Kick Your BBQ Up a Notch: A Look at Grill Accessories
When summer is in full swing, BBQ season is going strong! To kick it up a notch, we tried out four new BBQ accessories that can save the outdoor cook time or elevate your food. Here’s what we think of these new gadgets:
1. BBQ Dragon
The BBQ Dragon is for getting your coal BBQ ready faster. It’s basically a fan that clips strongly onto your BBQ and withstands the heat while helping the coals get fired up. It’s simple to use, simply get your coals started for a minute or two, clip the BBQ Dragon on while making sure the intake is drawing in cool air, move the flexible neck to aim air at the coals, and adjust the fan’s intensity. The device did exactly what it promised: our small batch of coals was ready in five minutes and a large pile took about eight minutes.
While the device did its job perfectly and did save time, it didn’t feel like a device that would last long. Glue had leaked out of one side before we used it and it was difficult to open the battery compartment. When we used it a second time, the fan wouldn’t turn on and we had to wiggle the battery cover to make a good connection. The BBQ Dragon is priced at $59.95 on their online store.
This little accessory is very nifty. The A-Maze-N-Tube-Smoker is a metal tube with holes that houses BBQ wood pellets. There is no need to soak wood chips for hours with this smoker; you just need to fill it with smoking pellets. It’ll work in any grill, it just needs to be placed on its side, lit up with a torch, and allowed to burn for 10 minutes before being extinguished. The tube comes in different sizes 6”, 12” or 18”. We tried out the 6” version and got a good two hours of smoke. The largest should last for six hours.
Since it’s so quick and easy to use, it’s a good accessory to have around when you want to add a good smoke flavor to your cooking. We tried it with their Pitmasters Choice Pellets (Cherry, Hickory, and Maple) with gave our meat a sweet but hearty flavor. The A-Maze-N-Tube-Smoker comes filled with Pitmasters Choice Pellets and starts at $29.99 on their online store.
The GrillGrate is a grate with a raised rail design that can be used on top or in place of an existing grate. It shields food from flare ups and magnifies and distributes heat more evenly through the conversion to infrared. Juices are also caught in the valleys underneath and vaporize to put moisture back into the meat. It’s easy to use, just spray on cooking oil the first couple of times and place in your grill. It won’t rust and is promised to last longer than traditional grates.
We tried it out in a closed grill with pork riblets with the tube smoker (shown above right before we closed it), and later open with assorted vegetables. There wasn’t a huge difference in cooking time, but it was a little faster and did keep moisture in. There’s no chance of charring while using the GrillGrate, but you can get nice sear marks. Overall it was a strong device, but if you’re not bothered with your current grates, this might not be for you. However, if you want to simplify your outdoor cooking or if you need to replace you grates, this is a good option.
The GrillGrate comes in a rectangular or round design in various sizes and includes a GrateTool, which works like a spatula but is designed to fit inside the grill grate. The starting price for two panels on the GrillGrate online store is $39.99.
The Ribalizer is a different method for cooking ribs on a gas grill with minimal effort. At its heart, the Ribalizer is a large pan with two sets of racks: one to separate the ribs and the other to keep it from touching the bottom of the pan. Ribs are places on their sides in the rack and the bottom is filled with your liquid of choice: soda, beer, juice, water, etc. We used a dark beer mixed with water to raise the level to the bottom of the first rack.
After you season your ribs with a rub and have put them in the Ribalizer, you just need to place it in your grill, with wood chips inside for extra flavor, put to medium high heat, and close the grill. After cooking for 45 minutes (shown above), top off the liquid in the Ribalizer, cover with the second provided pan, and close up your grill once more time for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
I must admit we were pretty surprised by this one as the difference was immediately noticeable. Our ribs were so tender we were able to quite literally pull it off the bone. We tried out their Signature Ribalizer Spice Rub which melded perfectly with our pork ribs, but we’re looking forward to trying out other rub/liquid/smoke flavor combinations. The taste was fantastic, cooking was easy, and cleaning wasn’t difficult. The Ribalizer is priced at $29.95 on their online store.