On a summer evening in Houston, few things are more satisfying than sitting down to a freshly grilled backyard dinner. And why restrict yourself to just grilling steaks? A versatile grill like the Big Green Egg can cook everything from meat to vegetables and even pizza! Try something new for dinner tonight.
6 tbsp butter mixed with roasted garlic, basil, and parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Your Big Green Egg will need to cook the oysters at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Shuck the oysters and discard the flat top of the shell, keeping the bowl-shaped bottom half. Place the bowl-shaped shells on a perforated cooking grid. Add half a tablespoon of softened butter to each oyster. Place the grid inside your heated Big Green Egg grill and close the lid, letting the oysters cook for about 4 minutes or until bubbly. Serve the oysters garnished with lemon slices and chives.
2) Beer Glazed Beef Ribs
These ribs need a long time to cook, but all the waiting will be worth it at dinnertime!
1 5-6 lb rack of short ribs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bottle dark beer of your choice
Preheat the Big Green Egg to 265 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the membrane from the ribs and brush them in olive oil. Season them with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Place in the Egg with the meat facing up for 2 hours, then flip and cook for 1 more hour. Pour the beer into a shallow heat-proof pan, place the ribs in the beer, and cover with foil. Place the pan back into the Egg for 3 more hours. Serve whole garnished with your favorite barbecue sauce.
3) Smoked Chicken Sandwiches with Chipotle Mayo
This recipe is provided courtesy of Chef Billy Parisi in partnership with Creekstone. You can find more details about this recipe on his website.
For the chicken
6 fresh chicken breasts
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp onion powder
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground mustard
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp chipotle powder
¼ tsp paprika
Mix the herbs and spices together and rub over all sides of each chicken breast. Cover the chicken and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 48 hours. Smoke on your Big Green Egg for about 2 hours or until cooked all the way through. Wrap the chicken in aluminum foil and set aside for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
For the chipotle mayo
2 cups mayonnaise
3 minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 ½ tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients together until well-combined. Store in the fridge until it’s time to make the sandwiches.
3 sliced heirloom tomatoes
1 head butter leaf lettuce
2 thinly sliced avocados
2 cups packed shredded kale
24 strips bacon, cooked to taste
1 lb thinly sliced ham
12 fried eggs, cooked to taste
12 slices mozzarella cheese
12 slices pepper jack cheese
12 toasted sesame seed buns
Spread a thin layer of mayo on the inside half of each top bun. Add however much ham, chicken, and cheese you wish to the bottom buns and melt under a broiler. Stack the vegetables on the top bun. Once the cheese has melted, combine both halves for a completed sandwich. This recipe makes about 12 sandwiches.
4) Grilled Pizza
The smoky flavor of a grilled pizza is the perfect end to a Friday night!
Enough pizza dough for a large pizza (homemade or store-bought)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
However many toppings you like: sauce, cheese, meat, veggies, etc.
Roll out the pizza dough and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Grill the dough for 2 minutes. Add your toppings and cook another 2-5 minutes or until done.
Mix the pineapple, onions, green pepper, cilantro, salt, and lime juice and refrigerate. Grill tilapia over medium heat until done. Serve spread with salsa.
6) Stuffed Burgers
Stuff a burger patty with cheese, bacon, veggies, or other fillings for a savory surprise.
1 raw burger patty per person (or enough raw ground beef to make the patties yourself)
1 oz filling per patty: bacon bits, cheese, onions, peppers, etc.
If using ground beef, shape the beef into patties. Press the center of each patty down and work the meat into a bowl-like shape. Fill each hollow with about 1 oz of filling. Make a “cap” with the remaining meat and press it onto the top of each patty to seal it shut. Grill burgers until well-done.
7) Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken
This chicken may require some preparation in advance, but the result is well worth it.
8 chicken breasts
1 cup tequila
1 cup olive oil
Juice of 4 limes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
4 tbsp agave nectar
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Mix tequila, olive oil, lime juice, salt, onion powder, agave nectar, and cilantro to make a marinade. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade, ensuring they’re completely covered, and let them marinate in the fridge for 2-8 hours. Grill the chicken on medium heat until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
If using meat, marinate it overnight ahead of time. Choose your ingredients and slide them securely onto the skewer. Grill over direct heat for 10-15 minutes or until done.
9) Honey Soy Grilled Pork Chops
Another recipe that requires marinating, this one promises sweet, juicy results.
8 pork chops
½ cup honey
1 cup soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes to taste
Mix honey, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper flakes to make a marinade. Submerge the pork chops in the marinade and allow to sit overnight in the fridge. Grill 8 minutes per side, remove from heat, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
10) Grilled Veggies
There’s no shortage of grilling recipes for meat-eaters, but what about vegetarians? Fortunately, your grill can cook up some smoky, delicious veggies for anyone who wants them!
1-1.5 cups veggies per person (corn, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, asparagus, potatoes, etc.)
Enough of your favorite marinade to cover all the veggies (if marinating)
Salt and pepper to taste
Enough olive oil to coat all the veggies (if not marinating)
If you choose to marinate the vegetables ahead of time, wash and chop them to the desired size. Prepare your marinade, submerge the veggies, and leave them in the fridge overnight. Grill until tender-crisp and serve hot.
If you’d rather not marinate the vegetables, you don’t need to do as much preparation ahead of time. Wash and chop your vegetables to the desired size. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper until completely coated. Grill until tender-crisp and serve hot.
Summer Dinners for the Win!
Professional and amateur chefs alike will love the chance to grill something amazing on a warm summer evening. Experiment with different ingredients and proportions to find your favorite go-to recipe. Meanwhile, enjoy impressing your family with your newfound skills!
Designing an outdoor kitchen means designing a space that can withstand the elements on a daily basis. Certain features or construction materials that are perfectly acceptable indoors can’t survive outside. This is particularly important when it comes to outdoor kitchen flooring materials. The floor will inevitably be covered in dirt or splashed pool water at some point, so it had better be strong enough to withstand abuse.
Two common types of material are often used for outdoor kitchen floors: concrete or a form of treated wood. Both have their pros and cons depending on your local climate and decorative preferences. Before building your outdoor kitchen, look over this list of popular flooring materials and consider which type will work best for you:
1) Pressure-Treated Lumber
Using high pressure, preserving agents are forced deep into wood to create pressure-treated lumber. This type of wood stands up remarkably well to moisture, making it an ideal choice for humid environments. Pressure-treated lumber is easily manufactured and relatively inexpensive compared to other materials, but does require annual maintenance to retain its appealing color.
Cedar wood has a well-deserved reputation for being beautiful and resistant to both rot and bugs. While it does cost slightly more than pressure-treated lumber, it’s also very durable and will last for many years without rotting or weakening. The only potential drawback is the color. Over time, cedar weathers to a silvery gray color. Many homeowners still love this color, but if you’re looking for an outdoor space that looks the same for years, cedar may not be for you.
Redwood may have a higher price tag than other natural wood floorings, but it’s very much worth it. This wood already resists rot on its own, and once sealed, it lasts longer than any other wood floorings on the market. Better yet, redwood retains its color far longer than cedar. It still fades with time, but the vibrant reddish color will last for years.
4) Composite Wood
Strictly speaking, composite wood is not true wood, but a convincing copy. This material consists of plastic and wood fibers pressed tightly together into boards. Composite wood looks and feels virtually identical to genuine wood, but due to its high plastic content, it lasts far longer. It also requires virtually no maintenance. Plastic can’t soak up water or rot, after all!
Wooden flooring provides an elegant flair that is difficult to duplicate. However, homeowners who prefer a low-cost, low-maintenance, and durable flooring material will appreciate concrete. If the idea of a gray, lifeless concrete floor sounds unappealing, don’t worry–concrete is a remarkably versatile material! Concrete can be stained a variety of colors or even stamped with textures that resemble elegant bricks or tiles. Repairs are very straightforward as well. While constant use will eventually cause concrete to chip or crack, replacing the slab costs significantly less than repairing a wooden floor.
Pro Tip: Stamped concrete laid by a professional looks identical to color bricks or tiles. This style of flooring gives you an elegant aesthetic at a fraction of the cost of other materials!
Creating an Appealing Outdoor Space
There’s no “correct” choice for flooring materials used outdoors. However, beginning the project with an understanding of your local climate and maintenance schedule will help you find the best material for your particular outdoor kitchen.
Connect with us to browse our outdoor living designs and building materials.
Grills have long been a staple of outdoor cooking. Who doesn’t love a hot steak cooked over an open flame? Unfortunately, buying a grill isn’t as simple as it used to be. Aspiring grill masters now have to consider different brands, sizes, fuels, styles, and much more.
Any grill you choose will give you fantastic results when you cook. But some homeowners say that different types of fuel yield different tastes, while others favor a particular style. How can you find the right grill for your backyard? Check out this outdoor grill comparison of some of Creekstone’s best products.
Grills come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny grills designed to cook one meal to massive grills built into an outdoor kitchen island. Naturally, bigger grills will cost more and likely have more features than their smaller counterparts. A casual backyard chef may be content with a small, simple grill. But what if you frequently entertain large groups of people? A smaller grill won’t be able to keep up with the amount of cooking necessary for big parties. Homeowners who often have friends over for dinner may prefer a bigger, fancier grill.
Pro Tip: Most types of grills allow for indirect cooking–cooking your food next to the heat source rather than directly over it. This method allows you to cook thicker cuts of meat slowly without burning the outside.
What Fuel Does the Grill Need?
At Creekstone, we carry grills that take one of three kinds of fuel: gas, pellets, and charcoal. Many veteran grillmasters swear by charcoal grills and claim they provide the best smoky flavor on a freshly grilled steak. Others disagree, however. It’s also somewhat common to hear people claim that gas grills produce the same flavor as charcoal grills, and much faster! You may hear similar claims about pellet grills since they also preheat quickly.
The type of fuel you choose should depend on a few factors. First of all, do you believe the fuel makes a significant difference in taste? Second, which fuel can you easily and consistently purchase to keep your grill going? And finally, are there any restrictions about grilling where you live? Some apartment complexes have rules against electric grills on the porch, for instance. Know your own preferences and any restrictions you may have to deal with.
Does It Come with a Warranty?
Grill manufacturers are confident in their products, and it shows. The vast majority of worthwhile grill models come with at least a 10-year warranty. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s always a good idea to opt for a model with a warranty. Choose a high-quality grill made of durable materials and consult with our backyard renovation experts for details on its warranty.
Which Grill is Right for You?
No matter the brand, size, or fuel, any grill on the market has its own advantages and disadvantages. But don’t evaluate the grills on their own without considering how they’ll fit in your backyard. Do you have room for a massive grill? Do you have guests over often and a small grill just doesn’t have enough space? Consider every possible factor before you make your purchase.
One all-important aspect of home design is storage. We all need extra space to put tools, toys, supplies, and more in the backyard. And while it’s simple enough to just toss everything into buckets or set up cheap shelves, why not make your storage look like a natural part of the backyard? It’s easy and fun to find ways to incorporate your storage into your overall design.
Why not get creative with your backyard storage? Find ways to integrate your storage naturally into your design scheme or make it subtler. Whatever you choose, the possibilities are nearly endless! Try one of these popular storage ideas:
Hidden storage spaces
Outdoor kitchen cabinets
1) Firewood Cubbies
A new wood-burning fireplace or firepit requires a decent amount of fuel for party nights. But who wants to constantly run to the store for more firewood or stack the logs in a precarious woodpile? Try a specialized cubby instead! You’ll keep the firewood out of the way until you need it. Plus, the cubbies are big enough to hold several nights’ worth of firewood! Just keep them full.
2) Hidden Storage Spaces
Certain pieces of outdoor patio furniture double as surprise storage spaces. For instance, a footstool might open to reveal a hollow space perfect for storing extra blankets. Some might even have a cooler hidden inside! And that’s far from the only option for outdoor storage. A chest could serve as a patio coffee table, for instance. Experiment with different furniture to find one with the storage features you prefer!
3) Pool Houses
Of course, a pool house is a perfect place to store all your pool supplies. Keep your swimsuits, floaties, pool toys, towels, and more in a nicely decorated storage space right next to your pool! Better yet, this gives you and your guests a private place to change for your pool party.
Pro Tip: Don’t settle for a simple storage shed. Use a pool house to hold all your pool supplies and give you a much more visually appealing storage solution!
4) Outdoor Bars
What outdoor dining room is complete without a bar? Besides the obvious benefit of being a great place to serve some wine, adding a bar to your backyard also gives you some unique storage space opportunities. Adding a small wine fridge lets you keep your beverages cold without taking up space in your primary outdoor kitchen fridge. And why store your glasses out of sight in cabinets when you can add a specialized shelf that’s equal parts practical and beautiful? Make your own bar as fancy as the one in your favorite restaurant!
5) Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
Finally, this basic staple of kitchen design is equally crucial in both indoor and outdoor kitchens. Weatherproof cabinets will keep your cooking supplies and ingredients right at hand while keeping them safe from the elements. Save yourself the trouble of constantly running back and forth to bring out supplies from the house. Keep everything you need in your outdoor kitchen!
Get Clever with Your Storage Solutions!
Finding unique storage ideas for your backyard not only helps you organize all your outdoor necessities, but also gives you more potential designs for your backyard renovation. Make your storage system as elaborate or as simple as you prefer. And most importantly, make it fully suited to your preferences for the ultimate custom backyard!
As social distancing measures continue and people are stuck at home, homeowners are coming up with more creative ways to pass the extra time they now have. Some are learning a new language or taking up a new hobby. Others are reviving old hobbies or trying to get better at them. If you’re looking for ways to pass the time, why not practice your outdoor cooking skills? Fire up the grill and give these flavorful recipes a try!
The most commonly grilled dishes involve meat, especially beef, but your grill is far more versatile than that. You can serve up everything from standard beef dishes to seafood and even grilled desserts! Find your new favorite grilled dish here:
Lemon grilled shrimp kabobs
Chili rubbed ribs
Java pepper steak
1) Lemon Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
⅓ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ lemon zest
1 lb shrimp
Cherry tomatoes (as many as you’d like)
Sliced onions (as many as you’d like)
Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest into a marinade, and let your shrimp and vegetables marinate for several hours or overnight. Thread everything onto barbecue skewers, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill on each side for approximately 3 minutes.
2) Chili Rubbed Ribs
6 lbs ribs
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp chili powder
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
Dry rub the ribs with all these seasonings and refrigerate covered for half an hour. Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and grill over indirect heat for an hour and a half. Finally, mix together your glaze over medium heat for 6-8 minutes:
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
2-3 cup ketchup
1-3 cup lemon juice
1 ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
Unwrap the ribs, rub them with the glaze, and cook over direct heat for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
3) Salsa Steak
4 portions of steak (size can vary)
1 large tomato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 small cucumber, chopped
Half yellow capsicum, diced
4 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 tbsp seeded mustard
Olive oil to brush steak
Brush both sides of the steak with olive oil and sear each side, 2-3 minutes for boneless cuts and 3-4 minutes for cuts with bones. For a medium or well done steak, lower the heat to medium and leave for an extra 1-2 minutes. Once the steak is cooked to your preferences, remove from heat and cover for about 2 minutes to settle. While you’re waiting on the steak, mix up your salsa ingredients. Serve on the side.
4) Java Pepper Steak
1.5 lb tenderloin steak
4 tsp finely ground coffee
4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground cumin
Salt to taste
Preheat your grill and while you wait for it to heat up, place all ingredients in a freezer bag and seal it shut. Shake the bag until the steak is evenly coated in the seasonings. Grill the steak to your preferred level.
Pro Tip: For an especially flavorful steak, rub it with spices and let it sit in the fridge overnight before grilling.
5) Grilled Pizza
Naan bread or pitas, one for each serving
Olive oil to brush crusts
Pizza toppings of choice
Brush both sides of the naan or pitas with olive oil and grill for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, add your pizza toppings, and return them to the grill until the cheese has completely melted.
6) Cheesy Potatoes
2 ½ lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion
5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup butter, melted
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
6 slices American cheese
Mix all ingredients except the cheese together and spread over a large piece of foil. Fold the foil tightly around the potatoes and grill for 15 minutes on each side. Open the foil and lay the cheese slices over the potatoes. Cover again and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
7) Campfire Cobbler
2 cans of fruit pie filling
1 package yellow cake mix
1 ¼ cups water
½ cup canola oil
Line a Dutch oven with aluminum foil and pour in both cans of fruit pie filling. In a separate bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, and oil. Spread the mix over the pie filling. Cook on the grill for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is browned.
8) Grilled Fruit
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ tbsp vanilla
Zest of 1 medium lemon
6 tbsp honey
Handful of lavender flowers
6 figs, halved
3 large fruits: peaches, plums, apricots, etc., halved
Olive oil to brush fruit
Brush your halved fruits with olive oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Grill the fruit until nice grill marks form. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla into a tangy sauce. Serve fruit with a dollop of yogurt, drizzled honey, flower garnish, and sliced figs.
Brush Up on Your Grill Skills
Few things are more comforting than a hot home-cooked meal prepared on your own grill. And what better way is there to stay fresh on your cooking skills? Give these recipes a try and serve up a great dinner tonight!
An outdoor kitchen is a sizable investment of both time and money for most people. However, it’s worth it! Setting up an outdoor entertaining area gives you endless possibilities for parties, business gatherings, or even family nights in the backyard.
But before you can start enjoying your new outdoor cooking space, you need to decide how you want it to look, what you’ll be using it for, and what you’re willing to spend. Still in the brainstorming stage? Here are a few key considerations to help you figure out exactly what you want out of the newest addition to your backyard.
Like any type of home design, outdoor kitchen trends change with time. But certain stylistic choices, like stainless steel appliances, never quite seem to go out of style. And a refrigerator works just fine no matter what it looks like!
Two of the best recent trends for outdoor kitchens are built-in ice makers and kamado-style grills like Big Green Egg, grills that close completely over the cooking food to produce a deep, smoky flavor. And of course, the convenience of having freshly made ice right next to your outdoor fridge can’t be overstated. These trendy choices do more than just make your kitchen look great! They can also make your whole experience more convenient and simpler.
Of course, appearances aren’t everything. Since you’ll be cooking and hosting in your outdoor hangout space, you have to consider how well your design choices will work with what you’ll be doing. For instance, consider your outdoor kitchen’s countertops. Materials such as marble may look gorgeous, but without expert sealing and ongoing maintenance, they could be ruined by Houston rain or humidity. Most designers also don’t recommend them for kitchen use because marble is extremely porous, making stain prevention difficult. (Marble tiles, on the other hand, are specially formulated for kitchen use and are fine for an outdoor kitchen. Talk to your designer for details.)
The bottom line is simply that your kitchen must be equally functional as elegant. While you can certainly go for both–a completely utilitarian kitchen is boring, after all–you must take the time to consider how well your choices will work in an outdoor setting.
Pro Tip: As you design your outdoor kitchen, consider any potential future renovations you want to make and how to make them easier. You won’t want to have to pull up your new tile floor to install new pipes for a pool, for instance.
Finally, it’s time to look at your budget. This will vary depending on the materials you choose, the appliances you need, the square footage your outdoor kitchen will cover, and more. Consequently, you can’t simply estimate the base cost of an outdoor kitchen without a semi-detailed plan of what you want. The best approach to budget planning is browsing our gallery for inspiration and bringing your ideas to an expert to discuss cost options.
Enjoy Your New Outdoor Kitchen!
A lot of planning goes into designing the perfect outdoor kitchen and party space. But all that time will be worth it in the end. You can look forward to enjoying a brand new custom outdoor kitchen and making your friends jealous!