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Must-Have Purchases for Your Summer Barbecues

May 23rd, 2013 Cooking

When the warm weather seasons are on the horizon, many homeowners will take every advantage of the favorable temperatures and get their family and friends together for seasonal barbecues. If you consider yourself a major grill master, you know that your grilling supplies and other products can enhance not only the flavor of your food, but also your enjoyment of cooking it. When it's time to show off your chops, literally and figuratively, the following smart grilling purchases are sure to pay off.

Skewers
One way to instantly combine multiple foods into one tasty dish is with skewers, but make sure you skip the cheap wooden ones and opt for metal versions instead. In addition to providing a ton of variety, skewers make it far more fun and delicious to marinate and cook up healthier foods. If you're looking to make things interesting, consider cutting a selection of meats, veggies or tofu together on platters and let your guests build their skewers from the ground-up.

A carving board
One of the most important items in any barbecue chef's repertoire is a carving board. For most conventional grills that have a side table to perform food prep, adding another carving board surface will hold innumerable uses. First and foremost, this is an ideal place to slice up veggies or other foods that will be transferred directly to the grill, as well as a locale to quickly slice meat or prepare burgers soon after they've been taken off the grill.

Sun protection
Since most grill masters will spend the majority of their time in direct sunlight, you should prepare ahead to ensure that you aren't constantly stuck in the sun throughout the entire cooking process. Consider setting up a canopy or simply prop up an umbrella to reduce the amount of UV rays you'll absorb during the day. In addition, put out a selection of sunscreens for you and your guests to use during the barbecue.

Quality tools
If your grilling tools have seen better days, investing in a new set can be a great purchase in the early summer. Opt for stainless steel tools that are rust-resistant and can handle the excessive temperatures of the grill, and be sure to look for a quality knife, tongs and a spatula to handle everything you'll need to cook at upcoming barbecues. One fun buy could be a custom-made brander - this will allow you to heat up a metal tool with your initials to put your personal mark on each piece of food.

Rubs and sauces
While you can whip up homemade rubs and sauces before each large-scale gathering, but if you're looking to throw a dish together in a pinch, consider picking up a few meat and veggie rubs, as well as barbecue sauces. This will allow you to refine your barbecue recipes over the course of the summer, as well as have a quick and tasty solution when you run out of your homemade marinades and sauces!

Ambiance
While your grill will certainly need plenty of attention, don't forget to invest in a few outdoor patio improvements that can make your get-togethers that much more enjoyable. Consider picking up plenty of patio chairs and additional throw pillows for comfort so that all of your friends and family have places to relax. Additionally, look into some forms of illumination that can carry your party right into the evening, including Tiki torches, citronella candles, solar lights, outdoor lanterns and anything else that can add to the overall ambiance of your gathering.