Best way to start a fire ... (in your grill, of course.)

A Modern Missive for your Extraordinary Life

It's red, white, blue, and blazing hot in July so what better time to talk about barbecue? Nothing says summertime like a smoking grill and a cold drink, and at Urban Vintage LA, we love good food served up with great company. To that end, we scour the web to find out what the top tips are for the beginning backyard chef.

5 Grill Hacks for the Backyard Beginner

Whether you are firing up the grill in your urban concrete jungle, or commandeering a massive built in, we scoured the web to find the best tips for the rookie backyard barbecue chef. Before you strike a match, take note! 

1.  First, let's get this out of the way. Gas or charcoal? For flavor, charcoal is the clear winner. Assume from here on in we've got coals in our grill. 

2. The pros agree, to light the coals, avoid lighter fluid! Nasty chemical laden fumes can add unwanted flavor to your food - use a chimney starter instead. Throw in some wadded up paper, layer with charcoal, and light. In about 20 minutes the coals will be ready to spread across the grill in a nice, even layer.

3.  Except - don't spread them evenly. Pile all the coals on one side of the grill to create direct and indirect heat zones. By creating zones, you can grill over direct heat or cook on indirect heat and roast your food, similar to an oven."Can't decide whether to use a direct or indirect method? If the food takes less than 20 minutes to cook, use direct heat; if it takes longer, use indirect heat."  Elizabeth Karmel, grilling pro and author of Taming the Flame

4.  Is it ready yet? Don't have a thermometer handy? Coals are ready when they are grey and glowing -"white hot." To gauge the temperature of a grill without a thermometer, place your hand flat about 5 inches above the grill rack; the fire is high if you have to move your hand in 2 seconds, medium if you have to move your hand in 5 seconds and low if you have to move your hand in 10 seconds. But for food safety, definitely invest in a meat thermometer! 

5.  Before you cook, clean! It's easiest to clean the grill when it is hot. Dirty grills mean even the leanest meats stick to the grate. No brush? Use aluminum foil wadded up tight and scrub the grill using tongs as a handle. After you are done cleaning, oil the grill lightly with a folded paper towel for easier removal and perfect char marks. 

Now, you are ready to grill! The possibilities are endless. Choose from an Eastern Carolina vinegar-based sauce or slap on a thick layer of sweet, tangy Kansas City style barbecue sauce flavored with molasses and liquid smoke. Don't stop there! Try your hand at creating your own. Dry rubs, marinades, meat cuts, vegetables ... your imagination is your limitation! And some basic chemistry rules - but that's for another time! Just remember to keep a spray bottle of water nearby to manage pesky flare-ups. 

 

Best of all, pair your perfectly charred masterpiece with your favorite drink chilled to teeth-chattering temperature.

Our pure copper, handcrafted mugs are available in a limited edition set of four, along with a sleek copper shot glass and handy recipe booklet to get you started. 

 

And these mugs aren't just for the Moscow Mule (although don't dare try one without it), but can be used to serve up any drink you desire, from southern sweet tea all the way to Long Island ice tea, with any number of other possibilities along the way. The highly conductive nature of copper and the superior quality of our pure copper makes it the only choice to cool off your drink in the dog days of summer.

 

Grab your friends, grab your grills, light some fires and let's get cooking. Raise your mug high and celebrate the life we choose to create with those who love us true. 

Happy Summer of '17.