10 Best BBQ Tool Sets | March 2017
- completely rustproof
- dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
- skewer handles can't handle high heat
- available as a 4-piece set
- easy-to-clean stainless steel
- brush has a small scrubbing head
- includes a meat thermometer
- spatula has an integrated bottle opener
- hard to grip food with the tongs
- comfortable nonslip handles
- cleaning brush stands up well
- doesn't come with a storage box/case
- case has foam slots for each tool
- backed by a lifetime warranty
- utensils have hanging hooks
- rugged aluminum case
- extra sharp knives
- great gift option
- long handles for safety and control
- 18/10 stainless steel is dishwasher safe
- extra sturdy protective case
Brief History Of BBQ
The technique of slow cooking meats over a fire likely dates back hundreds of thousands of years and may even predate homo sapiens, but there is limited evidence to support this theory. Instead, what most historians consider the origin of modern day BBQ comes from the indigenous tribes Christopher Columbus encountered on an island in the West Indies. He named that island Hispaniola and it was the location of the first European settlement founded by him in the Americas.
These indigenous tribes used green wood on their cooking fires and hung the meat high above the flames. This low fire created more smoke and also kept the food from burning as the green wood did not create large flames as typical with dead, dried wood. The Spanish referred to this style of cooking as barbacoa.
Another traditional method of barbacoa involves digging large pits to be used for cooking whole animals, often lambs and pigs. The tribes placed hot coals along with the meat inside the pit and then covered everything with leaves and sometimes dirt to create a makeshift oven. Sometimes they would build a fire on top of the covered pit to ensure there was enough heat to fully cook the meat. This process could take anywhere from three to eight hours.
Spanish explorers took these barbacoa cooking techniques north with them as they headed towards North America. The early colonists mostly used barbacoa to cook pork. This is because unlike cows, pigs were set loose to roam and forage for their own food. The meat of wild pigs was much leaner and tougher than the pork meat we are used to consuming today. Barbecuing was the perfect method to tenderize this tough, chewy meat. For this reason, BBQ purists often say that for a meal to be considered true BBQ, the meat must be porcine.
Popular BBQ Styles
Barbecue is as much a part of American culture as is baseball and the 4th of July. Because it is so deeply ingrained in our culture, every region has developed its own particular BBQ style and sauce that they are exceptionally proud of. Trying to convince a person from North Carolina that the best BBQ sauce comes from Kansas City, or vice versa, might well result in a competitive shouting match. Barbecue enthusiasts show the same sort of die-hard loyalty often only seen in the most dedicated sports fans.
The majority of the BBQ dishes in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee are pork-based and will come slathered with a sweet tomato-based sauce. There are also regional varieties. Parts of northern Alabama are known for a unique mayonnaise and vinegar-based white sauce, while Memphis, Tennessee is known for its dry rub style of barbecuing.
In Kansas City, one will encounter a large variety of barbecued meats ranging from beef brisket and goat ribs, to smoked sausages and turkeys. This can partially be attributed to its history as a meat packing hub. More often than not, Hickory will be the primary wood used for smoking applications in Kansas City, and their tomato-based sauce is the perfect balance of tangy, spicy, and sweet.
Eastern Texans often prefer to BBQ beef, which is to be expected from the largest cattle-producing state, while Kentucky has a unique take on BBQ and is known for using mutton as their meat of choice.
North Carolina and South Carolina are two states well-known for BBQ, perhaps because of the variety of sauces which can be found there. South Carolina is unique in the fact that they are the only state which traditionally uses all four of the most popular BBQ sauces, including both light and heavy tomato-based, mustard-based, and vinegar-based versions. In North Carolina, the traditionally served sauces vary by region. The central region generally serves a ketchup and vinegar-based sauce. In the north, you'll often find pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw and served with a tangy vinegar-based sauce, while the eastern part of the state prefers a heavy ketchup-based sauce.
Essential BBQ Tools For Every Grill Master
Every BBQ master will have their own selection of tools they feel are most needed to get the job done, but there are a few commonalities which can be found in nearly every grill master's tool kit. Barbecuing is an outdoor activity and occurs at night just as often as during the day. Trying to achieve that perfect crust without burning your meat is nearly impossible at night without a trusty flashlight or grill light.
Long-handled tools are also a must for every BBQ aficionado. Barbecues get extremely hot and often have high flame flare ups that can easily singe eyebrows or arm hairs, if not burn the skin. Having a set of long-handled tools ensures that you can properly cook your meat from a safe distance without worry of getting burned. The most commonly found long-handled tools are a spatula and tongs. One should avoid any BBQ tools that have silicone heads as these may burn or melt. Instead, purchase a set with stainless steel heads.
Other useful items include a basting brush to evenly spread the BBQ sauce and a BBQ brush for cleaning the grill after it has cooled down. An instant read or leave-in meat thermometer can prevent one from over-cooking their meat, and a grill basket offers an individual the ideal way to cook sliced vegetables or delicate meats like fish, without surrending them to the flames below.