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October 31, 2017

Guest Post: Spooky Halloween Grilling Ideas!

Halloween is known for handing out candy and dressing up in spooky costumes! Now it can also be known as a great time to have some fun with your grilling menu! Why not add a Halloween touch to some of the items you normally serve up from your KoKoMo Grill?

I suggest that you still stick with foods your normally grill and love – just have some fun with them. After all, you’re still spending money on food and you’re still going to serve your creations at a gather or family meal!

Here are a few ideas you can use to get your creative, and slightly gross, thought process going. One for family fun burger night! One that’s kid-in-the-kitchen friendly and one that probably better suited for grownups!

Alien Head Sliders
Are you familiar with the common image associated with aliens? You know – the gray shaped triangle head with huge eyes? Start as if you were making burgers, in this case sliders, and for your ground beef into golf ball sized portions. Next, flatten and pinch into guitar pick shapes! Season and grill, add small pieces of cheese for the eyes and serve hot on a slider bun. Plate with the top of the bun toasted and covered in melted cheese. The bottom bun should have relish showing under the Alien Slider Burger patty!

Kid Friendly Mummy Mini Pizzas
This is perfect for a family quick and easy meal where everyone gets their own pizza. And, it’s perfect for kids – they can make their own pies! Select a few favorite toppings that are precooked such as pepperoni slices or cubed ham. You’ll also need pizza sauce and personal sized pre-made crusts. Take the crust and add sauce followed by the pepperoni and other toppings. Cut the cheese slices into smaller strips and layer them at angles as if it were mummy wrapping. Leave a slit open showing the sauce and add two olives for eyes. Grill until cheese is melted and golden around the edges.

Blue Button Down Dry Rub Ribs!
The easiest, and the grossest! Why not gross out your friends with a horror movie edible batch of ribs! You’ll need two racks of ribs and a throw away blue button-down shirt. Grill the ribs using a dry rub method on your KoKoMo grill as you normally would. While the ribs are grilling, cut the front of the shirt along the side seems while keeping the collar. Cut the collar in half right where the neck tag is. You don’t need the sleeves or the back. What you’ll have is a left and right piece – each with half of the collar. When you’re ready to serve, place the finished ribs on a deep-dish cookie sheet – trim side bones to fit. Place the pieces of the shirt on-top, tuck the edges in on the sides and bottom. Button a few of the buttons towards the bottom and under the collar. Tuck the collar back edges in to finish things off.

Kent’s Basic Dry Rub
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion flakes
(1/2 tablespoon if using onion powder)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper if desired

Mix all of the ingredients in a clean and dry mason jar doubling the amounts as needed. You can also use an empty spice shaker. Rubs can be considered a dry marinade. Leave on for at least thirty minutes before cooking. For many dishes I rub the meat the day before which allows the spices to be soaked into the meat.


Rub Tips:
When trying a rub for the first time I would suggest adding the least amount of salt as possible. One mistake many people make is to use things like garlic salt with onion salt and then adding additional table or sea salt. That’s a lot of salt! Use onion powder and garlic powder instead.


Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker is the former winner of the Emeril Live / Food Network barbecue contest. He’s a culinary writer and cookbook author – his newest title is Great American Grilling. He also writes about College football, the NFL and NASCAR for several media outlets. Look for him online at thedeckchef.com.

July 6, 2017

Choosing NG (Natural Gas) vs LP (Propane)

Choosing how to power your grill or cooktop is a difficult decision. Both natural gas and propane come with their advantages and disadvantages, so which are you going to choose? There is no clear winner here, sadly, and you will have to look at them from a personal, individual viewpoint. You will want to make sure that they fit your specific needs and expectations currently and well into the future. After all, changing them can be difficult, especially if you have a line for natural gas installed. Choose the one that is a right fit for you from the start and keep yourself happy for a long time to come.

Natural Gas
Natural gas is a natural resource – meaning we can run out of it. Right now, however, there is already a lot readily available to most people. This includes metro areas, where natural gas is most often found. In major cities, there are lines for natural gas connecting most homes and businesses. For this reason, it is the obvious and sensible choice for businesses and individuals in major cities.

Alongside availability, it is also the cheapest option. Natural gas, being so widely available and easily accessible, costs the least. While it will require a full installation, it pays for itself over time if this is something you use continuously. For restaurants in areas with available natural gas, it is the financially smart choice.

The majority of people know about propane, being one of the most popular options for grilling and cooking. Portable, easy to get, and highly effective, it is incredible. It gives you a great flame every time, making for great meals. Since you can get it anywhere and bring it anywhere, it is perfect for nearly any person. In areas without natural gas, it is one of the few alternatives available.

It does cost a little more and will require filling up, or replacement, on a regular basis. However, since you can choose when to replace or refill, that is within your control. You can go to a store to refill propane tanks or have a service come to you – that is up to you to decide.

Both come with their own advantages and disadvantages, again. They are good for different types of people, depending on what they need and want. Choosing between the two requires knowledge of what would work for you and you alone. Only then can you know which is the best option.

March 3, 2017

How to Properly Clean Your Grill & Maintain It

When you own a grill, there are many things that come into play. People will want to do impromptu cookouts, or your family might request a certain meal that requires its use. Regardless, there will be times when you have to use the grill even when you are not prepared. That is why grill maintenance is so important for the longevity and use of your favorite piece of cookware. If you want to get the maximum amount of use out of your grill, then you have to take responsibility for its hygiene and functioning. There are a few good steps for a routine cleaning that can keep your grill functioning properly and ready to go in case of grill-oriented emergencies.

Step 1: Clean Immediately After Cooking

If you clean right away, you keep your grill healthy for much longer. Though this can often feel inconvenient, it is actually a great habit to get into. Because it can dramatically improve the quality of your grill throughout its lifespan, cleaning right after cooking is the best timeframe for grill maintenance. When the grill has been turned off, you can remove the coals, disconnect the propane, or the like. While it is still warm, you can wear gloves to remove the grates and metal plates. Soak these pieces in warm, soapy water using regular dish soap.

Step 2: Put Some Elbow Grease Into It

You need to keep the entire grill functioning at top standard, so make sure you protect the different parts of the grill that cannot be washed. Wrapping them in tinfoil is certainly a beneficial way to go, and you can get hard-to-reach areas without worrying for the safety of your heating elements. Take a grill brush and scrub roughly with soap and water. Clean under the hood, inside the grill, and even around the exterior. You can use a sponge for the inside walls of the grill if you would prefer, but the grill brush will be more efficient for removing the tough, caked-on mess.

Step 3: Rinse & Replace Parts

Once your grill parts have soaked for at least 10 minutes, you can take them out and scrub them off. The grill debris should be easily removed with a little bit of effort, and you can dry them off with a paper towel. Then, you should remove the tinfoil you placed inside the grill to protect the important parts. It will probably have some gross clumps on it from where you scrubbed the interior with the grill brush, so make sure that you keep all of those bits on it to throw away. Once you have done that, you can put your plats, grates, and the rest with relative ease in your newly cleaned grill.

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