14 Grilling tools for quicker, better, more hands-off barbecuing this year
You're a grill master and you didn't even know it till now.
Summer's here and we bet you'll agree it makes most sense to move your cooking outdoors. Grilling food injects instant flavour and provides the ultimate summer experience — cooking in nature and dining al fresco. But preparing food on the grill comes with its own set of challenges. Ingredient transportation, heat protection, and temperature management is no joke. You need the best tools for the job, the things that will make it easier, safer and more enjoyable for all, while ensuring you cook those chops to perfection.
To help you embrace barbecue season, here's a round up of all the best tools, gadgets and serving pieces to make things simpler and get you grilling more confidently. Start planning your next outdoor fete, throw open the doors, and put these must-haves to good use.
Get your fire blazing quick with this hand-held, environmentally-friendly igniter. It works for charcoal, briquettes, wood and hardwood, so you don't waste any more time getting those t-bones steaks on the grill.
Looftlighter, $99.99, dicksonbbq.com
Set it and forget it IS possible, even when it comes to grilling. Choose the model that's compatible with your barbecue or smoker, and let this device control the temperature inside your unit, as well as a read of your food. This is especially useful for people who love doing slow-cooked briskets, but don't want to be chained to the grill for the 5-6 hours of cooking time.
DigiQ BBQ Temperature Controller, $325.64, amazon.ca
Transport raw food to your grill in style with these smart trays. Assign one for raw meat and one for cooked meat to avoid cross-contamination. Grooves raise the food up to help drain excess moisture, while an inner-rim drip tray catches that juice so you can make the best smoke-infused gravy.
You don't have to be a welder to appreciate the heat-resistant gloves they wear. Offering for full-finger dexterity and mid-arm protection, they're the grilling hobbyists best-kept secret.
Heat-resistant Gloves, $22.99, canadiantire.com
Let an instant-read thermometer tell YOU when you're meat is done. Tuck a handy Thermapen into your apron pocket and nail that medium-rare every time.
Don't let your outdoor dishware be an afterthought. Plate all your seafood mixed grills and grilled potato salads on these eye-catching pieces and turn any feast into a celebration. These rustic-chic serving platters are made with melamine, so they won't shatter into a million glass shards if they're accidently dropped on the deck. And since they look like glazed ceramics, you'll totally be channeling those European al fresco vibes.
Melamine Serving Platter, $29.95, Crate and Barrel
If you aren't grilling your pizza, what are you waiting for? Once you've experienced the smoky, blistering crust, you'll see why that trendy pizza hall is putting a wood-fire oven in. This starter set has all you need to bring your dough outside and avoiding cranking the oven in mid-summer heat.
Raise your shish kebobs up on this handy little rack so they won't stick to your grill ever again. The flat design of the sticks themselves make the skewers easy to turn so everything cooks evenly.
Stainless Steel Kebab Rack, $44.99, barbecueworld.com
Outdoor grilling may bring out the free spirit in you, but it shouldn't have you forgetting about food safety. This tong set is colour-coded so you can keep track of what you lifted the raw meat with so you avoid using it again on anything cooked.
Colour-coded Tongs, $39.99, friendlyfires.ca
While the head lamp you're probably using now definitely makes a style statement, this nifty little magnetic light is designed to attach to your barbecue, leaving you hands AND head-free. The flexible neck is easily adjustable so you can point the light where you need it. And since it's LED, you'll spend less time changing bulbs or batteries and more time on flipping burgers.
Capella Barbecue Grill Light, $59.11, amazon.ca
Speed up your meat shredding with these clever claws that'll transform your slow-roasted cut into restaurant-quality pulled meat in no time. While the two-fork method is sufficient for fall-off-the-bone recipes, these ply apart drier roasts easily.
Meat Shredder, $18.95, leevalley.com
Sure, it may be summer but it is still Canada. Prepare yourself for any weather with this remote probe thermometer that allows you to check the internal temp of your food without having to run outside every time. Perfect for rainy days or when you want to kick back by the pool and let the grilling work its magic close by.
ThermoPro Wireless Remote Thermometer, $59.99, bestbuy.ca
You know that cook-a-chicken-on-a-beer-can trick? This grilling gadget relies on the same principles, while taking it to the next level. The infusion tray holds any kind of liquid you want, so try wine or juice as new ways to moisturize and flavour your poultry. The stand holds the chicken straight up and the tray catches all those delicious juices running out of it so you can pour them back on the bird before serving.
Since many of us are petrified of wire barbecue brushes after bristles were reportedly lodging inside people's throats. Here's a safer alternative! While you can crank the heat of your barbecue up and let everything burn off, this wooden grill scraper helps speed up the process. Plus, it's made in Canada with an option to personalize for the perfect gift.
Personalized Grill Scraper, $42.50, etsy.ca