One of summer’s greatest joys is dining al fresco on juicy hamburgers or marinated mushroom kabobs fresh off the flame. It’s not only fun, it’s also green; if you live in a sweltering state like Texas, cooking outdoors will take a load off your Houston HVAC. Nowadays home chefs can cook almost anything on the grill. Here are some of the season’s niftiest BBQ accessories to help.
Pans and Racks
Mesh or perforated stainless steel pans are available to perform a multitude of culinary tasks – not only grilling, but also frying, griddling or roasting. You can even tackle two whole chickens at a time with a device that holds them vertically. BONUS: these pans are generally dishwasher safe.
How about a dedicated pot to keep your secret dipping sauce good ‘n’ hot? Try one that you can put directly on the grill surface – it’s made to withstand temperatures as high as 1000 degrees F!
If your idea of a good time is spending summer Saturday nights baking bread, you’ll find loaf pans purpose-built to sit atop your grill.
For traditional campfire-style “baked” potatoes without using foil or losing a spud or two among the coals, buy a rack ... or an all-in-one grill roaster with potato clips on the side. Other interesting specialty racks include one designed for roasting stuffed jalapeno peppers as a sizzling appetizer or side.
Stone and Salt
With the help of a special pizza stone, your grill will achieve what your home oven cannot – reach the high heat necessary to bake pizza right. Enjoy the deliciously crisp crust that you know and love from restaurants with traditional brick ovens.
A smoking stone encourages air circulation all around your slab of protein. At the same time, the beef, pork, poultry or fish is protected from direct contact with the grill’s heat by this heavy-duty ceramic or cast iron plate, allowing it to develop a rich smoky savor.
The Himalayan salt plate looks intriguing. Placed directly on the grill at up to 450 degrees F, it retains heat and grills meat or seafood evenly, imparting a unique flavor. Just rinse the reusable, antimicrobial hunk of salt off with warm water between uses. And did we mention that it’s natural and chemical-free?
Amuse guests at your cookout with a hot dog roller, which rotates to brown wieners, sausages or tofu dogs evenly. Carnivores will love a helping or two of steak with extra impressive grill marks thanks to a grill press – a tool with the singular duty of pressing food onto your grill as forcefully as possible.
Cherry wood chips in the fire will add a subtly sweet flavor to your grilled meats. For a no fuss, no muss alternative, pick up a can of concentrated wood chips that you just open and place on the grill.
You don’t have to invite Edward Scissorhands to your pulled pork party. A handy pair of claws will shred grilled meats fast and easily for luscious summery sandwiches. It’s also great for lifting roasts without burning fingers.
After supper, pull out the popcorn popper and whip up a batch of crisp, smoky grilled popcorn. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a pitcher of sangria on a long, lazy evening.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.