Ask a ________ is Grilla Grills new series of blog posts where we will ask pitmaster’s, chef’s, brewers, distillers and other grill/food enthusiasts about some of our favorite topics. We’ll cover everything from favorite foods, old school recipe’s, gift ideas, personal stories and everything in between.
This time, we’re talking with the Pitdaddy himself, Dylan Lipe. He’s a fantastic chef to say the least, and has competed in multiple BBQ cook-offs and competitions across the nation. He’s cooked for us more times than we can count, and we loved every bite. Dive into this blog post to see what gifts he like’s to give to the other kitchen and pit lovers in his life.
The first idea Dylan always thinks of when looking for a gift for someone that cooks or barbecue’s a lot is an upscale cutting board. According to him, cutting boards are more than just a tool to keep your counter top nick free. They’re great for presenting fruit, appetizers and often at holiday parties they’re used to lay out a charcuterie spread for your guests.
So what makes for a good cutting board? Well, Dylan says that depends on what you’re going to use it for. No matter what, he says the quality of the wood used to make the cutting board is one of the most important facets. He says to look for a strong hardwood board. To test for quality Dylan likes to use the thumbnail test.
“If I can push a thumbnail into the board, I know that it is a soft board. That’s not what we want, we’re going to want a nice hardwood board to give them.”Dylan Lipe
Other things Dylan says to look for is whether or not you want a gutter, or a flat board. He said if the person using the board will be using it for presentation, you’re not going to want a gutter on it. However, if it’s mainly going to be used for slicing and dicing, a gutter to catch the juices before they end up on your counter top is the way to go.
One of the most forgotten parts of any kitchen is the thermometer. Everyone thinks they know exactly how long to cook pork or steak to get the exact amount of doneness they desire, but Dylan says even the pro’s need help from time to time. Help your friend or family member bump up their kitchen prowess with a nice kitchen thermometer.
While it’s possible to find thermometers hitting upward of $100, he said it’s not always necessary to spend the big bucks on a thermometer. Often thermometers around $25 can give you nearly the same quality as the expensive ones, minus a few bells and whistles like WiFi.
As a professional, I know that probes are going to go bad. That heat is going to cause it to fail sooner or later, I’d rather spend that $30 bucks and replace it easier than that $200 and have the same thing happen that I know is going to happen.Dylan Lipe
He said often thermometers are going to need to be replaced within a year or two no matter how much money you spend on them due to the extremely hot temperatures they operate at. With that in mind, he said people will generally be better off with less expensive probes that they can replace with ease.
We all know what most people’s measuring cups and spoons look like. They cost about $2, are made of flimsy plastic and don’t match anything else in the cupboard. Dylan said a simple gift that will go a long way in the kitchen is a nice set of stainless steel measuring cups and spoons.
“A lot of people have the plastic and thin ones, but if you go online you can get some heavy duty steel ones. They get beat up, twisted, thrown in the drawer, dented and they’re not true anymore. So that always makes a nice gift.”Dylan Lipe
Dylan said often people don’t realize that the measuring cups and spoons they’ve been using for years aren’t as accurate as they used to be. Giving a loved one a nice full set of measuring cups and spoons will be a solid upgrade that they’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.
How often do we rip or tear boxes of foil or wax paper and have to struggle with a flimsy container while we rip off sheets to use in the kitchen? Too often is the only correct answer to that question! This gift idea will make that issue a thing of the past.
“I like to try and do stuff easy as possible, so the different hacks I like are to use a lot of parchment paper… I usually like to get somebody a cool reusable box for that stuff. Wood or metal or plastic with suction cup feet on it that you can keep right on the counter top that will look good if you leave it out all the time.”Dylan Lipe
This is a type of gift that is perfect for the person who already has everything you can imagine for their kitchen. What Dylan means by custom storage boxes isn’t necessarily Tupperware. These are boxes that hold things like rolls of aluminum foil, wax paper and plastic wrap.
The final gift we have on this list is also one of the most interesting of the lot. How much time and effort have we spent hand cranking a pepper or salt grinder in the kitchen to make sure we’re getting the freshest flavor possible? Too much if you ask us! With a thumb grinder, you’ll never have to crack pepper yourself again!
So what is a thumb grinder? Think of it like having a little robot who does all of your seasoning grinding for you. You’ll fill the container with whatever spices you need at the time, close it up, press a button and POOF, perfectly ground flavor to dust over anything your little heart desires.
“Let’s say you’re makin’ beef ribs. You can take the (Grilla Grills) Beef Rub, fill the thumb grinder with it, and as you slice it up, you dust that spice over it with the grinder. It grinds that spice finer so it makes a nice finishing seasoning.”Dylan Lipe
Dylan says if you search online, it’s possible to find a set of them for around $20. Often they’re stainless steel and will last for a long time. Finally, Dylan said another reason they make for a great gift is due to the freedom they give you in the kitchen. Since they only require one hand to use, that leaves your second hand free to flip your raw meat without having to wash your hands every time you want to add seasoning.