9 Must-Have Tools to Take the Labor Out of Your Labor Day Barbecue

Photo by nicholasputz

Game plan for your Labor Day cookout? Hold the heavy lifting. That means keeping it simple: an easy grilled or smoked appetizer, a big hunk o’ smoke-roasted protein for the main course, a simple side dish or two, and a big-flavor, low-labor dessert (see my Labor Day menu). And if your guests offer to bring something? Let them. Not only is it one less thing to worry about, but it invests them in the success of your party.

The right gear can help ease your labors at the grill, too. Here are nine time-saving tools and grills to buy now.

  1. iGrill Mini: Monitor the temperature (even from the couch) on your mobile device of your pork shoulder, brisket, or prime rib with this Bluetooth-compatible thermometer from as far as 150 feet away. Customize the target temperature, or choose from dozens of preset temperatures.
    iGrill Mini
  2. Insulated Food Gloves and Meat Claws: It’s a marriage made in hog heaven—insulated heavy-duty food gloves to protect your hands from hot pork shoulders and sharp stainless steel meat claws to help you reduce that meat to a pile of tender pulled pork in minutes. (For a great recipe, check out my Labor Day mustard pulled pork.) You can also use these indispensible tools to lift turkey, ham, or beef shoulder clod from the grill or smoker.
    Insulated gloves and meat claws set
  3. Best of Barbecue All-Purpose Rub and Pork Smoking Wood Chips: Sure, you could make your own barbecue rub from scratch and chop your own wood. But my favorite rub, a perfect combo of salt, sugar, and spices, and a pork-friendly blend of maple, hickory, and apple wood chips will make your life easier. These versatile flavors are righteous with chicken, too.
    Rub and pork wood chips
  4. Big Green Egg Barbecue Guru: For all you “Eggheads” out there—achieve incredibly precise temperature control during long cooks with the Big Green Egg Barbecue Guru. When installed, it modulates the air reaching the coals via a digitally controlled fan, allowing you to preset temperatures to within 2 degrees. No more getting up in the night to check on your brisket or pork shoulder.
    Big Green Egg BBQ Guru
  5. Weber 22.5-Inch One-Touch Gold Kettle Grill: Deservedly one of the most popular grills in America and around the world, the stalwart Weber kettle is what I call my “desert island” grill. Well made, easy to operate and maintain, and able to grill (direct and indirect) and smoke without breaking the proverbial sweat. Clean-up is easy, too. Ashes accumulate in a removable receptacle under the firebox.
  6. Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared Grill: If you’re taking your Labor Day party out of the backyard (to the beach or on a boat, for example), bring this stylish portable infrared grill with you. Stainless steel with suitcase styling, plus easy push-button ignition. Runs off a portable propane canister. 155 square inches of grilling space, and it comes with a carrying case.
    Portable Infrared Grill
  7. Best of Barbecue Stainless Steel Flexi Basket: Pin foods like shrimp, chicken wings, asparagus spears, etc. in this flexible mesh basket and turn them all at once. Great for fish steaks or fillets, too, which often break apart when flipped. Works over campfires.
    All-Purpose Grilling Basket

See past gear posts for more ideas:
The Best New Gear for July 4th
The Coolest Grills of 2013
9 Must-Have Tailgating Accessories
9 Inspired Father’s Day Gift Ideas

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