Get yourself set-up with all the right gear to have a spectacular gilling season. Here are a few items that make grilling easy. Brought to you by Epicurious.com:
You can do 90 percent of your grilling work with tongs alone. Look for ones made of heavy-duty stainless steel (aluminum versions aren’t as sturdy) with a scalloped or oval tip, which makes it easier to grip and hold food. Medium-length tongs (about 12 inches) provide maximum control while keeping your hands far enough away from the fire to not get singed. Tongs should have a soft, comfortable grip. Those with a locking mechanism are the easiest to store.
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Tongs with Nylon Heads; $12.99; amazon.com
Look for a durable spatula with a beveled edge and a deep offset handle that allows you to get under food and lift it away from the surface without tearing it. Silicone spatulas clean up easily and can be used on grills as well as sauté pans. Try to find a spatula with a solid metal core so that it will be strong enough to support heavier food. For most grilling, you can use a spatula that is shaped like a duck’s foot (wider at the front than at the base), but for fish you’ll need a rectangular-shaped spatula that can slide under and hold whole fish or long filets.
Grill Friends Super Silicone Off-Set Spatula; $12.95; amazon.com
Brushes are used for basting, saucing, and mopping food. Look for a brush with an angled, long handle (about 13 to 15 inches long), which will keep your hand away from the fire and help you get into all the nooks and crannies of your food. Silicone bristles are the best option; they’re heat-resistant and dishwasher safe, plus they won’t shed like versions made with natural or synthetic bristles. If you plan to barbecue, you may want to purchase a dedicated mop which features significantly more bristles and is more efficient at spreading the thin mop sauces used in barbecue. Use the same criteria as for brushes.
Grill Friends Super Silicone Angled BBQ Brush (pictured top); $8.75; bbqproshop.com, Grill Friends Super Silicone Angled BBQ Mop 15″; $8.99; bbqproshop.com
To test the internal temperature of meat and poultry, you need an instant-read thermometer. Analog ones will read the internal temperature of food in less than a minute and tend to be more accurate than digital versions. Look for one that can be easily recalibrated with a hex nut and that has a large and easy-to-read face. For convenience, many come with a temperature guideline to tell you when your meat should be done.
Grill Friends Glow in the Dark Instant-Read Thermometer; $5.99; bbqproshop.com
Instead of lighting a pile of charcoal directly on the grill, consider using a chimney starter; it’s basically a metal cylinder that allows you to easily and efficiently light and heat charcoal before adding it to the grill. Look for a large capacity starter made with heavy-duty, unpainted, untreated steel able to withstand high heat cookout after cookout. A sturdy, heat-resistant handle—plus a second handle for steadying—makes pouring charcoal into the grill easier and safer.
Weber 7416 Chimney Starter; $17.49; amazon.com
Paraffin Wax Fire Starters
A chimney starter requires some sort of fire starter and although newspaper can be used, paraffin wax fire starters are easier to use. They are sold as individually wrapped cubes. The best ones light immediately, even when wet. Always use odorless, tasteless, nontoxic starters made of mostly (or all) paraffin.
Weber-Stephens 24 pack Firestarter; $3.79; amazon.com
Sometimes the igniter in the gas grill doesn’t work, or you wish you didn’t have to light matches to get a chimney starter going. The solution: Use a fireplace lighter. Better versions are often refillable—make sure the fuel line is clearly visible so you know when it needs to be replaced. For ease of use, look for lighters that can be operated with just one hand. This lighter, pictured, features a handy built-in bottle opener.
CampLighter Elite Lighter and bottle Opener; $7.99; amazon.com
Long mitts or gloves are an absolute must when cooking with fire because they protect your hands, wrist, and lower arms from burns. If you buy cloth or suede mitts, look for thick, heat-resistant material that is washable. Silicone versions are dishwasher-safe and won’t catch on fire. Well-fitting gloves or mitts are easier to use, and the newer three-finger versions offer added dexterity.
Charcoal Companion Red Silicone Barbecue or Oven Mitt; $11.99; amazon.com
Brass Bristle Cleaning Brush
Grill-cleaning brushes are designed to remove the residue left on the grates after grilling and should be used each time you grill. Brass bristles are preferable to steel because they are softer and won’t damage cooking grates. A flat scraper at the top of the brush is helpful for getting rid of cooked-on residue that is a little harder to remove; a long handle makes for easier use. Look for a brush that comes with a replaceable brush head.
Grill Friends Brass Bristle Brush; $12.99; bbqproshop.com