Summer Grill”n & Grub

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With the weather warming up and rainy days fewer and farther between, aren”t you ready to fire up the grill for a good old-fashioned barbecue?

If the thought of delicious grilled chicken, fish and ribs has you fantasizing about buying out the grilling aisle at Wal-Mart or Target, get a hold of yourself. Contrary to popular belief, you don”t need a lot of gadgets and gizmos to get great food; professional chefs suggest that you only need six essential items to get grillin”.

1. Grill – Amateur grillers often find themselves debating between charcoal and gas grills, and there”s really no right or wrong decision. Charcoal grills add more flavor to your food, but gas grills are more convenient. Whatever your preference, choose a grill with a large grilling surface and skip all of the bells and whistles. Will wheels and side tables make your food taste better? I don”t think so.

2. Chimney Starter – This gadget is for charcoal grill owners. Instead of dousing coals with lighter fluid, a chimney starter lets you light six quarts of coals with just a lit newspaper. The whole process takes 20 minutes, and you”ll be cooking in no time.

3. Long Tongs – You”re going to want to stay as far as you can from the roaring flames on your grill, and a great pair of long-handled tongs will help you flip your food and stay out of the way. Avoid flimsy aluminum or nylon-tipped tongs; they”re more trouble than they”re worth.

4. Grill Brush – A clean grill is essential for cooking. You”ll get great grill marks on your food, evenly cooked food, and you won”t have anything sticking to the grates. Make sure to get a grill brush with a metal bristle head; grill brushes with brass heads have a reputation for making more of a mess than actually cleaning anything.

5. Two Spatulas – Why two? One should be a flexible slotted metal spatula that can be used for flipping burgers or steaks. The other can be a wider spatula, like a fish turner, that can be used when cooking whole fish or flipping grilled pizzas.

6. Instant Read Thermometer – Safety first. Make sure you”ve cooked meat to its perfect temperature with an electronic instant-read thermometer. They are easy to read and super convenient.