We Asked the Master of 'Cue for Her Favorite Grilling Tools
Expert picks for even better grilling this summer.
After four episodes of BBQ Brawl: Flay V. Symon, the Master of 'Cue has finally been crowned. Lee Ann Whippen of Tampa, FL, took the title with an impressive whole hog presentation, which might come as no surprise to anyone who watched the finale. Lee Ann swept both mini challenges in the last episode before earning the win alongside her mentor-turned-sous-chef Bobby Flay.
Although we won't be making a whole hog anytime soon, we do like to barbecue. That's why we caught up with Lee Ann to find out what her must-have products are for grilling everything from ribs to pizza. Here's what she thinks you should stock up on to become your very own pitmaster.
BUY IT: Big Green Egg for retailers, $889
First things first. You need the right grill. The Big Green Egg is Lee Ann's favorite. "Hands down offers versatile cooking for anything from smoked meats, vegetables and even pizza! This ceramic cooker with porcelain coated grates is easy to use, clean and by adding wood to lump charcoal imparts perfect smoke flavor and retains moisture whether smoking low and slow or searing steaks, hot and fast. The large size is perfect for multiple meats, and fits full length of racks of ribs," she says.
BUY IT: OXO Turner/Spatula, Silver; Amazon, $10.99
"I love my grandmother's spatula she gave me with a flexible 5-inch stainless steel surface with vents that easily flips burgers and smaller foods," says Lee Ann. In leiu if the perfect hand-me-down, Lee Ann says this OXO spatula will also get the job done.
BUY IT: Update International Extra-Large, 16-Inch Long, Grill Spatula; Amazon, $9.90
Lee Ann likes to use a large spatula for moving large cuts of meat. Look for one with a sturdy handle that can support the weight.
BUY IT: Cuisinart Griddle Scraper; Amazon, $14.35
When it comes to cleaning your grill, start with a scraper to remove the larger pieces of stuck on food.
BUY IT: Safe/Clean Bristle-Free Grill Brush ,18" Stainless Steel; Kona, $19.95
"When grill is hot, just dip [a grill brush] frequently in water then brush to steam off remaining char and food particles both on top of grill grate and on sides," she says. Do this after you use the griddle scraper.
BUY IT: Thermapen Mk4 Meat Thermometer; Thermoworks, $99
"My absolute favorite for many years in competition BBQ and home cooking is my Thermapen thermometer," says Lee Ann. (Psst! Our test kitchen chefs love it, too!) Lee Ann owns the green one.
BUY IT: Edlund 12-inch Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Restaurant Tongs with Lock; Amazon, $13.99
Lee Ann swears every grill master needs a sturdy pair of stainless steel tongs with a spring and lock.
BUY IT: Weber Original Rib Rack; Amazon, $14.99
Make more space on the grill by using grill racks. Lee Ann uses them to hold racks of ribs while she cooks other meats or veggies.
BUY IT: Weber Rapid Fire Chimney; Amazon, $19.99
Use a charcoal chimney to light your grill instead of lighter fluid, "which could taint the flavor of your meat," says Lee Ann.
BUY IT: Pig Tail Food Flipper; Amazon, $16.36
This thin tool has multiple uses. You can use it to flip small meats on the grill without puncturing the skin and to submerge cuts of meat in sauce before finishing them on the grill.
BUY IT: The Original Bear Paws Shredder Claws; Amazon, $12.99
Ever wonder how the pros shred pork while it's hot without burning their fingers? These bear paws are the secret.