Grills and Accessories We Recommend For Babes Who Barbecue

It’s almost Autostraddle’s own Babe-B-Q weekend! We’ll be hanging out with each other August 15 and 16 to grill up a storm, and everyone’s invited! We’ll also be guiding you through the process of grilling up said storm and getting prepared for the big event all week. You can view all Babe-B-Q posts here.


Here are some grills you might like!

Stef: Hibachi

A couple of summers ago, my friends and I were having a little get-together in McCarren Park on the 4th of July. Halfway through our first round of veggie burgers, the cops came around to tell us that nobody was allowed to grill in the park. You can’t take away our freedom on friggin’ Independence Day!!! Lucky for us, one of my friends had a discreet little hibachi grill. While other cookouts scattered throughout the park were shut down, ours continued on the DL and the cops were none the wiser. Little hibachi saved the day!

In addition to being small and unassuming enough to help you grill on the sly, the hibachi is convenient, efficient and downright adorable. I bought mine for $13 at the grocery store and have enjoyed multiple small-scale cookout situations ever since. It might not be my forever grill, but it’s my grill right now, and we are in love.

Aja: Charcoal

Growing up, I remember roughing it and having good old Weber kettle grills for barbecues, but my mom fell in love and remarried when I was a bratty tween and suddenly we were a gas grill family.
For as long as I can remember now, every time my stepdad goes to start the damn thing up something is inevitably wrong with it, at which point he will fuss with all the controls, curse under his breath, stalk back and forth between the garage and the patio, stubbornly shoo away help from my wife or kid brothers, throw his hands up and say “babe” a lot to my mom, who bequeathed me with her impatience and who inevitably gets drunk on my cocktails while waiting for him to get it together, especially if there’s a rushed trip with min. two false starts to Home Depot thrown in there somewhere.
It’s just part of what makes weekends at mom’s house feel like home, the almost religious absurdity of it all, and then eventually we eat and all is well. But when it was time to get one for my own family, I reverted to my charcoal roots and we bought a cute little portable Aussie grill in candy apple red from our local indie hardware store. It dutifully persevered through several foggy SF summers until we moved to Boston, and then little Red got replaced with a 480 sq. in. Blue Rhino grill. Still charcoal, but with twice the grilling real estate.
That sucker lasted two summers before the worst winter on record reduced it to a pile of rust after my wife refused to take it down to the safe, warm basement in the fall — “It’s made in the goddamn U-S-A! It’s fine!” — so this summer I swatted her patriotic nonsense aside and picked up whatever Home Depot had in stock that was well-reviewed and eligible for free assembly.
There’s nothing pretty or elegant about it. It’s just a bunch of hulking metal with crude angles in all-matte black growling, “WITNESS ME!” That’s the beauty of charcoal grills. They’re no-frills vessels for artfully coupling hellfire and raw meat. There are four basic elements:
  1. Arrange the coals
  2. Light the damn coals
  3. Manually regulate the temperature
  4. Make some food hot
  5. Don’t burn anything down

Do you have charcoal, two sticks or matches? Do you have a grill? Do you have food? Great, you can probably do this. You don’t need a cordless Xerox machine that cooks to do all the work for you. Gas grills are fine, but how are they not glorified, expensive outdoor ovens? Where’s the skill and nuance and outdoorsy ruggedness and fun in that? The only way to rough it harder than a charcoal grill is if you’re literally cooking out of a bloody fire-pit like a Walking Dead character, or a Girl Scout.

Grill Accessories


Want bells and whistles? TOO BAD. Just kidding, here are some inexpensive grilling clips that are excellent for veggies, nifty kabob baskets so you don’t lose any of your preciously marinaded morsels, and a chimney starter that turns crappy charcoal into a column of perfectly smoky obedience. You can also give the process a boost with eco-friendly products like Frontier Tumbleweeds Firestarters.

Do you have any grill recommendations? Tell us all about your nifty grill accessories and all-time favorite grill in the comments!

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Stef Schwartz is a founding member and the self-appointed Vapid Fluff Editor at She currently resides in New York City, where she spends her days writing songs nobody will ever hear and her nights telling much more successful musicians what to do. Follow her on twitter and/or instagram.

Stef has written 464 articles for us.


  1. I saw Hibachi grill and tought “hitachi magic wand does grilling too?” But then I realized my mistake and got sad…

  2. Our little weber charcoal grill has been to more beach parties than we can count with my dad manning it.

    Also don’t forget to soak your skewers in water for at least an hour before you put them on the grill for kebabs!

  3. I have a gas grill and I am not ashamed. OK, I’m a little ashamed, but I’m also lazy, so SUE ME.

    I want those veggie clips!

  4. PEOPLE. Gas grills. Come on now! I know, I know, charcoal is super rustic and whatever. But it was super rustic when everyone had dysentery on the Oregon Trail, sure, but now we have vaccines and hoverboards and GAS GRILLS TO MAKE OUR FOOD SO PERFECT AND DELICIOUS.

    To the future, to the age of robots, to perfectly seared fishes.

  5. I know Hank Hill would say “Taste the meat, not the heat” because he sells propane and propane accessories, but if a Weber grill with a chimney starter is good enough for Ina Garten, it’s good enough for me.

  6. I’ve never seen veggie clips or kebob baskets in my life — that is innovation right there.

    But where’s the BBQ spatula that doubles as a bottle opener? #clearlyaustralian

  7. After purchasing the grill, I want to confirm that this is an unreal thing! Although I have long hesitated to take the grill on propane or natural gas. This article was crucial for me. Gas grill is a convenient device for lovers of grilled meat or vegetables. More comfortable to use and safer than a barbecue, it will help you gather all your family and friends for a pleasant picnic in the open air.

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