Grilling season is right around the corner — in some parts of the country, it’s already here — and no matter what’s going on in the world, there’s no better excuse to go out to your backyard or patio and safely enjoy the nice weather.
With so many people cooking at home right now, it’s probably no surprise that home chefs are excited to flex their grilling skills this spring and summer.
We spoke with Peter Agostinelli, executive chef of Grill 23 & Bar in Boston, and Los Angeles-based cookbook author and chef Gaby Dalkin, about their must-have tools for a perfect grilling experience, and how to use them to make wow-worthy meals. Below, you’ll find expert-recommended picks for getting the most out of your grill this season.
Agostinelli, who oversees cooking hundreds of steaks a night, says, “Let your steaks, or your meats, come up to room temperature and heavily salt them about 10 or 15 minutes before you want to cook them. The salt will dissolve and almost create like a brine on the outside of the meat.”
Dalkin, a longtime grilling enthusiast, says her must-have while grilling is “a really incredible marinade or vinaigrette that I can use to marinate food in, like my basil vinaigrette recipe.”
Agostinelli sticks with a classic, saying, “Worcestershire sauce is probably my secret ingredient” when grilling, but “I love it on vegetables, too. Like a little olive oil, salt and pepper, a dash of Worcestershire almost on anything is going to be great.”
And he’s super selective: “It’s got to be Lea & Perrins, though.”
Both chefs agreed that grilling tongs are key for managing your cookout. As Dalkin explained, “You need something that can reach that food at the back of the grill without singeing your hands and arms.”
Gir Grill Tongs ($24; food52.com)
These 16-inch tongs from beloved kitchen brand Gir are perfect for working a hot grill because of their easy lock and unlock function, according to these chefs, and the extra length that ensures your hand won’t get too close to the fire.
Grille Perfect Grilling Tongs Heavy Duty 16-Inch ($18.98; amazon.com)
With a silicone handle, a big grip on one side and a smaller grip on the other, these heavy-duty tongs will allow you to reach the back of the grill with no problem (or burns).
Both chefs also put an instant-read thermometer at the top of their lists, since it can tell you the temperature of your meat quickly, ensuring that the food you’re eating and serving is safe and perfectly cooked.
Taylor Commercial Waterproof Instant-Read Thermometer ($10.29; amazon.com)
You won’t need to worry about under- or overcooked meats with this instant-read thermometer, which has an anti-microbial casing to prevent the growth of bacteria, an important feature for professional and home chefs alike.
Oxo Thermocouple Thermometer ($79.99, originally $99.99; crateandbarrel.com)