Warm summer nights accented by a grill-out gathering make the season’s heat worth enduring. With visions an ice cold drink in hand, family and friends by your side, and the rich, smoky scent of charred steaks in the air, it’s hard to resist including your grill in every meal. Just as essential as it is to stock your kitchen with the right tools, so is stocking your grill station. We’ve sat down with our in-house grill master (and customer service superstar), Jake Milliner, to get the scoop on what you’ll need to be ready to fire things up!
Grill – This is a personal choice. Some prefer gas, some charcoal. Gas provides convenience, perfect for everyday grilling, but can be a little more expensive and allows for less control over heat placement and intensity. Charcoal takes longer to set up but provides great smoky flavor and allows for grilling mobility.
Charcoal – For those of you who opt for a charcoal grill, briquettes vs. lump (or ‘natural’) charcoal is the next decision to make. In the end, it’s your call but we lean toward the natural style (we especially like the B + B brand). Not only can it burn at higher temperatures, it contains no additives or lighter fluid, and you can buy it in different wood types, imparting your choice of woodsy flavor and aroma on your food.
Long-handled metal-tipped tongs – We’ll take a sturdy set of long-handled tongs over a meat fork any day. In addition to being incredibly versatile, using tongs instead of a fork allows you to flip your meat without having to poke any holes in it, ensuring the juices stay where they belong; inside the meat.
Long-handled metal spatula – Trust us, using a standard kitchen spatula just doesn’t cut it. The long handle lets you flip comfortably, without the danger singed arm hairs (or worse). Make sure you pick one that sturdy so it can stand up to heavier cuts of meat.
Long-Handled Basting Brush – Keeping your meats and vegetables marinated during grill time can be the difference between so-so and so good. Many like the newer models of silicone brushes for ease of cleaning but Farmhouse grill guru Jake swears by the old school natural bristled brushes (skip they nylon-bristled ones, they can melt at high temps). They might take a little longer to clean but they hold the marinating liquid better than the alternative options, allowing for more control and less liquid lost.
Charcoal Chimney Starter – Only necessary if using a charcoal grill (see above). This handy tool allows you to heat the coals quickly and without lighter fluid. Don’t forget the newspaper and the long reach lighter!
Brass Bristle Cleaning Brush – Grill maintenance is essential. Try to scrub your grill before and after use to make sure you get rid of all of the leftover food bits that can make your food cook unevenly and taste strange.
Baking Pan – This is an underestimated but super useful tool for grill organization. The surface is large and sturdy enough for you to arrange all of your grilling essentials (bowl of marinade, cuts of meat, spatula, etc.) on it so you can easily transport these items from your kitchen to your outdoor cooking station and have them handy at all times.
Skewers – You’d be surprised by how much you’ll use these. We recommend metal skewers but if you go with the disposable bamboo kind, just remember to soak them in water for about 20 minutes before use (otherwise you might have a fire on your hands).
For The Grill Master
Wood Planks – Great for additional wood flavoring. Choose lighter, more delicate wood (like cedar) for seafood grilling and heavier, richer woods for poultry and red meats.
Meat Thermometer – We prefer the analog version for accuracy but if speed trumps accuracy for you, the digital version offers the benefit of an instant read.
Gloves – More serious grilling can mean more hands-on techniques. Have fun with it, but remember–safety first!
Perforated Grill Basket – There’s no greater disappointment than food falling through the grates and into the fire. A perforated grill pan prevents this, allowing you to cook smaller cuts of meats and vegetables without any fallen soldiers.
Headlamp or Light – One of those tools you don’t think is important…until it becomes really important. Sometimes cooking takes longer than you expect. Always be prepared.