Outdoor Cooking: Savor the Flavor

By Andrea Bernstein Rodarte

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As summer gives way to fall, there is no need to cover up the grill until warm weather returns. Nothing whets the appetite like the tantalizing smells of food cooked outdoors. Keep the grilling going year-round with the latest outdoor cooking equipment. For today’s host, moving the entertaining outdoors is a desirable option; people like to be where the food is and they like to be outdoors. Combining the two makes sense.

Consider the types of food you like to cook outdoors. This will dictate the type of equipment you purchase. Various grills have various capabilities. Most people appreciate the flavor from a charcoal or wood fire but the convenience of gas. You might consider both a charcoal and a gas grill. What about a hybrid grill that combines these capabilities and more?

Whether it's a grill cart or a built-in outdoor kitchen, consumers are demanding high BTU professional style cooktops.

Direct Grilling means cooking right over the fire. "The technique is ideal for grilling smaller items that can be cooked in less than 12 minutes — burgers, zucchini wedges, chicken breasts, shrimp and more," says Russ Faulk, Vice President of Product Design, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.

Indirect Grilling is when food is cooked away from the fire, either off to the side or far above it, and slowly cooked. Add barbecue sauce at the end and turn up the heat to get a caramelized flavor. 

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"The key (to indirect grilling) is a more gentle heat that allows food to cook through without overcooking the outside," Faulk continues. "Indirect grilling is ideal for larger items that cook for more than 20 minutes — chickens, acorn squash, roasts, casseroles and more. Indirect grilling can be executed at high temperatures around 500ºF or lower temperatures around 300ºF. It can be done with or without smoke. In fact, traditional barbecue is basically indirect grilling at low temperatures with wood smoke."

If your family likes to eat chicken several times a week, cooking a whole chicken on an outdoor rotisserie or "spatchcocking" (flattening) the bird and using the direct grilling method will impart an amped up flavor to otherwise familiar recipes.

Rotisserie Cooking is an impressive method for roasting large pieces of meat such as leg of lamb, pork loin, a small turkey, one or more chickens, whole suckling pig and, of course, beef roasts.

Interested in trying Plank Grilling? This is a fun, easy way to produce wood-infused flavor to a variety of fish, meats and vegetables. Soak the plank first for at least one hour before placing it next to the fire--not over it; and either cook on or next to the wood depending on your recipe.

Side Burners and Pizza Ovens--Side burners allow you to cook sauces right where you need them, next to the grill. Prepare vegetables, baked beans and more on this cooking element. Pizza ovens are a wonderful way to bring the kids into the mix yet safely away from the heat. Have a table of pre-formed crusts and toppings where family and friends of all ages can create their own pie! Try baking foccacia and other breads in the outdoor pizza oven for delicious wood-flavored results.

The following represent some of the best products on the market in both performance and style:

  • Wolf Outdoor Gas Grills deliver high, direct heat, searing temperatures and rapid preheating, while radiant heat sources distribute temperatures evenly.
  • Wolf 13” Burner Module with a burner rating of 25,000 BTU.
  • Wolf Sealed Smoker Box can hold your favorite liquid or soaked wood chips.
  • DCS by Fisher & Paykel Outdoor Grills in 30" 36" 48" with a Side Burner.
  • DCS by Fisher & Paykel 14,000 BTU's Infrared Rotisserie Burner.
  • DCS by Fisher & Paykel Ceramic Radiant Technology.
  • Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Hybrid Fire Grill combines gas, wood and charcoal with an Infrared Rotisserie Burner.
  • Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Rotisserie.
  • Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Smokers and Smoker Pellets.

Cooking outdoors is a social event and one to enjoy with family and friends. Having the best cooking equipment that your budget allows makes this way of preparing meals effortless entertaining!


  Andrea Bernstein Rodarte is an executive editor and author for national publications including home design publications. She has written extensively about topics ranging from luxurious kitchens and baths to gourmet outdoor kitchens, exterior living spaces, sophisticated child-proof pool fencing, and high tech home security systems. With her extensive history in kitchen and bath products and trends, Andrea brings a knowledgeable and unique perspective to her work. 

Sara Ruth