“Do I really need to order both tongs and a grill spatula?” There are endless questions like this that price-conscious people ask themselves on a daily basis, subconsciously looking for ways to cut costs. The reality is, tongs are great for snatching big and small chunks of vegetables and meat from and around the grill like Edward Scissor Hands, but don’t allow for the flipping of burgers. In general, a uniform scraping of the essence of grilling, char, is mandatory. Therefore, both are necessary, but one might consider spending grill fork money on a time-saving spice rub...that's where we come in.

Rather than get stuck trying to figure out how to cut cost, but not quality, we have compiled a list of just the essential items that allow anyone to perfectly grill anything, stress-free. Order ala carte or pick the list up in one order, either way, it’s an excellent time to get outside and connect with loved ones and meet new people over some perfectly charred, spice-rubbed pork ribs. It’s officially grill-and-socialize season.

Essential Tools and Hacks

Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill - It's always great when the most affordable option is also one of the most dependable brands. The portability of this grill also opens up a ton of fun options like beach barbeques. For something more substantial, go for the classic Weber.

Aluminum Foil - The obvious use is keeping food just off the grill warm. While a lesser-known trick is tenting food with foil while it is still on the grill - this causes the internal temperature of meats and vegetables to rise quicker, decreasing the chance of burning the outside. Also, a cost-cutting, MacGyver hack is using a ball of foil in place of a grill scraper.

Probe Thermometer - How do you measure the temperature of meat and basically eliminate the chance of anything doneness that's less than perfection? A simple thermometer. This particular model displays the proper temperatures for common meats. Also, it's a multi-functional tool that can be used for liquids and candy recipes, like tempered chocolate.

OXO Grill Spatula and Tongs Set - We don’t need anything too fancy here, but you’d be surprised how many functions are designed into these simple, but mandatory (see above), tools. Also, for grillers trying to take it up to a notch, the OXO line has a ton of straight-ahead BBQ tools.

Towels are not just an eco-friendly way to clean up spills and dust off bits of ash from sizzling zucchini and chicken thighs, but when draped carefully over the top of the hand, they act as a cheaper version of the monofunctional grill glove. These towels are meant to get dirty and live long lives full of stains, so one step above rag is sufficient and cost-effective.

That's it! Get Outside!

Having a tiny grasp of temping meats and acquiring some basic, yet essential, tools help reduce the friction of getting out and barbecuing; and more barbecuing means more happiness. Just grab some charcoal and have the guests bring over something to throw on the grill, potluck style. It’s grill season, a time to take a break and connect with others.