Not too long ago, most people would only attempt to cook burgers, hot dogs, and, occasionally, the odd steak on the grill. Not anymore! A legion of grilling cookbooks, chefs who specialize in grilling, and daring backyard cooks have found ways to bring just about any type food to the grill — including desserts. Sensing the anything-can-be-grilled trend, manufacturers have developed grilling accessories that open up the possibilities even more. Here are eight add-ons to take your next backyard party to the extreme.
1. Grill Toppers
The latest trend in grilling is to cook a variety of meals, including breakfast, by using griddles, woks, and baskets of all shapes and sizes. The baskets
are especially useful when cooking onions for burgers or thin vegetables, like asparagus, which often fall through the grates on a traditional grill. Toppers are made of stainless steel or enameled cast iron to ensure even cooking.
2. Grill Inserts
Inserts allow your grill to take on a whole new function. The lines of inserts include woks, pizza stones
, and poultry roasters. Anyone who has ever attempted to make beer can chicken, where you balance a whole chicken over an open can of beer, will appreciate the roaster. It features a cylinder that holds the beer and
supports the chicken. Plus, it has a tray to cook vegetables as well.
3. Wireless Grilling Thermometer
The safest way to tell if the meat on your grill is done is by taking its internal temperature. Nowadays, there are a number of wireless thermometers
that allow you to check the temperature from a remote location, usually 100 to 300 feet away. This flexibility comes in handy when you’re smoking food and you want to make sure the temperature stays within the range you want, without having to run out to the grill or smoker. Some models even offer the option of multiple programmed settings for doneness
If you don't already have good, long-handled tongs and a spatula, consider investing in a set of grilling utensils
. The actual items vary from set to set, but most include tongs, a spatula, and a cleaning brush for the grill’s grates. Look for a collection that has the items you use the most and meets your budget. Many also include a storage case, which comes in handy because these long-handled tools usually don't fit in typical silverware drawers.
5. Grate Oiler Brush
Extending your arm over the hot cooking surface to oil the grates on a grill brings the term "playing with fire" into sharp focus, as flare-ups are always a possibility. It's also messy. That's where a grate oiler comes in. It dispenses an even coating of oil through a silicone pad. There's a reservoir to hold the oil, a cover to catch excess oil drops, and a heat shield to protect against flare-ups. However, you should still wear a glove whenever you’re oiling hot grates.
6. Charcoal Dispenser
Now you don't have to duck into the garage or shed whenever you want to start or replenish the fire in your charcoal
grill! A plastic, weatherproof container keeps your charcoal safe and dry, and lets you keep the briquettes close to your grill.
7. Handled Grill Baskets
People have been grilling fish in baskets
for years. Once the fish is in the basket, you can turn it without having the fish falling apart. That concept has expanded to make anything you can grill a no-spatula-needed process. You can find baskets made for corn on the cob, sausage and even burgers. You can even find a quesadilla basket that makes grilling quesadillas a cinch. Lay a tortilla in the basket, add in your favorite ingredients, then fold and lock the basket for the perfect meal. Most baskets also feature a heat-resistant handle for easy flipping.
8.Steam CleanerCooking on the grill
often begins or ends with cleaning the grill grates. New cleaning tools use a burst of steam to help clean the grates. Just turn a valve to release a stream of water, watch as it turns to steam when it hits the hot grates, and then wipe away the loosened grime with the brush.
Whether you’re a grilling expert or just a beginner, these accessories can help spice up your usual recipes and make hosting a barbecue or tailgating party a much easier task.
Fran Donegan is an outdoor living enthusiast and author who writes online for The Home Depot. Donegan is the author of the books Pools and Spas and Paint Your Home. Home Depot’s selection of outdoor grills and accessories includes many of the styles referenced by Donegan in this article.