Tag Archives: grilling

Primo Grill 101: Starting Fire and Holding Temperature

Someone asked us recently:
What is the best method for getting my new Primo grill to hold the 200F – sub 200F range?
This was an issue I struggled with and I found there are a lot of options. Best way to manage temp on a Primo grill is to buy a BBQ Guru. I love my Digi Q, but I started with a Pit Master and both are just the best.  Best bet is to use the nice little configurator to find the right unit for you and that makes your Primo grill a full on smoker. I have been able to hold temps for over 16 hours and do some major cooks.

Assuming you want to go low and slow and stay below say 250F, here is how I do it with my Primo grill. The biggest difference with smoking on a Weber kettle is that you do not want to use lighter fluid with it as the fluid could season the Primo in a negative way. Always clean out the charcoal box before each use. I use a Shop Vac after removing unused coals in a steel bucket and reusing them for my next fire. I use hardwood charcoal and stack big pieces on the bottom for best air flow and then put smaller pieces on top after you clean out the grill from all previous cooks. Throw on some wood chunk around the spot where you are going to light the charcoal. The coals will burn out and then fire up the smoke as it comes up to temperature.

To start the actual fire,  you can use Weber fire starters or a propane torch and start a small part of the coals and once that gets going, load up the grill with the drip pan racks, your D plates, grill grates and put the food on. Then close the vent at the bottom down to about 50%to start to ramp up the temp until it holds steady at 200F or so. You need to make sure that the top and bottom vents are controlled so you ease into the temp. Go over by too much and it is hard to cool it down, but not impossible, just takes some time.

This is why I love the BBQ Guru. Life is too short to worry about temperature control when you have technology like that! With the BBQ Guru, I do all of the above accept for the temperature venting, I just install the fan, open the top vent to the half moon, set the temperature on the BBQ Guru and check back in 10 minutes to make sure the temp is ramping up properly.

For all Primo Grill Users I highly recommend that you register for the Primo Grill Forum and look through the postings. The users of the Primo Grill Forum are amazing cooks and have incredible wisdom that they share freely.  Many are true Pit masters who love Primo grills and will guide you through any issue you are having. There is already tons of info on how to learn quickly and answer almost any question you have! Primo is an awesome ceramic smoker and grill so please contact us if you have any questions. We always love to help out a fellow Primo owner!
Elizabeth Karmel of Grill Friends and author of Soak Slathered & Seasoned

Martha Stewart Living Radio Grilling Hotline: Monday May 24th!

Elizabeth Karmel of Grill Friends and author of Soak Slathered & Seasoned

Featuring Elizabeth Karmel, Author of Soak Slathered & Seasoned

We are so pleased that Elizabeth Karmel and Mike Mills have been chosen to share some of their tips and tricks with you on the first annual Martha Stewart Living Radio Grilling Hotline This will be a 10-hour marathon radio event on Sirius(112)/XM(157) featuring some of tour favorites in the BBQ business, including Mike Mills and Elizabeth Karmel as well as Tim Love and Steven Raichlen.  The coolest thing is that you can call in and talk directly with these people who will all be live in the studio with the Martha Stewart Living Radio hosts.  You can ask them questions and I am sure that they will be sharing tips, tricks, recipes and help you plan out your grilling for the summer.

You can also download a series of FREE Cookbooks at the page describing it on the XM site, make sure to set your alarm clocks, cause this gets going early.

The date is Monday, May 24th and the call in number is 866-675-6675 and you will need to get up early to catch the kick off with the one and only Mike Mills, of 17th Street Barbecue! Here is the official line-up:

Monday, May 24
7am ET
Mike Mills, “The Legend”
Champion Pitmaster, Restaurateur, Author, Peace, Love, and Barbecue
8am ET
Frank Stitt
Award-winning Chef, Restaurateur and Author, Frank Stitt’s Bottega Favorita: A Southern Chef’s Love Affair with Italian Food and Frank Stitt’s Southern Table
9am ET
Chris Lilly
Vice President, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL and Author, Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint

Julie Reiner (9:15am)
Beverage Director and Co-Owner Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club; Co-Owner Pegu Club, who discusses punches and pitcher drinks for the summer entertaining season.

10am ET
Elizabeth Karmel
Executive Chef, New York City’s Hill Country, Founder of Girls at the Grill and Author, Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ, Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza and More and Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned: A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill.
11am ET
John Stage
Owner, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Author, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse.
12pm ET
Tim Love
Chef/Owner of The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and The Love Shack in Fort Worth, TX
1pm ET
Kenny Callaghan
Executive Chef, Pitmaster and Partner, New York City’s Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard
2pm ET
Adam Perry Lang
Chef and Restaurateur, Daisy May’s BBQ USA and author, Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste & Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking and BBQ 25: The World’s Most Flavorful Recipes — Now Made Foolproof
3pm ET
Steven Raichlen
Multi-Award-Winning Author, Cooking Teacher and TV Host. His latest is Planet Barbecue: 309 Recipes! 60 Countries! Celebrate the World’s Best Barbecue!
4pm ET
John Markus
Barbecue Aficionado, Founder of his competitive barbecue team, Central Pork West, and Executive Producer of TLC’S BBQ Pitmasters

Samuel Merritt
Founder, Civilization of Beer

Grilled Burgers, Gretchen and Big Butz on Celebrity Grill Podcast

Celebrity Grill Podcast

Subscribe to the Celebrity Grill Podcast and Learn to Grill from the Masters

BBQ Pro Shop is really excited to announce that Gretchen recently participated in a Celebrity Grill Round Table with Tom from Big Butz BBQ @BigButzBBQ and they talk burgers, seasoning, setting up the grill, the type of meat and how to cook burgers. JM of Celebrity Grill Podcast is really a great resource for people who want to learn more about grilling and find out some ideas, techniques and secrets of people who grill. Creativity is what it is all about when it comes to the grill and this is a great way to learn how to grill.
Here is the MP3 link: Podcast #17 – Burger Round Table

Check out the links on the BBQ Pro Shop Blog Home page to see what Podcasts we recommend and listen to ourselves!

BBQ Pro Shop: Skirt Steak Smackdown

Three Rubs, Two Sauces, Awesome Skirt Steaks

We have had an influx of new rubs and sauces at the BBQ Pro Shop and last night we felt like Skirt Steaks and thought we should try them with Rub rather than the usual Soy Vey which is our standard. So last night we did a Skirt Steak Smackdown and compared Cripple Creek Barbeque All Purpose Spice Rub, Smokin Rub Steak Seasoning, and  Wine Country Chef Organic BBQ Spice Rub just to see how they all taste on a cheap steak like skirt steak.

Having worked at  butcher shop for many years in high school, trimming skirt steaks, grilling skirt steaks, I discovered that the secret to the perfect skirt steak is to have it tenderized at the butcher. Gretchen discovered that Whole Foods will run it through their tenderizer for you and this opens up the meat, makes it pretty thin and allows it to be tender and delicious. The thicker the better if you like it somewhat rare, but if you marinate or put rub on it, the taste is fantastic.

So we seasoned up the steaks and put them on the grill directly over high heat and it is important to pay close attention to the grill as depending on the thickness of the steak, it could burn. As you could see from the photo these were really thin, so a quick sear on each side usually does the trick. After grilling these, I rubbed the  Cripple Creek Barbeque All Purpose Spice Rub and then sauced it after coming off the grill with Cripple Creek Barbeque Roasted Garlic Sauce (Unavailable at press time, thanks @cripplecreekBBQ) and it was delicious. The spice in the rub combined perfectly with the spice in the sauces and the garlic flavoring was just perfect. Loved it!

The next steak was seasoned with Smokin Rub Steak Seasoning which is coming very soon to BBQ Pro Shop and then sauced with Big Butz BBQ Sauce – Original which was our first try of big butz and the first time we used Smokin Rub Steak Seasoning as well. We found that the Smokin Rub Steak Seasoning was perfect on steak! It combined the seasonings and taste you would expect on steak and it brought out the flavor of the meat more than anything. Our belief is that this is all about the meat, especially when you are spending money on beef, that you can taste it.

The Big Butz BBQ Sauce – Original was sublime, what Gretchen I felt was the classic, perfect BBQ sauce. Great sweetness, smokey flavor and a little spicy bite that lets you know that this was made with some love! This sauce is homeade in small batches and we just loved it Complimented the steak and allowed the flavor of the meat through which was pretty exciting that it didn’t over power the meat. Got my wife singing, “I like Big Butz….” Buy it at BBQ Pro Shop and it comes in a lot of flavors, check it out in our BBQ Sauces section.

Finally, we loved the Wine Country Chef Organic BBQ Spice Rub as these organic ingredients in the rub make it so flavorful and it really does excite the senses from the aroma of the spices to the natural flavor of the organic spice rub. Gretchen felt like it had somewhat of a peppery overtone that she did not like, however I love pepper on my steak/beef, and along with the other flavors this worked out really well. I dipped the Wine Country Chef Organic BBQ Spice Rub steak in both of the sauces and the result was very complimentary.

This wasn’t a competition as much as a tasting and although we preferred some over the other, we believe in all of the products that we carry. Give all of these Spices and Rubs and try by ordering today at BBQ Pro Shop or on Amazon!

The Science of BBQing?

I always thought that BBQ was more art than science, and then I started smoking meat as a hobby, low and slow you might say and soon learned about the BBQ Guru, which was where science was introduced into the mix. Low and slow is the way to go when grilling and the more you burn your BBQ, the worse it gets for you from a toxin standpoint. In other words, chemically altering the make up of the meat. Boing Boing featured an article Science of BBQing and after reading it, there is a whole lot going on and making sure that you keep your grilling as healthy as possible, I pulled out a few gems.

Other research-proven tricks for reducing HCAs, as noted in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, include using marinades, garlic and onion, said Risch. A marinade of red wine, for instance, can reduce the formation of HCAs by 88 percent, she noted. Although scientists aren’t sure exactly how these techniques work, moisture from marinades may ensure that the meat directly in contact with the grill remains at a relatively low temperature, she said.

HCA’s in BBQ meat can be bad, and to support the idea of good BBQ grilling practice she made this comment:

The amount of HCAs formed in grilled meats typically triples if meats are cooked well done rather than medium well, she noted.

So we recommend that you do not torch your meat, instead, use low and slow cooking methods as well as indirect cooking which truly changes the way that you can use your grill or smoker. Indirect cooking on the grill means moving the coals to the side of your BBQ grill or turning off some of your gas burners and cooking over the unheated surface.  The BBQ acts as an oven and still cooks the meat but you get a very moist end result in the meat or vegetables. The Grill Friends Grill Mat is an excellent way to cook indirect on the grill.

Also remember that “high” is not the only setting on your grill and that cooking the meat over white hot coals is not the only way to do it. I always cook chicken breasts, especially boneless breasts under medium heat and the end result is always very moist. Burgers can be the same, I usually heat the grill on High and then dial it down to medium for when I actually put the burgers on. All the grease usually flares up and provides enough extra heat that I get golden brown burgers every time.

There is a science to BBQ grilling, and the more you experiment, the better your artistic talents. Let’s face it, there is an art in science too.