There's nothing as synonymous with summer as grilling -- but there's so much more to grilling than hamburgers and hotdogs.
And the key to a perfect burger or dog might be as simple as finding the perfect grill. We caught up with Anthony Carrino from HGTV's Kitchen Cousins to learn his top tips on shopping for a grill, his suggestions for grill maintenance and what all first-time grill owners need to know.
AOL: Let's start at Grilling 101: What should customers keep in mind while shopping for a grill?
Anthony: While shopping for a grill, it’s important to first narrow down what type of grill you’re looking for based on the type of entertaining and cooking you plan to do this season. If you’re only hosting a few people or have a smaller outdoor area, look for a compact grill that saves on space. This Char-Broil Classic 2-Burner Gas Grill is perfect for a smaller cook out, but holds up to 15 burgers! If you’re in the market for something a little bigger, this Weber Genesis II E-355 3-Burner Gas Grill is equipped with a sear station, side burner and side table with integrated hooks for platter and tool storage.
20 Things You Didn't Know You Could Grill
20 Things You Didn't Know You Could Grill
Amp up the flavor and texture of your meatballs by tossing them on the grill. This recipe works great for meatball subs or spaghetti.
Reinvent the grilled cheese sandwich with unconventional fillings like this recipe that uses dark chocolate. More decadent than a chocolate croissant, this sandwich is a beautiful marriage of bread and chocolate.
Grilling can bring out the rich flavors of your asparagus. Char stalks on the grill, and then serve them with a super rich zabaglione sauce spiked with black pepper like this recipe from chef Mario Batali.
However you choose to grill your eggplants, you'll get amazing results that go well in vegetable sandwiches or baba ghanouj. Try this grilled-vegetable version of eggplant Parmesan, which is much lighter than the fried kind.
We always look forward to grilled corn on cob during the summer, but we'd never think to transform those grilled corn kernels into this recipe for indulgent grilled cream corn with spinach and parmesan.
Does a higher price tag necessarily mean the better the grill?
Definitely not! There are quality grills to fit within any budget, and it all depends on what you’re looking for. Home to top grill brands Weber and Char-Broil, Lowe’s is the number one grill retailer – so you can guarantee there’s a grill for you, no matter how much you’re planning to spend. And don’t forget, if you’re looking to build an outdoor kitchen setup, you can do it a piece at a time over a few seasons to lessen the impact of the cost – just make sure you do your planning up front so you wind up with a cohesive space!
What are some tips on grill cleaning and grill maintenance?
You want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your grill with every use throughout the season, and keeping it clean is the key. This Char-Broil Cool Clean Nylon Grill Brush is equipped with angled bristles that help deep clean between grates, and is equipped with Cool-Clean Technology to help clean surfaces without heat. My favorite thing about this brush is the detachable head, which you can throw in the dishwasher so it’s sanitary and ready for the next BBQ.
Related: These HGTV stars reveal their biggest tips
HGTV stars' best advice ever
HGTV stars' best advice ever
Even outlets and switchplates can be chic
"Show your outlets and switch plates some love. Look for a finish that plays up your walls as well as a functional feature—say, a dimmer switch or an outlet with USB ports for charging devices," said Christina and Tarek, stars of "Flip or Flop," according to Family Circle.
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"I started in the landscaping business -- that's how I got my feet wet in the construction industry with lawn care and landscape installation. I love a beautiful fresh landscape. A lot of people think, to some extent, that means hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in materials -- and of course, it can be that if you're talking about an entire landscape renovation.
But sometimes you can get a few bags of mulch, which is a few hundred dollars or less. Or sometimes it's weaving your beds, which is just elbow grease, there's no additional cost, just you getting out on a Saturday or Sunday morning and working a bit.
You can get more into technical things. Shutters are an easy project -- even building shutters. If you currently got shutters, then you're just talking about a paint issue. I love to advise people to even build their shutters because it's a fun DIY project that doesn't require a high level of expertise. If you make a mistake, it doesn't cost you a fortune to start over.
Even simple things like a mailbox, which is even a forgotten concept when it comes to your house. Sometimes, the first things [buyers] see before they actually get down the sidewalk and on the property is the mailbox. "
Buy thick box-like frames from the local craft store, remove the back, put them in place in your yard in the configuration of your choice, and pour in some concrete.
Tip: Be sure to "tamp" down the sand carefully before you pour or place the stones. This will help you avoid a common DIY patio pitfall -– a surface that isn't level!
How to upgrade a boring staircase, according to Drew and Jonathan Scott
Staircases aren't normally the first thing you think of when having a lot of potential to up your home's aesthetic. But the truth is, it's the main focal feature in many homes and has the power to either contribute or distract from your home's vibe.
Here's what the Property Brother's suggest to upgrade a particularly "boring" part of your home. "You could do something like paint it all out, and it would look a thousand times better," Jonathan told a fan who asked for advice. The designer suggests adding in some paneling or wainscotting to help with texture.
Candace Olson's tips on balancing function and style:
"You can find the right mix of function and style. Just make sure you think your design decisions through carefully. If you're a large family that spends all your time doing homework in the kitchen and family room, then a large kitchen island or an open-concept kitchen and family room will probably work really well for you. If you're a retired couple who loves to cook and entertain, your priority might be gorgeous kitchen appliances, so you splurge on a chef's dreamy (and stylish) gas range," she said according to HGTV.com
On the importance of a home inspection
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a home inspection, whether you’re getting a fixer-upper or something brand new. The seller most likely will cover any costs of a problem that pops up," explained Jonathan.
He continued, "If you’re putting an offer in, make it subject to a home inspection, so that way nobody else is going to swoop in and take the property out from under you, and it gives you enough time to make sure the house is actually a good investment."
Joanna Gaines' inexpensive kitchen update
If you want to transform your kitchen, but don't have the time or the means to undergo a massive renovation, the "Fixer Upper" design guru suggests starting with the hardware.
"I think that hardware plays such a huge part in the style of a space,” she said. Try new drawer knobs or a new chrome bar-style pull.
Joanna's most prized kitchen appliance
If you're on the prowl for a housewarming gift, Joanna suggests one of her most beloved kitchen gadgets: A Breville Custom Bread Maker. The star shared a photo of the appliance on her Instagram this holiday season:
"If you don't have a bread machine, you should ask for one for Christmas. The smell of fresh bread alone is worth it. #itshouldbeacandle," she wrote.
On coming up with a design plan, according to John Colaneri from "The Cousins"
“When I was designing my kitchen I knew that I wanted it to be a place where I could interact at all times with family and friends. My kitchen looks out onto my dining area, living room, and outside patio. The most important rooms in the home where everyone gathers around all connected in a seamless manner,” he said.
On a budget-friendly option for a kitchen cutout
“Say you find a backsplash that you love but you can’t afford it, an option is to do a cutout of it,” Christina El Moussa explained, according to Cheat Sheet. “For example between a microwave and a stove or a cabinet piece, so do a picture frame of it. The rest of the backsplash, you can do more of an inexpensive tile.”
What Joanna Gaines will never leave an estate sale without
If you're fans of the Gaines' hit show "Fixer Upper," then you know Chip and Joanna never pass on the opportunity of a good estate sale. Jo spoke to Country Living on the 7 items she always keeps her eyes out for at the sales, including ornate frames, unusual storage opportunities, and old light fixtures. Find out what else made Joanna Gaines' list here.
On creating the perfect feature wall
"We always believe that every room should have a feature, whether it's a light fixture, furniture piece or whether it's something like a gallery wall. It's so easy, and the rule is that there are no rules. Make sure there is no unintentional weight on one side and it's balanced. You can do anything," said Jonathan to AOL Lifestyle.
"We're trying to get people excited about people telling their stories on their walls and not tucking all of their photos or memorabilia away in closets," Drew continued.
See more of their tips on the ultimate feature wall here.
How to make your kitchen much fancier than it really is, according to Joanna
The mom-of-five design expert suggests a simple way to make your kitchen look straight out of an interior design magazine. Her simple fix? Stashing exposed appliances like the microwave or coffee pot in a pantry or cabinet if it's not used every day. Jo recommends hiring an electrician to fill these extra spaces with outlets.
On what to consider before flipping a house
"Just because a house is a piece of junk doesn't mean it's a good flip," Tarek El Moussa stressed, according to House Beautiful. "So it has to be at the right price." If you're overpaying for the house to begin with, it's much harder to turn a profit once you invest time and money into it. Tarek wants you to remember: "You never make your money when you sell—you always make it when you buy, and you've got to buy right."
How to up the value of your home on a budget
Chip Gaines suggests three things to increase your homes' value without spending a ton of cash: fixing the "front elevation, landscape and slight modifications to the mailbox," he told us.
"If you've got a few thousand dollars, it may be a small budget, I'd really spend that money in front elevation," the home improvement king concluded.
The two colors to never paint your walls, according to Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott
Two color trends the "Property Brothers" can't wait to see go? Yellow walls and angry red walls, circa the 90s.
Chip Gaines on the most "crucial" and "nonnegotiable" painting step
"Primer is one of those tools that only non-professionals think somehow skipping that part of the process is going to help them from an efficiency standpoint and look standpoint. Everybody in the business knows that primer is a crucial step because it's so important -- not only from a foundation [standpoint] as primer allows products to adhere to the surface infinitely better -- but also the end result of actual finished products," he said.
"The paint itself looks better when it's been applied to primer. It's not a negotiable step...people in the industry know it's a part of the process -- it's what makes the paint look great," he continued.
On Hilary Farr's easiest decorating tip
"I love window dressings. They’re a quick and easy way to make a room look more inviting and cozy,” said the "Love It Or List It" star according to Parade. “For a modern look, hang curtains from the ceiling with a very simple pleat at the top so they will hang straight.”
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Joanna's best advice for choosing the color for your wall
You're not indebted to the color of your living room wall forever. But Joanna Gaines' has the best tips for actually making sure the color you're actually spending time and money to paint is actually worth it.
Don't fail to consider "where your light is coming from,” said the designer. It's important to predict how a certain hue will look once natural light affects it.
How Chip and Joanna balance different client's interests
No one is ever going to want the same thing out of a house. Every couple is different, with different tastes and preferences for aesthetics.
Said Joana, "I always tell clients to do their list of 10, and we try to somehow marry that. Of course, life is always about finding that middle ground and letting them both have a win. The creative part is blending both of those. You know, one's really rustic, one's really modern, I don't feel like there is any style that doesn't go well together...I just think it's that creative challenge."
One trend Chip and Jo can never agree on? Laminate floors.
On the biggest trends Tarek El Moussa can't wait to see go
Wall to wall carpets, inappropriate luxury upgrades and bidets.
The 8,000-square-foot home that I was working on had every amenity one would need: a great pool, home theater, game room, 10,000-bottle wine cellar, and seven-car garage. So, in the spirit of "having it all," I thought why not add a bidet in each of the bathrooms?
I soon realized that this decision was a poor one, as word quickly spread about the "bidet house."
My idea had backfired. Not only did it detract from the thousands of dollars I had put into the property, it also took away the hours of planning and structural changes we had made just to allow room for the addition. The point: Pull back on the reins of creativity just a tad, save yourself the headache, and the money, and do what people are accustomed to seeing. Let the new buyer put in the unique items. Make your additions neutral and of good quality, and let them speak for themself."
On investments homeowners should make for reselling value
If you're renovating a house and prepping it to sell, you want to make sure you're not overspending because you want to get as much back as you possibly can," said Drew.
"If you have crooked tiles or baseboards, all those tiny things start to add up to a big negative for buyers. Make sure your house is staged -- it's got to be clean, decluttered." Another tip from the home renovation master? Stash all those family pictures away!
One of the most valuable and classic aesthetics
You guessed it! Shiplap.
"It's been in houses for over 100 years, so for anything that's a classic material you can keep for as long as you want," relayed Joanna to AOL Lifestyle in 2018.
On David Visentin's biggest advice for purchasing a home
"Find a good Realtor who is immersed in the area you want to buy in," he said in an interview to AZ Central. "That is critical to getting a fair deal, and it will eliminate any hiccups along the way in the purchase process. Save, save, save and put down as much as you can for a down payment. Twenty-five to 30 percent is a good range to shoot for. Don’t overextend yourself. No matter how much you want a house, there will always be another one."
Chip on the projects homeowners can do themselves, without hiring help
"Id probably be leading with paint. Number two is that I've always been a connoisseur with tile...it's just more difficult to implement flooring as opposed to a backsplash in the laundry room or bathroom. So if I were to take you to the very next step after paint, I would encourage your readers to experiment which a backsplash in a small guest bathroom or laundry room, where again if you do make a mistake and things aren't perfect when you're finished, the risk that you've taken was manageable. As opposed to maybe being your backsplash in your kitchen, you can really mess that up to such an extent to where that affects retail, it affects your living situation."