Still trying to figure out what to get dad? Well, if he likes cooking outdoors with the added benefit of some ultra-cool gadgets, you might want to browse the overstuffed aisles at the Backyard Barbecue Store in downtown Wilmette. The nation's appetite for outdoor cooking has fueled business.
"We've been open eight years and I would say sometime shortly after we opened you started to see a lot of barbeque on the Food Network back then. Now they have a whole week of grilling and chilling," said co-owner Dan Marguerite.
And customers can grill and chill out in the store's backyard, test-driving gas, charcoal or dual-fuel grills.. plus smokers and even outdoor pizza ovens. But the sheer number of seemingly must-have gadgets will make it hard to step outside.
"We sell a lot of remote thermometers, it's where you can plug the thermometer in the meat, take it inside and still get a reading inside so you know what temperatures the meats at in the grill," Marguerite said.
Pizza stones come in handy for grilling and baking right on the grill.. while stainless basting pots keep sauces nearby and allow easy clean-up. Even traditional skewers are getting a makeover for smaller grills.
"That is a flexible skewer. So it allows you to put the meat and the veggies on there and if you were cooking on a Weber Kettle you can actually curve the, or a Big Green Egg, you can curve it right around so you can get your shish kabobs on there and just pick it up and flip it just like that," said Marguerite.
Marguerite and his nephew still can't believe barbeque is as hot as it is.. but with so many options - including grills that range from 200 to 13-thousand dollars - it seems there's an insatiable appetite for outdoor cooking.
"We're into woods, sauces, rubs. We originally thought we might be kind of a barbaque store and a fireplace store in the winter, but we never...we just are just straight barbeque year round," he said.
The store also hosts a few cooking classes and beer dinners every month.. They'll also rent out their fully-loaded backyard for special occasions.
Backyard Barbecue Store
1147 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette