After a brief hiatus (hey it is summertime!) the “Grill-More” Girls are back for some more BBQ fun! My grilling partner-in-crime Cristina from centraljerseyworkingmoms.com and I have some tasty and fun recipes coming up for you over the next few weeks. We’ll even have a special “beach/vacation edition” where we’ll be grilling together while we are both vacationing down at the New Jersey shore (by total coincidence we’ll be visiting the same shore resort at the same time!). On tap for this week’s post, my favorite grill accessories.
It doesn’t take much to be a good griller aside from practice, practice and more practice. You certainly don’t need to invest in a lot of fancy or expensive tools to become a BBQ star, but there are a few accessories that I find have made my grilling easier, more successful and more flexible in the kinds of tasty dishes you can fire up.
So here is The Harried Mom’s Top 5 list of “must have” grilling accessories, in no particular order:
- The grill pan – Perfect to use if your recipe calls for grilling small foods, chopped veggies or fruit. These perforated stainless-steel pans work directly on top of your charcoal or gas grill and allow for direct exposure to your grill flames while making sure even the smallest of ingredients stay safely on top of the grill and don’t fall through the grates and burn to a crisp.
- Rotisserie – I’ve extolled the greatness of the rotisserie many times before (see here & here) and I will do it once again! Using a rotisserie takes your grilling repertoire to an entirely new level. Food that is cooked low, slow and in a constant rotation cause the food to constantly self-baste, providing a flavor and tenderness that is hard to achieve cooking any other way (seriously, you don’t want to spend an hour and a half constantly brushing a roast with juices!). The best part, it’s so easy to use. Once you’ve placed your food on the spit and on the grill, you just turn the rotisserie motor on and walk away for a few hours, letting it do its thing.
- Smoker box – Great way to infuse a flavorful smokiness into your food – grilled fish, chicken, steak or even veggies without having to buy a full-on smoker. This is another accessory that is so easy to use. All you have to do is soak your wood chips before putting them in your smoker box (you can buy many different kinds of chips, each giving your foods differing degrees of sweet smokiness). You then place it under your grate, avoiding direct contact with flames, and the heat from the grill will cause the wood chips to smoke, which escapes through holes in the box and fills your grill with smoke-flavored goodness! Most smoker boxes, like mine, are flat, but some grills can’t accommodate that. I’ve seen some v-shaped ones that are made to fit to fit under the grates of the grill. Just make sure you measure the space between your grill and burner before you buy one.
- Cedar planks – Another accessory I’ve talked about before and another great way to infuse food with a smoky and savory flavor while retaining moisture with little preparation or effort. Just like the wood chips used in the smoker box, you will need to soak your cedar plank for at least a good half-hour before you placing on the grill, otherwise it will catch on fire. I usually put it in a large pan and place a can of food on top of it-the wood floats otherwise! Both meats and veggies can be cooked on the planks and there’s no need to flip or toss. Just remove the plank and your food and serve – so no mess! Make sure the plank cools on the grill and either douse it with water or leave it on the driveway to make sure the wood has completely quit smoldering.
- Grilling utensils – Well-made, versatile and durable cooking utensils are an essential tool for any cook. Two utensils immediately come to mind when I think of grilling. The first one having is stainless-steel chef tongs. Don’t make the mistake of using of using ones with heat-resistant nylon ends. As I learned the hard way, heat-resistant only goes so far with high grill temperatures! I recommend finding tongs that are at least 12” long and come with a coupling mechanism, which means they can be opened and locked together using just one hand. The second is having a killer turner or spatula. I’m currently in love with the one we just got – it’s a square edge stainless-steel turner that is about 6 inches in length and 3 inches wide. This large slat surface with a squared end makes it easy to turn over large pieces of meat/ fish in one felt swoop and all in one piece! If you can afford to, spend a little extra and get good ones-you won’t regret it!
Please keep in mind, that this Top 5 list of grilling accessories is of MY personal favorites. The items on this list are based on my usage of them and did not come from some grilling/BBQ survey or company. To be a good cook you need to find the best accessories that work best for you and how you cook.
Always remember, with just a little bit of planning and preparation there’s always time for a home cooked meal! Make sure that you check out my “Grill-More Girl” Cristina today too. She’s talking grill temperatures for various meats.
But before you hop on over there, it’s your turn to share. You can link up your favorite grill recipe or share by commenting below about your favorite cooking accessory, your “must-have” item in your kitchen.
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