Patio weather is here and that can only mean one thing for lovers of charred and charbroiled food everywhere: grilling season is officially on. Whether you have a propane model or an old-school charcoal grill, there’s no denying that nothing beats a flame-perfected steak, grilled veggies and patties that have been marked by the grill.
But once your patio is set up, you may find that your accessories are a bit… lacking. So what’s a grill-loving guy or gal to do? Luckily, we’ve rounded up all of the must-have accessories so that you can keep on grilling all summer long, and well into the fall, too.
1. Long-handled tongs
Sure, sure, this seems like an obvious one, but not all tongs are created equal. First of all, you want to make sure that yours have extra long handles so that you can keep those arms and hands safe from the flame. Then you’ll also want to make sure that your model has a great grip, and isn’t too hard to handle. After all, no one wants a hand cramp when flipping that burger.
Try: Weber Tongs, retails for $22 at Lowes
2. A grill brush
One of the secrets to a great grilling experience is a clean and well-oiled grill. In order to achieve that, you’ll need a hard-bristled brush that can cover a lot of surface area and stand up to all of those stubborn, burnt bits.
Try: Outset’s Oversized BBQ Brush, retails for $16 at Walmart
3. A spatula or two
When you’re cooking things like fish or veggies that are more prone to falling apart, you’ll definitely need a long-handled spatula for easy flipping and grabbing. Look for a model with lots of flexibility and a slanted head. Better yet, grab two, because sometimes you’ll need both when handling delicate cuts.
Try: Weber Spatula, retails for $19 at Lowes
4. An instant read thermometer
Want to know the real secret to perfect meat, every time? Use a thermometer. The pros do it, so why shouldn’t you? Not only will it ensure the perfect texture of meat, but you can rest assured, knowing that the meat you’ve cooked is safe to consume. When purchasing one, look for a model that has a quick reading response. After all, no one wants to sit around waiting for a thermometer to register — your meat could get tough in the meantime.
Try: Accurate High Performance Digital Thermometer, retails for $35 at Amazon
5. A chimney starter
This one is only applicable if you’ve got a coal barbecue, but if you do, you’ll wonder why you didn’t invest in one sooner. Not only does this thing take the guess work out of starting the fire, but it ensures a perfect flame every single time.
Try: Weber’s RapidFire Chimney Starter, retails for $23 at Home Depot
6. A basting brush
Nothing quite locks in flavour like an extra basting or two (it’s why our turkeys are always so perfectly golden). So don’t you think your barbecued meats and veggies should get the same treatment? Luckily, this isn’t a fancy tool that’ll cost you big bucks to invest in, just look for a model that will help spread the sauce or marinade quickly and efficiently.
Try: A silicone basting brush, retails for $5 at Grill Spot
7. A grill basket
Sadly, smaller cuts of meat and chopped up veggies don’t always fit safely on those ‘cues. Which is why it’s always a safe bet to invest in a universal grilling basket. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are perfect for flaky fish and smaller pieces of veg that you still want to have that great grilled flavour in.
Try: A non-stick model, retails for $14 at Bed Bath and Beyond
8. Stainless steel mixing bowls
Wait, so why do you need these? Well sometimes our multitasking selves like to grill up more than one thing at once. But heat on a grill can be hard to manage, and sometimes you need to create a steaming effect without actually closing the grill. That’s where these bowls come in handy. Pop one overtop of your food and you can automatically smoke it or steam it flawlessly. Plus, they’re just great for transporting food to and from the kitchen.
Try: Finedine’s Nesting Bowls, a set of six retails for $23 at Walmart
9. A flashlight or grill light
Because sometimes, you just run out of light but you still really need to see what you’re doing — especially as the summer begins to wind down. Ideally, you’ll want some sort of hands-free model that will still allow you to do what you’ve got to do… just in a better lit area.
Try: Broil King’s LED Q-Lite, retails for $22 at Lowes
10. Grilling gloves
When it comes to matters of health and safety, it’s always better to be super prepared. Grill gloves these days come in a variety of heat-resistant materials that are designed with ease-of-use in mind. And trust us when we say they come in handy – especially when you start fumbling to stop something from falling near a hot flame.
Try: Barbecue Wonder Gloves, retails for $18 at Bed Bath and Beyond
11. A fire extinguisher
Speaking of safety, you just never know. That’s why it’s a great idea to have a small fire extinguisher on hand… just in case things ever get out of control. Invest in one and keep it handy, and be sure to keep checking the expiry date. Because if you’re lucky, you’ll never have to actually use it.
Try: First Alert Auto Fire Extinguisher, retails for $26 at Walmart