Elite tools to improve your summer grilling


The fun of grilling and smoking lies in its essential simplicity: all you need is a heat source. A successful setup can be as simple as an empty barrel, a few rocks, or just a campfire. But even the simplest platform has a lot of variables that can mess with your results, and no one wants to spend hours of effort on subpar chow. When your rep is in line at the neighborhood barbecue, you want to have the tools you need. These are the gadgets and equipment that will optimize your grilling.

Sharpen your tools

Work with precision

Work Sharp ceramic honing rod

You don’t need a $300 Japanese knife forged from a star’s dying heart. Even a cheap few can cut like a dream if you remember the most overlooked aspect of cooking: lining up the edge. A sharp knife will cut food quickly and with less sticking, which can turn minutes of food preparation into seconds.

More importantly, sharpening makes slicing and chopping safer. For this we like the Work Sharp ceramic honing rod. Its handle positions the blade perfectly to ensure a 20° angle stroke (which seems like the kind of feature that should have become standard years ago). The durable ceramic length ends in a rubber tip to prevent compression bumps, and Work Sharp has thoughtfully included an end hook to hang it on your grill when it’s time to carve.

Form a better burger

stack of six raw burgers

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Burger Master 8-in-1 Burger Press and Freezer

With a few dozen hungry guests at your backyard gathering, you don’t want to waste half an hour forming perfect patties for the group. Enter the burger press, which quickly forms your burgers for a crowd. The tight-fitting lid shapes the fillings into hexagonal cells and the plastic stays flexible even frozen, so you can easily pop out portions.

While it’s great for holiday meals, don’t be surprised if you find yourself whipping it out to instantly whip up a week’s worth of lunches. Plus, it makes it easy to form tough-to-bind veggie burgers.

Light the coals

cut hand ignition barbecue

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No one is saying that a chimney starter isn’t a useful tool. We’re just asking: wouldn’t you prefer a handheld flamethrower?

Jokes aside, the Grillblazer GrillGun will save you a considerable amount of time waiting for the embers to catch fire. It lights coals evenly so you don’t lose half of your briquettes while you wait for their brethren to grab them, reducing coal lighting time from 20 minutes to three.

And yes, you can use it with a chimney starter for even shorter bursts without cinder paper flakes blowing around your food. As if all that wasn’t cold enough – or in this case, 400,000 BTUs of heat – the GrillGun is also great for searing food, when you don’t get that great Maillard crust from the grill itself.

Ecological ignition

Fire & Flavor Biomass Lighter Cubes

That said, not everyone wants to own a flame gun. Maybe you grill on an apartment balcony or don’t want a propane tank in the house. To opt for Fire & Flavor Biomass Lighter Cubes. They are carbon neutral and made from durable, dense wood fibers and vegetable wax.

They give off a lot of heat for their size, which means the coals will catch on once you light those green flames. Of course, if you’re really concerned about your carbon footprint, you’re probably using an electric grill with liquid smoke and the like. But sometimes you just need more smoke than a tray’s worth of wood chips can give you.

Maximize fuel

hot burning coal

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Mr. Bar-BQ Ceramic Gas Grill Briquettes

Your next challenge: using the heat produced by your grill efficiently. Mr. Bar-BQ Self-Cleaning Ceramic Briquettes pick up where old lava rocks left off, but they are self-cleaning and more durable. They provide efficient and even heat without burning.

Depending on how you configure them, you can use them for high, fast cooking (stacked to concentrate heat) and gentle, slow barbecuing when spread out to maintain stable temperatures. Brisket masters love taking the anxiety out of nighttime cooking. And even the most casual roaster will appreciate that they’ve reduced the amount of charcoal and gas used, saving you money and reducing emissions. Bonus: Some reusable briquettes are infused with different wood flavors, so you’ll still get all those smoky flavors you love.

Prevent slippage


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No chef wants to give up those grill marks, but it’s a fact that the grates sometimes drop even the toughest foods, and the sizzling oil dripping through the bars can often produce a kind of bitter smoke. This is why the Renook Non-Stick Grill Mat is such a find. They turn any grill into a griddle and are thin enough to keep the grill cooking.

You lost your last hot dog in the flames. These grill mats are non-stick, dishwasher safe and come in a set of six. You can even cut them to fit the shape of your grill. Their only drawback: Their heat tolerance is quite low for grilling (400°F for quick cooking and 260°F for any smoking or barbecue beyond 30 minutes). Renook also makes thicker mats for higher resistances up to 600°F – alas, you risk losing those coveted grill marks.

Maximize grill space

close up of a man cooking food on a barbecue

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ThatRack 5-in-1 Portable Grill Accessory

Grill mats are great for conductive heat, but let’s say you want to take advantage of all that unused space for more convective cooking. CeRack Literally takes your grilling game to a whole new dimension by allowing you to hang cups vertically. You can cook a lot more at once and get crispier results in what is described as “the outdoor air fryer”.

Configured for everything from kebabs to Cornish hens (with room for steak and ribs), ThatRack will turn a small grill into a tailgate to soothe your whole caravan, while being light enough for camping. Jerky makers may also want to try, perhaps on your new radiant ceramic briquettes for maximum effectiveness.

Smoke like a pro

mid section of man preparing food

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Masterbuilt Gravity 1050 Series

There are entire websites devoted to gas vs. charcoal vs. stick vs. pellets…and while they endlessly debate the distinctions between barbecuing, grilling, smoking, and barbecuing, they tend to nod head with approval towards gravity smokers to lessen the biggest problems with the exterior. kitchen.

We recommend the Masterbuilt Gravity 1050 Series. There are more budget-friendly options in this range, but for the price you get plenty of features that normally come on much higher-end stickers known for their level of control. You don’t have to prepare half a dozen meals before the smoker pays for himself.

And not banging a drum until it pops, but they are fantastic for that wonderful smoke and wonderful burn that pellet grills sacrifice in the name of consistency. Its only caveat is that it has a basement temperature of around 220°F to operate, so if low and slow jerky or fish are your main meats, pellets or gas may still be right for you – or straight logs if you’re a confident burning buckaroo.

Clean the grill grates

Closeup of bonfire on barbecue grill

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The days of the wire brush—which preserved burnt oily grime in its forest of bristles—are thankfully over. Instead, look to better options like a pumice. Although it may leave a light dust which is easily removed, it is environmentally friendly and removes residue from almost any hard surface without scratching. And believe us when we say you’d rather ingest a tiny particle of pumice than a stray steel wire from a diseased brush.

Now, maybe you want an option that doesn’t wear out with use. The Grill Rescue BBQ Scraper is a wet cleaning method that can go in the dishwasher when you’re done. It absorbs the water which turns into steam by scraping the charcoal on the still hot grill.

Protect your knives


Work with precision

Work Sharp Professional Electric Kitchen Knife Sharpener

So we came to the end of our meal. The coal was saved, the meats were molded and the racks were restored. The only thing left to do is return our sharp knives to the glory in which they began. Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones, so the sharpest knives tend to be the safest knives, unless they’re so sharp you accidentally split the knife. hydrogen atom.

Fortunately, the Work Sharp Professional Electric Kitchen Knife Sharpener is calibrated to give you exactly the knife blade you want. Programmed for precision, it can shape, sharpen and hone for extreme sharpness with a convex profile designed to preserve the edge of the knife. It repairs chips, perfects the grinding angle and removes metal dust. You’ll have a knife like new in seconds. Now you will have no more excuses not to keep them sharp.

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