Take your grilling to the next level without spending a lot on gear

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For the past 20 years I’ve lived in balmy Los Angeles and have grilled outside nearly every week the entire time, working on recipe stories, writing cookbooks, and cooking for a family of four. And I am here to tell you that you don’t need a fancy grill to cook amazing open-fire feasts each and every time. Sure, a gleaming dual-fuel grill with a built in smoker box and a bluetooth enabled rotisserie and remote thermometer can be a joy, but having cooked on nearly every type of grill there is I’ve realized the expense and type of grill doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right gear to manage your food once you put it on the grate.

Most of the gear you will need is incredibly cheap. I’ve put together what I find to be a perfect grilling kit that helps maximize flavor, saves me from multiple trips to the kitchen, and helps me position the food to get just the right amount of char, and, crucially, tells me when it’s time to take the food off the fire. Some of the gear stays back in the kitchen, but most of it fits on a big cutting board that I take out to the grill where I stay, with smoke in the air and a drink in hand, until dinner is done.