In this multi-part series we talk about the best grilling tools out there for men. Grilling is sacred ground, where one hones his skill in the ancient tradition of cooking over a fire. Gone are the days of rocks and sticks to prepare our meal, but the tradition of grilling lives on.
While watching the flames of the grill work their magic, I often wonder how our ancestors turned their cuts for even cooking. I see images of sticks being used as large chopsticks trying to pinch and flip food in an awkwardly fashion with often disastrous results. We have all experienced the same frustrations as tongs loose grip and flimsy handles bend in our hands. This often leads to cussing and improperly cooked meat, spoiling the grilling experience for anyone.
The OXO Good Grips series has another answer for us in the grilling tool industry. The tongs are robust stainless steel design with squared handles give you rigid strength unlike the flat handles of cheap tongs. This ensures your grip will be transferred to what you are grabbing, and not a bent handle. The scalloped head is not coated, leaving no chemical residue to melt and cook in with your meal. The 16″ handles ensure your hands stay safe while they work on the rubber grips tending to your meal.
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Good tongs are great multitaskers. You can use them to transfer raw chicken from a plate to the grill, turn delicate veggies or plate a rack of ribs once they’re cooked to perfection. Our favorite are the 16-inch locking tongs that come in the $20 OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Grilling Tools Set. We don’t usually recommend sets, but both the tongs and spatula that come in this one beat a range of single tools in our tests. We like these tongs because of their excellent construction and delicately scalloped heads, long reach and grippy handles that feel good in a bare hand or a grilling glove.
If you don’t want to buy the set, we also recommend the OXO Good Grips 16” Locking Tongs, which are basically identical to our main pick, but they don’t have the large hanging loop that the ones in the set do. But at $15, they only cost five bucks less than the set.
At 16 inches, the OXO tongs are long, but not too long. They’ll keep your hand clear of the grill’s searing heat and the occasional flare-up. We’ve used a number of shorter grilling tongs in the past, and the OXO’s few extra inches are a welcome feature in dealing with high grilling temperatures. They’re made of thick, heat-resistant 430-grade stainless steel. That’s the same stuff that many mid-to-high-priced gas grills burners are constructed out of, so it’s a good bet that it’ll stand up to the heat of your grill’s cooking surface. They’re also easier to hold than any other model we’ve tried, thanks to grippy silicone accents on the handle and rolled-steel construction, which keeps them from bending under heavy loads.
The tips of the tongs boast wide, gently-tapering heads with a scallop pattern along their sides perfect for picking up delicate fare. But they’re also sturdy enough to handle thick cuts of steak. The spring strength is on par with the better tongs we’ve tested; it’s easy to compress and smartly snaps back into place when you let go of the tongs.
After about six months of being run through a dishwasher on a regular basis, the OXO tongs have shown less wear than other tongs we’ve tested. The metal ring makes them very easy to hang. Other tongs have similar lock mechanisms, but we haven’t found any that feel as sturdy as the OXO’s.
The OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Grilling Tools Set just came out this year, so we haven’t seen any editorial recommendations for it. But Amazon users give it 4.5 stars. Lisa McManus, the executive editor of equipment testing at America’s Test Kitchen, highly recommends OXO Good Grips 16” Locking Tongs for grilling. Expert Meathead Goldwyn told us that these are his go-to tongs. (He did tell us that the locking mechanism in his broke, but he cooks over a grill more than the average person would, and the tongs can be replaced with OXO’s lifetime satisfaction guarantee.) Men’s Health and Good Housekeeping also heap praise on them. They are the best selling tongs in Amazon’s Home and Kitchen Department, with 572 five-star reviews out of a total of 685 reviews.