Grilling season is upon us. Stores are bursting at the seams with gadgets you can purchase to use with your grill. I am definitely a gadget girl and have purchased more than my share of grilling gadgets. There are quite a few that I just cannot live without.
I have both gas and charcoals grills and use them for different things. I love to prepare turkeys and roasts on the charcoal grill, but for just about everything else, I use my gas grill. I know gas grilling is not the preferred method by true grilling aficionados, but it is quick and easy.
You will want to have a set of long-handled tools and mitts. Nothing is worse than using your dinner fork for turning food on the grill and grilling your arm along with the chicken. Beware of grilling utensils with metal handles. I previously had a set like that, and the handles got so hot I was not able to use them.
If you do not want to stand over the grill watching food cook, a wireless thermometer is for you. It allows you to insert a probe in the food, cover the grill, and do other things while your food cooks. A remote control you carry with you beeps when your food reaches the correct temperature.
Another favorite gadget is a grilling basket. Baskets are available both with and without covers. They are perfect for grilling veggies or items that may fall through the grill grates. Look for baskets with removable handles. The first one I bought did not have a removable handle, and it was difficult to use with the grill top closed.
I also make whole chickens a lot and love to use a beer-can chicken holder. There are simple ones that are around $6 and fancy ones that can cost upwards of $40. You do not have to use beer, but just some type of liquid to bring moisture and flavor into the chicken. Chicken broth or soda can be a great substitution.
If you miss the smoky flavor of charcoal when using a gas grill, you can purchase a grill smoker box. Just fill it with smoker chips available at any grocery store to get a smoky flavor. Rather than buy a smoker box, you can make one. Just make a packet using aluminum foil, fill it with smoker chips, fold it tightly, and then poke a few holes in the foil to get the same effect.
There are lots of gadgets which, to me, seem useless. Items such as meatball and jalapeño racks have no place in my grilling repertoire. Neither does a pizza stone for the grill; I place my pizza right on the rack. I know others that love rib racks, but not me. I guess these gadgets fall into the “to each his own” category. If you like them, use them.
You may want to head over to your favorite cooking store to see gadgets available. You may be surprised at what you find. Do you have a favorite grilling gadget? We’d love to hear about it.
• Judy A. Toth is the owner of Simply Impressive Cooking School in Mesa. Her column appears the second Wednesday of the month. Reach her at (480) 654-1981 or simplyimpressive.com