Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Few of My Favorite -BBQ- Things

Over the past few years of cooking BBQ I have found a few items that I really like to use when I cook. Some of them are very useful and almost necessary and others are just things that I find make the process easier. I've come up with my top ten list of these items and will list them in order of least necessary to ones I use all the time. Feel free to add items you think I missed in the comment section.

Below is my list. Each of the links goes to Amazon where you can see what type of item I am talking about.

10. Food service or Medical gloves - Yes this is a weird one but I have found these to be useful when making BBQ or any other food that I cook. I put them on before handling chicken or other meat and I can take them off and my hands are all ready clean and ready for the next step in the process. I also use them when I make biscotti. It allows me to handle the dough with out getting it all stuck between my fingers. I highly recommend these for prep work and if your catering for serving the food.

9. Catering Pan - Both full size and half size are great. You can set your meat in them to prep and then throw them away so you don't have dishes to wash. You can serve in them and when the guests leave... throw the pans out. No dishes. If you're making turkey or something that requires you to use a pan on the smoker these work for that. They also keep you from ruining the nice pans on the cooker. Just be careful if you are moving them while full, they can fold up on you and spill your food.

8. Food Service Pans - These are the solid pans that you reuse. I like to use them for defrosting meat in the fridge, prepping meat when I don't have the throw away pans available and pulling pork in. They also don't fold when moving the meat and you can put the disposable trays in them. I put a pork butt in one of these pans when I pull it and it keeps all the juices in the pan and not running on the table or counter. It makes for easy cleanup of the work area and when your done you can serve the meat right out of the pan.

7. Spray Bottle - I started off using a container of mop and a brush but found that took to long and released too much heat when I was cooking BBQ. I upgraded to a plastic spray bottle and found it to work much better as I could open the cookers lid, spray the meat and shut the lid a lot quicker. The only problem I had was the sprayer kept clogging or breaking. Then I found a pressurized one similar to a weed or bug sprayer. I could put my mop in it, pump it up, and hit the button and I would have a steady stream of mop to spray on the meat.

6. Tongs - These are great for picking up meat of the grill, picking up hot grill grates and just moving food around. They are also good for serving food.

5. Meat Forks - I know these have appeared on some of the Top-10-Most-Useless-Grill-Tool lists but the people who made those lists obviously don't cook large pieces of meat or pull pork. I use these to get turkeys off the cooker, move pork butts from the cooker to a pan to be pulled, and sometimes pulling the pork. They are very useful and make life a bit easier when trying to move those large pieces of meat.

4. Cooler - Coolers are very useful for keeping food warm or letting food rest. They are one of the most amazing inventions because they know to keep food either hot or cold without a computer. I often pull out one of my coolers to place butts in if they are done cooking before I'm ready to pull them, or turkey. When I pull them out of the cooler they are ready to go and still pipping hot.

3. Oven Thermometer - For $5-$6 you can know what the inside temp of your cooker is. It is worth the investment. The thermometers that come on most grills and cookers are notoriously inaccurate. They sit outside in all types of weather which can ruin their calibration and they tend to tell you the temperature at the top of the cooker not at the grill where your cooking. One of these little thermometers on the grill will allow you to have accurate temperature control. There are digital ones too but they are more expensive but worth the investment if you can do it.

2. Silicon Gloves - I received a set of these for Christmas one year. I love them. They are heat resistant and allow me to pick up meat directly off the cooker and not burn my hands. They also allow me to pull pork while it is still hot without burning my fingers off.  Clean up is as easy as washing your hands.

1. Insta-read Thermometer -  There is a reason this link goes to a Thermapen. It is one of the best thermometers you can buy. I have one and LOVE it. I use it for grilling, Qing, and cooking in the house. It is super fast and super accurate. Having one of these can help you know exactly when your meat is done, gauge how long you have left to cook and not leave the cooker lid off for a minute or more while your non-digital thermometer is trying to register.

Let me know what tools you find useful and which ones you might leave off the list.

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