The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks

Mon May 10, 2010

Meat Tips: Gear Up!

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Grilling Gear

Less than a week until the Meatwave season starts up! My excitement level is about to burst as my mind swirls with thoughts of the waves of meat that are about to hit, and all the deliciousness they will surely bring. Thinking about it made me start thinking about you, and although I provide some excellent recipes to feed your hungry bellies, I've never mentioned the tools to make that happen. So without further ado, I present another installment of Meat Tips, this time focusing on the gear needed to get your meat grilling right.

Grilling Gear

Chimney Starter

To grill, first you need fire. To get that fire going you must never use that nasty, nasty lighter fluid that takes forever to burn off and leaves food tasting like the exhaust of chemical plant. All that's needed to get the job done right every time is a chimney starter.

Bunch up some newspaper in the bottom, then pour the charcoal on top, light the paper and you'll have a fire ready to grill in about 15-20 minutes without fail and using no chemicals. I'm quite fond of this Weber model, which has a large charcoal capacity and is sturdy enough to keep lighting fires for years on end.

Grilling Gear

Welding Gloves

Fire's hot, so you need some protection, which is where these welding gloves come to your aid. After years of constantly replacing grilling mitts—which can't always hold up to the high heat of the grill—I've made the switch to welding gloves, which are made to handle some extreme temperatures. Affording more dexterity than mitts and giving better heat protection, a good pair is something every griller needs. I use these extra long pair, which provides some nice added heat protection almost up to my elbows, letting me really get in there and work the grill with no worries.

Grilling Gear

Grill Brush

With proper protection, it's time to jump into the heat and clean off that dirty grilling grate with a strong and sturdy grill brush. The jury is still out on this one for me—I have yet to find a perfect grill brush. I had been buying them at the local dollar store, and they had surprisingly strong bristles for the price, but also needed be replaced every couple years. I recently upgraded to the Tool Wizard Grill Bush on a recommendation from Cook's Illustrated. It has a changeable scouring pad that makes quick work of scrubbing crusty grates, although during a recent extra high heat fire, the brush started to melt a little, making me wonder if it's really the same one that won the Cook's Illustrated test, or if the brush was ever tested over an incredibly hot fire. Still, it's fairing better than any grill brush I've owned in the past, so I can recommend it with a good degree of confidence.

Grilling Gear

Grill Thermometer

With a clean grate, it's time to throw down some meat, right? Well, it'd be best to know the temperature of your grill first. Even though you can get a good reading of a fire's temperature using your hand, for barbecue and indirect cooking, I've found a grill thermometer indispensable. With a range from 150-550 degrees, it's perfect for keeping an eye on the grill's temperature—knowing exactly when it's time to get the meat going or when the fire's dying and needs replenishing. I've always used the Weber replacement grill thermometer and have no qualms with it. Cheap and effective, it just needs the occasional cleaning to keep reading accurately. If your grill doesn't have a space for a thermometer like mine, you can simply drop it in the top air vent and you'll be good to go.

Grilling Gear

Tongs

The grill's clean and at the right temperature, alas, it's time to add the meat! Getting meat on and off the grill is simple with the perfect set of tongs. I recommend investing in two pairs of tongs, since two are often needed for those heavier cuts of meat. I also like having at least one long pair—allowing you to work a safe distance from the fire—and a shorter pair—letting you get in closer when needed. The OXO line of tongs have stood up for years on my grill, and the locking mechanism is incredibly handy.

Grilling Gear

Basting Brush

While the meat's on the grill, it's often nice to add some flavor in the form of a sauce or mop, for which you'll need a basting brush. Like the tongs, I always like to have two different sizes of basting brushes, equipping me for the larger and smaller tasks. Since a lot of grilling recipes have you brushing on liquids while cooking, I think you'll be at a bit of a loss without some good brushes—the best being the silicone models which making cleaning the brushes a cinch—the ones above have been used for years and they're still looking brand new!

Grilling Gear

Probe Thermometer

Meat's been cooking and has been brushed with a tasty sauce, but is it done yet? The most surefire way of knowing is getting a prode thermometer. Granted, over time, you may know your meats so well that you may rarely use it, but I still use mine regularly for pulled porks and larger roasts, taking a relaxing set-it-and-forget approach—when the alarm rings, I know my meat is perfectly done. Polder was one of the first to make these thermometers, and in my opinion, still makes one of the best.

Grilling Gear

Fire Extinguisher

Lastly, the most useless and useful of all the grilling gear, a fire extinguisher. Chances are, this will never see any action, but it's best to have one nearby in case the unthinkable happens. At my old apartment, I had a nosy neighbor who was absolutely convinced I was destined to burn down the neighborhood each time I grilled. Although in her whacked out mind—where the smell of barbecue incites fear rather than droll—the presence of a multi-purpose fire extinguisher didn't quite put her at ease, but it did for me, and that's all that matters.

So there you have it, just about ever tool I use on a regular basis while grill-side. Every other grilling toy I own is merely a nice-to-have rather than a must-have. I've created a handy little Meatwave Store where you can pick up these and other items hand-picked by me, based on my own experience. Besides being able to shop with confidence, the store also provides a little monetarily help to keep this blog up and running.

Now armed with all the right gear, it's time for you to take your meat to flames and enjoy the summer ahead. I, for one, cannot wait. Even though I grill all year, these last six days before the Meatwave starts are excruciating—just sitting in anticipation to share the meat with everybody else. So close, yet so far...but until then, I wish you all happy grilling.

Comments

  • 01
  • Renee Devantier says
    Nice BBQ. I got a pair of those tongs for free with a coupon - love them. Happy cooking!
    Posted Mon, May 10 2010 2:53pm
  • 02
  • Chris says
    Great list of accessories. I love the extra long tongs by OXO, those rock.

    Having torched two more oven mitts this week, I need to pick up a pair of the welding gloves. The plate setter and cast iron grates of a Big Green Egg get too hot for mitts.
    Posted Fri, May 14 2010 6:46pm
  • 03
  • Josh says
    @Chris Tell me about it, all of my mitts have large gashes in them from handling the grill grates while hot. I'm happy to say that not only do the welding gloves hold up to that type of torture, you also can't feel the heat through them. Totally eye opening when I first used them!
    Posted Fri, May 14 2010 9:36pm
  • 04
  • Mike says
    Great gear! I would like to see some cast iron grid or skillet for making killer grill marks
    Posted Tue, May 18 2010 3:51pm
  • 05
  • Josh says
    @Mike Is there a cast iron replacement for the Weber grilling grates?

    I personally don't put too much emphasis on grill marks...food tastes the same with or without them, although I admit they can be pretty evocative.
    Posted Tue, May 18 2010 4:05pm
  • 06
  • rich langer says
    For my Weber kettles I was torn between the grillgrates http://grillgrate.com/, a cast iron grate from Big Green Egg http://www.bbqislandinc.com/store/18-cast-iron-grill-grate-free-shipping.html , or the new pie shaped cast iron grates http://cast-iron-grates.com/.

    Then I realized that the Grillgrates WON'T RUST!! So I ordered the 3-pak for the BGE - same size (18.25") so it should work just fine. RIGHT??

    Posted Wed, May 19 2010 12:26pm
  • 07
  • Mike says
    I've really been happy with the Weber grates, but have thought about getting a cast iron set at some point. I have seen grill grates before, but I don't personally see a need. To me, they seem more aimed to the casual griller who battles flare-ups while doing 10 other things besides tending to the fire. Also, it looks like if you aren't careful, high charcoal temps could damage them.

    Your gloves idea is spot on though! Nothing worse than burned fingers and torn gloves!
    Posted Thu, May 20 2010 11:23am
  • 08
  • Josh says
    @Mike The GrillGrates are kind of baffling me, I wasn't really seeing the appeal to them, but your point of them being geared towards the casual griller makes a lot of sense.

    Cast iron seems enticing, mostly because it would help with grill marks for photos more than anything else. The problem I'm thinking is that they'd be harder to deal if you need to move them while they're hot. The Weber grate doesn't retain heat well, so I can throw it on the deck if I need to move it off the fire, but because of weight and heat of cast iron, I'm guessing that would no longer be an option.

    The real issue may just be my stubbornness to change my set ways.
    Posted Thu, May 20 2010 11:32am
  • 09
  • Brad Barrett says
    Don't discount the value add that GrillGrates will make to any grill. Searing is sweet, but the sizzle effect of juices sizzling beneath your food will win you over- fast. and they radiate heat for even grilling temps. http://www.youtube.com/grillgrate
    Posted Thu, May 20 2010 9:38pm
  • 10
  • rich langer says
    If I cook something, I want it to look good as well as tasting good. The grillgrates help me make my food look good - I believe that you eat your food first with your eyes - and the grill grates help there.

    My primary grill is a red 18.5" weber kettle - I bought the Big BGE set thinking they would fit the weber but they didn't until I trimmed them. Now I love them - I would send pix but my camera is F'ed up.'
    Posted Mon, May 31 2010 10:06pm
  • 11
  • INAM UL HAQ says
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    Posted Tue, Feb 19 2013 4:30am
  • 12
  • INAM UL HAQ says
    Dear sirs / Madam,

    RE: WELDING GLOVES, WELDING JACKETS, WORKWEAR GARMENTS./ SPORTS GLOVES ALL SORTS.

    We are pleased to introduce as a specialized manufacturers cum exporters of quality safety welding and working gloves, jackets and capable to easily supply your valued demand as per kind instructions.

    Kindly visit our website www.theazizstar.com and intimate interested item to display a few pairs included best prices for your final approval and long lasting regulat business. Awaiting your intial order in early favourable response on the matter expedite.,

    With kindest regards.,

    Inam-Ul-Haq.,

    http://www.theazizstar.com / info@theazizstar.com / inamawan946@gmail.com

    Tel: 92-524-298141 / Cell: 92-3006128954

    THE AZIZSTAR COMPANY.,

    ALHAAJ MARKET KHADIM ALI ROAD.,

    SIALKOT - PAKISTAN

    Posted Wed, Mar 20 2013 5:10am

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