In the summertime, the pièce de résistance or axis upon which all summer fun turns is the grill.
Grilling is a true art in our culture, and like any art, the right tools are essential. Take a peak at some fun tools and accessories (pics to the left) that caught our eye.
1. Skewer Station
Sure, you don't need this nifty skewer station, but the novelty of it is just too hard to pass up. Ideal for entertaining, you could go kabob-crazy then allow your guests to customize their meal . . . a little shrimp here, some pineapple there . . . genius!
($40; Sur La Table, Plaza Frontenac, Frontenac, surlatable.com)
2. Fuego Portable Gas Grill
Whether your outdoor space doesn't allow for a regular grill, or you grill such volumes that you need a supplemental surface, this compact, ingenious portable gas grill by Element is the answer. The legs fold into a handle when you need to tote it around and with 158-square inches, the cooking surface is pretty generous for an on-the-go grill. A push-button igniter and dishwasher-safe grease trap also make this grilling gadget very user-friendly.
($169; Home Depot, multiple locations, homedepot.com)
3. Burger Basket
Transform your backyard into your own personal burger joint or hot-dog stand. These burger baskets are dishwasher and microwave safe, so clean up is as easy. The Gingham-patterned parchment liners just complete the look. Don't be surprised if your guests ask for a #2 with a Coke.
(Burger baskets, $1.26, Burger Basket Liners, $6 for a set of 24; Sur La Table, Plaza Frontenac, Frontenac, surlatable.com)
4. La Plancha Cast-Iron Griddle
You can use this cast-iron griddle on your stovetop or your outdoor grill. With this tool, everything is grillable, from fruit to potatoes to a delicate fish. It might actually be a challenge to find something you can't grill with this bad boy. This will transform your grilling life and pay for itself many times over.
($79.95; Williams-Sonoma, multiple locations, williams-sonoma.com)
5. Range Condiment Set
Mix and match your toppings with this rustic condiment set. The possibilities are endless: Your grillmaster could fill the blown glass jars with his or her rubs and marinades and keep it grill-side, or you place it on your bar and fill with various cocktail accoutrements like limes, cherries and olives.
($49; Pottery Barn, multiple locations, potterybarn.com)
Compatible with your iPod touch, iPhone or iPad, this tool allows you to relax and enjoy the party while your feast cooks on the grill. Just place the probe in whatever it is you're cooking, enter the target temperature, and the device will communicate with your phone, iPad or iPod to tell you when it's done. The app also comes with recipes and grilling advice.
($99.95; The Apple Store, multiple locations, apple.com)