The tool belt is a hallmark of manliness. Visit any construction site and you’ll see workers strapped to the hilt, their tool belts containing hammers, screws, drills and anything else needed to complete a project. Cops wear them. Masons wear them. At BBQ Island, our grillers often wear the tools of their trade in an apron or belt, too.
So, what goes in a BBQer’s tool belt? Here are 5 must have grilling accessories to stock your apron with.
1. Tongs: Whether you’re making spicy Szechwan chicken thighs, filet mignon, or herb-crusted pork ribs, you’ll need tongs to help flip your meat. (Don’t even think about using your fingers; that’s a serious BBQ safety no-no.) Choose tongs that are durable, easy to use and fit naturally into your hands. Read online reviews and rating sites if you’re unsure which brand to go with.
2. Dedicated BBQ Oven Mitt: No glove, no BBQ love. Whenever you’re getting saucy you’ll need to protect your hands from the heat. But don’t skimp on the protection – this is NOT the time to raid your mom’s knit potholder collection or steal your wife’s Williams-Sonoma mittens. Grill gloves come in myriad colors and materials, from natural calfskin to silicone and fabric. Check online for comparisons and reviews of each product type.
3. Bear Paws: Don’t you dare use a fork for pulling pork! Put your mitts in these babies and you’ll tear into meat like Wolverine through an enemy. The animalistic claws make shredding easy, plus cleanup is a breeze compared to hand-pulling.
4. Spatula/Slotted Turner: Which one do you need for the job? That depends on what you’re grilling. A spatula can easily slide under any meat. A slotted turner allows grease and oil to drip through the holes, thereby “draining” it from your meat. Not great for that prime steak, but awesome if you are grilling up delicate foods like fish. Choose a turner with wide, large slots to maximize drainage.
5. Specialty tools: Consider your project. Nearly every meaty recipe requires the basics: grill fork, thermometer, basting brush for sauces. If you are using a griddle, invest in a specialized scraping set. Invest in a kit with a pie hook like this Fornetto set for pizza ovens. If you’re cooking over charcoal, you may want a starter to get your grill fired up.
Purchase a premade tool belt specifically designed for grillers, or make your own with heavy-duty fabric and leather. Ideally, your BBQ tool belt should be equipped with all the tools and accessories you’ll need to go from raw meat or veg to beautifully seared barbecue. Think outside the belt. Add squeeze bottles, premade hot sauce, dry rub spice containers – whatever gets your mouth salivating and your creative juices flowing.