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  Sept. 28, 2011 
Grilling Tools and Accessories
 
"Tools to help make your cookout easier!" 

By: Larry Howeth

There are dozens of different grill and barbecue tools and accessories available to help make your cookout easier. A number of them are really essential to the process of grilling. We will first take a look at those that are the most basic grilling tools needed to accomplish this task.

If you are using charcoal grill one of the most useful tools you can have is either a chimney or electric starter to light the charcoal. If your gas grill does not have an electric igniter then a long stem butane lighter is much safer to use than trying to light with a match.

During the actual process of grilling there are several tools that are a must to get the job done. A pair of tongs will help with moving and turning the food over, while a spatula will allow you to easily flip burgers and can also be used to help make sure that steaks and other cuts of meat release from the hot grates with a minimum of sticking. A meat fork can also be used to move, turn or flip food, but should be used sparingly since putting holes in the meat can result in the loss of the natural meat juices.

Also while barbecuing you will want to add moisture and flavor to the food. For this you will need a brush or brushes for basting and applying sauces. While you can buy barbecue brushes, I prefer a good quality natural bristle paintbrush - new of course! For applying thinner sauce mixtures you can use a barbecue mop.

A wire brush or scrubber is needed for cleaning the grates both before and after the grill is used. The head of the brush usually has stiff wire bristles on one side and a coarse fiber pad on the other. There are many types and sizes available including ones with replaceable heads.

Other helpful tools include an instant-read thermometer for checking the doneness of various cuts of meat, a water spray bottle for helping with sudden flame flare-ups, and aluminum drip pans to help catch the fat juices that drip from the meat.

Additional barbecue tools are available for unique grilling needs. These include various styles and sizes of metal and wooded skewers used for grilling kabobs, a cooking syringe for injecting liquids in larger pieces of meat, a grate grabber to help in handling a hot grate when adding additional charcoal, and special racks for cooking ribs, roasts and chicken on your grill.

A really useful grilling tool is the vegetable grate. This is an individual grate with a smaller grid pattern that can be placed on the grill to hold vegetables, fruit or smaller items that might tend to fall through the larger grates of most grills. If you are a grilled fish lover then you will want a fish basket to hold the fish fillets. The fish basket makes it easier to turn the fish over as it becomes more done and more prone to flake and fall through the grill grates.

If you are not using a charcoal grill but want more of the smoke flavor and aroma to your food then you might want to consider using a smoke box. With a smoke box you can place water soaked chips or chunks of different woods on or in your grill to help flavor the food. You can get bags or boxes of wood chips or chunks in oak, apple, hickory, mesquite and other flavors.

These are just a few of the barbecue and grill tools available to help make your outdoor cooking experience easier and more flavorful. Start with the basics and add new tools as you expand your grilling prowess. Happy grilling!!

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