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The 3 Most Essential BBQ "Gadgets"

July 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Food News

Dear BA Foodist,

My husband’s birthday is coming up, and I thought that a set of barbecue tools might be a good gift. Are there any new gadgets you could recommend?  

Meg Simmons, Valdosta, Georgia

Dear Meg,

I am a recovering gadget collector. During several recent apartment moves, I decided enough was enough. Here was my rule: If I hadn’t used it in
the past year, it had to go. You’d be amazed at the number of grilling
tools I got rid of. My mother, my wife, and even guy friends would
constantly give me stuff that was supposed to make grilling easier and
more fun. Except most of it didn’t work—especially the brush
that was supposed to dispense sauce. Minimalist that I am, I encourage
you to cast off all nonessential barbecue gizmos. In my experience,
there are only three necessary barbecue tools.

1. A chimney starter. I’m a charcoal purist, and with this device, firing up the grill
is about as easy as lighting
a gas grill. Sure, hard-core pitmasters may accuse me of not being able
to start a fire, but by the time their newspaper is just catching,
I have white coals.

2. A good instant-read thermometer. Using one certainly beats having to
cut into the chicken to see if it’s done. My trusty yellow Taylor
thermometer is only $13 at

3. A strong flashlight. I recommend a head-mounted model suitable for exploring caves. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started grilling in daylight, only to find myself frustrated by darkness just moments later. You may look funny, but those steaks will be perfect. The Petzl Tikkina comes in lots of summer colors. It’s $20 at

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