of outdoor grill imaginable to go on sale.

Whether on Amazon or elsewhere, gas grills are a super smart buy in July because you still have plenty of choices, nearly everything available is on sale and lots of great grilling days still ahead.

A man that is standing in the grass cooking on an outdoor grill

 

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All You Need to Know to Fire Up the BBQ to Get Grilling

A couple of weeks ago with all the confidence in the world that winter had passed, I got everything ready for our first outdoor barbecue of the season. The weather was perfect, ditto for the menu.

millennial-grilling-steaks-using-an-electric-grill

I pulled the cover off the grill and got a shock—and not of the electrical kind. Actually, I was more embarrassed than anything. The grill was a mess—inside and out. Yuck!

My only explanation is that the cold days of fall prompted me to just throw the cover on while my inner procrastinator assured me that I’d clean it later.

Granted, our new grill is now three years old, but still. A dirty mess? You should have seen me fly into action. I grabbed a spray bottle of homemade degreaser (no time for more heavy-duty options) and went to work. In no time at all, it was clean enough and we were back in business.

Assuming I’m not the only one who fails to do a deep clean on the outdoor grill after every use, today I have lots of really great grilling tips and tricks for cleaning and for great grilling, too.

Let’s hear it for summer—let the grilling begin!

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4 Absolutely Brilliant Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

There’s just nothing that screams late summer like sweet corn when it’s fresh, hot, and slathered with butter and salt. Today, I want to share with you four brilliantly delicious ways to cook corn on the cob that are sure to thrill and delight you, your family, and guests, too.

Corn on the cob is a summer staple that should be part of every summer celebration and backyard cookout because not only is fresh corn cheap when it’s in season, it’s quick and easy to prepare, too! But first, let’s talk about how to start with the best ears of corn.

 

Food on a table, with Corn on the cob and Sweet corn

How to choose

There you are in front of a pile of freshly-picked, in-the-husks, sweet corn. You want to select ears with these characteristics:

  • Bright green husks that are tightly wrapped and mostly intact.
  • The stem area where it was cut from the stalk should be sticky and moist. If this is really dry, it’s old corn.
  • Check the tassels. They, too, should be slightly sticky, moist, and silky.
  • Peel back a small area of the husk to check for wormholes and brown spots. Avoid.

4 ways to prepare

There must be as many ways to prepare fresh corn on the cob as there are people who love to eat it. Here are my favorites:

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Outdoor Grilling on a Budget

Getting our outdoor grill cleaned, polished, and ready for summer got me thinking about how much fun it would be to celebrate. After all, the first day of summer comes but once a year, so why not do things up right with an amazing menu and a few good friends to kick off the season even if that means grilling on a budget.

A bowl of green grass

 

What happened next I can only attribute to a momentary lapse of good judgment.

I visited the website of Lobel’s of New York, “the best source for the finest and freshest USDA prime dry-aged steaks, roasts, specialty meats, and gourmet products that money can buy.”

Unveiling the mother of all outdoor grills seemed like an event worthy of a few high-quality American Wagyu steaks delivered overnight on a bed of dry ice. I checked the price. Gulp! One 20-oz Porterhouse steak: $159.95—plus overnight shipping.

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Best Inexpensive™ Dish Drainer, Electric Kettle, Outdoor Grill

You know it’s a good day for me when my “inner shopper” gets to come out and play.

Researching, reviewing and testing the things that you, My Dear Readers, request is like a license to shop till I drop—all the joys without the horrible side effects of overspending. Coming up with solid recommendations for the best inexpensive options is one of the most satisfying things I get to do. I’d say we have a good thing going on.

DISH DRAINER

I’m one who relies heavily on a dishwasher, which means I haven’t owned a dish drainer or even thought about that until just recently when I heard from Pam:

I recently replaced my wire dish drainer rack and couldn’t find anything but small replacements drainers with small drainboards. What’s going on? Any ideas where to find a bigger dish drainer (NOT plastic) and drain board?

Pam’s right. Huge, metal dish drainers are a thing of the past. But not to worry. After a bit of searching, trial and some error—and tremendous need now that I do have a dishwasher (we’re remodeling!)—I’m excited to reveal my Best Inexpensive™ pick, which I absolutely love.

POLDER DISH RACK AND TRAY. I love this dish drainer because it is stainless steel, elegantly designed and includes both a drain try and separate drying tray. That effectively doubles the space of the rack itself—and the drying tray stores beneath the rack when not needed. That makes this Polder Dish Rack and Tray versatile. About $40. 

Dish Rack and Polder

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