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8 Essential Tools for Aspiring Grillmasters

by Barry CB Martin

You have the great new grill, an apron, a tray full of steaks and maybe even a silly hat. But do you really have what it takes to be a grillmaster? Here are the eight must-have accessories that every outdoor chef needs for a killer cookout.

1. Thermometers

Managing temperature is the most important task in outdoor cooking. A quality oven thermometer will tell you the temperature of the grill. An instant read thermometer will quickly tell you the internal temperature of meat. Tech-savvy grillers can even use a remote digital thermometer for larger roasts so they can track the temperature of the meat without lifting the hood and allowing heat to escape.

2. Spatula Turners

Turners are essential for flipping grilled foods. The blades are slightly off-set from the handle at an angle so you can press the blade flat on the grates and slide it under whatever is on the grill. Choose a turner with an 8 inch blade of hardened steel for grilling fish.

3. Tongs

Tongs are the preferred way to move meat around on the grill. Their flattened, scalloped ends provide an ideal grip that you can't get with turners. Separate tongs for raw and cooked meats help prevent cross-contamination.

4. Large Sheet Pans

Transferring raw food from the preparation area to the cooking area and cooked food to the serving or carving area is easier with 18 gauge aluminum sheet pans. Measuring 18” x 26” with a 1” lip all the way around means no spilling of delicious meat juices.

5. Aluminum Foil

Heavy duty foil to wrap meat that is smoked but not finished cooking is critical to most outdoor cooks. Foil can also serve as makeshift oven by tenting food on an open grill and is useful for keeping cooked food warm and not drying out.

6. Grill Grate Cleaning Brushes

The quality of the cleaning brush is critical because better made brand name brushes do not easily lose the metal brush bristles as cheaper versions tend to do. The brush should be appropriate to the design of the grill grates and should only be used when the grates are warm and not over open flame.

7. Basting Brush

Most sauces and glazes have high sugar content that burns when exposed to high heat of grilling, and should only be applied during the final 3-5 minutes of cooking. A 12-inch handle, slightly bent, with silicon brush works best and is easily cleaned in the dishwasher.

8. Fire Extinguisher

When cooking with charcoal, propane or natural gas there is always a chance for fire to start via a spark or grease build-up. To be safe, a fire rated and properly charged fire extinguisher is a must for every outdoor chef.

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Photo Credits

  • Kris Robertson/Demand Media

About the Author

Barry CB Martin is Chief Grilling Officer of Welcome to the Cookout! and founder/publisher of Our Community Table. He was also a guest chef in 24 live segments of the "Outdoor Chef" on The Weather Channel and a primary contributor of Creative Homeowner's Everybody Grills (2009) and America Grills (2010).