I received an email yesterday from Brookstone promoting the tools and accessories they sell for “a successful BBQ.” I took one look at some of the crappy things they were pushing and decided to list the problems of 5 items that jumped out at me… maybe the things you wouldn’t think about before you purchase these–either for yourself or for a gift.
Links are included. Caveat emptor.
Motorized Grill Cleaning Brush, $25
The Claim: “It’s the effortless way to keep your grill’s cooking surface clean.”
The Reality: Hasn’t everyone at one time or another owned an electric toothbrush or some under-powered, battery operated, rotary brush? This ain’t no $100 DeWalt lithium-ion battery powering this 6V engine. Nothing will beat a good brass- bristled, wooden-handled brush that you can throw away every few years. You have more scrubbing power in your little finger than in 4 “C” batteries.
Propane Gauge, $25
The Claim: “A quick glance at this propane tank meter shows whether you have enough gas to grill or it’s time for a refill.”
The Reality: I found out the hard way that putting a cheap pressure gauge inline on a tank like this not only reduces gas flow to the burners, but the gauge is pretty inaccurate. I hate to say it (’cause I’m a gauge guy) but pouring hot water on the side of an LP tank and feeling for the cold line works pretty well. They also say of this particular gauge: “Every time you start up your grill, the propane tank gauge instantly checks for leaks caused by loose connections.” Man, I’d like to know how it does that.
Motorized Hot Dog Griller, $70
The Claim: “Grill hot dogs and sausages perfectly every time, with no burn marks or waste, with a motorized BBQ rotisserie.”
The Reality: I love hot dogs, and I love cross-hatching on all of my grilled food. Even if I wanted to cook them on a Kwik-E-Mart style rotating grill, I don’t think I’d buy a $70 contraption that would force me to keep the lid of my grill open for the rotating arm. Plus, I typically buy butcher dogs or natural casing dogs… and if you’ve never seen them before, they are not perfectly cylindrical tubes of lips, assholes and old shoes.
Always Perfect™ Chef’s Fork Digital Meat Thermometer, $30
The Claim: “The built-in thermometer measures food temperature and doneness based on USDA-approved temperatures for nine popular types of food.”
The Reality: Someone gave this to me as a gift, and I actually kinda like it… but I never use it. It is impossible to use when your arm is over a 500 degree grill. If you use this in a way you would be comfortable, such as keeping your hand safely AWAY from the heat and flames, and probing from the front of the grill, then the display is upside-down. If someone would build this with an invertible display, it might be kinda cool. Or hot.
Grill Canopy, $80
The Claim: “Grill fearlessly! Our grill canopy will protect you from sun and rain.”
The Reality: This canopy SEEMS like a nice idea, but measure your grill and then look at the size of this… 46″ x 42″. My grill is wider than 4 feet; and me, my grill, my beer and my belly are all deeper than a combined 42 inches.