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Welcome To The “OutLife”

08/18/2014 11:05AM ● Published by Robert Frey

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By Curt Guillory, Acadiana LifeStyle’s Food Blogger

New materials, designs, and ideas are changing the way we cook outdoors. Before we know it, our inside kitchen will just be a place we gather to talk.

Cooking outside is nothing new here in South Louisiana. With our long summer days and relatively mild winters, we’ve been cooking outdoors since we had doors. From the open fires of yesteryear to the modern appliances of today, outdoors cooking is a requirement around here and from the looks of things everyone is upping their game.

In years past we had variations on three themes as far as outdoor cooking appliances go. We had a gas or charcoal grill (bar-b-que pit), a two or three burner propane stove, and a burner with boiling pot. Ok maybe you knew someone who had a Cajun microwave, but that was about it. Today we have all of those things, with better designs, and a host of new goodies that allow us to cook anything we would in an indoor kitchen from pizza to birthday cake.

Ceramic Grills May Be Eggs-actly What You’re Looking For

Though relatively new to America, ceramic grills (commonly called egg grills because of their shape) are nothing new at all. Known around the world as kamado, the Japanese word for stove or grill, this type of grill dates back 4000 years. Ceramic grills hold in heat like a bucket holds water. I like the Primo grill for their quality and shape. Go for the oval, it’s much more useable space.  

Hint: Give your Primo time to heat up.  Part of what makes these grills work is that they store up massive amounts of heat and then slowly release it. This gives you a very stable cooking environment.

Go see Keith Guidry at Percy Guidry’s Hearth And Patio on Johnston St. in Lafayette to get yours.

Cajun Microwaves Are The Slow Way To Perfection

We love our Cajun Microwaves don’t we?  Fire on the top and cooking on the bottom doesn’t seem like it should work, but boy does it. How?  Radiation is how. Not the nuclear kind that makes you glow in the dark, but the heat kind that turns an insulated box into a small oven. One of the best things about a Cajun Microwave is that it doesn’t really matter what kind of heat source is used. Once when I was a kid we were at a wedding rehearsal supper and the men cooking were using old roofing shingles on a Cajun Microwave!  No…no I don’t recommend that you do the same.  

Al Simon makes some of the most beautiful and versatile Cajun Microwaves on the market. Made from Louisiana cypress and stainless steel, they are works of art that cook a mean pig, or anything else for that matter. Breaux Bridge is your destination for the best in Cajun Microwaves.

Charcoal Grills – I Have Fire

Charcoal and/or wood fired grills date all the way back to the days of the caveman.  But I bet you he didn’t have a Cajun Grill. I’ve cooked on more charcoal grills than I can remember, and for me the Cajun Grill is the best on the market from design to materials to craftsmanship. With an adjustable fire tray and tons of accessories including a pot insert, there is nothing you can’t cook on a Cajun Grill. But there is only one place to find them. Keith Guidry at Percy Guidry’s Hearth and Patio on Johnston St. in Lafayette is your Cajun Grill connection.

Flexibility, Convenience, Style, Perfect Temperature control….Gas Grills

Gas grills are by no means new to the marketplace, yet with all the new technology and innovations they keep reinventing themselves. Anti-flare up flame covers, onboard lighting, infrared searing, and temperature separation are just a few of the many new features that today’s gas grill offers.  Pair that with “instant on, instant off” convenience and spot on temperature control, and you have a grill that is a completely versatile performer. There are a lot of gas grills out there and you truly do get what you pay for. So do yourself a favor and go see Mark Lassalle at Lassalle Gas on Dale St. in New Iberia to get yours.

Have Kettle, Make Pizza?

Now from the “Why didn’t I think of that?” department comes Kettle Pizza. This ingenious little device turns an ordinary kettle type grill into a pizza oven. The reviews are mixed on this product, but I still think it is worth a shot for a budget pizza oven.

Show Your Team Spirit!

We love our college teams here in South Louisiana, and whether you pull for the purple and gold of LSU, the vermilion and white of ULL, or like my house pull from both ends of the rope, Gridiron Décor has some outdoor swagger for you.  Custom made fire pits with college insignia cutouts allowing the fire to illuminate the logos lets everyone know that your passion burns bright.  Made right here in South Louisiana, Gridiron Décor also has a selection of chairs, tables, and fleur de lis products.  Go get yours at Busch Fireplaces Hearth and Patio Specialties on Settler’s Trace in Lafayette.

The Ultimate Outdoors Experience

There truly are no limits to outdoor cooking.  Just ask the experts at Premier Appliances on Kaliste Saloom in Lafayette.  They can take you from a simple idea to outdoor gourmet nirvana.  They feature the very best quality products, and their design team is second to none.  You have to check out the Cook-N-Dine line of products.  What an incredible concept.  Of course everything else they offer is among the very best available.  With brands such as U-Line, DCS, Alfresco, and Liebherr you can be assured that your outdoor investment will last a lifetime.

It’s A table, It’s A Counter, It’s A….Hibachi?

Tucked away in Youngsville is Kenneth Hernandez of Hernandez Fabrication LLC, and Kenneth is building something quite unique. It’s a portable hibachi table. More accurately, it’s a Custom Hibachi. So what’s a Custom Hibachi? Oh it’s just a counter on wheels with a quarter inch steel cooking plate in the middle that Kenneth will custom build to your specifications, that’s all.  

This is a great idea in outdoor cooking. The large cooking surface has zones for cooking at various temperatures and keeping foods warm while guests serve themselves. So what can you cook on a custom hibachi?  How about steak, eggs, shrimp, pancakes, pork chops, asparagus, zucchini, fish, crepes, anything at all.  You can also place a pot on the surface and cook a gumbo.  Pretty cool…er…hot….right?  

Loving The OutLife

It’s pretty easy to see that the trend is to extend the conveniences of indoors to the outdoors.  Quality cooking equipment, décor, and fun is what it’s all about.  There really is nothing better than cooking outside, sharing some great food with friends and family, and making memories as the day slips by. That’s the OutLife.  

Stay hungry.

Life+Leisure curt guillory outlife outdoor cooking
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