Month: May 2014

Get The Grill Ready!

Photo Courtesy of DRosengarten.com

It’s that time of year. The time of year when we take our RVs out for a long weekend (or longer) and enjoy being away from the daily grind. For a lot of us, that also means cooking outdoors with our trusty grill. Everyone knows that a steak tastes better when it’s been cooked outdoors and on a fiery grill. Even chicken tastes better when prepared and cooked over a hot grill. Whether it’s hamburgers, steak or chicken, it’s always a great time to fire up the grill. Here are a few tips to make sure your next foray into grilling is a success.

Hamburgers

Hamburgers are always a crowd-pleaser. If you’re entertaining a couple of people and need to whip something up for dinner, you can’t go wrong with a burger.

  • Choose the best meat. Stay away from lean hamburger meat. It may sound healthy, but the flavor suffers. A good burger needs some fat on it.
  • Cook them using high heat. Cooking it at high temperatures ensures that it is cooked how you want it and retains the flavor of the meat.
  • Resist the temptation to squeeze. Squeezing the patty while it’s on the grill means 2 things. First, you’re creating a fire hazard. That grease is flammable and could easily flare up. Second, you’re getting rid of all the flavor!
  • Pay attention to the meat! By keeping an eye on the burgers, you’ll keep it from overcooking and being forced to eat a burned, crispy meat patty.

Steaks

There are few things that taste as good as a well-cooked and well-prepared steak. There’s a reason why we make it an event when we go to a steakhouse. If you’re like me, you can even remember just how great the best steak you’ve ever had was and where you got it.

  • Pick a good piece of meat for steak. Top loin, filet, or T-bone are all great choices to throw on the grill. Don’t be cheap when it comes to good meat. You get what you pay for.
  • An hour before grilling, marinade your steak. Salt and pepper, seasonings, oil, take your pick, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to overpower the taste of the meat.
  • For a medium-rare steak, cook on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side. If it’s thicker than 1.5″, up it to 5-6 minutes per side. Flip it over only once or you risk losing the juice of the steak.
  • Once it’s close to being cooked how you like it, move your steak to a cooler part of the cooking area to fine tune it to your liking.

Chicken

There’s just something about a well-cooked piece of chicken. Juicy, tender and flavorful. There’s a reason why chicken wings are so popular.

  • Start with a coat of non-stick spray, otherwise your chicken will fall apart and stick to the grate.
  • Medium-high heat is a good temperature. If it’s too high, you run the risk of burning the skin and barely cooking the inside.
  • Don’t flip! Letting your chicken cook on the same side for a few minutes helps to cook it all the way through. If you keep flipping it over, you never really get a good, even cook.
  • Check the temperature. Carry a meat thermometer in your RV’s kitchen so you can make double sure that you cook it to 165 – 170 degrees. Once it reaches that temperature, it’s safe!
  • Slather it with sauce. If you’re like me, you like to cover it with barbeque sauce. Wait until they are almost done to cover your bird with sauce. If you leave it on too long, you’ll get a bitter taste and most of it will drip off and potentially cause a flare-up.
  • Clean your grate afterwards.

What are some of your RV grilling tips for hamburgers, steaks and chicken?

 

Do You “Exercise” Your RV

If you are a motorhome owner, you are well aware of the amount of responsibility it can take to keep your rig in the best possible shape, not only while you’re using it, but, more importantly, when you’re not.

As much as you love you go RVing, you might not get to spend as much time traveling as you’d like. Or, maybe you are a full-timer and spend long periods of time hooked up. Something that you need to remember is that, just because you’re not driving your motorhome doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still need a little “exercise”.

If you don’t have the opportunity take your rig out at least every month or so, there a myriad of things that you can do to check the operation and function of your motorhome’s engine and equipment when you don’t get to use it as often as you’d like.
I found a great video that from RV Geeks that will help you run some monthly “soft” maintenance. Some of the items covered in the video below are specific to diesels, but many things are relevant to all motorhomes, whether diesel or gas. One thing to remember is that your engine and transmission are the most expensive pieces of equipment on any motorhome, it is certainly well worth your time and effort to care for them as thoroughly as possible.

So, the bottom line is that when you’re not using your motorhome, it’s a good idea to jump into your rig every now and then and give it a little attention. And hey, while you’re “exercising” your motorhome, why not retrofit your hatches with new doorlift and bedlift kits? They can both you a lot a headaches…literally.

RV Maintenance – Lift Kits You Need

SPRING! After a long cold winter, nothing sounds better than loading up the RV and going camping. For most of us that means getting out the list of the things we needed to fix from last season and didn’t have the time or the parts on hand. However, there is also that “wish list” of things to fix or improve to make the camping experience more enjoyable.

Of all the areas in the RV none are more important than the storage spaces where the gear and equipment is kept. For many RVs, access to the outside storage usually means lifting an exterior door and when available, securing with wall clips. These clips work reasonably well but can be difficult to attach and provide very little safety from dislodging – especially in windy conditions or when camping on a non level surface.

A solution to this problem is to install hydraulic lift kits. The kits are easy to install and are secured to the inside surface of the door with an adhesive tape. Kits are available in many sizes and will fit most lightweight RV doors, including doors located under slideouts. One of the strongest reasons for installing lift kits is the safety factor – after installation, the risk of being accidentally struck by a falling door is virtually eliminated.

If you have an existing gas spring installation where the attachment bracket has torn loose, repair kits are available that after installation, will provide a structural plate for remounting the springs. The plates are attached with a VHB tape and can repair virtually any flat surface.

Another prime storage area often overlooked is located under the RV bed platform. Many RVs have bed lifts installed from the factory and a lot are installed incorrectly, improperly sized or have failed.

Although not used as frequently as the outside storage, safe and correct access to this space is critically important – the beds are heavy and can cause serious injury when dropped. Installing the proper lift kit here will definitely improve the camping experience! Bed lift systems are designed to lift the weight of the standard RV bed, including a typical upgrade to a residential style, heavier mattress. Bed lift kits can be used to fix an existing application or for new installations. Sizes are available for most RV beds including the small or partial front storage compartments.