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What are some grilling tools that a beginner should have when purchasing a new grill? Additionally, are there tools that are useful for the more advanced outdoor cook?

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Questions calling for a list of answers should be created as CW. –  hobodave Aug 25 '10 at 17:14
    
Gas or charcoal? –  Bob Aug 25 '10 at 17:34
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7 Answers 7

The tools I use the most are:

  • Tongs,
  • Spatula for stuck things,
  • A small towel to apply oil,
  • thermometer,
  • a long handled basting brush
  • a brush to clean the grill with
  • spray bottle with water (for flare-ups)
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Add 'A beer in hand' to your list and it would be perfect –  awithrow Aug 25 '10 at 17:44
    
And fireplace gloves. Or welding gloves. They're great for the 2+ hr grilling sessions when cooking for 200 people, or if you have to get in there to lift out the grate to deal with coals underneath. –  Joe Aug 26 '10 at 3:36
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And the grill brush -- you should have one, but if you're cooking at someone else's place, and they don't, crumple up a bit of aluminum foil, and use that to scour the grill after you've preheated it. You can then use a paper towel to oil it. (I fold it in quarters, open it up like a cup, then pour a little in, let it soak, grab it with tongs and work quick before it burns). Also, if you're going to be doing long cooking sessions, get a grill brush with a wood handle -- metal or plastic ones will heat up with each cleaning, possibly making them unbearably hot. –  Joe Aug 26 '10 at 3:41
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In addition to what others have said, you should have TWO of each meat-handling tool (tongs, mainly). That way you can use one to handle raw meat, and one to remove cooked meat.

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that would save all those trips I have done to wash my tongs in between... –  justkt Aug 25 '10 at 18:32
    
So, I've always wondered -- I have my meat, and I place it on the grill using the 'raw' tongs ... what do I do when flipping them? I've got one side touching raw, and one side touching cooked, unless I'm grabbing from the sides, and then I'm touching not-quite-cooked. –  Joe Aug 26 '10 at 3:34
    
@Joe It's probably safe to use the 'raw' tongs the first time, and maybe switch to the clean tongs after the meat is at least partially cooked on both sides. The ambient heat in the grill should kill anything on the outside of the meat, so it's mainly important to use the clean tongs when removing meat from the grill. –  Bob Aug 26 '10 at 14:41
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The basic things that you need are:

  • Grill brush to clean the grate
  • Large tongs to get food on and off of the grill

With that, oil to oil the grate, fuel, and quite possibly aluminum foil you will be grilling.

A grill basket of sorts can be very useful. Metal skewers for making kebabs are great if you like that sort of thing and don't want to spend a long amount of time soaking wood skewers so they don't burn to a crisp.

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Good call on the skewers- I forgot about those. –  Sobachatina Aug 25 '10 at 17:01
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Tool-wise: spatula, tongs, grill brush (for cleaning) and a basting brush. If you're using extremely hot fire or high flames there are grill-safe mitts you can buy.

This isn't a tool, but I find buying cedar (or other wood) planks for grilling fish and other meats and veggies on are invaluable. Similarly, applewood or hickory chips for smoking.

As you get more advanced, there are rotisserie attachments for most grills, but they can get pretty pricey.

I agree with justkt that metal skewers are extremely useful, as well as the grill basket for certain fish and veggies.

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Also, flat skewers work far better than round ones, which tend to just spin when you try to turn the food. –  Taeraresh Aug 26 '10 at 20:48
    
Great point, very true! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 26 '10 at 21:36
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If you're using charcoal, a spray bottle with H2O can be handy for flare-ups. Otherwise, I think others have the bases covered.

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I have a wide, flat knife that can be used as a spatula; I find it really useful. Everything else has pretty much been mentioned, but I would suggest a pair of tongs with decent teeth on them. It's very disheartening when that burger or steak slips out of your grip and into the coals or onto the ground.

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An additional tool that will make grilling much easier is a veggie basket; basically it looks like a saute pan with holes poked throughout it. Aluminum foil can be your friend, but these little guys are much more flexible.

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