Father's Day is on Sunday, June 17th, 2012. It's coming up quick, so each day until then I will post some gift ideas for yourself or the dad in your life that deserves a cool gift. Forget the ties! Get something good instead.
Father's Day Gift Idea #1 - GrillGrates!
GrillGrates are a great way to revamp your grill. They will even out your cooking surface, save moisture and they can replace existing grates entirely or just a portion. Every single person I know that owns a set will completely swear by them. You don't often see that with BBQ gadgets and gizmos.
They come in five different standard lengths for gas grills and some custom shapes to fit Big Green Eggs/Kamados and Weber Kettle Grills.
Measure your grill and see what length will work best for your grill. For gas grills they even come in gift packs of 3 panel and 4 panel set which are probably the best buy for the money.
Rusty. Never in all my years as a griller have I EVER found anything as phenomenal as the GrillGrates. They are truly a game-changer in the field of cooking on the grill, as I'm sure you are aware. Since I discovered them (thank you Meathead Goldwyn) I am finally able to relax when grilling as I no longer worry about burning my food and not only that it makes my food taste so much better. - Gary
Father's Day Gift Idea #2 - A Wireless Thermometer!
The most important thing about barbecuing is learning to tell when your food is done. Take the guesswork out of figuring out the temp and get a good thermometer. The Maverick ET732
is one of two thermometers that I use. It is wireless and has 2 probes - one for the meat and one for the grate temperature. You set up both and you can effortlessly watch your temp from inside. You can even set an alarm to go off when it hits a desired temp. Think about how busy Thanksgiving gets when you're cooking a dozen different dishes...
The wireless feature is fantastic and handy for prime rib, pulled pork, brisket or even thick-cut steaks. When you're shooting for a specific temperature having constant monitoring is the only way to not overshoot it. Otherwise you'd be constantly popping your lid to check - this just prolongs the cook and robs your cooker's moisture.
There's no doubt the wireless feature is cool and handy, but having a wired thermometer is important for holding food. If you plan on using the Foil-Towel-Cooler trick to keep your food warm until your guests arrive it's important to know that you're keeping the food well out of the danger zone (40-140F). To do this I will simple leave the food thermometer prob in the meat and let the wire hang out of the cooler. You don't even need to use the wireless feature here - the transmitter has a small LCD screen that displays the temp too.
Father's Day Gift Idea #3 - An instant-read Thermapen!
I said I only use 2 thermometers. My gift suggestion today is my other favorite thermometer - the Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen. This is by far the most reliable and durable instant-read probe thermometer you will ever buy.
I'm going to begrudgingly share a story with you, but only because it speaks to how great of a product it is. Towards the end of an all-night cook, for an event I was catering, I wrapped up my brisket in foil. Now, keep in mind that it was dark and at about 3AM. I went back inside and set an alarm for an hour later. Well, when the alarm went off I went out to check the temperature (you're now seeing the benefit of the wireless thermometer above right?) and the thermometer wasn't where I left it. It had accidentally gotten wrapped in between the 2 layers of tin foil around the brisket AND cooked for an hour. Aghhh! Well, I let it cool down and was amazed to find out that it still worked. Not only did it still work perfectly after cooking it for an hour, but it still is the same one I use. I LOVE my thermapen. Check the reviews and I'll bet every one of them will say the same thing. Perhaps they won't have my little story though...
Father's Day Gift Idea #4 - Fire Starters!
If you've got a electric or a gas grill you've got it made when it comes to lighting your fire, but for charcoal it can be a little more work. Obviously you'll want to avoid lighter fluid - it's not the safest and if you have a ceramic grill or a kamado it's actually bad for the ceramics.
Here's where knowing the possibilities helps. Some guys may like to use a weed burner to light their cookers, but...eh, I'll let you decide for yourself on that one. Beyond that, here are a few great solutions for lighting charcoal. My personal favorite would have to be the
Looftlighter Charcoal Lighting Tool.
It's a safe option, easy to use and if you have close access to electricity it's the easiest way to go. However, for those that take their smokers camping or to competitions they may not be close to an outlet. So two other quick and easy gifts for lighting charcoal grills would be a
Weber Chimney Starter
and a package of
that are designed with the ceramic grills in mind.
Father's Day Gift Idea #5 - Frogmats!
Sometimes you may want to cook something a bit more delicate like salmon, veggies or other kinds of food that falls apart on the grill. When I cook any of these I either lean towards a plank or frogmats. Wood planks are great, but for low and slow it just doesn't work. Enter Frogmats.
Frogmats are perfect for cooking stuff that would otherwise fall apart, crumble or stick to your grates. They're made from a coated wire mesh mat and they're made specifically for smokers.
If you've never used them before, then here are a few quick tips:
- Don't use over direct flame (indirect cooking only)
- Just toss them in your dishwasher to clean
- Having different sizes is useful
- You can just store them on your grill
- Useful on some foods for rolling/wrapping around and tying