Grilling season is upon us. Though times are uncertain, we can luckily still count on barbecued meals all summer long. Plus, even if you have just a small amount of outdoor space, you can partake in this treasured, warm-weather tradition, and you don't even need any flashy gadgets to do it right — there are just a few indispensable tools necessary for a quality grilling setup.
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From dependable tongs to a beloved cast iron skillet, these simple accessories are the key to delicious, smoky meals for years to come. Here are the 10 grilling essentials that will lead you to summertime dining success.
First things first, you need a grill. True grill masters will insist that a charcoal grill, which imparts significantly more flavor than a gas grill, is the only way to go. Charcoal grills are also cheaper, more portable, and get much hotter than their gas-powered counterparts. Weber invented this style of kettle grill in 1952 and it remains the best on the market in the small, straightforward category. The brand makes more elaborate charcoal grills, too, if you have the space and funds for all the bells and whistles, but the round original still performs brilliantly.
The speediest and easiest way to get your briquettes burning is with a chimney. This handy contraption allows you to avoid using lighter fluid, which might taint the taste of your food. With some newspaper and coal, it should take just 15 minutes to heat up for cooking.
Forget the bulky barbecue tongs in favor of a more functional, universal pair. Lightweight yet sturdy, these 16-inch tongs are nimble for all your turning and maneuvering needs. The length keeps your hands far enough away from the heat, while the non-slip handles ensure a solid grip.
This long spatula doesn't look like your typical burger flipper, but that doesn't mean it isn't the best tool for the job. Designed for turning fish (which it also does expertly), this piece is strong yet flexible thanks to its stainless steel construction. That means it's perfect for precise movements with any type of food. The handle offers high heat protection and slip resistance, too.
A helpful device for cooking of all kinds, the instant-read thermometer is crucial for grilling. When your meat is on the grill, time is of the essence. There is a short window between unsafe to eat and overcooked, and you want to make sure you pull it off the heat accordingly. This thermometer is quick and accurate so you always know when your meat is done.
Keep your hands guarded and burn-free with these barbecue gloves that protect against extreme heat. Whether you're working with an open flame or hot metal, this pair has got you covered from temperatures up to 932 degrees Fahrenheit. Made of firefighter-approved materials, you know you'll never have to worry when you're wearing these gloves.
A precious kitchen staple for chefs and home cooks alike, the cast iron skillet is also a superstar for grilling. Revered for its durability and ability to evenly distribute heat, the pan can be placed right on the grill for an incredible sear on meats. The best part is the super flavorful fat gets retained, rather than dripping through the grates and lost forever.
Meat gets all the barbecue hype, but grilled vegetables can be equally worthy of praise. This stainless steel basket is optimal for vegetables, from zucchini to peppers to asparagus, as well as shrimp and other small items. The holes provide an even cook without letting anything fall through, while the raised edges keep everything right where it should be.
Once you've achieved your ideal char, you'll need a vessel to transport your meal to the table. This teak cutting board is up to the task, with a juice canal along the edges to catch all the good stuff and avoid a mess. Plus, it's sustainable, lasting, and beautiful enough to serve on.
It's important to maintain a clean grill for seamless cooking every time. To make sure you've eliminated all the burnt-on grease, use a stainless steel brush with hard-wired bristles that cut through residue without scratching your grates. This version has three brushes in one, meaning you'll accomplish a squeaky clean with fewer swipes.