10 Essential Grill Tools for $15 or Less
An arsenal of inexpensive but high-quality grill tools can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable season of summer barbecues and outdoor fetes, peaking with National Grilling Month in July. These 10 useful accessories under $15 should become staples for anyone who clocks hours at the grill.
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Fire Wire Flexible Grilling Skewers ($8 for two on Amazon) hold more meat and vegetables than traditional straight skewers and curl up to fit in a bag or bowl for marinating. They can be placed on the grill with the ends hanging over the side to stay cool for easy flipping and removal from the flame. The somewhat odd-looking utensils bend to fit on almost any shape or size grill, and reviewers say they're easy to clean, awarding them an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 overall.
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Any griller knows that keeping veggies and meat moist while cooking is essential. Layering on sauces creates a depth of flavor that sinks slowly into the ingredients, ensuring that each bite is rich and tasty. A heat-resistant silicone brush ($4 or less at Crate & Barrel) is easy to clean, according to reviews. It comes in handy for year-round cooking as well as summer grilling.
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A good thermometer guarantees that meats reach a safe and ideal heat. A set of three specifically designed for beef, pork, and chicken ($14 at Crate & Barrel) have easy-to-read faces and pointers that glow in the dark for no-fail results when the light is low -- such as on a beach or at a campsite.
Grills get hot -- very hot -- which gives steaks a delicious char but can also send a griller to the hospital. Keep hands safe by using heat-resistant silicone grill mitts ($7 each at Home Depot), which provide a stronger grip than square potholders while shielding skin from intense heat.
Not all ingredients benefit from direct contact with the grill grates. A sturdy grill basket ($13 on sale at Crate & Barrel) expands the possibilities of cooking on a grill, offering a tasty and easy way to prepare small vegetables such as green beans that could otherwise fall through the cracks.
Part of keeping a grill clean is scrubbing off any food stuck to the grates after each use, so the grill is ready to be used again, lasts longer, and doesn't taint the taste of the next meal. Depending on the type of grates, a heavy-duty cast-iron brush ($10 at Crate & Barrel) is a good, tough choice for small to medium-size grills.
Unless you don't mind wearing as much barbecue sauce as the meat, it's a good idea to cover up while tending the grill. A heavy-duty black apron ($10 at Home Depot) hides stains and smudges while shielding against splatter from marinades, sauces, and sizzling fat. It's machine-washable and comes with deep pockets for whatever tools need to be kept handy when things get busy at the grilling station.
Adding a protective coat of nonstick spray (less than $3 at Target) eliminates the frustration of seeing a perfectly charred crust stay on the grill grate while the rest of the food comes off. Especially useful for those who love to grill fish, it makes cooking and cleanup easier for cooks who aren't yet at the level of Bobby Flay.
This gadget takes the uncertainty out of getting smoldering hot coals going on a charcoal grill and eliminates the need for chemical-laden fire starters that tend to flavor the food. Reviewers say the Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter ($15 on Amazon) ensures a quickly and perfectly built bed of coals -- enough for a 22.5-inch kettle grill -- every time.