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Must-Have Grilling Essentials

Must-Have Tools for Grilling

I'm finally back with a few helpful grilling tips that I promised you last month. More than anything, you're going to need the right tools for cooking AND cleanup afterwards. For me, grilling is a hobby; otherwise, it wouldn't be worth the effort. There is definitely more work in grilling for me than there is when I cook inside where I have air conditioning. First of all, it's hot here in the South. But I have promised myself to spend more time outdoors this summer - to enjoy God's lovely nature. So, grilling is one of those things I'm doing to make sure I do just that. Keep in mind that I do use a charcoal grill because I love that smokey taste. But most of my recommendations can be used for any grill of your choice.

So far, I have grilled the obvious - hamburgers and hotdogs. I've also grilled a whole chicken (yummy), eye of round steak, pork chops (loved these!), beef kabobs, corn on the cob, and baked potatoes. I still need some practice, but nobody complained either. They cleaned their plates. So, I'm pleased. 

Grilling Tools

First of all, I think an apron is essential for grilling. All those marinades, rubs, and barbecue sauces can be pretty messy! Not to mention the spatter of grease when you open the lid to check on your meal. One with pockets is nice so you can keep up with your phone, timer, utensils etc. 

High-heat resistant gloves is another necessity. You may have to pull out a hot stay-in thermometer, move a hot grate, hold the meat to check internal temperature. These are very helpful in protecting from nasty burns. Please don't do what so many people in the Amazon reviews have done. Never use these gloves to put your hand directly into a fire or grab a hot coal. These are good for surface heat, not directly in heat. 


image courtesy of DKHDBD Store via Amazon

Spatulas, tongs, timers, metal skewers all cost a small fortune if you try to buy them separately $10-$20 each. So, a nice set of cooking tools like the ones I bought (see the picture of my set at the bottom of this section) will save you lots of money as well as provide all the cooking tools you need. 

A small table/tv tray is handy to have for your beverage and overflow of food or utensils separate from your attached grill tables.

Aluminum foil is your friend. Use it to cover the ash pan so the ashes can be disposed of easily. An 18" wide roll should cover most ash pans.

Spray cooking oil is a dream when it comes to grilling. Crisco actually makes a special grilling oil. Set your grates out until your grill is hot. Then spray the grates BEFORE you place them inside the grill, about 5 minutes before you're ready place the food on them. Do NOT spray the oil near the fire. I spray the grates several feet away from the whole grill to make sure I don't start a fire outside the grill. 

You might want to keep some disposable gloves handy for placing charcoal inside the grill - if you're like me. I like to place instead of pour. And I don't want dirty, charcoal hands. 

An electric charcoal starter eliminates the need for charcoal lighter fluid or paraffin or wood fire starters. In about 8 minutes, your coals are hot enough to remove the electric fire starter. This helps you save money, and there's no worry about strange odors or tastes in your food. Nothing but smoky goodness!


image courtesy of WishDirect via Amazon

A silicon basting brush (in image of my set below) is much easier to use AND clean than a boar bristle basting brush. Whether grilling or your kitchen oven.

A meat thermometer (also in the set I bought) is great to have so you can make sure your food is a safe temp for consumption. FoodSafety.com has a good food safety chart to go by.

image courtesy of Cifaisi via Amazon
My set - contains several tools inside a handy case


Cleaning Tools 

I start by cleaning the grates and ash pan in the yard.

Dawn Powerwash is amazing. I will have a testimonial about this product soon. I use it to presoak the grates and wash the ash pan. I also use it to wipe down the inside and outside of the grill as well. Inside gets only a minor wipe down since the grease serves as a seasoning for the inside of the grill. I don't know that and extensive buildup of grease is necessary to achieve the required seasoning. The outside gets an extensive wipe down. 

After a slight presoak in the Dawn, I will also use Brillo soap pads to scrub the grates. I'll take the cooking grates inside for a second cleaning to make sure those surfaces are hygienically clean. I don't think that cleaning these outside is the safest clean. I simply clean these outside first because I don't want all that grease going down my sink pipes. 

Paper towels are very handy during the wipe down process.

If you use a brush to clean the grates, make sure you use one with nylon bristles. Those are safer than the metal bristle brushes. I've read about bristles that fall out of metal bristle brushes have sent people to the ER when those bristles wind up in the food. So, remember, nylon bristles! I haven't tried this yet, but I think a hard-bristle toothbrush might work well, because the bristles are so close together. If you try that or have tried that, let us know!

I also have a 10 ft. hose with a nozzle that I hook up to our outdoor faucet to use while I'm cleaning the grates and ash pan. It's easier to deal with than a 50 ft. hose and I can keep it with my grill.

And black dish towels will not show any grease that you may have missed after you wash the grates and ash pan. I bought 8 so I can wash and dry them together but separately from our regular household towels. 

What I don't use

I don't use a chimney starter. Just something else to clean! You can start your fire inside the grill. So, to me, this is a waste of money.

Did I forget anything? 

If I have forgotten to mention anything, please leave a comment or contact me on the right side of this page. I'll be happy to update this post with your reminders.

Have a nice day,

Patricia


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