Get the job done right with these essential grilling tools
1. Long-handled tongs
What they're great for: Turning food, adding wood chips and poking the fire.
What to look for: A spring-loaded hinge
Try: 16-inch locking tongs, OXO Good Grips, $15; amazon.com
2. Long-handled grill spatula
What it's great for: Turning soft foods like tofu or fish fillets.
What to look for: A large blade and a bent handle to get under foods easily, so you can flip like an expert.
Try: Pakkawood fish spatula, Sur La Table, $30; surlatable.com
3. Long-handled basting brush
What it's great for: Applying marinades and sauces and to keep meats moist.
Try: BBQ basting brush, Bobby Flay, $15; kohls.com
4. Instant-read meat thermometer
What it's great for: Accurately gauging the internal temperature of the meat. It's the only way to ensure that the meat is safe to eat without overcooking.
Try: Digital meat thermometer, Grill Beast, $22; amazon.com
5. Long-handled, stiff wire brush
What it's great for: Cleaning the grill grate easily. It's most effective if used soon after you finish grilling.
Try: Oversized barbecue grill brush, Mr. BBQ, $10; bedbathandbeyond.com
Steven Raichlen is the author of several award-winning cookbooks, including The Barbecue Bible, and host of PBS's Barbecue University. For more grilling tips, visit www.barbecuebible.com.