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Top picks for the barbecue enthusiast

Top picks for the barbecue enthusiast

Come barbecue season, I feel like a cheerleader at a homecoming game. I don’t know about you but this year it seemed the grilling season was never going to arrive, but like all good things that come to those that wait, it’s here.

This year there are a number of novel barbecue gadgets available—I’ve scoured stores, searched online and perused catalogues to compile a list of items you’ll want in order to take supper up a notch this summer.

1. Bear Claw Shredders

Pulled pork is a popular dish around our house, as is shredded beef for carnitas or roast beef dipped sandwiches. Until now, shredding the meat has been labour intensive. Enter the Bear Claws from Weber. Use them to transfer foods from grill to platter, in addition to shredding. Stainless steel and heavy duty. Available through Home Depot online or at select Home Depot stores; $14.95

Smoking Wood Chips

2. Innerflow Grill Cover

This is the mother of all covers. Moisture can become trapped under any grill cover but with this ventilated one from Montana Grills, the moisture dissipates, protecting the barbecue from condensation and environmental damage. Available at Home Hardware stores; $49.95

3. Wireless Thermometer

This is one of my favourite gadgets of the summer. Poking the meat to test if it’s done is a huge no-no—luckily with this wireless thermometer from Weber, you no longer have to. This thermometer comes with two probes; simply insert at the beginning of the cooking process and monitor the internal temperature of the meat as you cook it. Comes pre-set with recommended temperature settings, or set personalized preferences. Available through Home Depot online or at select Home Depot stores; $59.99

4. Flavour Enhancer

Traditional meat tenderizers are typically hand held and may have up to a dozen “needles” to break down the tough tissues in meat. This meat tenderizer from Chef’s Planet combines that principle with flavour needles to inject your desired marinade at the same time. It’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and has a locking mechanism for safety. Available at Paderno stores or online at chefsplanet.com; $59.95

5. The Smoker

This is less of a barbecue gadget and more of a barbecue accompaniment. We all love the convenience of gas but there is nothing like cooking over wood. With this smoker by Weber, a bag of charcoal will last up to 12 hours, throw in some hickory chips and add a brisket, cook it low and slow overnight and I guarantee you a flavour experience out of this world. If you consider yourself a barbecue master, it’s time to take it up a notch and look at smoking. Available at Home Depot online; $449.99 (22.5”)

6. Smokerin Smoker Set

If a freestanding smoker is not on your horizon try this nifty gadget from Montana Grills. Fill the 304 heavy-gauge stainless steel cylinder with wood chips, set directly between the burner deflector bars along with your meat, close the lid and let the scented chips work their magic. The box is designed with special draft and flow through for maximum smoke. Begins smoking in 45 seconds and will continuously smoke for over an hour. Comes with a special handle— equipped with safety locking features—for easy removal. Works in gas, charcoal, or electric barbecues. Lifetime warranty. Available at Home Hardware stores; $39.95

7. Smoking Wood Chips

Bring your barbecue from good to gourmet with flavoured smoking chips; try whiskey or hickory for poultry and fish, or sugar maple or mesquite for beef. Or mix it up—there are no set rules to follow, just tons of flavour to be had. Soak chips in your choice of liquid and add to a smoking box or place directly onto hot coals. Available at Home Hardware stores; $14.99

8. Looftlighter

The Looftlighter, a Swedish invention, takes the coals from cold to ready to grill in seconds—without lighter fluid, a big plus. It blows a hot airstream at 1,256°F and has rapid-cool technology, meaning the Looftlighter turns off immediately after releasing the “on” button. Requires an electrical outlet. Available at Home Depot stores and amazon.ca; $132

9. Poultry Infusion Roaster

It’s simple: Fill the base cup with your favourite beverage, spices, lemons or herbs; place the infuser over the base cup and perch the bird on the infuser. Put the infusion cap in the neck cavity of the bird, set the poultry roaster on the grill and enjoy as aromatic steam rises to roast the bird to perfection. Poultry roaster includes a non-stick roasting pan, infuser and infusion cap; all made by Weber. Available at Home Depot online or at select Home Depot stores; $29.99

10. Larch Wood cutting boards

Made in East Margaree, Cape Breton, these boards will showcase your barbecue creations to their best. Made from Eastern Canadian larch, the boards are durable and forgiving to knife marks. Made in a variety of sizes, or contact Larch Wood Canada directly to custom design your own. Available at larchwoodcanada.com; price based on preference

11. Stainless Steel Pincer Tongs

Barbecue tongs are great for large cuts of meat, but they can be cumbersome for smaller items, like scallops or shrimp. These precision tongs from Weber are small for more precise turning; they come with a hands-free locking mechanism, and soft touch grips mean no slipping. Available online through weber.com; $22.99

12. Grohmann Knives Carving Set

Carve with only the finest hand-forged knives; the beauty matches the quality. Hand made in Pictou, NS, Grohmann’s superior craftsmanship is recognized worldwide. Carving sets come in rosewood or oak colours and are available in full tang or forged. Available at the factory in Pictou, kitchen stores across Atlantic Canada and online at Grohmannknives.com; prices vary depending on preference

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