We know you are probably like us and have a drawer full of tools and gadgets for your grill or smoker. But today, we're talking kitchen tools - the handy little gadgets that we take for granted when we cook, but wouldn't know how to live without. Here are four of our favorite kitchen tools we use when we grill or smoke.
I am crazy about using fresh herbs in my recipes, whether I'm cooking indoors or out (just don't ask me to grow them myself). My sister-in-law got me these a few years ago, and they completely change the way you cook with herbs. Before, I dreaded a recipe that called for fresh cilantro (my favorite) or basil because I knew it would mean me painstakingly chopping them and risking a few fingers in the process.
My herb scissors make beautiful ribbons or squares in seconds, with no knife injuries either. One of my favorite recipes is to take a grilled chicken breast, top it with some goat cheese or fresh mozzarella, add a slice of tomato and fresh basil, then broil it in the oven. If you love vinegar like me, drizzle some balsamic on top!
Non-Slip Cutting Board
My day job is in healthcare, and combine that with some restaurant jobs early in my career, and I'm a little crazy about food safety and cross-contamination. I can't remember all of the science behind it, but your chicken needs a separate cutting board from your other meat, and your vegetables need their own too.
Yes, I know they make color coded ones with cute little pictures of cows and pigs, but I really like a non-slip cutting board - especially when we are cutting meat. Plus these boards have a little well along the edge to catch the juices. Be sure to give it a good wash in hot water after using...and don't forget to clean your countertops after handling raw meat. (Okay, PSA is over.)
Okay, so I really don't use it that often to cut onions. This handy little kitchen gadget has like 10 or so prongs that are meant to hold an onion in place while you slice it. For those who have not been introduced to the beauty of frozen chopped onions (no crying, no smell, no chopping), feel free to go ahead and use the Onion Holder for what it was intended for - chopping onions or other vegetables so you don't slice a finger off. It's even stainless steel so your hands won't smell like onions (I have no idea if this is true).
But...for carnivores like us who love love love a good marinade, use that handy little onion holder to poke holes in your meat, 10 prongs at a time. The prongs are even long enough to pierce a good way into a roast or butt. Speaking of marinades, I found one on Pinterest the other day for chicken. Soooo gooood.
Full disclosure. I don't sell Pampered Chef but I really do love their stuff. Invite me to your parties because I have a personal testimonial on most every product. It was hard for me to pick just one of their kitchen gadgets; I just love so many. But, we're talking about grilling and outdoor cooking, so I think my favorite would be the Pampered Chef Kernel Cutter.
Why do you need this tool to cut your corn off the cob? It just makes it so easy. Whether you are trying to avoid butter running down your chin or corn in your teeth - or you are grilling corn for a garden salsa or salad - this kernel cutter strips your corn on the cob in a few quick swipes.
And speaking of corn on the cob...this is a summer staple at our house. Take the corn out of the husk, smear some butter on it, sprinkle it with Crazy Jane's Mixed Up Salt (we are so obsessed that it's getting a blog post all its own soon), and wrap it foil. Throw it on the grill while your meat cooks, maybe 15-20 minutes, giving it a turn or two while it cooks. It's the easiest side and even better, no dishes to wash!
So, what's your favorite kitchen gadget?