Tools and gadgets are designed to make grilling easier. A few are essential, some are useful, and others are just plain fun. The following accessories can make time spent cooking outdoors even more of a pleasure.
Essential Grill Tools
- A long, wooden-handled grill brush with rustproof metal bristles and a stainless-steel scraper designed for cleaning grills.
- A pair of extra-long tongs to keep your hands at a safe distance from flame.
- A long-handled brush with natural bristles securely attached to the handle that lets you safely coat foods with marinades or sauces during cooking.
- A two-pronged fork for spearing and moving large foods. However, spearing with a fork means loosing flavorful juices, so use tongs when dealing with smaller cuts.
- A sturdy spatula with a well-insulated, medium-length handle.
A good instant-read thermometer is indispensable. Simply insert it into the meat near the end of the cooking time; the temperature will register in seconds. Never let the thermometer touch bone, which will give a false reading, and don’t leave it in the meat while cooking. Calibrate your thermometer at least once a year, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Flat-edged metal skewers can keep kabobs from rolling on the grill. Long skewers also can stabilize large pieces of meat, such as a butterflied leg of lamb, while it cooks. Soak wooden or bamboo skewers in water —or, for extra flavor, beer, wine, or fruit juice—at least 30 minutes before using.
A small, vented metal smoker box holds wood chips or herbs inside a gas grill and is placed directly over a heat element.
If you don’t have a smoker box, you can fashion one out of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Take a 12- X 18-inch piece, add wood chips or herbs to center. Fold foil to make a compact packet, and punch several holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape.
Grill Baskets, Screens and Plates
Grill baskets are good for delicate foods that are difficult to turn or that could fall through the cooking grate or rack, such as asparagus, bread slices, fish, or onions.
A chimney starter is a metal cylinder with vents on the bottom and a wide, sturdy handle on the side. It’s a safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly tool for starting a fire in a charcoal grill. A large chimney (about 7 1/2 inches in diameter and 12 inches tall) holds the right amount of charcoal to make a medium-hot fire in a medium or large kettle grill.
Many gas grills come equipped with a spark igniter. If yours does not have one, use a long match or gas wand to light the flame.
A heavy cast-iron pan can rest on your grill grate or rack for cooking shellfish, simmering sauces, or heating gravies. Cast-iron is the best choice for grill-top cooking because it heats evenly, holds heat well and lasts a lifetime.
A rotisserie consists of a large spit powered by an electric motor. The spit slowly rotates at a constant speed above the fire bed. Held securely in place with adjustable pronged forks, meat will cook slowly and evenly on a rotisserie. When shopping for a rotisserie, look for a model with a strong, reliable motor and a sturdy counterweight system.
Roasting meat on natural, untreated cedar or alder planks produces exceptionally moist meat that is subtly flavored by the wood's essential oils.
An oven mitt and a pot holder made of heavy, quilted or coated cotton can help protect your hands from intense heat during grilling. A leather grill glove, with an extension that shields your forearm from the heat, provides the best protection. A full-length, heavy-duty apron guards against splatters on clothing.