Friday, August 23, 2013

Green BBQing!!

Many people tell me that barbecuing isn't "being green" due to the use of woods for the smoke, use of lighter fluid to start charcoal, the smoke that is emitted from the smoker/grill, etc, etc.

We here at Colorado BBQ Outfitters believe in "green barbecuing". What the heck does that mean you ask? Well, let me tell you...

1. Own a good grill/smoker! According to Popular Mechanics, replacing a grill every 3 to 4 years does far worse for the environment than purchasing a good quality grill/smoker for the simple fact those crappy cheap made grills end up in landfills more often than quality grills do. Grills don't need to be tossed away when something goes wrong. There are many places that sell parts for grills and repairing is cheaper than replacing.

2. Never light your charcoal with petroleum based products such as lighter fluid, etc. Always use natural ways to light your charcoal such as all natural gels, or Primo Quicklights, or a chimney charcoal starter.

3. Use all natural hardwood lump charcoal instead of briquettes. I know what you are thinking: "but Dan, they have to chop down rain forests and trees to get that charcoal". Not necessarily. Many companies have government contracts to extract what they call Slash from the forest floor (fallen trees, etc) to use to make the charcoal. Many charcoals that come from South America are produced on private farms so as not to cut down natural growth. Our charcoal line, Wicked Good, is a perfect example of this.

4. If you are a pellethead (own a wood pellet grill), make sure the pellets you are using are all natural and do not come from cut trees. Our line of pellets, Lumberjack, also have a government contract to clear out fallen slash from forests which promotes better growth in the forest.

5. If a branch falls from your apple tree and decays, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it puts off the same amount of carbon as it would if you burned it.

6. Want to pollute the environment? Grab the family, jump in the car, drive to a restaurant, over spend for prepared food, then drive back home. Instead of doing that, buy fresh meats and vegetables from the store and make it yourself. Grilling/smoking in the summer decreases your use of your oven and stove which, in turn, saves on your utility bill.

7. Even so much as rubbing an onion on your grate to season it instead of spraying it with harmful chemicals or non stick spray from a can will help.

Barbequing and smoking are better for the environment than most think!!!

Colorado BBQ Outfitters
6850 N. Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, Co 80918

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The ABCs of Charcoal

Charcoal is still a very popular way to grill and/or barbecue so I thought I would jot down some dos and don'ts, etc about the use of charcoal. 

First of all, what is charcoal? Charcoal is simply wood that has been subjected to heat with very little oxygen turning it basically into carbon depleting it of moisture. The result is called CHAR. 

By processing hardwood this way it causes the resulting Char to burn at a hotter temperature and more consistently and offers a wonderful flavor for cooked food. 

First thing I want to point out is that there is a huge difference between the cheaper briquettes you see in most stores and all natural hardwood lump charcoal. Briquettes is a four letter word in the world of barbeque unless they are all natural. Most briquettes contain anthracite coal, mineral charcoal, starch, sodium nitrate, limestone, sawdust, and borax among other chemicals. We here at Colorado BBQ Outfitters never recommend the use of briquettes that are not all natural. 

Also, never, ever, ever use chemicals to light your charcoal such as lighter fluid. Not only can it damage your grill it will impart a petroleum flavor to your food. It is considered a deadly sin in the world of barbecue.

Now that you know what NOT to buy, let's talk about what you should use. Only use all natural hardwood lump charcoal. Although the brand isn't very significant, Colorado BBQ Outfitters carries the Wicked Good Weekend Warrior Blend which has been voted number one by The Naked Whiz website We also carry Primo all natural hardwood lump charcoal. When it comes to charcoal, you get what you pay for.

So if you shouldn't use lighter fluid, how do you light your charcoal? There are many ways you can do this:

1. My personal favorite is a charcoal chimney starter. We carry the Steven Raichlen chimney starter.
These work very simply. You fill up the starter with charcoal, stuff newspaper underneath, light the paper and let it burn. Air is pulled up through the starter along with the fire from the paper burning lighting the charcoal within about 10 minutes. Better yet, if you have a side burner on your gas grill, set it on there for a few minutes. Then you simply pour the lit charcoal into your grill. Simple as that. 

2. The use of all natural fire starters such as Primo Quick Lights. These are similar to the logs you use to start fires in a fireplace. Always remember to only use all natural fire starters. 
3. Electric charcoal starters work very well also. These do need an electric power source. They are basically a heating element that you place in the charcoal and it ignites the charcoal to cause it to start burning. 

There are other products out there but the above three are what I would recommend for most average grillers/barbecuers. 

How much charcoal you need is directly related to what you are cooking or grilling. A small handful is enough for a steak or two or a few burgers. If you are smoking a big brisket, you will need more to keep it at the temperature you want for a longer period of time. 

Come visit us at Colorado BBQ Outfitters at 6850 N. Academy Blvd Colorado Springs, Co. (Northwest corner of York and Academy) or call us at 719-465-1041 and we can show you some interesting ways to barbecue with charcoal. 

Colorado BBQ Outfitters