Grilling tools are so important that I think it is impossible to have a successful barbecue without them. It’s like having a firetruck without a ladder, or a doctor without a stethoscope. Without the proper tools, the task at hand will be much more difficult.
Obviously, you should know how to operate your grill efficiently and have spent time learning all about it. Even our blind dog, Roscoe, knew our grill. He would wag his tail to produce a soft breeze and lend a helping paw whenever he could.
Here is a list of grilling tools that will take your food from “OK” to greatness:
Long-handled, stainless, and colored tongs – I really like the colored tongs, for food safety reasons. The OXO Good Grips stainless tongs are also a mainstay in our house. Their comfort is superb and they don’t slip out of your hands like the cheaper varieties. They also have scalloped edges, which makes picking up the food more precise. Tongs release less juice than meat poked with a fork, so if you want a moist morsel to savor – don’t use a fork for flipping meat.
Brushes – obviously they are indispensable for applying marinades and other tasty sauces. Silicone brushes, in my opinion, are the best. Why? Because they pick up more of the sauce and apply it evenly. They are a breeze to keep clean, and much more sanitary. The slightly angled brush version works like a charm, getting into those little crevices without enduring a burn on your arm.
Grill Toppers – Have you ever had a small piece of meat, such as shrimp, fall between the grates of the grill? Not a pretty site, nor is it all that tasty. They sell disposable grill toppers and stainless grill toppers that actually sit on top of your grill grates. By using one of these, you eliminate small food from slipping into the fiery inferno below. There are many types of Grill Toppers – choose one that is right for you.
GrillGrates – these are the newest rave in grilling. In fact, many people have won or placed in championship cook-offs by utilizing GrillGrates. That statement alone says it all. The magic is that they cook the food by conduction and produce the most crispy and beautiful grill marks. The food is simply delicious. I highly recommend using these.
Fish baskets – these can accommodate various sizes of fish, PLUS vegetables. This tool is very helpful for those times when using a spatula will threaten to break the meat apart. Baskets are definitely the better way to cook fish. My most favorite tool that is half tong, half spatula is the Lamson Sharp Fish Tongs. They have a wooden handle that protects you from the heat versus a stainless variety, and a lifetime warranty. They are absolutely perfect for flipping foods that crumble easily, and they flip burgers just as well.
Skewers – are you cooking kebabs? Then you definitely need long metal skewers; the kind with graspable handles and/or rings are the best.
Bear Claws – if you need to lift heavy meat, like a roast or a bird, then Bear Claws are what you need. They will do all the heaving lifting for you. What I like most about them; however, is how they can shred meat. Whether you cook on the grill or in a crock pot, Bear Claws are perfect for pulling and shredding pork and other meats.
Thermometers – after all this cooking, how do you know when your meat is cooked? An instant-read thermometer will keep guessing games at bay and prove to be a helpful tool. This is especially true when cooking large pieces of meat. Regardless, we live in a digital age now … and so you really should invest in one of the newer models rather than the old metal dial types. So many people get sick because their meat is not cooked properly, so this one item is probably the most important item to have!
Cutting Board – now that the meat is cooked perfectly … what do you need? A cutting board! What makes this one so darn useful is that it holds all the meat juices in a pan underneath the board. No more lost and flavorful juices running off and on to your tablecloth. If your meat was cooked correctly, you should have juices coming out when you cut your meat. This cutting board will capture those juices, and – it is reversible too. There are many to choose from; just find one that fits your family’s needs.
With the grilling season upon us, I hope you find some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and savor the moment. Happy Grilling everyone!