How To Find The Right Accesories For Your Grill

If you love to grill and barbecue, put a little extra money into high quality utensils and accessories for a set that will last a lifetime.

The air is getting warmer, the trees are in full bloom, and the birds are singing. Ah, summer. Time for a cookout and all the fun that comes with it. What's not fun, though, is watching your food roll off of the grill, or burning yourself because you don't have the proper barbecue tools. Regular kitchen spatulas and tongs just don't cut the mustard when you're barbecuing. What you need are tools that have especially long handles to protect hands while flipping. A spatula, fork, tongs and maybe a barbecue brush would be handy, particularly if they have a cord or tie for hanging on the side of the grill.

Utensils which have the handles screwed on are more likely to hold up under years of duress, whereas utensils with handles that have been glued on tend to fall apart easier. The glue becomes loose and the handle begins to wobble or come off completely. Teflon-coated utensils are easy to clean up, but will begin to melt if left on the grill for long periods of time. If there's no tie on the handle of the utensil, you'll likely be laying the utensils on or very near the grill, making metal spatulas a better choice. Teflon-coated spatulas are thicker, too, so the foods are a little harder to turn over than with a metal spatula. You can spray the metal utensils with a non-stick spray before cooking to make clean up easier.

Purchasing the barbecue tools separately can run about $10 - $15 for each piece, but often the sets are available in a carrying case with the utensils included for about $25 - $50. Some sets feature dishwasher safeness and some, carbon steel. Carbon steel sets are a good buy, particularly if you plan on keeping the set for many years, but be sure and choose the sets which offer the extra long handles. Sets often include a fish or meat knife for testing the doneness of the meat, basting brush for applying sauces, metal spatula for turning foods, tongs for turning sausages or potatoes, and skewers for shish kebobs. Some even have a set or two of corn-on-the-cob holders and cleaning bricks or brushes.

The barbecue sets that come in a case are the best choices, since they can be packed neatly away for the winter and they aren't left to clutter the silverware drawer. There are extremely cheap sets which can be found at most discount stores, moderately priced sets that work fine and last a long time, or very expensive sets that might feature a couple of more utensils than the less expensive sets. The moderately priced sets are good enough for years of barbecuing but the cheap sets usually hold up through a couple of years. The very expensive sets might not necessarily be better, utensil-wise, than the moderately priced sets, but the case might be a little nicer or the utensil handles could be made of higher-quality wood. For those who don't barbecue often, the cheap sets might be just the trick, but if you love barbecuing and plan to use your barbecue utensils for many, many years, put a little extra money into the purchase and buy a brand that is well-respected in the utensil or cooking industry.

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