With the onset of summer, Southerner’s fancies turn to grilling. But before you fire up your grates this month, consider these four essential gadgets that will bolster your grilling from backyard greenhorn to budding pit master.
Cleaning your grill’s grate between uses is a vital first-step to ensure your food is cooked properly. A good grill brush is the perfect tool to remove burnt food particles, seasonings and sticky sauces from your grates, which can bring unwanted flavors to your next meal. Priced between $5 and $50, grill brushes come in various styles. Many come with a replaceable scrub pad. The Grill Wizard 18-inch China Grill Brush is an excellent choice for $31.50.
An important aspect of successful grilling – and indeed all cooking – is the ability to monitor food’s internal temperature as it cooks on the grill. Thousands of grill thermometers are available on the market, ranging from about $10 to $70, and most do a good job.
This year, however, Weber has brought temperature control into the 21st century with the iGrill2. Priced at $99.99, the iGrill2 is an "intelligent thermometer” that allows users to monitor their food’s internal temperature via a Bluetooth connection with an iPhone, iPad or iPad touch. To activate iGrill2, users must first download the free iDevices Connected app, available from either the App Store or Google Play Store.
The iGrill2 comes equipped with four probe ports, two high temperature probes, magnetic mounting, and an illuminated digital face. The device also features a 150 foot line of sight and 200 hours of battery life.
A common misunderstanding among backyard cooks is that grilling and barbequing are the same thing. They’re not. In order to barbeque food you must slow cook with smoke. But if you already own a standard grill, and have little use for a $500 smoker, you can still barbeque your food with a smoker box. For about $15, the Cuisinart CSB-156 Wood Chip Smoker Box is an excellent choice to turn your grill into a smoker.
Soak two to three handfuls of wood chips in water for about an hour and place them into a smoker box. With your grill still cold, place your smoker box beneath one of the grill grates. Close your grill’s lid and preheat to the required temperature. After about 15 minutes, open the lid and you’ll see smoke rising from the holes in your smoker box. You’re now ready to begin barbequing.
Hotdogs and hamburgers are classic grilling fare. But what about foods that are too small or delicate to place directly on the grate? For grilling bacon and eggs for breakfast or Philly cheesesteak sandwiches for lunch, no griller should be without am cast-iron griddle. For $40, the Lodge Logic Reversible Pro Grid/Iron Griddle, which features two cooking surfaces (a flat side and a ribbed side) and 208 square inches of cooking space, is a great choice.
So tap your inner pit master this summer. With these gadgets on hand, your backyard grilling (or barbecuing, if you choose that route) will impress all your guests and give your food that flavor that only comes from cooking outdoors.