Tips for barbecuing!


A new barbecue is just what you needed this summer. Check out these tips to ensure you are putting your barbecue to good use!

Cooking well over fire takes some skill, but mastering those techniques will give you a special seat of honour among your friends. Here are our top ten tips, equipment and techniques. Armed with these you will be Lord of the Tong, Master of the Flame, the guy stood next to a screaming heat source on an already-hot day. Get fired up, it’s grilling time.

Get the right barbecue

It may sound basic but there are two crucial things your burner needs if you want to make great barbecue food. The first thing is, it has to be a charcoal one. There’s nothing wrong with gas barbecues, but you won’t get any extra smoky flavour. You might as well be cooking in the oven, flavour-wise! The second thing you need is a lid. It locks in flavour, keeps the temperature constant and can be used as an extra technique. Without one you can’t do beer can chicken, or melt cheese on burgers, or smoke ribs.

Use the right fuel

In the UK, charcoal is usually bought in a rush from a petrol station car park as soon as the sun peeks its head around a cloud. But being prepared can make a huge difference, because the charcoal you use changes the way your food tastes. Our main man DJ BBQ, author of Food Tube’s BBQ Book, recommends lumpwood charcoal – the stuff that looks like burnt tree – because it will give the best flavour. It’s unadulterated and natural.

If you’re a bit of a pro, try adding wood chips to your charcoal. Hickory and oak are great with fish and pork, while cherry and apple wood add a sweetness to most meats. Just soak half what you’ll use in water to make it last, then add it all once lit.

Wait for the right moment to cook

Barbecuing takes patience and concentration, in that order. You need to wait for the flames to die down – flame-grilled is a very misleading term! You want the coals white hot – by which I mean grey and glowing. That’s the hottest and evenest heat.

Get the temperature bang on

Following on from that, don’t forget that what you have created is a caveman oven, so you need to control the heat just like an oven. DJ BBQ says the best way to test the heat is with your hand. Hold your hand about 12cm/5inches above the grill and see how long you can hold it there comfortably (ie. without screaming).

6 seconds = low heat

4 seconds = medium heat

2 seconds = in DJ’s words “hotter than a goat’s butt in a chilli pepper patch”

0 seconds = Hospital. Now.

You also need to control the temperature across the grill. The easiest technique is the half and half – put all the coals to one side, so you have a mega-hot side and one with no direct heat.

Get the best tools

We’ve all accidentally lost a sausage down a grill or flipped a burger over the edge. Well, get yourself a decent fish slice, a heavy-duty oven glove and maybe even a fish grill (clamp/clip/basket thing – we’ve no idea what they are called). The one bit of kit you simply must have is a decent pair of tongs – they give you the most control, and reduce the chances of dropping anything between the grills.

Make your own burgers

Homemade burgers are better. Even if you make them from nothing but salt and pepper and good-quality meat, they will beat anything in the shops. Buy mince with plenty of fat, or get your butcher to give you some minced flank or chuck– you’ll get juicy, flavourful burgers whether you like them pink in the middle or cooked right through. This recipe from Gennaro is a cracker.

Fish is great on barbecues

Why do people forget fish? Fish and smoke are such great friends (think smoked salmon!). So get a whole trout or side of salmon, throw some oak chips in and cook like the caveman you always knew you were. If you’re feeling fancy, slice a whole fish open and stuff with lemon, dill and pepper.

Marinade, marinade, marinade!

We all know the phrase “leave for a few hours, ideally over night”. Well that applies doubly to barbecues, to make sure the flavours aren’t overridden by the addition of the smoke. In fact, it’s best to save some marinade when you make, and brush your meat or fish with the marinade every 10 minutes as it cooks. That way it will add moisture, trap the smoke flavour and caramelise gently as it goes.

Don’t ruin the vegetables

I know barbecues are an excuse for us all to turn into carnivores, but fire does wondrous things to vegetables too, if you get the technique right. What you want is that lovely charring along the bars – it looks amazing, and tastes even better. So slice thin, then grill straight away – no oil, no seasoning. Once cooked you can add the flavour in some quality olive oil and a bit of vinegar, like in these griddled veggies.

Get the sides right

Sides should never be an afterthought! They will make up two-thirds of what you eat if you’re trying to have something that resembles a balanced meal. You could go for a classic potato salad, get some cheeky corn on the cobs on the grill, some simple and delicious couscous or, my favourite, some Navajo flatbreads – awesome made on the barbecue and great for mopping up marinades.



Outdoor Living – Barbeques

Spring and summer time call for backyard barbecuing!


The barbeque is the focal point of any outdoor grilling setup, and there are a variety of barbeque models you can choose from. Natural gas BBQs and liquid propane BBQs are both great options, but for the most authentic and rich barbeque flavor, consider investing in a charcoal BBQ.

Charcoal BBQs use lit lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes as a heat source. These barbeques take longer to heat up than natural gas or liquid propane models, but produce food with more rich and smokey flavor. Charcoal barbeques are ideal if you want to get that classic barbeque flavor in every bite. These models are also less expensive than their gas-powered counterparts, as they have less mechanical parts. Charcoal BBQs are simple to use and offer great value, all while infusing classic barbeque flavors into your food. And with a variety of styles and sizes available, you’re guaranteed to find a great charcoal model for your home.

You can turn to Universal Appliance and Kitchen Center for all your barbeque needs. We offer a great selection of the best charcoal BBQs from the most trusted manufacturers, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your home. Be sure to browse our impressive selection of barbeques and outdoor living appliances today.

Simple Solutions to Clean Your Small Appliances

No kitchen is complete without a range of small appliances. These small devices improve the convenience of our kitchens and improve quality of life. Unfortunately, many of these small appliances can be a little tricky to clean, compromising their use. So, here we have some simple solutions to clean your small appliances.


Clogged Coffee Maker

Even the best coffee maker can become clogged with hard water deposits and coffee residue. This can mean that it not only takes longer to brew your cup of Joe, but also leaves it tasting less than fresh. If you want a bright start to your morning with the awaking aroma of a fresh pot of coffee, you need to ensure that this small appliance is crystal clean.

The best way to get rid of any unsightly stains inside your coffee pot is to use a solution of one part white vinegar to two parts of water. Pour this mixture into the reservoir and switch your coffee maker on. The solution will run through the coffee maker, and you’ll need to allow it to cool for approximately 15 minutes. Repeat this process before rinsing by running through fresh water. You should also wash the pot and filter with soapy, warm water. This will not only remove any stubborn coffee stains, but also eliminate hard water mineral accumulation.

Grubby Blender

Whether you need a morning smoothie to get you started or like to make soups and sauces, blenders can easily become stained with leftover particles stuck on the blades and glass. It is a good idea to give your blender a really good clean at least once a month. This will help to remove any stains or particles and freshen up any lingering odors. Fill your blender to the halfway point with warm water, a slice of lemon and a little dishwashing liquid. Set the blender running on a low setting for approximately 30 seconds. Drain the liquid and rinse the blender thoroughly.


Messy Microwaves

Frozen dinners and warming up leftovers can often result in splatters of food stuck to the interior of your microwave. Unless these particles are cleaned immediately, they can easily turn into tough stains that are difficult to remove. This can not only look unappealing, but can also make you reluctant to put food or drinks in your microwave. Fortunately, there are some simple steps to remove all these messy marks and stains. Every six to eight weeks, place a half cup of water, a tablespoon of vanilla extract and two tablespoons of white vinegar into a microwave safe dish or bowl. Microwave this for 30 seconds on high power. Carefully remove the container, being cautious as any remaining liquid will be very hot. You can then wipe down the interior surfaces of the microwave with a damp cloth. You should find that any leftover splatters of food or stains can be easily wiped away and you’ll even be left with a fresh-baked and clean cookie odor.

Although dirty small appliances can be frustrating, it is important to ensure that they are safely cleaned. You should never submerge any small appliance in water and avoid allowing any liquid to come into contact with the motor or power cord. It is always best to err on the side of caution and use these simple steps to ensure that your small appliances are clean and safe.

No kitchen is complete without fully functioning small appliances. If you’re struggling to get your small appliances clean and need to upgrade, there are plenty of models available.

If you’re in the market for a new small appliance, explore the options with this online collection or speak to a home appliance expert for a specialized service.

Product Spotlight: Samsung RF23M8590SG

extra_1100Family Hub 2.0

Family Hub helps you manage your home and your life, with Food Management, Family Connection and Entertainment capabilities – all controlled from the 21.5″ Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen. Create shopping lists and expiration notices, share multiple calendars, photos and memos, and stream music, videos and your Samsung TV directly on your Family Hub.

Versatile drawer with 4 temperature control settings and a Smart Divider.
Auto Water Fill with Infuser

Easily fill your favorite pitcher quickly with the auto fill option. Also add your favorite flavor to your water, with the flavor infuser.
Twin Cooling Plus

The Twin Cooling Plus feature maintains both high levels of refrigerator humidity to keep perishable fruits and vegetables fresher longer, and dry freezer conditions for less freezer burn meaning better tasting frozen foods.

extra_1101Polygon and Recessed Handles

Polygon and recessed handles create a beautiful, streamline design with the ability to customize to your needs.
Counter Depth

Get more workspace while enhancing your kitchen’s look with our counter-depth refrigerator design. Its sleek, built-in style blends in with the cabinetry, adding function and style to your kitchen.
22 cu. ft. Capacity

This large 22 cu. ft. capacity refrigerator is fit to store all of your favorite foods.
Ice Master

Our refrigerator’s Ice Master produces up to 8.8 lbs. of ice per day. This space-saving design leaves more room in the refrigerator.
High-Efficiency LED Lighting

LED lighting gently brightens virtually every corner of your refrigerator so you’re able to quickly spot what you want. Plus, it emits less heat and is more energy-efficient than conventional lighting. The sleek design saves more space than traditional incandescent light bulbs.

ENERGY STAR ® rated products meet strict energy efficiency specifications set by the government. This Samsung refrigerator not only meets ENERGY STAR® requirements, it exceeds them.

A Brief Guide to Buying the Right Dishwasher

These days no kitchen is considered complete without a dishwasher. Fortunately, there are sizes and styles of dishwashers to suit any kitchen layout. Here we will explore how to find the right dishwasher for your kitchen.


Styles and Sizes

The standard size for dishwashers is 24 inches wide, but there are narrower units if you have limited space. If you have less than 34 inches in height, due to new flooring being laid over old flooring or if you have lowered countertops for greater handicap accessibility, you will need to look for a “short tub” style dishwasher.

You can also choose a more streamlined style with a model with hidden controls. Many dishwashers now have the controls integrated into the top of the door rather than on the front of the appliance for a sleek aesthetic. If you want a fully integrated look, you will need to opt for a model with an unfinished door that can accept a custom panel.

Cleaning Power

Basic dishwasher models tend to be equipped with one or two spray arms, but there are many models that offer three or more arms, so the top, bottom, and middle of the tub are covered. The spray arms tend to have a direct water feed, but some appliances have specialized cleaning systems that offer alternate arm action and more concentrated cleaning.



Traditionally, the silverware basket is located at the front, center of the lower rack, but some manufacturers have increased flexibility and load capacity by offering a longer basket that can be split, removed or relocated. The conventional place setting capacity for a standard 24” dishwasher is 12, but some models can accommodate 15 or 16 place settings due to adjustable racks and additional shelves. This provides more space for cups, longer items, and larger crockery. If you tend to use larger platters or trays frequently, it is a good idea to look for a dishwasher that provides a more flexible load capacity.

Additional Features

Many dishwasher models offer additional features to improve the performance and effectiveness of the appliance. This includes measures such as anti-leak protection to prevent damage to hardwood floors in the event of an internal leak. A sensor in the pan shuts down operation and water is contained in the pan to prevent any external damage.

If you live in a hard water area, you may want to consider a model with an integrated water softener. Hard water causes glassware etching or fogging and can reduce detergent cleaning power. The hard water minerals can also accumulate reducing energy efficiency and leading to break down issues.

Features such as a hard food disposer can be particularly beneficial in a busy kitchen. These models grind up any food particles and flush them from the appliance to avoid the clogs and mess that result from failing to rinse dishes before they are loaded.

If you are concerned about stains or odors, you may prefer a stainless steel interior. Stainless steel is less prone to absorb stains or odors compared to plastic and offers a quicker drying time.

Finally, if you like to keep track of what your appliance is doing, you may like to have an LED electronic control panel. These models tend to show cycle remaining time and other settings, so you can tailor your wash cycle to suit your preferences.

No modern kitchen is complete if you don’t have the right dishwasher, and today, there are a wide variety of appliances to satisfy your unique needs.

If you’re looking for a new dishwasher, you can explore your options with this online collection of dishwasher modelsor speak to a home appliance expert for a more specialized service.

Whirlpool W5CE3024XB

You don’t need to worry about making a mess with this cooktop.

An easy-wipe ceramic surface and dishwasher-safe knobs will keep it looking like new, so you can spend more time doing what you love. Melt chocolate and simmer sauces perfectly with this cooktop’s AccuSimmer® element and precise temperature control. A hot surface indicator light will also keep you and your family safe by illuminating when the cooktop surface is still hot to the touch, even after the heating element has been turned off.


Think this just might be the perfect cooktop for you and your family? Visit our website for additional information, or to simply place your order today!