It’s finally — finally! — summer, time to dust off the grill and pull out the tiki torches. It’s always fun to get a few new tools (or replace a few old ones) at the change of seasons — below, find some of our favorite gifts for both the grilling novice and the backyard barbecue pro. (Inspiration for early Father’s Day shoppers too!)
The Work Table
Once the coals are hot, it seems a waste not to use them to the fullest. Along with juicy steaks and bratwurst, why not grill whole red bell peppers, parboiled new potatoes, zucchini halved lengthwise and sweet, ripe peaches?
All of that is a lot to juggle, of course. A prep table, preferably one that attaches right to the grill, makes it much easier. Try Weber’s work table ($50), which fits Weber’s kettle charcoal grills. You can also find double side tables ($82) or splurge on a beautiful wood add-on that perfectly fits a Big Green Egg ($499).
The Hinged Grill Grate
It seems like such a small thing, but having a hinge on your grill grate makes a world of difference when it comes to cooking over indirect heat or smoking a big piece of meat. It’s so useful, some commenters on Amazon wonder why it isn’t “the defacto grate” for all Weber kettles. At $27, if you like smoked meat, you can’t afford not to have one.
Among the simplest, most versatile food to cook over a flame comes on a skewer: Japanese yakitori, Middle Eastern kebabs, Argentinean churrasco.
Make sure those beautiful shrimp and sweet peppers don’t fall into the flames with double-prong skewers like these ($30 for six). These in particular were recently featured in Bon Appetit magazine, so they’re out of stock at the moment; for a good substitute try these rosewood-handled beauties ($18 for four).
Alternately, try these flexible wire grilling skewers from Williams-Sonoma ($14.95 for four).
A Whole New Grill
Maybe you’ve had a really rough winter, and it was still snowing in May. Maybe your grill is too small for your massive ‘cue skills, and you need a range big enough to feed the entire block. Maybe your grate has rusted out because you accidentally left the grill out in bad weather (oops).
It’s time for a new grill. For this, we go to the experts. Check out “Primal Grill” host Steve Raichlen’s list of his favorite grills (the man has 60, and he narrowed it down to four!). I have always been fascinated by the Big Green Egg ($800), a ceramic grill that has a kind of cult following. But I know my personal grill master would be happiest with this big boy from Weber ($349), with a built-in timer, a charcoal storage bin and an easy cleaning mechanism.
Once you have your grill set-up and ready to go, here are expert tips for great grilling results so you have more time to relax with friends and family: “Grilling Tips: From Good to Great” and “10 Tips for Great Grilling”. Now it’s time to light those tiki torches!
Happy grilling and best wishes for a very happy Memorial Day!
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