New to grilling? This $20 set will help get you started
A sturdy pair of tongs and a spatula are essential to any barbeque.
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Last year, I wrote a book about grilling over the course of three months and let’s just say I went through a lot of grilling tools. One month I’d work my way through all sorts of seafood and need something gentle to flip a whole fish without breaking its crisp skin; Another month I’d be busy smoking ham in a cast-iron skillet and busy stirring instead of flipping or spearing. Often, a good tool made a huge difference between a frustrating day and an easy one.
Not everyone is grilling so much in such a short period of time, but I think it’s always important to have a good standard set of tools. Here’s the full rundown of a three-piece OXO grilling set that I think will meet your basic grilling needs.
What’s in the set?
This set comes with a pair of long tongs, a metal spatula, and a silicone resting mat that holds both tools. Both tongs and spatula are sleek and sturdy, which you need for grilling larger and heavier foods. Both are quite long as well, perfect for handling food as far away from the smoky fumes of a grill as possible, and have standard non-slip padding on the ends.
The tongs and turner are both dishwasher-safe, and advertised to be rust-resistant (I haven’t had them long enough to fully confirm). The silicone resting mat is black, roughly the size of a mouse pad. It has a sturdy divider so both tongs and spatula can rest on it without clanking into each other.
What I like about this set
OXO Good Grips Grilling Tongs
The tongs have a useful locking feature to keep them closed when not in use—to use, simply tug them open with the metal loop when needed (this also functions as a hook to hang the tools). The classic scallop shaping on the tongs grabs food easily from a distance. From chicken wings to sliced eggplant rounds to a whole pork shoulder, these tongs were able to hold things firmly and move them both easily and quickly, which is critical when you’re working over a very high flame.
OXO Good Grips Grilling Turner
The slotted spatula is nice and thin, making it easier to slide under food on the grill. When I grilled a large bowl of marinated eggplant, I was able to distribute the eggplant pieces easily across my grill with this spatula.
It was also very helpful as the flipping mechanism for my pork shoulder (with one hand using the tongs for security, one hand on spatula to push up the meat). I liked that the spatula is slotted, making it useful for both pressing meat (like a burger patty) or to drain off bits of excess grease and allow for some air circulation when transferring food from grill to plate.
Perhaps contrary to popular opinion, I find serrated spatulas to be unnecessary—I believe their original intent was to allow the griller to be able to cut meat on the fly while grilling to check for doneness. (Why you would opt to do this instead of using a thermometer probe is unknown to me.) So, I like the fact that this is a regular spatula that won’t pose a risk of slicing my hand open while unloading the dishwasher.
What I don’t like about this set
I personally would have preferred a metal resting rack instead of this silicone model because black silicone seems to attract dust. All things considered, still a very minor con.
Overall, I wish this grilling basics set had a few more key tools. A probe thermometer and a grill brush are my grilling must-haves, and a metal spoon and basting brush are also nice to have handy. OXO makes all the above, too, so perhaps a future iteration of this set could include those.
Should you buy the OXO Grilling Tongs and Turner Set?
At this price point, this is a perfectly good starter set of grilling tools for someone who makes use of the grill semi-regularly. If you’re a grilling aficionado, you may want to opt for a set with more pieces unless you plan to purchase them (think: grill brush and probe thermometer) separately.
If you’re in the market for additional grilling tools, check out the best thermometer probes we’ve tested. And when it comes to grill brushes, steer clear of metal brushes with wire bristles as those have been known to fall off in food and lead to health complications when swallowed.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.