Enough with the Ridiculous Extra-Long Grill Tools …


As a New Yorker who a) loves to grill food during the summertime and b) lives in a small apartment with no backyard or outdoor space to speak of, I have a lot of experience with Other Peoples’ Grills—OPG for short. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed after plenty of time spent around OPGs, it’s that people have some goofy-ass ideas about what kinds of tools are necessary to make grilling happen. A familiar scenario: Beaming Grill Dad hauls a brushed metal attaché case that looks like it contains nuclear launch codes out of the garage and opens it proudly to reveal a number of puzzling implements, likelier medieval torture devices than grill tools. “Pretty sweet, huh?” Grill Dad whispers smugly. At which point I fight the urge to raise my palm to my forehead, thank Grill Dad, and wait until he begins mansplaining about craft beers to go rummaging around in his kitchen for the tools I actually need.

Here’s the funny thing about the tools you need to cook food outdoors: They’re exactly the same as the ones you use for cooking food indoors. I have never in my life met a purpose-built set of grill tools that performed better than the workhorses that I already keep in my kitchen—in fact, most of the time they perform way worse. This is all to say that, if you‘re in the market for grill tools, you should really check the caddy next to your stove, because you probably already own them—and if you don’t, you need to buy these ASAP.

clap-fireplace-cooking-tongs

Nikole Herriott

The one tongs to rule them all.

Tongs

Why is it that every pair of tongs marketed as grill-specific seems to be fully and fundamentally dysfunctional? There are the ones that are way too long, making it extremely hard to move anything around on the grill with any kind of dexterity. There are the ones that, instead of being joined at the base with a simple, time-tested spring-based closure, are comprised of one long, thick piece of bent metal, which makes opening and closing them feel like using one of those weird hand exercisers. And then there are the ones that have bizarre and novel grippers at the ends—weird tiny teeth, serrated triangles, laser-cut mini-spatulas bearing sports team logos—that always seem to either a) mangle the food you’re trying to pick up or b) fail to pick up any food at all. They all suck.

You know what don’t suck? Regular sturdy stainless steel kitchen tongs. Just as nobody has managed to make a better mousetrap, no amount of added bells, whistles, or teak handles can make for a better steak-and-hot-dog-picker-upper. I like to keep two pairs of 12-inch tongs by the grill in case I need to flip something big and ungainly like a whole spatchcocked chicken. And if you’re really that anxious about getting your hands too close to the fire, spring for the longer 16-inch version. The best part? THEY ARE ONLY $5.

Fish Spatula“It's delicate enough for salmon but strong enough for a steak.”

Zach Desart

I <3 fish spatulas.

Spatula

Why would I need a spatula as long as a shovel, so heavy that I need two hands to use it? Why would I need a spatula that has perhaps the most inconveniently-placed bottle opener of all time attached to the end? Why would I need a spatula with a random serrated edge that is not really sharp enough to cut into a steak but is definitely sharp enough to cut my hand while I’m putting it away in the dark and send me to the urgent care for several stitches?? The world may never know.

But this I know: A fish spatula is the best grill spatula you will ever use, period. It has a low-profile edge that is perfect for getting under stuck-on burgers. It has a tight turning radius, allowing you to quickly and nimbly flip said burgers. And it is small enough that you can easily rest it on a plate or a tray or whatever without it falling off and getting covered in dirt or gravel or straw or whatever lives on the ground near your grill. Will you have to get slightly closer to the food you’re grilling than you are used to? Possibly. But it builds character! Also: oven mitts! And how much will one of these bad boys set you back? ABOUT SIX BUCKS!

alumninum foil grill clean

Photo by Alex Lau

No grill brush? No problem. Balled up aluminum foil and tongs will work juuuuust fine.

Grill Dad, if you’re reading this, perhaps you’re wondering, What about the two foot-long sharp fork thing? Or the random basting brush with the silicone bristles?? To this I ask you: Have you actually even used those things? I. Didn’t. Think. SO. What about a grill brush??? Well, fine, you kind of need a grill brush. But you can also just use a balled-up piece of aluminum foil and those tongs to clean your grill grates in a pinch. But also: Go ahead and buy a grill brush. You deserve it.

How about some ribs, huh?

best-ever-barbecue-ribs



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Post Author: MNS Master

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