Grilling is the ultimate summer pastime: Warm days in the sunshine with the delicious aroma of smoky meat and grilled veggies wafting through the air. There’s not much to complain about with a typical cookout, but sometimes the right accessory can put your backyard barbecue over the top. Before warm weather fades into colder temps, step up your skills with some of our favorite grilling accessories to create the perfect summertime feast.
Sur la Table Three-Tiered Cedar Plank Griller, $18
The multi-tiered design of this plank griller from Sur la Table means you can imbue your food with delicious, woodsy flavor and save room on your grill at the same time. Stack meat, fish, or vegetables on the three planks, throw the whole thing on the grill, and wait to be rewarded with the subtle, smoky flavor of cedar. When your food is ready to eat, the combination of rustic cedar and stainless steel also makes for a pretty wicked serving tray.
Pampered Chef BBQ Corn and Skewer Rack, $18
Toasty, buttery, grilled corn on the cob is one of man’s greatest inventions. Most people are probably familiar with the tried-and-true “just chuck, don’t shuck” method – where you remove the silk from an ear of corn and throw it on the grill husk and all – but if you’re looking to add a little flavor enhancement, working around the husk can be a little tough. The open, minimal design of this stainless steel rack makes it easy to slather your corn in butter and seasonings, while keeping the cobs up off the grill just enough for easy turning. No more over or underdone corn, no more bland flavor, no more horrifyingly butter-less rows on the bottom of the cob to upset the balance of an otherwise perfect cookout.
Bitterman’s Himalayan Salt Block from Sur la Table, $32
Cooking with one of those fancy-schmancy Himalayan salt blocks may seem a little intimidating at first, but once you know how to do it, the process is actually pretty simple. Plus you’re totally going to look like you’ve got your life together so hard when you serve up a perfectly cooked rib eye on one of these beauties, so why not put down a few pennies to class up barbecue season? This salt block from Sur la Table also has a perfectly snug carbon steel holder, which helps to protect from damage, and makes it easier to move your block from grill to table.
The Woody Paddle All Natural Grill Scraper, $27
The relationship between grill master and grill can be difficult to understand for the layman. After so many summer nights spent searing, smoking, and charring together, ya gotta treat a grill right. The Woody Paddle Grill Scraper is an all-natural alternative to wire brushes that can cause damage to grates, so you can protect from scratches and keep enjoying those special summer evenings. Simply fire up your grill and press the Woody Paddle Grill Scraper against the heated grates to create custom grooves. Once the wood is imprinted, just scrape away debris like you would with a brush, and keep your cooking companion clean and bristle-free.
Charcoal Companion Kabob Grilling Baskets, $22
If you fancy yourself a kabob king, you know how difficult it can be to keep those meats ‘n veggies from burning or tumbling into The Upside Down on the other side of the grate. Why mess with the delicate process of turning fragile kabobs when you could just throw them in a basket and flip them like a madman without consequence? These kabob grilling baskets are made of non-stick steel, and they latch securely shut so you can grab the handle and flip them quickly without having to worry about your lunch going overboard. We don’t know about you, but now we feel a little silly for fussing with those skinny skewers for so long.
Weber iGrill 2 Thermometer, $89
There’s a burly sort of freedom to sparking a flame and cooking up a hearty meal in the great outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you always want to be stuck manning the grill, obsessively flipping food and impatiently mashing down burger patties while everyone else socializes. Let technology lend a hand with Weber’s iGrill 2 Bluetooth Thermometer. The base mounts magnetically to your grill, and you can use up to four probes to monitor your food through a smartphone app as it cooks. With a 150-foot Bluetooth range, you won’t have to hover over the flame while your food cooks – just track the temperature on your phone and head back to the grill when it’s time to serve.
Sur la Table Smoke Pucks, $9
There could hardly be a better reward for a long day of cooking in the summer heat than a big, beautiful rack of ribs or a brisket with a perfectly succulent smoke ring, but you don’t always have the space for a pit-master-style smoker in your backyard. If you thought your dreams of noshing down on some rich, smoked choice cuts were dead, think again! These stainless steel pucks from Sur la Table can be filled with wood chips or pellets and placed inside your grill to produce smoke and fill your food with that irresistible flavor. You don’t even need to pre-soak your wood chips, and the pucks’ small size helps you save space on the grill and allows you to place them directly among your food to make sure you soak up every plume of flavorful smoke.
BBQ Dragon Fan, $50
Anyone whose seen a Survivor fire making challenge knows that trying to create and control a flame has the potential to end up a frustrating, embarrassing struggle. Even if you’ve already mastered the spark arts, waiting for charcoal to light can feel as gruelingly slow as watching paint dry. The BBQ Dragon Fan speeds up this process by blowing low-velocity, cool air onto the fire, supplying it with the extra oxygen needed to burn hotter and faster – bringing your grill up to heat in mere minutes. The best part is that the BBQ Dragon is equipped with a snaking neck and a sturdy clip, so you can take it camping, tailgating, or just out to the backyard for a totally hands-free fire-starting experience. Fire good. BBQ Dragon fast.