I have heard that there are people who hang up their barbeque tools after Labour Day. I suppose these same folks might put their white pants and shoes away as well, tradition-bound as they seem to be. Not for me – while I might not bust out the white patent pumps in December, I sure do enjoy barbequing in all kinds of weather. Autumn can be a particularly pleasant time to be outdoors, after all. In the spirit of year-round grilling, I bring you a quick roundup of handy items for grillers both novice and experienced.
Three-Compartment Grill Basket
What sets this basket apart from others is quite literally the fact that it comes apart! I love to use it for grilling veggies; because there are three compartments, it’s super easy to vary the cooking times for different ingredients. It’s also a lot easier to clean up afterwards than traditional grill baskets. Available online at kitchenware emporium Sur La Table.
Cave Plate grilling stone
Made by Ottawa legend “Rizak the Horrible” (aka Todd Chambers of Really Horrible Enterprises), this soapstone grill is useful for all sorts of grilling duties. One side is slightly roughened, making it ideal for flatbreads or pizzas, while the smooth side can be used for vegetables, fish, meat …. pretty much anything and everything. With just a touch of oil it serves as a non-stick, easy to clean surface that also keeps food from falling through the grill. Available in Ottawa at Kitchenalia in Westboro and Around the Block Butcher Shop (formerly Brian’s Butchery) in Bell’s Corners.
Gastro Grilling Cookbook
Barbeque Guru Ted Reader’s ninth cookbook is, in my opinion, his best yet. As the publisher says, “Gastro Grilling is for everyone who loves to fire up the grill at any time of the year and turn an everyday meal into a gastronomic delight!” The book offers a host of tricks, including tips for wintertime grilling, along with dozens of great recipes in various categories, including party foods, sandwiches, cocktails, desserts and more. I’ve challenged my husband to see if we can prepare every single one within the next six months. Available at traditional and online booksellers everywhere.
This is one of those gadgets that I thought might be gimmicky but actually turned out to be quite useful. It’s ideal for stripping the leaves from herbs such as rosemary and thyme – all you do is pull the herb stem through the appropriately sized hole, and the leaves drop into the attached measuring bowl. Available online at surlatable.com.
Octopus Bottle Baster
The playful design was what first drew me to this barbeque tool, which is a bottle and basting brush combo. Simple fill it with your favourite basting sauce (it works best with thicker ones) and then you can squeeze and spread quickly and easily. I like to wash and reattach the baster after use and then store the remaining sauce right in the bottle, in the fridge. It’s BPA free too! Available at surlatable.com.
Accu-temp digital thermometer
This instant-read digital thermometer takes the guesswork out of barbequing meat – no more under- or over-cooked steaks, chops or chicken breasts! I bought mine at Canadian Tire for under $15 and have used it for years.