In the latest round of testing, we gathered the following food and cooking experts from Wirecutter and The New York Times to combine forces at a backyard-grilling boot camp:
- Wirecutter senior staff writer Tim Heffernan, who has worked on our grill coverage for the past three years
- Wirecutter senior staff writer Lesley Stockton, a classically trained cook with extensive experience grilling and smoking over mesquite wood in the Texas heat
- Wirecutter senior staff writer Michael Sullivan, a former curriculum developer and textbook editor at International Culinary Center
- New York Times food editor and founding editor of NYT Cooking, Sam Sifton, whose accomplishments honestly can’t be summarized
Over the course of four days, we tested these tools while cooking more than 100 burgers, 20 chickens, and 10 pounds of vegetables on nine different grills. We discussed the usability, quality, durability, and price of every tool, and we are confident that our picks will be top performers throughout grilling season.
You might notice the absence of grilling sets in this guide. They’re popular, but we’ve found that the tools in such sets are usually of substandard quality and poorly designed. We think the smart money is on buying only what you need, choosing tools of top quality, instead of paying for low-quality extras that inevitably turn into clutter.