Grilling season is upon us, and it’s time to get set for a whole summer’s worth of fun cookouts. That means dusting off the grill tools and getting your equipment ready to go. To get the most out of your grilling this summer, follow these tips for how to organize grill tools and optimize your grill tool storage so you can enjoy your barbecues with minimal fuss. Because whether you’re a newbie griller gaining confidence or a barbecue master, staying organized while you grill will mean the best-tasting food and less clean-up: a win-win. Here’s how to get your outdoor grilling station and materials tidy and ready to go for your next cookout.
Prep, Prep, Prep
The key to organized grilling is to tackle as much of the prep work as you can in the kitchen, before you fire up the grill. One of the best ways to achieve grilling success is to use the mise en place method: Start by chopping all of your vegetables or fruits, making any marinade or sauce you might need, and prepping the toppings—buns, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and anything else you like to have on hand. You’ll also want to grab all the platters and tools you’ll be using, from a meat thermometer to tongs, spatulas, and other grilling utensils. If you’re marinating meats as part of your prep, make sure to use a glass baking dish or glass food storage container with a lid.
Keep a Separate Set of Grill Tools
Your indoor utensils are great for cooking in your kitchen, but when it comes to grilling, they’re likely the wrong tools for the job. There are two reasons not to use your indoor utensils for the grill. The first is that conventional cooking tools don’t have long enough handles to keep your hands out of the way of the grill’s high heat. The second is that indoor cooking tools aren’t always made with materials durable enough to withstand outdoor elements or the extra-high heat of the grill. Assembling a dedicated set of grilling tools will mean you’re always ready to hit the grill—safely.
Don’t Skip the Tongs
Your particular grill tool collection may vary by what you grill most often—skewers for kebabs, a precision spatula for fish, or a basting set for flavorful barbecue. But one must-have tool this summer is a pair of long-handled, spring-loaded tongs with a bonus built-in bottle opener, so you can flip ingredients, grab foods off the grill, pick up skewers, and keep the drinks flowing, all with one handy utensil. The tongs clamp shut easily when you’re done using them.
Give Grill Tools a Designated Spot Indoors
Despite the hooks on your grill, the tools you use for grilling should not be stored hanging from the side of the grill, or left anywhere outdoors. Rather, they should be washed after each use and stored indoors, ideally all together. If you can’t spare a kitchen drawer or another area for your grill tools, a small lidded plastic bin kept in the pantry works too. Another option is to install hooks for the utensils on the back of a pantry door. Once you create a special area to store your grilling tools, you’ll never have to go hunting for grill tongs or a thermometer again.
Embrace the Tray
The best way to transport things to and from the kitchen is on a tray. A rimmed baking sheet is sturdy, durable, and easy to clean. Use baking sheets to hold grill tools, ingredients waiting to be grilled, and more.
Separate the Raw and the Ready
If you’re grilling meats or poultry, it’s important to separate tools you’re using for raw food from the tools designated for cooked food. That includes trays and platters too. Bring a separate clean platter or tray out to the grill for your cooked food, and never put cooked food back on a surface that was holding uncooked meats.
Create a Place to Rest Your Gear
Consider adding a small outdoor table near your grill so you have a place to set your gear aside. If you have a gas grill, it may have built-in work surfaces, but often these don’t actually provide enough space for your tools and foods—and charcoal grills usually lack an integrated work surface.
Keep Surfaces Clean
Your work surface needs to stay clean and sanitary while you grill, and having a designated holder for your tongs and spatulas helps keep everything tidy. This easy-to-clean, silicone grilling tool rest has prongs specifically designed to hold tongs so you don’t have to lock and unlock them between uses and can keep all of your hot, messy tools organized—plus it’s dishwasher-safe.
Don’t Spill the Sauce
Marinades can be messy, and if you’re trying to balance a basting brush in a mixing bowl, get ready to deal with spills. Instead, make your marinade right in a basting pot that has a lid, to keep bugs and outdoor elements out of your sauce. Even better: Mix up your marinade before heading out to the grill, so you can avoid the mess and save the sauce for coating your ingredients instead of the floor.
If you’re looking to refresh your grilling equipment this season, check out our new collection of grill tools and accessories.