Quick tip: Gloves for grilling and BBQ

With grilling and BBQ as with any other hobby, there’s tons of cheap and expensive, necessary and unnecessary stuff you can buy. Should you buy all of it? Probably not. I’m not exactly a cheapskate myself, but I hate wasting money on unnecessary stuff. I’ve tried a bunch of gloves for both the cooking part of grilling and BBQ, and for the finishing part (handling warm/hot meat like when pulling pork, chicken, or carving a roasts. So I figured in the interest of sharing, it’d be nice to do a post on gloves. Because you’re going to need gloves, that’s for sure.

Part 1 – Gloves for handling coals and utensils over a hot hot grill

Builder's gloves are perfect for handling hot grates and coals when you're grilling!

Builder’s gloves are perfect for handling hot grates and coals when you’re grilling!

I like to handle the coals manually when possible. I don’t pick up white hot coals and juggle them around, but it’s nice to be able to use gloves when adding just a few lumps to the grill, when moving freshly added coals around on the grill grate, and when moving grates and stuff around. I’ve tried some different setups for this. I tried the Weber long mitts. They great, but they are expensive, and they’re mitts. Gloves are much better for dexterity (that’s why we have five fingers, not a lobster claw. Just ask evolution). So I tried silicone gloves. They’re also expensive, hard to clean, so no go. I’ve come to a conclusion after testing different stuff. Leather builder’s gloves are awesome for this. Even here in one of the most expensive countries in the world, they’re about $5 at the local hardware store, ByggMax. They last about a year with my 2-3 times a week grilling, and the leather protects you quite well from heat. Good enough as long as you don’t plan on lifting white hot grates (use tongs for that) or juggling white hot coals around. When they get dirty, just keep them on and “wash your hands” in dishwashing liquid. Or buy another pair. Cheap, simple, and bulletproof!

Part 2 – Gloves for handling hot food items, like when pulling pork or carving a roast

Gloves for pulling pork and handling other hot foods!

Gloves for pulling pork and handling other hot foods!

The first few times I pulled pork, I used just the normal, thin, vinyl kitchen gloves I use when handling chiles (don’t ask), fish or raw meat. The gloves held up nicely, but after pulling two pork shoulders my fingertips we’re quite red and sore from the burns. Not a lot of fun. So I came up with a fix. Went to the gardening store, bought some gardening gloves, fabric, with a rubberized layer inside the hands, and put those under the vinyl gloves for insulation. It works like a charm. Pulling pork is much faster now, and my hands don’t get burned either. Gardening gloves can be reused again and again since they never touch any food directly, and are cheap to replace when you have to.

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Quick tip: Beginners – how do I fire up my grill?

It's awesome, and it lets you talk about convection, which is always good.

a chimney starter is awesome, and it lets you talk about convection, which is always a good thing.

Every spring/early summer, my neighborhood, and all others around Norway and many other countries, fill up with the digusting smell of grill lighter fluid. Lighter fluid is horrible stuff. Here in Norway it’s actually very very similar to kerosene. It’s seriously something you don’t want coming near your food in any shape or form. So do everyone, most of all yourself and your family, a favor and go invest in a chimney starter. I’ve used the Weber one for years, it’s still holding up fine. It’s an ingenious device, that lets you fire up a bunch of lump charcoal or even briquettes in no time, using only some crumpled up newspaper with vegetable oil for a starter. It also saves tons of time, especially briquettes take a LONG time to get ready if you’re doing it down on the grill grate.

So in conclusion, a chimney starter is cheaper to run, more envorinmentally friendly, better for your health, quicker, much more awesome to look at, and it makes women lust for you. Only time I don’t use one is when I go camping, because it’s kind of big to carry into forests.

So, I’ll wait here, while you run off and buy yourself a chimney starter. There you go.

Just keep a ziplok style bag with newspaper and a few spoons of food oil in your BBQ stash.

Just keep a ziplok style bag with newspaper and a few spoons of food oil in your BBQ stash.

Now, this is easy. I usually soak a few crumpled up balls of newspaper or kitchen towel in some cheap vegetable oil or cooking oil (see, no poison!), as you can see on the picture to the left. Put them newspaper on the top grate of your grill or some other fireproof surface (never stone, concrete or cement surface, these can “explode” and crack because of the heat, see the picture below…), set your firestarter on top and fill it up with briquettes or lump charcoal.

After a couple more minutes, you're ready to grill!

After a couple more minutes, you’re ready to grill!

Sneak a match in there and fire up the newspaper. Because of the chimney shape things will happen quickly, so always keep an eye on the starter. Once the flames lick over the top of the chimney, you are ready to go. Put on your favorite BBQ gloves and pour them carefully onto the grill grate of your grill. Now get to cooking!

Here’s a shot of what happened when a guy put his starter on a concrete sidewalk. The concrete actually exploded, bits of white hot concrete flying everywhere. Fortunately nobody got hurt. So don’t do that.

Don't put your starter on cement, concrete or stone surfaces. They could explode, like this unfortunate chap found out!

Don’t put your starter on cement, concrete or stone surfaces. They could explode, like this unfortunate chap found out!