Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fathers' Day Gift Ideas: 10 Grilling Tools for Under $50

Fathers' Day this year is on Sunday, June 20th.

Grilling and BBQ related tools are often a popular gift for dads so I thought I’d give 10 suggestions for under $50. Plus, at the end of this post, I’m giving you the chance to win a great gift for Father’s Day for my June Giveaway.

Many of my suggestions will include links and pricing from Lowes Home Improvement. That is just because I shop there often and no matter what I’m there for, I ALWAYS stroll through the grilling section during the summer. Besides, it was just easy to use their website to gather this information, call me lazy but they have 637 items under grilling/bbq. Other places to look for grill gifts include your local Weber dealer, hardware stores, and often, pool supply stores.

Long Handled Utensils

My favorite grilling utensil is the long handled tongs pictured above in the middle. They are long enough to keep my hands away from the inferno, have a nice rubber grip, and have a push lock that will keep them in the closed position in the drawer. You can get a similar pair at Lowe’s for $6.97.

In general, stay away from the “boxed sets” of grilling tools. My experience has been that they tend to be over priced and you probably get at least 1 tool you won’t use. Your better off hand picking a mix and matched set of quality tools. I try to get stainless steel or plastic handles instead of wood, just for ease of cleaning and durability.

And don't get one of those big meat forks, they just ruin perfectly good meat.

Grate Cleaner Brush
Does Dad’s grate cleaning brush look something like this?

Time to get him some new ones!

These are the two types that I like to use. The dual head one is good because the bristles clean rounded grill grates and the pad clean flat surfaces like griddles or flat cast iron grids (similar one at Lowes is $8.99). The triangle head one is my go to brush because it has longer, stiff bristles that get down on the sides, not just the top of the grate (one at Lowes is $6.97). Again, look for long handles.

Fire Starter

If your dad uses a gas grill, chances are the push button starter is out. You can probably buy the exact part for his brand at Lowe's. If you dad uses charcoal, a chimney starter (pictured left) is an excellent tool. It uses just one or two pieces of newspaper to start a whole load of coal and only costs $14.99. No more smelly lighter fluid.

Now if you really want to make dad a happy camper, you can get him a MAPP gas torch (pictured right) for about $35 for the trigger and $8 per cylinder. It is in the tool section at Lowes because it is general used as a soldering and sweating torch. But I use mine to torch 3 sections of unlit coal for 20 seconds each and in no time, I have my grill up to temp. It's the fastest way to get to cooking temps in my opinion. I cook outside 4 nights a week and usually get mine to last 4 to 6 months before having to replace the $8 cylinder.

Quality Instant Read Thermometer (for measuring internal temp of meat)

A great instant read thermometer is the only accurate way to tell when your meat is done and the manufacturers have different meanings for the word "instant". But when you are cooking over flame, time matters! The Thermapen is the industry standard but also costs about $90. In my tests last year, the Taylor Pocket Thermometer ($14.97) was the second fastest only to the Thermapen and in my experience, is just as accurate.

Grill Thermometer (for measuring cooking temp of the grill)

If your dad's grill has a thermometer gauge that only reads "low - med - high" or if it is old and no longer accurate, he needs a new one. They are under $20 (this one is $11.96) and Lowes has ones that should fit most grills.

Oven Mitts

Mitts is short for mittens and mittens don't sound manly for Dad, do they? I have tried cheap oven mitts, silicone oven mitts, and expensive oven mitts. While the Weber mitts are good for light grilling, it is hard to beat welder gloves ($15.98 ) for handling high grilling temps. Plus....they aren't called mittens ;)

Grill Cover with Logo

One of the biggest threats to the life span of a grill is weather. Sure you can get a plain black grill cover but why not get one that boasts your favorite team logo? Alexis bought me mine for Christmas and it's held up well. This one runs $34.96 at Lowes right now.

Gaswatch Fuel indicator

I used to have a propane gas grill and one of the things I hated was running out of gas in the middle of a cook. There are some tricks you can do to check your gas level is, but why play around? You can get your dad one of these fuel gauges for $15.99.


Kim of Stirring The Pot will testify to the usefulness of having a rotisserie for your grill. She recently got one and loves it. Dad would like one too, after all, the only thing more fun than cooking meat over flame is cooking SPINNING meat over flame! They can get more pricey but this one is on sale for $25!

BBQ & Grilling Cookbook
There are some classic BBQ/Grilling cook books out there, such as Smoke and Spice, The Barbecue Bible, Paul Kirk's Championship BBQ, and Peace Love and Barbecue (Mills). There are also some fanatastic new "classics" like Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue Book, Planet Barbecue!, and BBQ 25. Any of these would be a perfect accessory for your dad's grill.

June Giveaway
Just in time for Fathers' Day, I am giving away an autographed copy of Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint.

I have had my copy for over a year and love it. I bought an extra copy at his class a few weeks ago. This would make a great Fathers Day gift and I will be drawing a winner next Sunday, June 13th so the winner should have it from me by Fathers Day.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below.
  • If you use the "anonymous comment" option, be sure to leave your screen name in the comment so I can contact you if you are the winner. Something like "EggerinFL from the Egg Forum" or "swibirun from the BBQ Brethren forum" is enough.
  • One entry per person.
  • Drawing will be held Sunday, June 12th at 12:30pm Eastern.
  • Comments will be numbered by order received and will generate a random number for the winner.
  • Limited to Continental US unless you wish to pay the extra shipping charges.
[Standard Disclaimer] I have not received any compensation from any of the above referenced products or companies.