Atlanta chefs are falling in love with a new grill, the KUDU Safari Braai. It lets you cook over an open fire with an elevated grate system including up to six different grilling surfaces. You can maneuver each surface so it’s closer or further away from the heat. Now you can cook the whole meal on one piece of equipment. Pork chops over the heat, a skillet of beans heating to one side, greens sauteing on another. Kevin Gillespie is part of the team that created the grill and provides recipes and an instructional video. Chefs particularly love the smoker lid that lets you smoke just part of your meal. It’s like getting a whole kitchen’s worth of equipment in one. $699. Shep’s Midtown Ace, 860 Juniper Street NE, Atlanta. 404-228-2291. http://www.midtownatl.com/go/sheps-midtown-ace-hardware. Dove Studio Kitchen and Bath, 1570 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell. 770-552-3683. http://dovestudio.com. InTown Ace Hardware, 1404 Scott Boulevard, Decatur. 404-378-6006. http://intownhardware.net.
Lighter fluid is definitely out. Smelly. Messy. Dangerous. These days we’ve got lots better ways to start a fire. One option for lighting the charcoal grill at home or a hibachi on a picnic, or getting that fire pit going for a batch of s’mores, is to use a fire starter. It takes just one of Pine Mountain’s “ExtremeStart” fire starters to light your charcoal or wood fire. Put one ExtremeStart on the grill grate, add two pounds of charcoal heaped around the starter (leaving the arrows on top of the wrapper free) and light the wrapper where the arrows indicate. In minutes, your fire is ready. It’s really that easy. You’ll want to keep these put safely away because between the wrapper and the small size they look an awful lot like a candy bar. we don’t want your kids mistaking them for a treat. $5.99 for box of 12. Available at WalMart.com, The Home Depot, Kroger, Amazon, ACE Hardware and True Value hardware stores
Smoking Chunks: There are lots of ways to add smoke to what you’re cooking. You could cut down the nearest pecan tree or grab a branch of oak that’s fallen during a storm. Then you could get out that axe and chop the wood into chunks that will fit on your grill. Or you can buy smoking chunks, like these from Camerons. They have five- and ten-pound bags of chunks in woods you might be accustomed to using, like pecan, oak, mesquite, hickory and apple. But they also have cherry, alder and maple. The chunks are in nice big chunks averaging about 2-by-3-inches and a handful will flavor whatever you’re cooking for about 30 minutes. Add more chunks? Get more smoke. Soak them for an hour before you put them on the coals. The chunks are kiln-dried so they burn better than wood that is just seasoned and nothing’s been added. You’re just getting the natural hardwood. We tried the alder since it doesn’t come from around here (it’s from the Pacific Northwest). Its light smoke is perfect for salmon and other seafood. $14.99 for 5 pounds, $28.95 to $29.99 for 10 pounds. Some woods available at Amazon.com. All available at http://cameronsproducts.com.
Smoking Chips from Wine and Whiskey Barrels: Open a bag of these Old Barrel smoking chips from Mr. Bar-B-Q and you’re immediately transported to a winery or distillery. These lightweight smoking chips are made from old red wine, white wine or whiskey barrels and each is distinctly scented. What a great way to repurpose those old barrels. To use the chips, soak a handful for about 15 minutes. For a gas grill, drain them and put them in a smoker box or wrap them in an aluminum foil packet with the ends open. Put them directly under the cooking grid, then close the grill. For charcoal grills, just put the drained chips directly on the coals and cover it. In less than 10 minutes you’re ready to cook. A handful will smoke for about 20 minutes, just enough time for most things you’ll be cooking on the grill. $11.21 to 17.43 for a 12.7-ounce bag. http://amazon.com
Heat Resistant Grilling Glove: You’re reaching with your tongs to the back of the grill to turn that steak. You’re using those tongs to arrange skewers along the side of the grill. You need something shield your hand from the heat. The Mr. Bar-B-Q Grilling Glove from Blue Rhino will do the job. Flexible because it’s a knit fabric, designed to work on either your right hand or your left, it has raised silicone bumps to protect you from the heat. Because it’s a knit fabric, it won’t protect you against steam or hot liquids. When you’re done, hand wash it in cold water and hang it out to dry. It’ll work just as well in the kitchen as it does outside at the barbecue grill. $21.99. Stein Mart, http://steinmart.com. Kohl’s, http://kohls.com.
Foldable Pizza Peel: Pizza on the grill is definitely a thing, getting more popular by the day. But how do get that pizza off the grill so you can serve it? With a pizza peel, of course. But aren’t pizza peels long, long, long? How will you store it? MAN LAW has solved the problem with their foldable pizza peel. The 10-by-12-inch working end of the peel is stainless steel and like all MAN LAW products is heavyweight and sturdy. The wooden handle folds down but when it’s extended, gives you over two feet of reach. You won’t restrict this peel to the great outdoors, it’s going to be perfect when you’re making pizza inside as well. $14.99. InTown Ace Hardware, 1404 Scott Boulevard, Decatur. 404-378-6006. http://intownhardware.net
Grilling Basket: A non-stick, flexible basket with big holes so what you’re grilling gets all that delicious charring but doesn’t leave a mess on your grill? That’s genius. Camerons Non-Stick Grilling Mesh Basket is a foot-square 500-degree-safe plastic wonder. It corrals all those things you want to grill – like chunks of squash and onion, cherry tomatoes, cubes of chicken or pork – and lets you cook them as if you were using a skillet. No more skewers for me. Now I can put onion slices on first and let them soften, then add chicken chunks and let them brown and finally toss in some cherry tomatoes leaving them on just long enough to heat up. Nothing overdone, nothing underdone. Then pick up the basket and gently slide the contents onto a platter. Throw the basket in the dishwasher. Done! $13.99. Available at The Cook’s Warehouse, http://cookswarehouse.com.