By Tom Masters/Guest contributor
Grilling is not just tossing some burgers on a grill and letting them cook. Grilling is a form of art. It’s a culinary skill that is not taken lightly by the thousands of self-proclaimed grill chefs around the world and it is something that many must work hard at for many years to perfect.
It takes skill to keep a steak nice and juicy and filled with flavor or to smoke a salmon or cook veggies until they’re at the perfect texture as well as bursting with that flavor only a grill can provide. Yes, grilling is a full-time passion for many and thanks to those who love to master the grill, the rest of us can enjoy some pretty tasty grilled meals all throughout the grilling season.
Whether you’re new to grilling and just planning to cook a few burgers or hotdogs or you’re a grilling pro ready to tackle a new recipe for a gourmet dish, you’re going to want to give it your best shot to make sure the food turns out great. To really take charge when you step up to the grill however, you’re going to need some special BBQ grilling tools to get you through the grilling season and to ensure your meats and vegetables are as delicious as possible.
Everyone needs a good set of grilling tongs. You may have a set in your kitchen already, but grilling tongs are often longer than kitchen tongs and they can withstand the serious heat of the grill. You’ll want to grab a couple pair, so you can use one on chicken and one on veggies. You won’t want to use the same pair for everything because you’ll risk contaminating food and making your guests sick.
A brush is one of the essential BBQ grilling tools. It gets the burned food particles off the grill. When you invest in a brush, be sure to grab one that can handle the heat and is tough enough to scrape everything off without damaging the grill grates. You can use a good wooden scraping tool if you can’t find a durable grill brush in your local market. Be sure to replace the brush frequently so you won’t chance the bristles breaking off and getting on the food during cooking.
Outdoor Grill/Kitchen Sink
If you have an outdoor kitchen area with your grill, you’re going to love having an outdoor sink to go along with it. You can contact a professional plumber to install your new sink outside and can expect a cost ranging from as little as $100 to more than $600 (source: Anytime Plumbing information guide) depending on the sink you choose and how far the plumber needs to run water lines to the outdoor kitchen. Outdoor sinks will typically last up to ten years and they’re one of the great BBQ grilling tools for anyone who enjoys grilling out frequently.
Skewers for Kebabs
Everyone loves kebabs whether they’re meat or veggies or a combination of both. You can purchase wooden skewers or metal skewers and they’re great to place the food on and then place in a bowl or bag to marinate for a few hours prior to grilling. For best results when marinating food on a skewer, be sure to use the bendable metal skewers rather than wooden skewers.
For health reasons, it’s important to have a good meat thermometer on hand when grilling out. Thermometers will let you know if your meat is undercooked or even overcooked and it will also let you know that everything is cooked to the proper temperature. You don’t want to risk eating undercooked pork chops as they can cause illness. It’s also not good to eat overcooked red meats as overcooking can wipe out the overall flavor of the meat.
Nothing makes chicken on the grill taste as great as a basting brush dipped in that sweet and spicy barbecue sauce and then used to slather that tasty goodness all over the meat. A good basting brush is another of the essential BBQ grilling tools because you can use it not only for barbecue sauce, but it can be used to load sauce onto veggies, butter onto potatoes on the grill and other seasonings on red meat, fish and poultry. The best choice for a basting brush is silicone because it won’t shed like other brushes when you’re trying to get everything basted for grilling.
A grill basket is a great item to have, especially if you plan to cook small foods or small meats that might be too small to place on the larger grill grates. A basket will hold the food while cooking and it prevents the small foods from falling between the flames or down into the charcoal below.
This is obviously one of the essential BBQ grilling tools that you will need. When you choose a grill, you need to make some serious decisions about the right one for you and the cookouts you plan to host. Charcoal grills are great for searing steaks because they produce far more infrared heat than a gas grill, but gas grills burn clean and produce less smoke than charcoal grills. Charcoal grills offer a flavor that you won’t find with gas, but gas helps keep meats juicier when grilling.
Your living arrangements can also determine the type of grill you choose. If you have a large area to put a grill, a charcoal grill may work great for you. But if you reside in an apartment where space outside is limited or where you need to be extra careful with how you grill, charcoal may not be a suitable choice because of the flames. Gas grills are easier to clean than charcoal grills and they are better equipped to maintain a steady temperature when cooking. With charcoal, you’ll find plenty of soot to clean up after grilling and since flames must be tended, it isn’t as easy to keep the flame the same height or keep the grill cooking with the same temperature the whole time.
It all comes down to personal preference, however, and both gas and charcoal can cook a mean steak!
So, there you have it. Eight essential BBQ grilling tools. Go forth and grill.
Editors note: Tom Masters is a meat lover and believes that all meats and vegetables taste much better on the grill. His favorite BBQ meal is pork ribs and potatoes. His works in the marketing department with Anytime Plumbing. Welcome to the Posse family, Tom!