If you’re browsing online, or buying in-store the choice can be overwhelming when you’re confronted with all the utensils that surround BBQ’s and outdoor cooking. I remember the first time I walked into a BBQ showroom and just wondering how on earth you could need any of the things there, but as I began cooking I realised which pieces I use regularly, and which are nice to have but in reality I hardly use. When you hear that some items only go with a charcoal grill while others go with a gas grill, and the whole thing can become even more confusing.
Here are my Top 10 Piece of Kit that I wouldn’t be without!
- Grill Brush
The item I use before any food even hits the grill! Although I always burn-off the barbecue before a cook it’s important to be able to give the grate a good scrub with a stiff wire brush to remove any burnt on food debris from last time. Lingering food will smoke and can transfer flavour to the food you cook this time.
- BBQ Utensils
Spatulas and tongs are my go to utensils for flipping of turning food on the grill. I don’t use a barbecue fork as I don’t like to pierce the food and allow the juices to escape. I do like 2 sets though so I can have one set for putting food on the grill and for moving it around before it’s cooked, and a second that is solely for the purpose of lifting cooked food off the grill for serving. Keep the Non-Cooked on the left tool holders and the Cooked on the right tool holders and you will dramatically reduce the risk of cross contamination of raw to cooked food.
- Heat Resistant BBQ Gloves
The BBQ is going to get hot and it’s important to wear protection. A good pair of heat resistant gloves will allow you the dexterity to grip things and hold them firmly when moving food on and off the grill. Also important for lifting and pouring the chimney starter (see #10 below.)
- Temperature Probe
The safest way to be sure you are serving food that is cooked through, without being overcooked. By inserting the tip of the probe into the centre of the thickest part of any food you can be sure your high risk items such as poultry and minced products are cooked to 75c core temperature, and that you also get beef and lamb steaks cooked just how you like. Expect to pay upwards of £20, with the higher end products such as this Thermapen 4 having faster processors and more features.
- Foil Trays
These are perfect for reducing clean-up in the lower part of your barbecue, and also fantastic for adding humidity to the cook-box. In a charcoal grill especially, place a foil tray under food that’s roasting on the top grill to capture juices and fats as they render. Capturing them in the foil tray will prevent them making a coagulated mess with the ash that also falls to the bottom of the bowl. These I have bought from the supermarkets before but the cheaper ones are definitely disposable.
Try filling the tray half way with water that will steam once hot enough and add humidity to the cook-box to help keep food succulent and juicy.
- Perforated Grill Baskets
For those items where you want fats to render through the perforations and for the resulting smoke to circulate back up through. Use in the conventional way to sit a roast and a selection of vegetables on to roast, or turn upside-down, oil and place fish fillets (salmon) on and bake. Available in different sizes they are fantastic for meats, fish, vegetables or pastries.
- Oven Trays / Dishes
I used to think perforated trays were it when it came to the barbecue but most ovenware is good on an indirect roasting heat of your barbecue when you want to cook dishes that require adding liquids, or that generate juices during the cook. TK Maxx do a fantastic range in affordable earthenware kitchen dishes and baking trays that can be used here, and I say this because quite often a dish will not return to original appearance after a cook on the barbecue. If you are going to do this go ahead and designate a tray as being the one you use on your barbecue.
- Cast Iron Skillet
When a perforated grill basket just won’t do the job and you need a flat solid surface. This I use for cooking things like sides of fish such as sea bass or trout, searing scallops, searing fatty items such as lamb or duck where I don’t want the fats rendering straight over the coals or direct heat. I also like a skillets for pancakes or crepes. This one here is from House of Fraser, cost £30, can go up to 260c and comes with a lifetime warranty. I like a bargain!
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Some of the recipes on the blog this year have required a Dutch oven and a good cast iron Dutch oven works a charm. I’ve said in previous posts that Le Crueset Dutch Ovens work fine on the barbecue but this one is a brand called Molten – it cost me about £50 a few years back and is still going strong.
- Chimney Starter
The chimney starter has been dubbed the #1 BBQ accessory, but that can only be the case if you own a charcoal grill. When I first saw this product I was dubious; then I saw it used. I have never met anyone who has used one, that would be without it. If you have a charcoal kettle barbecue this is the individual thing that will mean the difference between using your barbecues 2-3 times a year, and using it whenever you want! Trust me, these things should come with money back guarantees for satisfaction.
Great for lighting lumpwood charcoal and briquettes evenly, and also useful for measuring the heat on your barbecue.