Picnic Tables Make Pretty Pictures

By: Kathy Moran

Ah, at last, it’s here – summer, in all of its glory. It’s the time of year when you can’t drive down a street without encountering the enticing aroma of burgers, steaks, ribs, or chicken, being cooked on a grill or barbecue. It’s the season when families gather around their !a href='http://www.allpicnictables.com'>picnic tables, rather than their kitchen tables, at mealtime. However, no matter how charming the backyard tableaus, or how appetizing the smell of outdoor cooking, there is a dark side to this blissful slice of Americana. The truth is that there are little disasters happening all of the time within the confines of the white picket fences, which often result in the literal dark side of what used to be a decent cut of meat. Yes, overcooked (or undercooked) meat is the bane of the hungry picnicker. Every year, many people, looking forward to juicy steaks, are presented with platters full of charred remains from which to choose. The reason that this happens so often is that novice grillers and barbecuers often believe that the only talent required for outdoor cooking is the ability to get a grill hot and throw some meat onto it. Not so. Just like any other kind of cooking, it takes some knowledge – and patience – to master. Steaks, for instance, should be at least ¾ of an inch thick, so they won’t dry out as quickly during grilling. Before you put them onto the grill, trim off any excess fat, then make little cuts around the edges, about an inch apart, to keep it from curling as it cooks. Although in cooking, timing is everything, when it comes to outdoor cooking, it gets a bit trickier. Outside, the weather can affect the time that it takes for steaks – or anything else – to be done thoroughly, particularly if you’re grilling with charcoal and it’s very windy. So, instead of relying on minutes, make sure it’s ready by cutting into the thickest part of the steak and checking its color. Do not poke the steak with a fork, as that will only allow the juices to run out. Instead, turn the steak with long-handled tongs about half-way through cooking. For the juiciest hamburgers, make sure that the patties are about an inch thick. As everyone knows, ground beef can easily become contaminated with bacteria, so make your burgers medium-well, at least. To be sure, use a meat thermometer and see that it reaches 160º F. A thermometer is also essential for making sure that poultry is thoroughly cooked. Whether it’s chicken, turkey, or duck, breasts should be cooked to 170º F, and thighs and whole birds to between 180-185º F. It’s safe to take it off the grill when it’s a few degrees shy of the target, as long as you let it stand for at least ten minutes, during which time the temperature will rise. Perfecting just a few grilling techniques will help to keep the emphasis on the bright side of cookouts. Another great way to ensure that the picture will always be rosy is by having a beautiful picnic table in the scene. At AllPicnicTables.com, you’ll find an unsurpassed selection of picnic tables and outdoor dining sets. For those lovers of tradition, there are decay-resistant cedar, pine, and oak tables, while those with more contemporary tastes may prefer the assortment of nearly indestructible aluminum and polywood picnic tables. Available in a wide range of colors, styles, sizes, and shapes, picnic tables from AllPicnicTables.com will complement the décor of any porch, patio, or gazebo. Furthermore, they’re so durable that they’ll still look fantastic in the snapshots that you take years from now. To browse the entire collection of picnic tables and patio furniture, visit AllPicnicTables.com. To contact a design consultant or a customer service professional, call 1-888-293-2339, or e-mail [email protected].

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