Summer is here, and if you’re serious about smoking meat, you’ll likely want to fire up your grill when that first warm day arrives. However, before you begin planning the first BBQ of the season, it’s important that you have all the necessary gear on hand. If you really want to impress your buddies, you’ll add the following must-haves to your shopping list.
1. BBQ Gloves
When it comes to working with fire, heat-resistant gloves are absolutely essential. Sure, it may look cool to flip the meat with your bare hands, but it’s probably not worth the singed arm hairs.
So invest in some sturdy BBQ gloves that fit your hand like, well, a glove! If they’re too loose, they may slip off or fail to provide adequate grip. And if they’re too tight, you obviously won’t want to wear them, which defeats the whole purpose.
2. Steel Grill Brush
It’s also a smart idea to purchase a grill brush if you don’t already have one. While tin foil may work in a pinch, a steel brush is much more effective and most come with a handle.
Moreover, keeping your grill or smoker free of buildup and leftover meat pieces will allow for a smoother smoking experience. Choose one without wire bristles, as they can get left behind and stick to your food if you aren’t careful, causing throat and mouth injuries.
3. Meat Claws
While these aren’t technically a necessity, meat claws are insanely cool — and all your friends will agree. Plus, they’re super fun to use, giving you the bear-like experience of shredding your meet with claws. Perfect for pulled pork, this manly accessory will have you making sandwich-ready meat in no time. Just be sure to choose high-quality claws that can withstand high temperatures and won’t melt or break.
4. Smoking Pellets
The key to smoking meat is choosing high-quality wood. And some woods are more suitable for smoking foods than others. For example, maple is best for smoking chicken, while walnut is best suited for pork or beef. Cherry, however, provides a nice smoky flavor that complements all three, plus seafood.
If you don’t have access to high-quality wood, you can purchase flavored pellets, which add a unique taste to your food fast.
5. Sauce Mop
The longer something cooks, the drier it becomes. So, if you plan on smoking your meat over a few hours, consider using a sauce mop to keep your meat juicy. The large head covers more ground faster than a basting brush. Plus, the best ones come with a removable and replaceable mop that you can clean in the dishwasher or laundry machine.
6. Wireless Meat Thermometer
Stop wondering if you’re meat’s done yet and know for sure with a wireless meat thermometer.
To get the most accurate reading, stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat while it’s still on the grill. Go for a model that beeps when the food is ready to serve or simply read up on proper meat temperatures to ensure your smoked cuts are perfectly cooked. Making sure the meat is completely cooked through will also prevent foodborne illnesses like salmonella and norovirus.
7. Marinade Injector
Dry rubs and glazes may be good enough for the novice BBQer, but not a serious meat smoker like yourself. These flavors merely sit on the surface of the meat, leaving the inside devoid of flavor. A marinade injector, however, ensures that tastiness is evenly distributed throughout your beef roast, pork shoulder or lamb leg.
So set a few extra minutes aside for injecting your meat with garlic, crushed herbs or even melted butter to create a mouth-watering slab of meat everyone will love.
8. Lava Rocks
Coal and wood may keep your fire burning for a little while, but lava rocks are a complete game-changer. These bad boys maintain their heat for long periods of time, allowing you to turn off your smoker and leave your meat in there to cook over them. A small bag of rocks will likely last you all summer. Simply place a layer of them over your wood or coal to keep your meat smoking for hours.
Feeling better prepared now? When summertime rolls around, you’ll be able to hit the ground, and the smoker, running!