Tools of Trade

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Tools of Trade

There are a few helpful tools that will make your barbecue experience easier. The list certainly isn’t complete, but consider keeping these.

Tool
What It Is Used For
Approximate Cost
Meat Thermometer
Crucial for checking your meat for doneness.  Remember, cook to temperature, not to time.
Varies according to features. $5-$150
Turkey Fryer
Three words. Smo-fried turkey.  
$80-$200
Carving Gloves
These heat-proof gloves are perfect for handling briskets, pulling pork, or moving meat into or out of the smoker.
$5-$20
Chef’s Knife
Just because you never EVER check the doneness of your meat by cutting into it, doesn’t mean you won’t need a knife for carving it after it is finished.  Look for a knife that is comfortable in your hand.
A good quality knife can be found in the $30-$50 range.
Filet Knife
Ideal for butterflying meat you intend to stuff and tie.
A good quality knife can be found in the $30-$50 range.
Small Saucepot
Simmering mop sauce or glazing sauces for application.  Look for a pot that can be used over a gas fire.
$20-30
Meat Injector
A syringe designed to inject sauce and other fluids directly into thick cuts of meat.
$10-20
Fire Extinguisher
Capable of extinguising fires. These are dry chemical extinguishers that need to be inspected on annually. 
$35-75
Meat Tenderizer
A hand-powered tool used to tenderize slabs of meat. Great for making cheap cuts of meat more juicy
$10-20

Essential Knives No Cook Should Go Without

Knives are the most essential item in every cook’s kitchen. Yet few people understand the value of a really great knife until the invest in one. In fact, once you invest in high-quality knives, you will have a hard time using anything else. 

When shopping for knives in general, look for a forged stainless steel blade. This means the knife will stay strong through years of sharpening. The tang (the part that goes into the handle) should go all the way to the end and be riveted to the handle. Great knives have some heft to them, but not so heavy that you feel fatigued after holding it for a few minutes. Think of knives as an investment. A high-quality knife will last you a lifetime. And as a general rule, never, EVER put your knives in the dishwasher.

Before you go into sticker shock at the cost of just one knife, don’t worry. You don’t have to buy an entire knife block full of tools you will never use. Most cooks will find they only use four basic knives for all of their cutting, slicing and cutting needs.

  • 1
    Chef’s Knife - Think of a chef’s knife like the granddaddy of all knives. Most cooks find a 6-8 inch blade is long enough to cut a small watermelon and short enough to offer the balance they need. Hold several before selecting the one that is right for you.
  • 2
    Paring Knife - For smaller work (hulling strawberries, slicing radishes, etc.) you will need a 4 inch paring knife. The same principles apply when selecting a smaller knife like this. You want forged stainless steel with a tang that goes all the way to the end of the handle. And you want it to be comfortable in your hand.
  • 3
    Serrated Knife - Have you ever tried slicing a tomato with a paring knife? Unless it is razor sharp, you likely ended up with squished rather than sliced tomato. A 10 inch serrated knife will slice through all of the soft things and still keep their shape.
  • 4
    Electric Knife - Ever wonder why barbecue pros end up with such picture perfect slices? Chances are, they are using an electric knife. That’s not to say all electric knives are created equal. Look for one with a comfortable handle, very little vibration, and the strength to cut through bones but still slice a loaf of bread.
  • 5
    Honorable Mention: Filet Knife - While most things you do with a filet knife can be done with either a sharp paring knife or a chef’s knife, the flexibility of the blade makes a filet knife ideal for filleting just about anything you want to wrap, stuff, or take off a bone.

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