20 Grill Gadgets that Will Make You Happy and Help You Grill Better Food
Whether you prefer charcoal or gas or are just grill curious, the best way to add flavor to food in the summer is to light up your grill, crack open a beer, and add some char to whatever you’re cooking.
Having the right gear makes grilling easier and more fun. There’s nothing worse than watching a beautifully grilled piece of asparagus slip through the grate or spend ten minutes late at night trying to use your phone’s flashlight to see if the expensive steak you bought is done only to find out it just became another briquette.
Which is why everyone who loves to grill should have some good gear. The right gear lets you keep the fire under control and make sure everything is cooked just right.
It’s Not Arson if You’re Grilling
Getting the coals going on a charcoal grill can be an arduous task, especially if you don’t like the taste of lighter fluid. The most effective way we’ve found for lighting charcoal is using a chimney. There are lots of other options that require cords and small jet engines but somehow using a hair dryer to start a grill feels like cheating.
If you really want to improve the flavor of food from your charcoal grill stop using briquettes and start using hardwood lump charcoal. Lump charcoal is the closest thing we’ve found to grilling over a campfire and comes in a variety of trees like oak, hickory, and mesquite that make it easy to pick the flavor that best complements whatever you’re grilling.
Keep It On the Grill
How often do you find yourself trying to fish cut up vegetables and other small things, that have literally fallen through the cracks, out of your grill? To make sure our food stays on top of the fire we like to use a couple of different types of grill pans.
Larger flat grill pans work well for shrimp, and other medium sized things that should be spread out across the grill; while smaller grill baskets with sides excel with smaller cut up veggies like mushrooms or green beans.
If you like making pizza on the grill or just want to avoid heating up the kitchen, try using cast iron. A good cast iron pan will retain the heat from the grill, letting you get a perfectly cooked pizza crust. Want to learn how? Read How the Right Dough and Cast Iron Make Delicious Pizza.
Time for a Little Cave Man TV
One of the best accessories you can buy for your grill is a rotisserie kit. There’s something magical about watching a chunk of tasty critter slowly baste in its juices as it slowly spins round and round. Don’t believe me, read Why You Should Spit-Roast Your Next Leg of Lamb or try making Spit-Roasted Pork Carnitas.
Shine a Little Light
It’s hard to see when something is done if you can’t see what you’re cooking. Grill lights are one of the most helpful additions to any grill. Lately, we’ve been digging Life Mounts LED BBQ Grill Light for its flexible strap that fits around our grill’s thick handle.
If you’re looking for a light that clips on to your grill try Maverick’s Stainless Steel Grill Light. If your grill doesn’t have a good place to clip a light on try PNBB’s 15 LED Light which has a magnet base.
Little Things Make a Big Difference
Grilling is all about timing and temperature. The difference between a perfectly cooked burger and a hockey puck is a couple of minutes on a hot grill, which is why it’s so helpful to have the right tools on hand.
The first tool every grill needs is a pair of long-handled tongs that work as a fire-proof extension of your hands. We like the way these tongs have a built-in kickstand that helps keep them clean and from messing up the grill.
It also helps to have a good solid spatula that can get under and turn the biggest burgers over without drooping like a sad flower. So stop buying the cheap plastic ones and buy something with some heft.
Having a good long handled silicone brush will help keep you from burning your fingers and from getting BBQ sauce everywhere, which is why they’re a must-have if you barbecue regularly. One of the coolest setups we’ve found is this Cast Iron Sauce Pot with Nesting Brush.
There are lots of things that will tell you when your food is done. In our opinion, it’s worth investing in a high-quality instant-read thermometer, like the Taylor Dual Temperature Thermometer that measures internal and surface temperature or a wireless thermometer, such as the Charcoal Companion Dual-Temp.
Good thermometers can cost a bit of money, but after years of going through tons of cheap unreliable ones, we’ve come around to believing that every kitchen should have a quality thermometer or two.
If you’re tired of hauling everything back and forth between the kitchen and your grill, try the Grill Station. It has containers for raw and cooked food, a little bin for utensils, and most importantly a place for your beer.
Looking for a few good ideas
If you’re not sure what to grill or if you’re just looking for some good ideas check out our grilling page for lots of recipes and stories about how to grill or pick up Wood Fired Cooking or The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables.
Clean Up Sucks – Unless You Have
There are all sorts of ways to clean your grill. Most of the time we use a simple wood scraper on a hot grill. If you’re the kind of person who has their underwear dry cleaned you might want to try Grill Daddy’s Steam Cleaner, which uses water and heat to steam clean your grill.
The grill cleaner we desperately want to try is the GrillBot, mostly because it would completely confuse the dog and scare the squirrels as it rumbled around the grill and because we’re pretty sure that when robots take over the world that this little guy will be fighting the Roomba for the fate of the world.
The last thing everyone should have for the grill is a portable speaker, because there should be music everywhere and because you can’t make good BBQ without good music. Our personal favorite is the Bose SoundLink it’s got great sound and a battery that lasts all day when you’re hanging out.
Mark is Umami's publisher