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8 Essential Grilling Tools, According to a Steakhouse Chef

Do you really need a meat thermometer? Perry Steakhouse & Grille's Corporate Chef shares what he considers the essential grilling tools.

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Two t-bone florentine beef steaks on the grill with flamesShutterstock/Yulia Grigoryeva

There’s one thing every home cook knows to be true: Whenever you try to cook a steak at home, it never tastes as good as the ones you get at a restaurant. But you follow the recipe to a tee every single time… so what gives? According to Perry Steakhouse & Grille’s Corporate Chef Grant Hunter, it might not be how you’re cooking it but what you’re using, instead. The Texas native shares what he considers the essential grilling tools. Check them out and then try these great steak recipes.

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steel brushShutterstock/Andre Bonn

Aluminum foil and wire grill brush

According to Hunter, you need to start with a clean grill every single time. To clean your grill quickly and easily, he says to place foil across the grate shiny side down. Let this heat up for 10 minutes. You’ll find that extra grease from your last grilling session has burned away. Remove the foil and then give it a good clean with your wire grill brush.

For super stubborn grill grime, try this old-school cleaning product.

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Cleaning the outdoor grillCmspic/Shutterstock

Old cotton hand towel

Hunter advises home cooks to properly season their grills before cooking. To do this he says all you have to do is pour canola oil on a rolled-up paper towel or old cloth, then rub across the grate. Once the smoke clears, you can start grilling without your meats sticking.

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cooking pieces of chicken surrounding grill surface thermometerShutterstock/Jeff Cleveland

Temperate gauge

Not all foods cook at the same temperature. “Your grill needs to be set to different temperatures for different items,” Hunter explains. Use a temperature gauge or even an oven thermometer to keep an eye on your grill. Hunter reminds us that steaks need a high heat, chicken should be cooked over medium, and fish should be seared quickly on high to prevent sticking.

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Close-up of the dial of a cooking timerRonald E Grafe/Shutterstock


A timer will help you keep track of your food while you mingle with guests. It will also help curb the temptation to keep flipping your steaks or chicken. Hunter advises moving your grilled dishes as little as possible during the cooking process to get a good char.

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Close up on raw yellow and red bell peppers for fajitas, in a barbecue grill basketVDB Photos/Shutterstock

Grill basket

“For fish, having a grill basket or cage will be helpful in preparing the perfect grilled fish. Grill one side of the fish, turn the cage over and grill the other. The basket works well with vegetables, too,” Hunter says. Use the basket when you make these grilled veggie dishes.

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meat thermometerShutterstock/moreimages

Meat thermometer

Avoid overdone steak or underdone chicken with a meat thermometer. Hunter recommends using one throughout cooking to check on the internal temperature. His personal preference: super techy thermometers. “Some thermometers can be loaded on your smartphone through an app so you can monitor your grilling while entertaining your guests,” he says. Check out our favorite grilling tools (including thermometers).

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Flavored wood

Hunter explains that certain woods can give your food more flavor. Try mesquite, hickory, oak, pecan or cherry. You can add these to a smoke box for gas grills, or you can add them directly on top of the coals in your charcoal grill.

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Marinating meat during grilling. Pork on the grill. Barbecue in the garden. Hand with a brush in motionencierro/Shutterstock

Basting brushes

If you want to take your barbecue to the next level, be sure to grab some basting brushes. “These are great for adding moisture and flavor to your protein,” Hunter says. Grab a few and brush on your favorite barbecue sauce—we love these recipes.

Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.