Hallelujah! Summer is finally here. You know what that means: lots and lots of time spent outdoors. We’ll be headed to the beach, campgrounds, and more. But, we’ll likely spend most of our time between in our own backyards. And one of the biggest backyard summer staples is grilling. Whether you’re into perfectly seared steaks, classic hot dogs and burgers, or a killer veggie kebab – there are great grilled meals for everyone.
But, if you’re hoping to make some delicious charcoal- or propane-cooked food, you can’t just do it in your kitchen; between the difference in flavor and the hassle of having to go back inside to cook, it’s just not the same. Instead, you should get your hands on some killer gear to help you whip up the perfect outdoor feast. What you need are these 18 grilling essentials to turn your backyard hangout into a full-blown summer cook-off. So swap those sneakers for a pair of flip flops, grab a cool beer, and man the grill.
HQY Stainless Steel Basting Brush
Think of basting like painting flavors onto your food. And, also like painting, tougher jobs require tougher brushes. This one from HQY features a stainless steel body mated to FDA-approved, BPA-free, food-grade silicone bristles that will allow you to slather your grill meats with any and every manner of sauce.
Update International Grill Spatula
If you’ve ever made the mistake of trying to use a plastic or rubber spatula on a hot grill, you already know that you need a burger flipper that’s a bit more resilient. This one is specially designed for the grill, with an extra long face made from stainless steel and a riveted wooden handle. It even has a blade edge so you can use is as a chef knife if you’re in a hurry.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Not everything you may want to cook on your grill is going to be conducive to staying above the coals. If you’re cooking anything smaller or chopped up, you’ll need another vessel into which to put it – otherwise you’ll make a big and unrewarding mess. The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is an excellent answer to that problem and it can be used in your normal kitchen when you’re done barbecuing.
Outset Round Grill Press
Whether you’re just trying to get a good sear on your steak or you need to shape some burgers before cooking them, Outset’s cast iron Grill Press is a superb tool. With a large 8″ surface and a stay-cool handle it can tackle just about any job. It even has a slot through which you can stick a thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat.
OXO Good Grips Locking Tongs
If you like grilled asparagus, corn, or even hot dogs, you’ll find a spatula is of little help when it comes time to rotate them. Instead of juggling rounded grill food, grab these locking tongs from OXO and master any unwieldy snacks and sides. They’re made from stainless steel, feature non-slip handles, and are even dishwasher safe.
Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Nearly all barbecue experts will tell you that coal is superior to propane in almost every way when it comes to cooking. The one way it isn’t? Coal is a pain in the ass to light on fire. Save yourself some frustration and effort by using this Chimney Starter from Weber and it’ll cut your prep time nearly in half, requires no lighter fluid, and will leave you far less angry.
Stainless Steel Kabob Skewer Set
For a little variety when it comes to grilled food, we are big proprietors of skewers. And that’s because you can incorporate a little bit of variety to your food by intermingling your meats with your veggies and, once they’re done cooking, you just plate them and enjoy. These stainless steel ones are a bit more beefy than your average skewers and they also come with a handy rack that you can use to serve your kabobs or let them cool off before chowing down.
Outset Leather Grill Gloves
Nothing will muck up a good grilling experience like burning your hands. Circumvent that risk by getting yourself a good pair of grilling gloves, like these all leather ones from Outset. They’re not as cumbersome as a pair of oven mitts, but they’ll still protect you from heat and any stray embers that might come your way. And since they’re made of high quality leather, they’ll break in nicely and last for a very long time.
BBQ-Aid Grill Brush
Although it stays outside, you should consider your grill on at least the same level as any of your other kitchen appliances. That is to say, it needs to be cared for and cleaned in order to stay in working condition – lest you want to cook a steak on a rusty grill. Get this combination brush and scraper from BBQ-Aid and you can be sure that your favorite summer cooking surface stays in tip top shape.
Weber Vegetable Grill Basket
Not everything grillable can just be dropped over the fire or even put on skewers. But that doesn’t mean you should just avoid those things. Instead, pick up this stainless steel grill basket from Weber, fill it up with mixed veggies, and pop it on the rack and you can make a char-grilled meal out of just about anything.
Meat: Everything You Need To Know
Having a few steaks in your life by no means makes you an expert on meat. And that’s why we suggest even the most seasoned amateur grill cooks get their hands on this book by Pat LaFrieda. Not only will this handsome tome teach you everything you need to know – from the differences between cuts of beef to how to cook and serve them – but it’s also a welcome addition to any coffee table in the interim.
Mercer Culinary Genesis Carving Fork
Whether you’re cooking a full rack of ribs, a ham hock, or some cornish hens, you’d do right to get yourself a carving fork. Not only will it help you check the tenderness of your meat while its still on the grill, but it’ll allow you to pin it down without getting in the way of your cuts. This 6″ offering from Mercer Culinary is made from high carbon steel and features a ergonomic Santoprene easy-grip handle.
Bison Rolling Camp Grill
Who says you can’t grill while you’re out on the trails? Not the folks at Bison Gears, that’s for sure. They’ve developed this ingenious little device which rolls up into an easily-packed format perfect for camping and unrolls into a Teflon-coated non-stick elevated grilling surface that you just place over your campfire whenever the mood or hunger strikes you. And, once you’re done, it’s a cinch to clean, too.
Meater Smart Meat Thermometer
We love our steaks rare, but we also understand the dangers of eating undercooked meat. But traditional meat thermometers are hardly accurate or convenient. This one is accurate to within a degree and will send information directly to your smartphone with the included app. And, since its entirely wireless, it can go just about anywhere.
TRVR Work Apron
Any chef can tell you that cooking can be a very dirty job. Pair that with the sometimes windy great outdoors and you’re bound to ruin an article or two of clothing if you don’t take the proper precautions. Save your wardrobe and pick up the TRVR work apron. It’s made from heavy waxed canvas, features vegetable tanned leather pockets and straps, and solid brass hardware holds it all together. It also helps that it looks very good.
Shun Premier Chef’s Knife
The most important tool in any chef’s arsenal – other than creativity – is a knife. It’s truly the most versatile and necessary instrument and it should be treated as such. That’s why we suggest investing in one very very good blade, like the Shun Premier Chef’s Knife. This Damascus-style folded steel knife will cut through any food like butter, is dishwasher safe, and is about as beautiful as kitchen gadgets come.
YETI Roadie 20 Cooler
Whether you’re grilling in the backyard, at the beach, or in a campsite, you need something to keep your meat cold until the time comes to cook it. And you can truly do no better than a YETI cooler. This one offers 20 liters of internal space – which is more than enough for a few cuts of beef, some sides, and even an icy cool beer or two.
Traeger Timberline Smart Grill
Sometimes, with all the technology that surrounds us, it feels like we are living in the future. So why not incorporate that into our favorite things – grilling included. This high-tech combination grill and smoker from Traeger can link directly to your smartphone via the brand’s app and you can use it to wirelessly check the internal temperature (which is remarkably accurate) and alter any of the cooking specs on the fly. Perfect for football season, when you can’t step away from the TV.
Ultimate Guide To Beef Cuts
Should you have any desire to become a master griller, you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with your craft as much as possible. A good place to start is here with our ultimate guide to beef cuts. It’ll help you get a cut above.