These days, stores and catalogues are crammed with all manner of new tools ostensibly designed for grilling. Unfortunately, most of them are useless at best and, at worst, actually get in your way. I mean, do you really need to keep track of a kebab grilling basket, or a contraption specifically designed for holding garlic bread over the coals when you’re interacting intimately with fire? (Apologies to all of you who purchased these as Father’s Day presents; “he’s impossible to buy for” is a perfectly valid excuse.) But there are a few tools you really should have.
Tops among them is the single tool that makes just about every task in the grilling world quicker and easier: heavy-duty, long-handled, spring-loaded tongs. Each part of this description is important. They need to be heavy-duty so you can lift large objects like pork butts and move them around on the grill; they need to be long-handled so you don’t singe the hair off your forearms when you’re working over a hot fire; and they need to be spring-loaded so they will always be open and ready for action. There is no end to the functions these tongs can perform. Think of them as a pair of hands that won’t burn. They’re perfect for putting food on the grill, taking food off, moving food around to hotter and cooler areas of the fire, even stirring up the coals. Really, the only essential grilling task that your hands are better suited for is holding your beer.