Grilling Tools

Grilling Tools You Need (And Some You Do Not)

It’s that time of year—grilling gadgets are on display. But guard your kitchen storage by making smart selections, like these.

If you’ve been grilling with ordinary kitchen utensils—say, salad tongs and a pancake turner—make this your year to upgrade to real grilling tools. For one thing, the handles of regular utensils probably aren’t long enough for grilling, which puts you at risk for burns. Also, utensils designed for your stove may not be able to withstand the heat and conditions associated with grilling. Here’s a list of tools that expert grillers say are worth the investment—plus a few that aren’t.

Long-handled tongs: Yes. Tongs allow you to flip foods easily or to lift the corner of a steak to check for doneness. Look for ones with a bumpy gripping edge, which can dig into heavier foods so you won’t drop them. Make sure the tongs are easy to squeeze. Those with a locking mechanism take up less drawer space.

Grilling spatula: Yes. A good stainless steel grilling spatula should be thin enough to slip under lightweight or fragile foods, such as thinly sliced zucchini strips or delicate fish fillets. Again, choose a long-handled version.

Basting brush or mop: Yes. Use either of these to spread extra sauce, butter, or marinade on foods as they cook. Those made from silicone can withstand very high temperatures, their bristles won’t fall out, and they’re dishwasher-safe (unlike natural-bristle brushes). Angled bristles make it easier to keep your arm out of harm’s way.

Meat thermometer: Yes. Guests won’t love it if their meat is overcooked or needs to go back on the grill. Plus, undercooked meat may be downright bad for you. Use a meat thermometer—traditional or digital—to ensure that foods are cooked properly.

Cleaning brush: Yes. Letting a crust form on grill grates is beyond unsanitary. It also makes foods more likely to stick and tear when flipped. Choose a rigid wire brush, and run it across grates after preheating and before adding oil and food.

Propane-gas monitor gauge: Yes. For about 20 dollars, this gauge threads onto your gas cylinder and will show you when levels are running low. Without one, it’s smart to always keep an extra propane tank on hand.

Grilling fork: Not necessary. Piercing grilled meats can release their delicious juices. If you do use a grilling fork, reserve it for tough cuts like pork chops or items from which juices can’t escape, like veggies.

Grill seasonings and rubs: Not necessary. These premixed flavorings can be high in sodium, sugar, and price. Instead, make your own, using such dried herbs and spices as paprika, brown sugar, garlic, onion, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, and cumin.

Grill wipes: Not necessary. These oil-coated disposable cloths can help grease the grill quickly and easily, but you can achieve the same results with grilling tongs and an oiled paper towel. For more flavor, halve an onion, dip its cut surface in oil, then run that across the grill grates to spread the oil.