Cooking Utensils and Grilling Tools
All the grilling tools that help you cook your food as well as maneuver it onto, around and off your grill. Most of these you are probably familiar with, while the more innovative ones may be new to you.
Long handled, spring hinged tongs are available almost everywhere, and are a great way to move all sizes of food around your grill. Optionally, scissor-style tongs do the same thing but may require much less pressure in the grip on long tongs.
Also common, barbecue forks can be used to put meat on the grill or move it when it is completely finished and rested, but should never be used while cooking. Piercing the food as deeply as a fork does results in a loss of the all-important juices. A grill hook or set of bear paws penetrate the meat much more shallowly and are a much better option for moving larger pieces of meat. Use a spatula or tongs on smaller pieces.
This common tool is essential for burgers especially, and can also be useful for steaks.
Natural bristled brushes are available everywhere, but specialty retailers also carry basting mops and long lasting silicone basting brushes.
Available in both traditional and digital models, as well as probe or fork styles, an instant read meat thermometer is essential to cooking to perfect doneness.
BBQ Grill hook
This versatile tool is catching on among grilling enthusiasts. A super sharp tip and curved design allow a quick pickup and flip with the turn of a wrist. It doesn’t pierce food as deep as a fork, turns things like chicken better than a spatula, and holds firmer than tongs without squeezing your food. Comes in both right-handed and left-handed designs, so make sure you get the right one
This set of claw-shaped meat holders is a great way to grasp large roasts and cuts of meat. Heat resistant plastic keeps your hands safe while the sharp claws grip your meat securely. A set of bear paws is also the easiest and fastest way to shred or pull pork or shred any barbecued meats.
Grill Brush Choices and Other Tools Can Use to Clean Your Grill
The most commonly available grill brushes feature brass or steel bristles for cleaning grill grates. Steel bristles provide stronger cleaning, but can damage porcelain coated grills, therefore brass bristles are normally recommended for porcelain.
Brushes often come in both long and short-handled models. Since brushing your grates should usually be done while they are hot, you should always look for long handled brushes. Many come with a scraper attached, which should only be used occasionally on stainless steel grates.
It isn’t wise to spend a lot of money on a brush, as the bristles wear down and clog with the remains of burned on food and grease. Depending on how often you grill, you may need to replace your brush each grilling season.
The exception to the bristle brush design is the Grill Wizard brush, which uses a stainless steel scouring head for scrubbing. The scouring head is highly resistant to clogging is easily and inexpensively replaced when necessary, which means the Grill Wizard can last indefinitely. The Grill Wizard has been shown safe on porcelain-coated grates, and in 2003, the magazine Cooks Illustrated and the television program “ America ’s Test Kitchen” did a head to head comparison between seven different grill brush designs and declared the Grill Wizard clearly the superior brush.
The most common alternative to brushes is a hard-edged steel scraper. Some are designed to even fit around common grill grate sizes and shapes. People generally choose scrapers over brushes because they get frustrated with replacing bristle brushes so often. Unfortunately, a scraper can damage a porcelain-coated grill, and scratch up the surface of a stainless steel grill, reducing its non-stick properties.
Several manufacturers offer sprays that claim to help break up grill build-up and aid in cleaning of very dirty grills, similar to oven sprays. The effectiveness of such products is open to debate, and considering (unlike an oven) you put food directly on the surface you are cleaning, be sure to carefully check the ingredients of anything you spray on your grill. Regular cleaning of your grill grates should avoid the need for a product like this.
Protecting and extending the life of your grill pretty much starts and ends with a good grill cover. Leaving your grill to the elements will significantly shorten the life and ruin the appearance of your investment. In addition, having to clean bird droppings or blown dust off your grill can seriously reduce your grilling enjoyment. If you live in a neighborhood, remember too that your neighbors may be having chemicals sprayed on their lawns, some of which will blow through the air.
The safest bet is to buy the cover provided by the manufacturer for your grill model. The main advantage to this is a perfect fit, which reduces the chance of the cover blowing off on a windy day.
Alternatively, generic aftermarket covers available in any discount store will work too. Because they don’t have a custom fit, make sure that the cover provides some hooks or a cinch design around the base to hold the cover secure in the wind. If not, you will want to secure the cover with bungee cords.
These are fiber cement fire resistant pads that get placed under your grill, particularly if you grill on a wooden deck. Technically, they are really to protect your deck or patio from sparks and stains, and they do a great job at it. But if you set your deck on fire, your gill is going to be worse for wear as well.
Optional Grill Accessories That Let You Do More With Your Charcoal Grill
Now that we’ve covered most of the essential grill accessories and tools, it’s important to note that there are many items available that will help you achieve different methods of cooking, or make your grilling experience easier and more fun.
Many manufacturers offer battery operated rotisserie attachments for their grills. In addition, many universal rotisserie attachments are available.
Side Fire Box
If you are serious about smoking your food, some horizontal style grills offer a side firebox as part of the grill, or sometimes (like Char Griller) as an after-the-purchase accessory. Using a side firebox allows you to manage the fire over extended cooking times without continually opening the lid of the grill and letting the heat escape.
If you plan on smoking in a kettle or kamado ceramic style grill, you may want a set of charcoal rails, which will hold the charcoal to one side of your grill. This allows for both indirect grilling and smoking. Remember to put a water pan under your food.
A “just for fun” accessory, these brands let you personalize your steak with any number of symbols, initials and logos. Now available with NCAA college logos.
That’s right, believe it or not, people back pizza in their backyard barbecue. Available for both general grills, and specifically for Big Green Egg cookers.
BBQ Pit Thermometer
If you are smoking your food on a regular basis, you are probably going to want a barbecue pit thermometer. Different than a meat thermometer, this measures the ambient temperature of your barbecue chamber. This will let you hit the magic 220-225 degree range for slow cooking with smoke.