Friday, April 22, 2011

Grilling Equipment Recommendations

Recently, a buddy of mine told me that he wanted to buy a grill and asked me what he should get and if there were any accessories he should look for. The following were my recommendations for him.

The Grill

To begin with, there is only one charcoal grill: Weber. The line of Kettle style grills has various flavors, but the classic is the 22.5" Kettle Grill, which can be purchased at HomeDepot, Target, or most hardware stores. This is the same grill that I have had for the last ten years.

If money is less of a problem, the next step up the line is nice because the ash holder is cleaner to use. It is the same grill, but with a few extra features. There are Weber charcoal grills with more features than, but the price keeps going up. Really, the bottom of the line grill is perfectly acceptable for almost all home grilling.

However, lately, I have been dreaming of getting a different style grill, mostly because I like cooking for larger groups, and my beloved Weber is not big enough, even if I got the biggest (26.6" diameter, ash holder, and thermometer), which is too expensive. I would like to explore longer, slower, smokier, cooking, so I have my eyes on something new.

Accessories: A few essentials

Chimney Starter. This is an essential tool for starting a fire without lighter fluid. Never use lighter fluid. This is way better and it will last for years. Just add newspaper, charcoal, and fire. 

Regarding charcoal, you can get some at any grocery store. The best brand is Kingsford, in the blue bag. Don’t get any charcoal with lighter fluid built in—it is not needed and it screws up the taste.

Get a good grate brush and simple food tools. There are fancier and more expensive tool sets, and there are cheaper sets, but these have been my favorite. They are light-weight, which makes them easy to use and clean. They are sold by Target for Weber (already on the shelves), but you can see them at this Amazon link.

Grilling book. This is a great book to start with. It helps you understand how to start a fire, tell when the fire is hot enough, judge the cooking heat, and gives you tips on cooking, as well as a bunch of great recipes. Basically, you can not go wrong if you get a grilling cookbook by Jamie Purviance.

And of course, an Apple fanboy like me can’t live without a Weber iPhone app, which is only $4.99 and all the recipes are from Jamie’s books.
Finally, at least one glove is necessary. Cooking with live fire can get hot, and it is nice not to worry about burning your arm hairs. A glove is not essential, but handy. I have this one, but I want this one.

I use this stuff day in and day out (tonight were more barbecued buffalo wings; new recipe, super hot). Don’t be fooled by the weekend warrior grillers who have all the fanciest gadgets. Simple, light, clean, and easy so you put more energy into great food.

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