In fact, with just a handful of carefully chosen tools, you can make grilling a regular part of your meal plan. Even better? The best grilling tools don’t require you to break the bank and still have a purpose in your kitchen during the off season.
With summer just around the corner, it’s time to stock up on all the grilling essentials you’ll need to make frequent backyard barbecues happen. Here are our top six must-haves grilling tools.
A good set of tongs is essential for handling everything from hot dogs to grilled corn on the cob. Look for something long enough to keep your hands safe from the heat, but lightweight enough that they won’t be difficult to maneuver. The best tongs can act as an extension of your hand — offering you easy dexterity to turn and flip at will.
You won’t get too far flipping burgers without one. Again, look for a spatula that is long enough to put some distance between your hand and the grill, but not too unwieldy. The right spatula should feel sturdy, but lightweight in your hand, with a stable, wide base. Also important: a wider base can allow you to more easily flip delicate grilled items, like fish.
Take the guesswork out of it. A meat thermometer can tell you everything you need to know about when it’s time to take your meat off the grill. Without one, you risk under or overcooking — neither of which is a good option. We’ve even seen novice grillers risk cutting into their meat to see if it’s cooked through…shudder. Doing so prematurely releases juices and can cause your meat to lose flavor and tenderness. Bottom line: get a thermometer. You won’t regret it.
There’s nothing quite like a kebab. Skewering meat and vegetables with your favorite marinade and then grilling up an all-in-one meal is one of summer’s great pleasures. To make it happen, you’ll need a set of metal skewers. Skip wooden skewers that may burn and can’t be reused and invest in the real thing.
A clean grate is crucial to good grilling. Without a good grill brush to clean in between meals, you risk icky build-up compromising the easy release of your food (which ultimately just creates a bigger mess). Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than perfect grill marks — and you won’t get them if your grate is dirty.
While you could use a cooling rack for its intended purpose, we included it on this list to provide a landing spot for smaller vegetables to grill. Simply turn the cooling rack upside down and place it directly on your grill, then voila — instant vegetable grill basket! Now you can get grill flavor on cherry tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms and other vegetables that would otherwise slip through the grates.
The best tools deserve the best meat. Get grillin’.