Holy smoke, it’s grilling season again.
For the true grill master, the season never ends, but tradition calls the rest of us to worship at the charcoal altar once Memorial Day arrives.
And it’s not enough to smoke your chicken or grill that tri-tip. You’ve got to do it with some style and flair, and with the latest and coolest barbecue tools and gadgets you can find.
Here are some tools that caught our eye.
Himalayan salt plate
This one intrigued us the most. These are thick, hand-cut slabs of pink Himalayan salt that can be used on the grill, on the range top or in the oven. You also can chill them for serving sushi and appetizers. On the barbecue, use them for cooking fish, flank steak or whatever you please. And don’t be fooled by the salt. The plates give your food extra flavor, but it won’t over salt it. Heat them slowly, wash by hand and allow to dry completely before using again. Get two — one for grilling, one for presentation. ($30, Sur La Table)
Xtrema ceramic skillet
Ceramic may be the perfect tool for the grill. It withstands high temperatures and is easy to clean, although you need to handle it with a little care. Because it contains no metal, you’ll avoid what can sometimes be a metallic taste in your fire-grilled foods. ($50 to $135, depending on size, www.Ceramcor.com)
Cuisinart outdoor steak thermometers
Besides just being darned cute, these small individual thermometers (four to a box) will help you keep track of what you’re doing and turn out medium, medium-rare and rare steaks as if you were born to it. ($15, Barbeques Galore)
Double raft skewers
These two-prong skewers make it easy to grill long or round vegetables (asparagus and mushrooms, for example). Skewer them up and pop them on the grill. ($7, Sur La Table)
Cuisinart cast-iron grilled pizza set
There’s something about making pizza on the grill that challenges our inner outdoor chef, and this set can improve the odds of success. You get a 12-inch grilling platter, pizza peel and 12-inch serving tray. ($60, www.Kohls.com)
Oregon Scientific wireless BBQ thermometer
The wireless thermometer appeals to the gadget geek in us. The thermometer allows you to keep tabs on your grill even while you’re on the other side of the yard blowing up the kiddie pool. Set the “doneness” alert, clip the receiver to your belt, and know that your brisket is safe. ($50, www.Kohls.com)
Cast iron grill humidifier
Help keep your meat moist or add a little extra flavor with this set of two Charcoal Companion Moistly Grilled humidifiers. Fill the narrow cast-iron boxes with water, beer, wine, juices or other liquid, plop it on the grill and let the steam do the rest. ($30, although we got ours on sale for $20, Sur La Table)
Copper rib rack
The rack holds up to five slabs of ribs in a vertical position that not only prevents burning but also frees up space on the grill for something else. We like the copper color, too. ($15, Barbeques Galore)
Panel grilling platter
Space is always a premium on our grill, so we were intrigued with this divided stainless steel platter that has a baking stone on one side and a cedar grilling plank on the other, from Cuisinart. ($40, www.Kohls.com)
Artisan fire pizza oven
This goes beyond a grilling gadget, but we couldn’t resist including one high-tech, big ticket item, and this one certainly fills the bill. The pizza oven by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, is the first countertop outdoor pizza oven with two independently controlled burners. In 20 minutes, the oven can heat up to more than 800 degrees, meaning you can cook a Neapolitan-style pizza in as little as 3 minutes. It also can be used for calzone and bread. ($6,495, www.kalamazoogourmet.com)