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Bacon Press
Bacon Press / Grill Press

This is one of those things that you don't need very often, but when you do, nothing else will do.

This one is a 3½ pounder.  A little above average.  You can find lots that are lighter and if you look hard enough you could find one heavier.  It all depends on what you want to do with it.  I use it primarily for hamburgers (thus the reason for the high weight) and bacon.  It will give your griddled burgers a nice crunchy perimeter.  And perfectly flat bacon for sandwiches and burgers, as well as eliminate those soft, white, patches of uncooked fat.  (which baking will do as well)

It is also used for Pollo al Mattone, which is Italian for Chicken Under A Brick.  And, Pollo a la Piedra, which is Spanish for Chicken grilled under a stone.  Need I say more?  The science is that heat rises.  Whether it be hot air or hot moisture, it rises.  Therefore, if you place an impermeable surface above the meat, less moisture will escape.  If it's a griddle, than you have the moisture trapped from both the top and bottom.  If it's a grill, than at least you have impeded the escape of moisture from the top, the path of least resistance.  You end up with moister meat.  It also forces more contact with more of the heated surface, hence, more brown goodness.

Mine is a Williams-Sonoma nickel plated cast iron one with a rosewood handle.  Make sure you get one that is either nickel or chrome plated so it won't rust and be easy to clean.  A high quality handle will allow you to put it in the dish washer without the handle falling apart before the next Labor Day.  Or. if you find one you really like that has a cheap handle, simply make your own handle, using a long bolt and a lock nut (or LocTite) and there you go.

Actually, something else will do.  A brick or paver covered with foil.

Basting Cover
Basting Cover

You can buy a Basting Cover from a restaurant supply for about $5-$30.  They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, styles, materials (mostly aluminum) and brand names.  A larger one would be preferable so that you could baste/steam/poach/melt more/larger items at a time while using less griddle real estate.

They are used on a griddle or flattop to baste foods in their own juices, to steam moist foods, to poach eggs, fish or soft fruit or to melt the cheese on top of something without adding more cook time.  A really handy tool to have at you disposal.

Anything that will sit flat on the grill with enough height and beneath to it to fit a reasonable amount of food will do.  Something aluminum is best.  The aluminum cools quickly, not only making it friendlier to handle, but more importantly, condenses more of the steam created.  A steel or cast iron cover won't work as well.  Although glass would work ok, glass lids are usually an arc design and therefore would require a much larger size (more than 6") to have enough height.  Not to mention that glass can break/chip and is notoriously slippery.  And of course wood or bamboo are options if money is no object.

Don't want to spend $20 to melt cheese?  The lid to a 1 or 2 quart sauce pan would due, or a large, deep tin lid from a jar.  If you are handy you could make one.  You could punch a hole in the bottom of a 9oz Tuna can and screw a piece of scrap wood to it for a handle.  Of course, you would want to make about four to six of them.  Or rework the lid to a cheap aluminum camping pot or pan from a flee market.  (after you scrub it with Quaternary Ammonium Chloride of course)

"Grill Wizard" Brush

This is the best grill brush ever.  Nice long (looks a little short in this picture because of the angle) heat resistant handle that one would be hard pressed to break.  A sturdy stainless steel head, and best of all, easily replaceable "bristles" . . . which are actually stainless steel pot scrubbers that you get from the grocery store in a 5-pac.  How inexpensive and convenient it that?  And it really, really works!

Available online or possibly at your local BBQ's Galore (et al).

Instant Read Thermometer

Originally designed for professionals, the Super-Fast Thermapen is chosen by restaurant chains, health inspectors, quality managers and chefs all over the world.  The Super-Fast Thermapen displays actual internal food or liquid temperatures in only 3 or 4 seconds.  That's a huge benefit when you're over a hot grill.  If you're cooking an expensive cut of meat you want a perfect outcome.  You don't want a slow temperature reading that might be misinterpreted and your meat overcooked.

The reduced-diameter needle tip only requires about ⅛" immersion so you can take the temperature of even thin burger patties.  And, you'll only leave a tiny, self-closing hole in your steak instead of the gaping "juice-drain" left by "digital BBQ forks" or the old dial-type meat thermometers.  It automatically comes on when you unfold the probe and it shuts off when you close it for storage.  An auto-off feature will save your battery if you leave the probe open over 6 minutes.

Infrared (IR) Thermometer

Originally designed for professionals, this thermometer measures temperature from -58 to 999.9 degrees F (-50 to 650 degrees C) with 0.1 degree resolution.

The go-to thermometer for measuring the temperature of surfaces, such as, a fry pan, griddle, waffle irons, sauté oil or the ceiling of your living room.  Since time and temperature are critical for proper cooking, a good timer and a good thermometer are a must.

French Toast should be fried on a 325º griddle, your waffle iron should be at about 400º (which may or may not be setting 4) and chicken should be fried at 375º, but how would you know?  Don't have a candy thermometer?  This will measure the surface of the candy, sauce, purée or water in the pot.  A must have tool.

Remote Probe Thermometer

It's no fun being parked next to the grill/smoker on food watch while everyone else is swimming, talking and playing beer pong without you.  Tired of moving that lawn chair every time the wind shifts?  Remote thermometers to the rescue.  A must in any BBQ'ers took kit.

With a wireless remote monitor you can keep an eye on both meat and smoker/oven temperatures from 100 feet away.  LCD screen beeps and flashes when meat raises above your programmed temperature.  And receiver beeps and flashes if smoking chamber temperature falls out of your programmed range of a high/low limit.  The LCD is back light for use at night.

Meat Tenderizing Mallet
  • Reduces cooking time
  • Excellent for marinated meat
  • Soften fibers, easier to chew & digest
  • Flattens & thins for even cooking
  • Flat one side, spiked on the other
  • Comes in many sizes and shapes
Tough meat that you don't want to braise to melting tenderness must be pounded.  Even some tender meats benefit from pounding.  And while you can certainly smack away at your meat with a skillet, using a proper meat mallet gives you concentrated force to do the job quickly, easily and uniformly.

Jaccard Supertendermatic 48-Blade Tenderizer
  • Reduces cooking time up to 40%
  • Excellent for marinated meat
  • Use with a cutting board
  • No loss of natural juices
  • Dishwasher Safe (Top rack only)
Much better than a mallet, this meat tenderizer slices through the connective tissues and protein strings in meat which can sometimes cause it to be tough.  The 48-blade meat tenderizer makes any boneless cut of pork, veal, lamb, chicken, steak or roast butter-tender.  You push the tenderizer through the meat and the razor sharp stainless steel blades do their job.  Enjoy deeper and quicker penetration of marinades and accelerated brining.

Rib-O-Wheel Rotisserie

It's tray design means you can now rotisserie any kind of food, ribs, seafood, steaks, burgers, hot dogs, vegetables, anything.  The Rib-O-Wheel Rotisserie accessory will fit 99% of the grills on the market.  However it may not fit some of the smaller, inexpensive, grills.  You will need to have at least 6" of space from the center of your rotisserie rod without hitting any part of the grill to use something like this.  This one comes with bushings that will allow it to fit rotisserie rods from 5/16"to 5/8".  The trays measure 5"x17"x4 trays, which equals a total of 335 sq/in of cooking surface.  Stainless steel trays are, of course, dishwasher safe.  You can't beat the even heat and smoke of a rotisserie.

I have the Rib-O-Wheel myself.  There is also a Rib-O-Later sold by someone else.  It's a little cheaper (as of this writing) and comes in several sizes.  And there may be others by now.  I can only vouch for the Rib-O-Wheel as to being well built, strong and made with high quality stainless.

Pork Puller

With one of these you can pull your pork shoulder as soon as you take off the fire.  No more waiting 30 minutes for it to cool enough to pull it by hand or enduring the screaming hot meat.  They make "bear claw" type tools to keep your fingers out of the hot meat, but they aren't cheap (neither is this!) and you are still doing it by hand.  With a pork (and chicken) puller like this you can use your cordless drill.  Although, you need to use a large container so you don't decorate the kitchen.


This is the one that I use (above), all rigid stainless steel that is easy to clean.  But some people have made their own DIY version (below) . . .


Note that the ends of the tines are not blunt or rounded, but have an edge to them.  This edge helps grab the strands of meat, rather than just bounce it around the pot.


Smooth/rounded tines would probably still work on a properly done butt, but, would be useless for pulling chicken or turkey breasts.  You gotta have the "edge".

This is imaginative, but you would have to have a pretty nice rotisserie to have forks substantial enough to dive into 7 to 12 pounds of meat while twirling at no less than a couple hundred rpm's.  And if you had that nice of a grill, that came with that beefy a rotisserie, than you can afford the puller above and avoid mangling your nice rotisserie forks.  Just sayin' . . .

Injection Syringe

This is my go-to injector for chicken, turkey and roasts, eNasco's 50cc Pro-Shot Automatic Syringe.  It's the best tool for pure liquid injection.  There are lots of injectors on the market and they all tout themselves as the best money can buy.  But this one is truly industrial.  This is a veterinary syringe that ranchers use to inject (things we don't want to know about) into their cattle.  If it can stand up to injecting 300 head of cattle four times a year, it will stand up to my needs.  And even more importantly, it doses.  You can easily set it to inject 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 cc's with each squeeze of the trigger, allowing you to easily, accurately and neatly put just the right amount of juice in the right place.  The largest needles I have been able to get are 14ga and only 1¾" long (plenty for fowl and butt).  Large enough gauge for pure, plain liquid.  The syringe itself is only $22 (Nov. 2013) and a box of 12 needles (reusable, since we aren't using them medically) is only $5.

However, if you need to inject liquids with "stuff" in it (like herbs, crushed garlic, etc.) you will need something with a larger outlet, like the LEM #839 4oz Commercial Meat Injector.  The four ounce capacity is really nice and the needles are about 8ga (⅛") and 5" long.  Although it comes with a second needle with small holes in the sides.  I find that it only gets clogged, is hard to clean and it doesn't really matter in what manner the fluid gets in.  Either way, it's going to stay in, or leak out, in the exact same manner.  Just another way to make a buck off each sale and make you think you're getting more.  None-the-less, this is the best "sauce" injector in my opinion.

Dough Whisk

This is the famed Danish Dough Whisk, although it is made in Poland.  This tool is ideal for mixing everything from muffin batter to bread dough to fruit pie filling.  Much easier to use and clean than a traditional wire whisk.  Flow-through design blends ingredients thoroughly and gently.  Invented by some farmer hundreds of years ago, and nothing better has been devised to this day.  Stainless, wide, wire, 14" overall length with a natural beechwood handle.

Patty Press

This is the Weston Nonstick Burger Press.  It's made of heavy-duty aluminum and adjustable to a thickness up to 1½" with a 4½" diameter.  Which would be about a 1 pound hamburger.  Markings on the adjustment handle are by weight, making it easy to create quarter pounders or third pounders or whatever.  One might ask, "Is this really necessary?"  No, but it certainly helps with compressing the patties so that they won't fall apart on the grill without "kneading" the burger texture right out of them.  Burger patties that have been over worked are a bit chewy and loose more moisture.  So, if you don't have the finesse to make perfect patties by hand, this is the tool for you.

Potato Peelers

The peeler on the left is the tried & true workhorse of lore.  If you need to peel a bushel of potatoes (short of a machine) this is your tool.  The one on the right is a more modern version that is a little easier to use.  It you are wanting to do a little fruit zesting quickly, this is the one.

Citrus Zesters

The one on the left is the classic chef's zester that has been used for millenia.  Does an excellent job although not too quickly and takes a lot of effort it you need a lot of zest.  The one on the right is technically called a Micro Plane, primarily because it was originally, and still is, a wood working tool.  Does an excellent job of zesting fruits and vegetables, more quickly, but a little more risky to one's knuckles and finger tips.

Kraft Parmesan Cheese container

The single most valuable "trash" for the kitchen or garage!  And it's free (sorta).  Just run it through the dish washer when it's finally empty, peel off the label, and voila!  One side of the flip-top cap is good for using a measuring spoon and the other is ideal for shaking out powder.  Could be anything.  A BBQ rub, sugar (brown or white), dried onion flakes, dried parsley, chili pepper flakes, whatever.

And in the garage.  They are great for storing miscellaneous nuts, bolts, washers, nails, etc.  The flip-top opening makes it quick and easy to drop new items into the container.  It's easy to see what's in them and they won't leave shattered glass and scattered screws all over the floor if you drop one.

Available at your local grocery store.  Get some today.

P.S. The labels were printed from my computer and covered with cellophane packing tape to protect them from wet hands in the kitchen and greasy, dirty hands in the garage.

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