Wed 19 Sep 2018
Read other related stories: General Smoking Information , Grilling
TOP TOOLS NEEDED FOR GAS GRILLING
There is no question that LP/Gas grills have changed tremendously over the past 10 years and now include some features standard that for many years, were options. Then there is the development of dual or multi-fuel options on a grill so you can have one unit that performs as a gas grill, charcoal grill, wood grill, and even electric or pellet grill, all in one unit.
Today, I’m focusing on the standard LP/Gas grill, independent of any other fuel source. This guide will focus on the basic tools that will provide for a better grilling experience and make you more efficient at the grill.
I’m starting with a grill brush since most of us have the habit of thinking about cleaning off the grill grates when we start the grill for cooking, not when we finish. This tool is to ensure clean up the residual food bits and grease left from your previous grilled foods.
Now I’m aware of the controversy over the use of metal bristles but most of these brushes are made well. Simple inspection of the brush bristles each time you use it will allow you to identify if the bristles have come loose and have the potential to be transported to your foods. I prefer a brush with metal bristles, with a long handle to keep my arm away from the heat, as often you want to clean the grill when it’s hot. Remember, most of these brushes are under $10 so think about purchasing one a couple times per season to ensure the bristles stay put.
There are times when the grill grates and lid will become super coated in grease and pieces of food. You’ll need to break out the cleaning agents to ensure these surfaces are ready to go for the next grilling event. Two of my favorites are CLR BBQ Grill Cleaner and Mr. Clean MagicEraser. As a non-toxic, non-flammable, biodegradable product, CLR BBQ Grill Cleaner is not something you have to leave on for hours at a time. It quickly breaks through the issues and allows you to wipe clean to an almost new state. Keep in mind, the CLR brand also makes a stainless steel cleaner for the outside as well.
Long-handled tongs. Your standard tong length for the traditional kitchen just won’t work at the grill, as you need to keep some arm distance from the hot grill surfaces. I like the 20-inch length with silicone grips as well as silicone tips, as silicone can tolerate extremely high heat. If you grill multiple food items at the same time, think about purchasing tongs with different colored tips and/or handles as that will ensure use of one color for a specific food so there’s no transfer of flavors.
Like the tongs, a must have is long-handled spatula for those food items that need to be flipped. I prefer one that is made of solid steel and has a bit of a beveling to the edge. Again, the longer the handle the better for keeping away from high heat.
An easy to read, digital thermometer. It is a must when you grill or smoke. Look for one that has a longer probe for when your grilling larger roasts and thicker cuts of meats and poultry. Be sure the readout is easy to see and if you grill a lot at night, get one that has a back-lite to see more clearly. If you cook a lot of different animal proteins at the same time, try to have a thermometer dedicated to each food so you don’t cross-contaminate while bacteria may still be an issue. There are assorted colors available making it easy to dedicate one to red meat, pork, poultry, and fish. Most of the digital thermometers on the market today are under $18 with even more under $10.
If you’ve always been a person that cooks directly on the grill grates and only does the standard fare – hamburgers, sausage, chicken, perhaps ribs – you need to get out of that rut and learn to do more with your grill. Start by investing in one piece of quality cast iron. Able to withstand intense heat, cast iron can take you from the average griller to someone with skill. Now, you can enjoy recipes normally done on the indoor stove outside in the fresh air, with your cast iron skillet. Remember, there’s a whole line of cast iron cookware so as you expand your skills, you can add to your outdoor cookware.
Although I am a fan of the standard steam table disposable foil pan, any size, shape foil pan will do. These are perfect for use as a drip pan to prevent render juices from spiking flames and as water pans for a two-zone cooking set up. I won’t deny, that I also use these to cook in especially fragile items like fruit and specific vegetables. You certainly can invest in a grill pan but clean up becomes a snap with the disposable pan.
Although the smoker box was originally intended for use with wood chips on the grill, I always use small wood chunks in mine. I prefer a box made from high-grade stainless steel and one that has a hinged lid. My smoker box holds three Double Filet Wood Chunks from SmokinLicious® perfectly and provides for extended smoke vapor as compared with wood chips. Used directly on the grill grate or set under the grill grate on the heat shield, it produces smoke for hours. Although you can place wood chunks directly on the heat shields, as I’m known to do myself sometimes, they will become permanently marked from the wood ash and eventually need replacing. The smoker box allows you to avoid this.
There you have it! My TOP TOOLS NEEDED FOR GAS GRILLING for better results and help in extending the life of your investment!