Any master grill chef should have these tools his barbecue arsenal
Nothing says, “I'm the charbroilin' sheriff 'round these parts” like a Grillslinger Sport BBQ Tool Belt. The nylon belt comes with a long-handled, stainless steel flipper and tongs, which nest in two of four large, reinforced pockets. Aside from distinguishing you as the leader of the grilling posse, the belt frees up prep space around the grill and keeps your tools close at hand. An insulated, adjustable beverage holder means you can keep your sarsaparilla right by your side, too.
Approximately $50; Cooking.com
Avoid the shameful fate of half-cooked 'cue with this conversant thermometer. It eliminates guesswork by letting you know, audibly and visually, when your food is ready. The unit wirelessly transmits temperature readings from a probe to a base unit, allowing grill chefs to mingle with guests up to 330 feet from the flames. The LCD screen displays target temperatures for different meats, and you can program audible alerts for your desired temperature. If beeps and buzzes aren't your style, the unit speaks English, too. It'll tell you if your food is “almost ready” or "ready." It'll even warn you when you've wandered "out of range."
Approximately $40; Buy.com
Featuring a heavy-duty spring clip, gooseneck arm, and separate controls for the fan and the light, this little item squashes three big barbecue nuisances: smoke, heat, and pesky nightfall. The fan-light by Grill-Tek clips anywhere, so you can move it to your home office or use it to cool, ventilate, and illuminate your house's recesses during off-season spruce-ups.
Approximately $35, available at amazon.com
Steaks and chops aren't done until they've been branded with your initials. After all, everyone has to be clear on who the master is behind theose mouthwatering masterpieces. These branding irons can be customized with your two- or three-letter initials. They feature an 11½-inch handle with an eye-hook at the end, so when not in use, they can be proudly displayed on their accompanying wall-mounted rack.
Approximately $40; Williams-Sonoma
Grilling without even temporary shelter overhead? Then put the sun to work for you with Maverick's solar-powered grill lamp. Its rechargeable batteries deliver hours of bright, LED light for cooking after dark. The stainless steel spring clip keeps the lamp steady, and the 18-inch bendable neck ensures you always have light where you need it.
Approximately $30; Shopping.com
Even without permanent cover, you can join the battle against rained-out barbecues with the Grillzebo by Brookstone. Its arched metal roof protects you, your grill, and your food, which can sit atop built-in fiberstone side tables. The sturdy aluminum structure—8' 7" wide x 5' long x 7' 7" at its tallest—can stay up all year long. It also comes equipped with a condiment and tool rack and two rechargeable LED lamps.
Approximately $999; Brookstone
Flexible skewers are a convenience you didn't know you were missing. With these, you can marinate kebabs after they're already skewered and save space on your grill top. Drape the ends of the cable-like material over the end of the grill and they'll stay cool to the touch for your safety. Each skewer secures more than twice as much food as a traditional, non-flexible one does.
About $20 for 4; Uncommon Goods
Fill this cast-iron box with water, beer, wine, juices, or other liquid seasoning and place it into your grill. The steam will add moisture and infuse food with complex flavors for the most tender and tasty barbecue you've ever tasted.
About $30; Sur la Table
Don't get caught before a barbecue with your gas level down! You'll always know what you've got left in the tank with this indicator by GasWatch. The small attachment features a built-in leak detector and emergency shut-off for extra-safe grilling.
About $22; Miles Kimball
Falling brushes or "stuff" in the sauce won't be a problem at your cookouts anymore. This clever Stainless steel set gives the sauce—and your brush—a safe home. The pot's lid will keep bugs and leaves out when you're not lathering up chops. The lid will also protect your digits while you brush over a hot grill, and silicone brush bristles won't absorb your last meal's flavors. Extra brush head included; dishwasher safe.
About $30; Willaims-Sonoma
Touted by grill guru Steven Raichlen, the Pigtail Food Flipper takes the place of tongs, fork, and spatula. It can flip or carry anything from a pancake to an 8-pound rack of ribs. The sharp “pigtail” at the end of stainless steel shaft pierces the edge of the food, then flips and releases in one quick movement. The compact multitasker replaces a drawerful of tools, eliminating clutter around the grill. It also comes in different sizes, including a Baby Pigtail. Opt for the two piece gift box (shown here), and the Pigtail makes a downhome, yet elegant, gift for your favorite grill chef.
Approximately $30; Pigtail Food Flipper
Insert these clever individual thermometers and cook multiple steaks to any level from rare to well-done. The little wonders are grill- and oven-safe.
About $16; Home Wet Bar
To fix a great meal, you need the right tools. This aluminum-cased barbecue kit by Picnic Time comes with everything you'll need to get your food on and off the grill with ease. The sleek and stylish carrying case is home to large, stainless steel tools, including a serrated spatula with bottle opener, tongs, a knife, a fork, and a basting brush. Elastic hook and loop enclosures keep each tool secure in the faux-leather-lined case.
Approximately $45; Contemporary Concepts
Standing triumphant over a flaming grill laden with tasty grub feels pretty good. Cleaning the grill afterward is another story. Brookstone has redesigned the popular Motorized Grill Brush to include an ergonomic handle. With two removable brass-bristle rotary brushes and a built-in scraper, this cleaning tool is sure to reduce your cleaning time. The gadget might even intrigue someone enough to help you out.
Approximately $20; Brookstone
So you don't have a high-falutin outdoor pizza oven. With the PizzaGrill by Villaware, you can "grill" your own brick-oven-style backyard pizza al fresco on your portable barbecue. The stainless steel-framed pizza stone sits atop your gas grill, garnering high-temperature, crispy crusts. The unit features a built-in thermometer, plus a backsplash to contain sauce and toppings spills.
Approximately $100; Amazon.com
Since lighter fluid releases smog-forming VOCs, The Sierra Club recommends switching from lighter fluid to a chimney starter for greener grilling. The Deluxe Chimney Charcoal Starter by Weber is a must if you're not working with a self-starting grill. It's also a great way to ditch the lighter fluid aftertaste. The unit features a heavy-duty plastic handle and additional top loop handle to make emptying glowing coals into your grill safe and easy.
Approximately $14; Amazon.com
Perhaps the most overlooked grill accessory of all time, the fire extinguisher is also one of the most essential. According to the pros at Koetter Fire Protection, it's important to have a class ABC extinguisher (for ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids and electrical fires) accessible whenever you barbecue. Kidde's Kitchen-Garage model can go from the kitchen to the patio.
Approximately $16; Reliable Paper