Staff Picks: Our Editors Name Their Favorite Grilling Items

From preferred hot dogs to steakhouse-worthy cookers

May 24, 2019 5:00 am
(Photo: James Sutton on Unsplash)

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Welcome to InsideHook’s Staff Picks, a compendium of what our editors are digging recently. Up this week: Our grilling picks.


Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
Last summer, I bought an electric smoker, hit up New York BBQ wizard Hugh Mangum for some tips, and then documented my inaugural meat-smoking voyage for this website. Nine months later, I am happy to report that my slow-cooking honeymoon phase has not yet ended; that electric smoker remains the best purchase I have made in ages. Unlike gas, charcoal or wood-fired smokers, it’s completely self-regulating and, vitally, street legal in a New York apartment building. Just take the plunge, trust me. I cannot tell you how enjoyable, hands-off and idiot-proof this thing is compared to being hunched over a grill all afternoon. — Walker Loetscher, Editor in Chief

Cuisinart Burger Press

Cuisinart 3-in-1 Burger Press
You ever had a Juicy Lucy? Case closed. — Danny Agnew, Creative Director

Denmark griddle

Denmark Cast Aluminum Single Burner Reversible Grill and Griddle
Before I was lucky enough to find an apartment in New York City that has its very own private backyard complete with a full-sized grill, I had this cast aluminum oven top grill. Place one of these on top of a burner and it acts, essentially, just like a real BBQ does, grill marks and all. Plus, it’s aluminum, not iron, so if it gets a bit messy from whatever sauce or rub you’re working with, it can soak for a bit without rusting. Bonus: it’s reversible and the other side is the griddle you should be making all of your Sunday morning pancakes on. — Ariel Scotti, Senior Editor

Porter Road
Porter Road

Porter Road Grill Master Box
A good grill without delicious meat to accompany it is like a bird without a song, a sky without a star, a wedding without an open bar — so much wasted potential. Enter the Grill Master Box from Tennessee-based Porter Road, an offering that won’t disappoint (unlike that wedding). Featuring hormone-free meat that’s been processed in Kentucky and then cut by hand in Nashville, the box includes two pounds of dry-aged hamburger patties, two pounds of bratwurst sausage links and a pair of dry-aged steaks. Pasture-raised with no antibiotics added, the meat comes in biodegradable packaging which you can safely use to get your charcoal going. Priced at $70, Porter Road’s curated grilling box offers both steak and sizzle at a reasonable price. — Evan Bleier, Senior Editor

Otto Grill

The Otto Steak Grill
Pat LaFrida personally cooked me a perfect tomahawk steak — and a damn excellent burger — on his Otto Grill this week. It was part of a media event (Pat and I are, alas, not cooking buddies) promoting his countertop steak grill, a stainless steel beauty that heats up to 1500 degrees and delivers steakhouse worthy cuts in minutes. Sadly, because you need to use the Otto outdoors and it requires propane, I’ll never get to experience this grill in my cramped New York apartment. But to my friends outside the city  — or, hey, Pat! — get one for your home and I’ll definitely drop by. (For city folks, Pat’s Meat book will suffice.) — Kirk Miller, Managing Editor/Nation Editor

Red Hot Beef Franks

Red Hot Chicago Jumbo Franks
A bad thing happened recently: My go-to hot dogs were recalled just in time for spring grilling because there’s a possibility some of them were shipped out containing metal fragments. I know you’re probably thinking, “Metal fragments? That’s nothing! Remember what those raccoons in The Great Outdoors say hot dogs are made out of?” (Answer). And yeah, that’s true. So I like dogs that don’t’ have a ton of stuff in them. Give me all-beef or give me nothing I say! And the best replacement I’ve found so far in this early grilling season are the Red Hot Chicago jumbo franks. This is going to come out sounding like a lewd t-shirt a high schooler in 1997 would wear, but if you’re going to do a proper char dog, you can’t really mess around with the little wieners. You need jumbos. — Jason Diamond, Features Editor

Pineapple slicer

SameTech Stainless Steel Pineapple Slicer
My favorite burger of 2018 was “The Blue Hawaiian” at Austin’s Pool Burger. It was a 1/4-pound patty with bacon, blue cheese crumbles, Thousand Island dressing, and a griddled pineapple. I have pictures of it in my camera roll, which I show to people on request. Recently I’ve been experimenting with recreating it at home. Results have been a bit mixed, but I’ve also been using pre-sliced pineapple. Time to step it up a notch and get coring. — Tanner Garrity, Associate Editor


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