The Ultimate Grilling Checklist (Just in Time for Father’s Day)

If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor grilling space, there’s a good chance that Dad is taking advantage of it. And just in time for Father’s Day, we’ve got a list of grilling essentials. Whether it’s time for a replacement, upgrade or something entirely new, we’ve got something for casual and serious grillers alike.

Long Utensils

Serious grillers need serious tools. Make sure they’re long handled – around 18 inches is ideal – to guard against the heat. All metal/stainless steel will last longest.

Grill Mitts

Speaking of heat, grill mitts or gloves offer more protection against it. Heat resistant fabric gloves are more flexible but the silicone mitts let you actually flip or pick things up from the grill – no tongs needed! But most Dads think mitts are for sissies. Buy a pair anyway and leave them near the grill. One day he’ll use them and then wonder what he ever did without them.

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Cast Iron

Grill marks are great, but how do you get that crusty sear on a steak, chop or piece of fish? You need a cast iron pan. Look for flat pans or reversible cast iron griddles that you can place on the grill as it heats up. When the grill is ready, place your lightly oiled food on the cast iron and with the lid open, sear on both sides. If the food needs more cooking, turn down the heat and leave it on the pan or move it to the grill rack. Let the pan cool down before removing –  using those grill mitts he didn’t think he needed.

Smoker Box

Whether you have a gas or charcoal grill, a wood smoking box is the non-messy way to infuse your food with the flavor of cooking woods. The wood chips are placed in the box that sits on top of the deflector grates on a gas grill or nestled in the briquettes in charcoal grills. Heat from the grill warms them to release the flavor.

Chimney Starter

A chimney starter isn’t just a safer way to get your charcoal hot, but you’ll never need to use charcoal fluid again. Stuff paper and charcoal in the metal cylinder then place it in your grill (vents open!), light the paper and wait for the coals to turn grey. Since everything is compacted, you won’t have a long wait. Dump out the coals (you’ll need those grill mitts…), replace your grate and start cooking!

Fire Blanket

Just in case, keep a fiberglass fire blanket handy to knock down out of control flames. Easier and safer than using water or a traditional fire extinguisher, the blanket “suffocates” flames from grease or. Plus, there’s no mess. These are one time use so buy a few! And, if you have the presence of mind, handle with those grill mitts has fiberglass can irritate skin.


There are two kinds of cooks. Those that use thermometers and those who use other methods to determine doneness. If your Dad is the type who uses thermometers, a remote version lets him wander around instead of being chained to the grill. But, you can’t go too far. Most use Bluetooth (and a phone app) or the “walkie talkie” bandwidth. The latter have the best range and can reach up to a few hundred (unobstructed) feet. Or, if your home Wifi range is good and you’ve got a few hundred bucks to spare, check out William-Sonoma’s Smart Thermometer.

Grill Cleaning

Forget pot scrubbers, sponges or paper towel. You need stiff metal brushes. Choose stainless bristles since they last the longest and hold their shape. While any handled brush will do, the two handled Grill Daddy – with or without the water spray – provides that extra oomph to make scraping fast and easy.

And that stuff you use to clean the kitchen counters is no match for the grill. You need Krud Kutter, a non-toxic cleaner and degreaser that gets the gunk off fast. While there’s over a dozen versions to choose from – including one just for grills – the original household formula will get the job done.

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by on June 5th, 2017