At the test kitchen, where we have more than 40 cooks developing grill recipes, we have a grilling garage stocked with all the equipment we need. It’s glorious to have everything stashed in one spot. Seeing the convenience of this strategy inspired me to make a grilling box for my own backyard.
Since I don’t have a garage—and am not providing grilling gear for 40 people—I stock a large storage bin and keep it in my basement alongside my supply of charcoal and a fire extinguisher.
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When I’m ready to grill, I just grab the whole kit and bring it outside.
Here’s What’s Stashed Inside
- Chimney starter: Because lighter fluid—and even charcoal pretreated with lighter fluid—can give food an off-flavor (and make it taste like petroleum), using a chimney starter is the best way to evenly light charcoal.
- Newspaper (or other paper) for lighting charcoal
- Lighter or matches
- Grilling gloves (or dish towels you don’t mind getting dirty): You need to protect your hands and arms!
- Aluminum foil: I use this to make foil packets for wood chips, wrap brisket and other big meat cuts while smoking, and to tent meat while resting.
- Grill brush: This is to clean the grates before and after cooking.
- Paper towels: Paper towels always come in handy, but they’re my go-to when oiling grill grates to avoid sticking. I’ll wad up a few towels, dip the wad in vegetable oil, and use long grill tongs to evenly brush the grates.
- Grill tongs: You need to be able to pick up or turn food without getting your hands too close to the hot fire.
- Spatula: A good spatula for grilling should not be too heavy or bulky to comfortably flip burgers. It should also have a long handle.
- Wood chips and/or wood chunks: It’s fun to play with different flavors of wood chips and chunks, but if you’re starting out, hickory is a safe bet. It’s strong but neutral and what we develop with most of the time in the test kitchen.
- Disposable pans: Many of our recipes call for a water pan in a grill to even out the heat and create a moist cooking environment. If you’re using charcoal frequently, stock up on 13 by 9-inch pans. If most of your barbecuing will be done on a gas grill, buy a couple disposable aluminum pie plates.
- Vegetable oil
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.