Outdoor Living

Tips to Up Your Outdoor Cooking Game

Up Your Outdoor Cooking Game

Kick It Up a Notch from the Basic BBQ

The backyard BBQ has long been a summertime staple in the U.S. As soon as the warm weather hits, we fire up the grills and plan our next outdoor get-together. Serving hot dogs and hamburgers on a paper plate was the time-honored tradition for your typical cookout. These days, however, more and more people are upping their backyard cooking skills and getting more creative with the dishes they serve. So, let's get grilling, smoking, and roasting in the great outdoors. Here's some ideas for taking your outdoor cooking game up a notch.

WPPO Outdoor Oven

Turn your deck into an outdoor pizzeria

The latest trend in backyard kitchens is wood-fired or gas pizza ovens. Outdoor pizza ovens are available in portable models, such as the Ooni and WPPO brands, or as DIY kits for building larger, stationary units. With an outdoor pizza oven, you can craft delicious, restaurant-quality pizza pies in minutes. Host a "make-your-own" pizza party by setting out a selection of toppings and sauces so guests can choose what combinations they want on their own personal pizzas.

Try churrascaria cuisine

Brazil is known for their churrasco-style BBQ where a variety of grilled meats are cooked and served on large skewers. Now with a gas rotisserie grill from Brazilian Flame, you can impress your guests with a mouth-watering selection of pork, beef, chicken, duck, sausage, and lamb. Slow roast your meat to juicy perfection and serve it with an assortment of salads and side dishes. For added fun at your festa, serve your guests rodizio style by carving the meat off the skewers and serving it directly onto their plates.

Achieve smoking results

Besides your basic gas or charcoal grill, a great tool to have in your backyard BBQ arsenal is a smoker. Whether they are powered by gas, charcoal, or electricity, smokers cook meat slowly over a low temperature, resulting in a tender, juicy texture with a signature smoky flavor. Some models can also be used as a conventional grill, giving you the benefits of both in one cooker.

Le Creuset Cast Iron Pan on the Grill

Go beyond the campfire with cast iron

You can't beat the versatility of cast iron cookware when it comes to outdoor cooking. It has a long history of being the cookware of choice when cooking food over an open fire whether it was in the kitchen hearths of the past, over cowboy campfires on the prairie, or during wilderness bivouacking. Modern cast iron pots and pans are still a great choice for cooking on grills or outdoor ovens. Use Dutch ovens to add casseroles, roasted or boiled vegetables, stews, and soups to the menu. Skillets and griddles let you cook fish, bacon, and breakfast foods such as eggs and pancakes for a nice Sunday brunch on the patio.

Cheese & Charcuterie

Cheese please

Cheese platters and charcuterie are a hot trend right now when it comes to entertaining and fine dining. Why not bring this trend outdoors? Serve an appetizing selection of cheese, meat, pâtés, crackers, veggies, nuts, and fruit for guests to snack on with drinks while mingling and waiting for the main meal to cook. All you need is a wood cutting board or charcuterie board, cheese knives, and serving utensils, and some tasty foods assembled in a pleasing array.

Polywood Adirondack Chat Set

Have a comfortable place to sit

The best outdoor fetes are not just about the food. You and your guests need a place to sit down, chat, and partake of all your gourmet efforts. Instead of pulling out those rickety folding chairs, invite family and friends to relax in comfort and style with some sturdy and beautifully coordinated patio furniture. You can even set up separate zones for chatting, dining, bartending, and lounging after dinner or a dip in the pool.

Serve it up in style

Food presentation is just as important as flavor when it comes to serving up a scrumptious meal, so don't plate up that meal you just grilled to perfection on disposable paper plates. With so many choices in outdoor dinnerware, drinkware, and serveware, you can let everyone eat in style even when dining outdoors on the deck or patio. Get out some pretty dishes and platters. Cover the table with a colorful table cloth or runner, set it with durable and attractive plates, flatware, and drinking glasses, and add a centerpiece of fresh blooms from the garden to create a gorgeous outdoor tablescape and pleasurable dining experience for all your guests.

Cooking outside doesn't mean you have to forgo the tools and conveniences of your indoor kitchen. With the right tools, equipment, and accessories, you'll be able to enjoy many memorable meals in the comfort of your backyard. Ready to whet your appetite? Check out these delectable recipes to try at your next cookout.