There’s no better way to kick off the summer season than to fire up the grill. Whether you’re a gas or charcoal kind of guy, having the right grilling accessories on your side is a huge part of the experience. Try flipping a steak with a standard kitchen fork and you’ll know what we mean.
So, if you’re ready to turn heads and impress your friends this grilling season, here’s our guide to the grilling accessories that every grill master needs in their barbecuing arsenal.
Spatula: Charcoal Companion Folding Grill Spatula
Everyone thinks they can get away with managing their grill by using random utensils that are floating around the kitchen, but this is rarely the case. What you need to flip your meats is a proper spatula; preferably one with a really long handle. Metal spatulas are the safest and most effective variety for the grill, and they should be offset for best results. For fish, you won’t find a better tool.
For a spatula, this one from Charcoal Companion is aesthetically pleasing. The grip is made with an attractive wooden handle that gives this spatula extra style points. But, it’s not all looks for this essential grilling tool. Its best feature is that it folds, which makes it easy to store in a pull-out drawer and makes it a practical option for campers and hikers. If you’re worried about how its folding mechanism will affect its grilling effectiveness, don’t — the head of the spatula locks into place when you unfold it.
Tongs: OXO Goods Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs
When you need a little more grip than a spatula can provide, grill tongs are the perfect solution. Many people don’t realize that all tongs are not created equal; some are far higher in quality than others. The tongs you choose should be heavy duty and spring-loaded, which will allow you to gently turn your food rather than stab at it. Stabbing can cause the flavor-packed juices to escape your grilling meats and nobody likes a dry steak.
This stainless steel pair of tongs from OXO will be your go-to tool for gently flipping and adjusting the positioning of whatever meats and veggies you throw on the grill. At 16 inches in length, they’ll keep your hands a good distance from the heat so you won’t have to worry about any hot juices or embers that might kick back. These tongs are made with a soft, non-slip handle that allows for easy gripping and its locking feature makes it easy to stow away.
Chimney Starter: Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Charcoal can impart an immense amount of flavor to grilled meat, but it’s also a pain to work with at times. One of the most common issues that arises is simply getting the briquettes to light evenly, which can have a huge effect on how your food is cooked. A chimney starter will not only help to light your charcoal in no time, it’ll also ensure that you don’t end up with hot and cold spots once the grill gets going.
This chimney starter from Weber is a popular pick on Amazon with a 5-star rating accumulated from nearly 5,000 reviews. It’s made with aluminized steel and comes equipped with a thermoplastic, stay-cool handle for easy gripping. Don’t bother with lighter fluid because it isn’t necessary with this chimney starter. Its cone bottom ensures a fast start so you’ll be ready to grill in just 10 minutes. Chimney starters can be relatively expensive, so at just $17 this one is a steal.
Thermometer: ThermoWorks ThermoPop TX-3100
If you don’t want to send your guests home with food poisoning, you should probably be taking temperatures before pulling anything off the grill. Those heavily charred chicken legs may look done, but there’s always a chance they’ll still be raw in the center no matter how much carbon they’re coated in. An instant-read thermometer will quickly dispel any concerns of undercooked meat or poultry.
While many say you can gauge the temperature of a steak or chicken breast by the firmness of the meat, it’s much more accurate to use an instant-read thermometer like the ThermoPop TX-3100 from ThermoWorks. It’s a digital thermometer that will give you an accurate temperature reading in just 3 to 4 seconds. It can read temperatures all the way up to a fiery 572 degrees Fahrenheit, but if your grilled chicken reads a temperature like that, it might be a little on the dry side.
Gloves: Steve Raichlen Best of Barbecue Long Suede Grill Gloves
A lit grill requires constant attention. If any issues come about, you need to be ready to intervene, and that means having the right type of protection on your side. Fire-proof grill gloves will allow you to combat just about anything your grill can throw at you, ensuring that you’re never at risk of burning your hands or forearms. After all, you really need those things.
Host of television’s Barbecue University, and quite possibly the king of grilling, Steve Raichlen, makes a pretty mean rack of ribs, but he also makes some pretty great grilling products that would be useful at your very own backyard barbecue. These grilling gloves are guaranteed to keep your hands and arms safe around the hot grill. Not only will they protect your hands, but they will also protect your forearms from the heat. These are great to use when handling cast iron, chimney starters, grates, and large items that you’re grilling. They protect you up to 475 degrees F, but it’s important to note that these are not fireproof, they are only resistant to heat for a period of time.
Just about every activity you can think of is more enjoyable when you’re working with the right gear. With grilling season finally here, it’s time to get your gear, put your apron on, and get grilling! These tools and necessities are exactly what you’ll need in order to be the official grill master of your circle this summer.
Post originally published by Jesse Jernigan. Last updated by Sam Slaughter.
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