Summer’s halfway gone, so grilling season has just about peaked on the mainland. That means some of those fancy grill gadgets stocked in specialty stores here are about to go on sale if they haven’t been marked down already.
It’s a plus for barbecue enthusiasts in Hawaii, where, on any given day, smoke billowing over a grocery store parking lot signals a huli-huli chicken sale and hibachis are fired up year-round. (So if you do end up paying regular price for some items, you’re bound to get your money’s worth with use.)
Even an old-school barbecuer whose repertoire requires only a simple pair of tongs, Hawaiian salt, aluminum foil and a wire brush might find these tools handy.
The fish mesh pan, for instance, is great for grilling veggies as well, and silicon heat-resistant gloves can be used as oven mitts for the kitchen, too.
So treat yourself to a few of the following to show off at those football tailgating parties just around the corner. Or get a jump-start on Christmas shopping and stock up on gifts for friends.
Here are some of the more popular tools out there:
Over at Executive Chef at Ward Warehouse, the "Steak Station" from Charcoal Companion monitors four steaks at once, with four color-coded, stainless-steel probes to track the temperature of each piece of beef. "It’s easy to read and can be used on the grill and in the oven," says Kelli Furushima, store buyer.
Furushima also recommends the Wireless Probe as a great tool "for the social griller who has those big slabs of beef on the grill but likes to walk around and talk story."
"The remote alarm (with a 100-foot range) that fits in his pocket lets him know to get back to the grill ‘now’ because those steaks have just reached his pre-programmed level of done-ness."
Jennifer Lin, manager of Compleat Kitchen at Kahala Mall, says, yes, real men (and women) need a grill mitt. She recommends the type without cloth edging. "It’s just that the cloth edging gets burn marks," she says.
The Roll Baster is good for basting fish. Its "windmill" roller ball gently pierces the flesh to absorb more sauce.
At Williams-Sonoma at Ala Moana Center, sales associate Linda Paxton, a former events planner for Sea Life Park, recommends the store’s Fine Mesh Grill Pan. "It’s great for fish," she says, "so the pieces don’t fall through into the coals. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe."
Another popular pan has a mesh cover so you can flip vegetables like a pro, without any pieces escaping.
The specialty shop’s grill-cleaning brush is impressive, with replaceable heads on either side of a solid spatula-type base that has grooves to scrape off grime so it won’t accumulate as a permanent part of the grill.
For a grilling bible, Paxton suggests "On the Grill," by William Cooper. It’s an easy-to-follow, everyman’s cookbook that uses simple ingredients and instructions. "Plus, it has drink recipes in the back to help wrap up your barbecue evening," she says.