Carpenters like to say, “use the right tools for the job.” The same can be said for grilling. There are certain tools that make the job easier and give better end results. Here are a few of our favorites:
Spring-back tongs. You could get yourself some of those extra-long-handled tongs that come with the grill tools set OR you could head to a kitchen store and buy a 10- or 12-inch pair of tongs. Working with shorter tongs gets you closer to the meat you have to flip/turn/adjust on the grill, giving you greater dexterity.
Welder’s gloves. Okay, so maybe welder’s gloves are overkill, but they are pretty inexpensive compared to grilling gloves. Nothing but tough suede or leather – these protect your hands from the heat and, same as with the shorter tongs, give you some added dexterity. And you can buy them in sizes to fit your hands. For an example, check out these gloves
Thermometer. The instant-read varieties are easy to find and well worth the $10 or so you might spend on these (see related story about food safety). You’ll never have to guess again if the steak you cooked for your mom is the well-done (160 F—no comment) she always asks for. You can show her the thermometer.
A great slicing knife. Long and slightly flexible with a very thin blade, a slicing knife lets you cut through steaks and the like with ease and makes cutting very thin slices (the way you might for a flank steak or a London broil) look easy.
Cutting board with well. Once the meat comes off the grill, let it rest before cutting into it (this lets the juices get back into the fibers of the meat, resulting in a more tender roast or steak). As it rests, it may exude some juices. The well around the cutting board will catch the juices, leaving you with less of a mess and, if you’re making a sauce to go with your steak, the juice goes right back into the sauce for better flavor. Here’s a tip: cover the meat first with a piece of foil, then with a dishtowel to keep it nice and hot while it rests. For your cutting board, pick wood or plastic (which is nice because it can go right into the dishwasher when you’re done).
We’d love to hear from you about what your essential grill tools are! Let us know.