What’s new for the BBQ this year? Check out the latest gadgets and tools.

When summer heats up, your grill should too. And we’ve got some of the hottest tools and gadgets to get you started or make grilling easier and more fun. Let’s start with, well, a starter. Those crafty Swedes have come up with the Looftlighter, a way to superheat your charcoal grill in one minute without lighter fluid. Sorry, guys, the tool looks like a curling iron, but it should save you time and fumes.

Go Sleek

Of course, an excellent gas grill takes out the need for messy charcoal, and gas grills keep getting sleeker and fancier. The Weber Q 4300 comes with a stainless steel cover and two stainless steel burners, so you can grill and sauté outside! Or purchase a pan that goes on the grill to hold small pieces of food, like vegetables and fish, directly over the grilling fire. No more zucchini slipping between the grill rack and turning to tiny burned crisps!

If space is at a premium, check out new grills made especially for small spaces and decks. You can have your choice of gas and electric, freestanding or mounted on a balcony railing. One even comes with a build-tin speaker and docking station for your iPhone.

Make Smoking Easy

If you love to grill meats and fishes, you’ve probably tried a smoke plank. How about a salt plate? Sear meats and seafood right on the grill with a Himalayan salt plate from Williams-Sonoma. If you prefer indirect smoky flavor, try a smoking platform, like the one designed by Texas chef Tim Love. You place your soaked wood chips in the box and put the box under the grill grate (before lighting, kids) so the smoke will rise up and around your grilled foods. Fill the tray with your favorite spirit or stock for added flavor.

Or buy your smoky flavor in a disposable bag. Emeril makes it easy with a bag you can use at home or take with you on camping trips.

Extend your grilling season and not the crunch on your burgers with a light for night-time BBQ’ing. There are lots of fun choices, and our favorites incorporate LED and attach to the lid so they aim directly down at your food and not your eyeballs. At Sharper Image, you can find one that rotates to light up tasks you’re performing next to the grill and comes with fans that pivot to cool you off while you cook or blow smoke away from your face. The light and fans run on battery power.

Take Care of Your Griller

Maybe the thrill of the singed hair on your knuckles makes grilling more fun, but that quick grab-and-flip motion many BBQ’ers make when the heat is on leads to split, dropped and destroyed dinner fare. Protect your hands with a BBQ set that has a shield below the handle to deflect the heat.

Finally, for the man who has everything and would prefer to watch someone, or something, else do the work when the grilling is done…the Grillbot. Yep, a tiny little robot with a grill brush attached cleans your grill while you relax by the pool. The idea came from the ingenious use of a power drill hooked to a grill brush for extra grime-scrubbing power.

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