Summertime is synonymous to a lot of things — lemonade, beaches and bright sunshine amongst other things. However, what it is most associated with is the sweet crackling sound of meat being grilled in the backyard with your treasured family surrounding you. The sumptuous smell of hot dogs, sausages, bacon, pork or steak spread a smile across everybody’s face and surely makes their stomach rumble with excitement!
Such is the love and delight associated with a term as simple as “barbeque set”. It brings joy to the young man on the verge of manhood who yearns only for the presence of his family as they await summer, the young lady for whom high school wasn’t going as perfectly as she had wished for or for their loving parents who had missed seeing their children’s smiling faces for long. A barbeque set is so much more than just an equipment, it brings together the whole family and has the unique ability to fill the air with the beautiful smell of meat.
The most basic equipments necessary for optimal grilling are listed here:
1) A GRILL: While there are quite a few options for the type of grill you might want with your barbeque set such as gas, charcoal, flat-top or infrared, the latter isn’t as widely used as the former. Charcoal and gas are on the other hand, widely used.
Gas grills: With fuel source as either natural gas (NG) or propane (LP) and gas flame, gas grills either cook food directly or heat grilling elements which radiates the necessary heat needed to cook the food. They are available in a vast number of sizes from industrial sized restaurant grills to small, single steak grills. Hence, they can be able to feed more than hundred people to a small family. Although they are generally designed exclusively for NG or LP, they can be converted from a particular gas source to another.
The cart grill concept is followed by the vast majority where the wheeled frame holding the fuel tank is attached to the grill unit. Of late, new designs have emerged of the wheeled frame supporting side tables and other new features.
Lately, manufacturers have taken to adding an infrared radiant burner right at the back of the grill enclosure. This provides the burner with an even heat and is to be used with a horizontal rotisserie. Often, a meat item placed upon a metal skewer rotated by an electric motor is used to grill smaller pieces of meat.
Sometimes, a small metal “smoker box” with wood chips is used to add a smoky flavour to the grilled items.
Charcoal grills: To this day, barbeque purists agree that charcoal grills produce better flavour. The type of charcoal best used for grilling is often a cause of contention amongst grilling enthusiasts. Their fuel source is either natural lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes. The users of the former emphasize upon the smoky aroma it emanates while the latter emphasize upon the uniformity in size, heat creation. When adequately burned, they transform into embers radiating the required heat to cook the food. The grills come in various shape and size, with or without lids.
2) CHIMNEY STARTER:
Lighter fluid which would be used earlier can leave your coals with the horrid, dank smell of gasoline, imparting its horrendous flavour on your food. This is exactly why you should forget all about the tools of prior years and garnish your barbeque set with a chimney starter instead. Not only is it cleaner and faster but it is also better for the environment. It is basically a tall metal cylinder punched with holes and provided with a grate right at the bottom to hold the charcoal in. It works with the concept of convection. In the long run, it is a more efficient option than wasting money on bottles and bottles of lighter fluid. A chimney lighter merely needs a match and a newspaper to convert six whole quarts of coals into a roaring fire in a span of just twenty minutes or less. When the newspaper is lit at the bottom, it ignites the bottom most coals, leading to the hot air rising up and thereby pulling in fresh oxygen through the vent holes and the bottom. When buying a chimney starter, you only have to worry about its capacity. You must also remember to put it somewhere safe for once you’ve put the coals onto the grill, you wouldn’t want anyone bumping into it while it’s hot as a furnace!
3) LONG HANDED TONGS:
This is a necessity that is often not taken seriously but it is only for your well-being, that we advise the use of long handed tongs to maintain a proper distance while flipping steaks over a fire as hot as a furnace. You should look for tongs made from two isolated tongs connected with the means of a spring-loaded hinge. A locking mechanism is not necessary but it is useful for storage purposes. Avoidance of models made of aluminium that can be easily bent and are lightweight is a necessity. For if the tongs do not seem well-constructed the moment you lay your hand on them, in all probability, they are not. The head design, be it oval shaped or forked, may be picked out in your accordance. Finally, what is to be avoided are nylon tipped tongs for, they are not heat proof and more importantly, they often melt. Overall, it should be one’s aim to get a tong which is necessarily long handed and well-constructed. If these criterion are met, you will find yourself with a grand pair of tongs to flip your delicious meat with.
4) COOKING GRATE:
The surface upon which the cooking is to be done is one of the most important parts of it hence, the materials used to make it should be resilient. Of the things it should ensure, the more important ones are providing good heat transfer, durability and to keep the food from sticking. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a non-stick surface, the food should not stick more than necessary. The best grate material is said to be amongst thick stainless steel bars, enamelled bars or cast iron. The intense heat from the grill can often wear down poor quality or thin metals however, the worst thing you can do to your grate is to throw cold food upon the heated grate. You should focus on keeping the grate clean and prevent easy rusting.
5) FIRM GRILL BRUSH:
One of the most essential necessities in a barbeque set is a clean grill brush. A grill brush is essentially angled and adequately long enough to reach into the cook-box and clean every angle and corner including the cooking grates. However, it is absolutely vital that the brush is of good quality. The issue regarding the grill is due to an amalgamation of factors, the most important of which is the manner in which the grill is cleaned. You must fire up your grill, wait for the coals to heat up and brush the grates to remove the remnants of the previous cookout before you throw on the new food. If you refrain from doing so, the grates may remain coated with oil which might make a loose bristle adhere to the food you grill next. Thus, it is agreed upon by most experts to regularly replace the grill cleaning brushes to ensure that people don’t land in the emergency room.
Hence, you must not forget that a grill cleaning brush is to be regularly replaced.
Whenever the bristles look damaged and bent out of shape, it is time to replace your brush. But ensure that a proper brush is bought, one made out of brass or food grade bristles of stainless steel. The head of your grill brush must be hard enough to ensure that the bristles stay in place. You must strictly avoid any that warns against using it on a hot grilling surface. That is said because they use adhesive to hold those bristles in place.
6) LONG HANDLED SPATULAS:
Silicon and metal spatulas work best for grilling purposes. They should have an offset and long handle to be able to easily slip the spatula under the food and to keep the heat at arm’s length respectively. They work best with any kind of delicate food items like fish, which needs a swift and strong flip; however, they can flip a big one pound steak with ease as well. For ultra-delicate food items, such as flaky cod filet, you should use two spatulas to ensure its taste as well as shape. While looking for the perfect spatula, you must make sure that it is flexible as well as thin.
7) INSTANT READ THERMOMETER:
The main aim of a barbeque is to make people happy and more importantly, to keep them healthy. This can be achieved with the use of a simple instant-read meat thermometer which when inserted into the thickest part of the meat tells you the temperature of the meat. This is an important task in the department of health for if the meat is not heated upto the required temperature, you might fall sick. Beef must be cooked to a temperature of at least 145º, pork to 160º, poultry to 165º, and lamb to 145º amongst other items. You must only let the meat rest for a while before taking it off grill to make it juicier and tastier. Overall, while it may seem like a uselessly expensive item, not only does it ensure one’s good health but is also a sure way to ensure that the meat you cook is perfected every time.
8) BASTING BRUSH:
The end goal of barbeque is to obtain a beautiful taste in meat. This may be obtained by grilling it in the perfect manner. However, its flavour can also be added to by the method of basting which is basically brushing, pouring sauces over the meat. This is best done with a classic basting brush made from plastic or boar bristles. You just have to swipe it across your meat while grilling it to ensure that the taste is absolutely perfect and that the meat is moist. It is also of importance to note that the brush must be kept clean. After using it, you can clean it by dipping it in bleach to kill all the harmful bacteria.
This involves cooking food by placing it on a piece of hardwood with the ultimate goal to transfer some of the flavour from the wood to the meat prepared. The key to this is to choose the correct wood to match the food. Light flavoured wood like cedar or ash is preferred for delicate food like fish, maple or pecan is suitable for meat like chicken or pork, while mesquite or hickory is usually chosen for lamb or beef.
So these are some of the equipments which are absolutely necessary in a barbeque set.
While a barbeque set might differ with the likes and dislikes of the customer who owns it, it must essentially consist of the items mentioned in the list to complete it. The kind of grill you choose, be is gas or charcoal goes on to make an impact on the food you grill, the chimney starter is a safer and far more cleaner option to the regressive lighters, the long handed tongs keep you at arm’s length from the heat and the burning oil of the barbeque, the cooking grate is the very surface upon which the food is roasted and the grill brush is a necessity for your health. The long handled spatulas, planking and the basting brush add a touch of finesse and beautiful flavour to the end product you create and lastly, the instant read thermometer too is necessary for your good health.
Don’t we all yearn for a classic day in the backyard relaxing with our loved ones amidst brilliant food which can be cooked by any Tom, Dick and Harry? This can be easily achieved by simply purchasing a special barbeque set.