Everyone knows about the basic tools of the grilling trade. You’ve got your grill grates, charcoal or gas, a spatula, a pair of tongs, and maybe a fork or two, right? If you want to keep things simple, you might be able to get by with that list of simple hardware, but if you want to make the leap from amateur to grill master, you’re going to need to elevate your game. You’re going to need to branch out and get some more specialized hardware. These aren’t just frilly, optional tools for grilling; no, these pieces of grilling equipment are essential. Maybe you’ve never used them before, but once you move beyond the realm of burgers and hotdogs, you’ll be glad you bought them. They’re going to become such integral parts of your grilling menagerie that you won’t be able to grill without them. So prepare yourself to jump to the next level of grilling with these six pieces of essential grilling equipment you didn’t know you that you needed.
1. Two Thermometers. Yes, two. If you’ve got an older model of gas grill, or a charcoal grill, it’s likely that your grill is lacking a temperature gauge. Or maybe you have one, but it’s no longer calibrated properly. So, how are you going to figure out how hot your grill is? If you need to slowly roast something but your grill is way too hot, you’re going to be cursing yourself for not buying an air thermometer that can tell you what your grill’s temperature is. But apart from the air thermometer, you’re going to need a meat thermometer as well. Instead of slicing open your meat to gauge the temperature and doneness or using the guesswork involved in pressing on the meat, just use an instant-read meat thermometer. You’ll get precise results and delicious food every time out.
2. Two Pairs of Tongs. Once again, you need to double down on your equipment here. This tip is more for charcoal users, but having extra tongs around never hurt anyone. Obviously, you don’t want to stab your meat to turn it, as doing so will release the precious juices and waste all of that flavor. So, you’ll need a pair of tongs to turn your meat, but you don’t want to use those same tongs to move around your coals. If you’ve got hotspots because your charcoal has shifted during cooking, you can use your extra tongs to move around your coals. You’ll avoid getting grit, ash, and even chemicals on your meat.
3. Wire Grill Basket. Ask anyone who’s ever tried grilling white fish fillets, and they’ll invariably talk about how the fish falls apart when you try to turn it. This problem can be easily avoided by using a wire basket designed for the grill. This basket holds the fish, while still letting air circulate around the meat to give it that nice grill flavor. Then, the whole basket is turned so that the fish is held in place. No falling apart, no angry cursing!
4. Spray Bottles. Just about anyone who’s used a grill has had some flare-ups. You know, big bursts of flame that happen when high temperatures meet drippings or what have you. While a fire extinguisher is still the best tool for big fires, small flare-ups can be easily quenched with a few blasts of water. Apart from safety uses, spray bottles can be filled with a flavorful liquid and sprayed on your meat during long cooking. This is especially handy for smoking big cuts of meat for long periods of time, as many true BBQ connoisseurs swear by the use of cider vinegar for smoking. Fill a bottle with a little vinegar and apply liberally!
5. Chimney Starter. Some men like to pile their charcoal high and set it on fire, and then endure the long wait for the fire to die down and the coals to heat up. But you can expedite the process by using what’s called a chimney starter. It’s a tall column that holds the charcoal, and then an ignition source is placed in the bottom of the chimney which burns the coals from the bottom up. These little devices come cheap, and can even be made at home out of a sturdy coffee can. Cut down on your waiting time and try one today!
6. Welding Gloves. When you’re working with the intense heat of a searing grill, the chance for injury goes up. Especially when you’re moving meat around on the grill, bringing things to the front and moving others to the back. You’re asking to be scalded and burned if you do all of that without a good, thick, heat-resistant glove. That’s why you should get a hold of a welder’s glove for grilling. You won’t lose any dexterity, and you’ll keep all of your digits in tip-top shape!