Real Simple Food Cooking Tips & Techniques Grilling Essential Grilling Tools Checklist Essential Grilling Tools Checklist Whether you’re grilling for one or a crowd, here are all the tools you need to tame the flame. Real Simple Author By Real Simple Editors Advertisement FB Tweet More Pinterest Email Send Text Message Print Metal spatula Credit: CHRISTOPHER BAKER Tools for the Grill Checklist Grill No matter if you choose a propane or charcoal model, invest in a grill that fits your needs: Are you planning to bring along your grill on a camping trip? Choose charcoal. Is convenience more of a necessity for you? Choose propane. Gas grills are more convenient than charcoal grills, since they are turned on with a knob. But charcoal grills cost less, are portable, and produce a hotter fire. Fuel For a gas grill, you will need a canister of propane; a charcoal model requires charcoal briquettes and a few sheets of newspaper (to stoke the fire in a chimney starter). Chimney starter Good-bye, lighter fluid. This upright metal tube lets you start your coals with only a few sheets of newspaper and a match. Buy the largest model you can find for firing up your grill with ease. Long-handled tongs Skip the grilling fork, which pierces meat and causes you to lose flavorful juices. Instead, opt for stainless-steel tongs, which offer the most gripping power and sturdiness. Spatula A necessity for flipping burgers and sliding under a filet of fish, a good grilling spatula should have an offset handle that allows you to slip the spatula under the food with ease. Silicone and metal spatulas work best for grilling. Long-handled basting brush Use this for applying sauce during the last few minutes of grilling meat. Look for one with heat-resistant silicone bristles. Long-handled stiff-wire grill brush For cleaning the grate. Instant-read thermometer For gauging when your meat is cooked. Fire extinguisher Grease flare-ups can quickly become dangerous conflagrations. Keep an extinguisher on hand for emergencies. Flashlight or grill light Don't be reduced to checking your steak in the dark. Use a flashlight or a grill light, which clamps onto the side of the grill. Newer grill light models are solar-powered: Their batteries are charged by the sun during the day so they're ready to illuminate your meal at night. Paper towels Keep a roll on hand for wiping up spills, barbecue sauce, and grease. Aluminum foil Protect delicate foods like fish and prevent small items like vegetables from falling through the grate by wrapping them in aluminum foil before placing them on the grill. Garbage can For quick cleanup, keep a trash can—with a tight fitting lid—outside near the grill. Tools for the Table Checklist Tablecloth Look for an easy-to-wash cotton or vinyl-coated cloth. Napkins If you opt for paper over cloth, pick napkins made of recycled paper or other materials. Break-resistant dinnerware and glasses Whether you choose paper, plastic, or bamboo, a shatterproof set of dishes and glasses keeps a backyard, deck, or patio safe from broken shards. Silverware A set of dishwasher-safe utensils stowed in a caddy makes toting forks and knives outside (and back again) simple. If you grill meat often, consider investing in a set of sharp steak knives. Bottle opener Salt and pepper shakers Allow everyone to season their food to their liking at the table.