This Trick Keeps Your Hot Dog And Hamburger Buns Fresh For A Full Month

Don't put them in the fridge.

Need to keep your hamburger and hot dog buns fresh between outdoor barbecues? If you think putting them in the fridge is the way to go, you're totally wrong.

The truth is, if you want to keep your burger buns (or any bread, for that matter) fresher longer, wrapping them in plastic and storing them in the fridge is the worst thing you can do.

When starches in the bread crystallize and incorporate water into that crystalline structure, they get hard -- and stale, according to “Master of the Grill,” a new book out by the chefs at America's Test Kitchen. But you can control how fast this happens.

Freezing keeps it fresh.
Freezing keeps it fresh.

When you put bread in the fridge, at a temperature colder than room temp but not freezing, this crystallization process is sped up, and your bread becomes stale faster. But when you store bread at below-freezing temperatures -- in the freezer, for example -- this process is slowed way down.

"We found that refrigerated bread staled in just a day and bread stored at room temperature staled in just two days -- but frozen bread held up well for a month," they explain in the book.

Staling (also known as retrogradation) occurs six times faster at temps ranging 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but below freezing, it happens in about a month, ATK said.

So if you're going to use your fresh bread within two days, the shelf life is the best life. But any longer than that and you're better off freezing the bread and thawing it out the day of your barbecue.

Check out these other hacks that we've learned from years of cooking outside:

Clean Your Grill With An Onion
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Believe it or not, an onion is a great way to clean your grill's grates of all that black grime.

Fire up the grill to get that grates super hot and stick a fork into half an onion. Then rub the onion facedown across the grill until all the gunk is wiped off.

Not only does the onion naturally kill the bacteria, it smells great when it hits the grill and it's a very green way to clean.

Light Your Grill With A Chimney Starter

The handy chimney starter is one of the best tools to have in your grill arsenal.

It evenly heats your charcoal (the superior way to grill, by the way) and gets the bricks extremely hot in a matter of minutes.

Or Use The Chimney As The Grill Itself

Even better, as Cooks Illustrated demonstrates, a chimney starter can be a perfect way to grill a steak.

Doritos Make Great Kindling

If you're in a bind and can't find any good dry fire starter, Doritos (or any kind of chips) make great kindling -- provided you have the fire to get them lit.

Use Bricks To Flatten Meat

Wrap a brick in foil and use it to weigh down chicken, cornish hens, T-bone steaks or most other meats as it will sear in the juices, give it crisp skin and embed those coveted grill lines.

Use Ice Cubes In Your Burgers
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To keep your burgers crisp on the outside, yet moist inside, make your patties with a little ice cube in the middle of each.

(Best to make the patties right before you put them on the grill so the ice doesn't melt prematurely.)

Get Crazy With Herbs
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Herbs and grills are soul mates. Skewer meats and fruit with rosemary (or cinnamon sticks) to infuse them with flavor from the inside out, and throw herbs and wood chips from different trees directly on the charcoal to play with your meat's flavor.

The Oregonian has a good list of herbs to use, adding the caveat that you should avoid anything that's been sprayed with pesticides.

Measure Your Propane With Water

Gas grillers would be smart to check the level of their propane tank before any big barbecue, just in case you might run out midway through.

This trick from shows how water is a good indicator of how much propane is left in the tank.