Tools: Tongs

Although I'm confident I could quit anytime I want, it's probably fair to admit that I have a tongs problem. I've got more than half a dozen pairs of tongs in my kitchen, of various lengths, designs and materials. Two are essential and constantly in use:

9" stainless steel tongs, spring activated: these are the most frequently grabbed-for tool in my kitchen, a natural extension of my hands. I use tongs for manipulating food in the pan, flipping steaks on the grill, pulling lids off of pots, serving plates, stirring pots and a hundred more things. Price: really cheap - <$10
12" stainless steel tongs, spring activated, with lock: when 9" isn't enough to keep your knuckles from singeing, reach for the longer version. Not as articulate as their shorter brethren, but invaluable for the grill, broiler or wok, when you don't want to futz around with a glove. Get the locking ones. Price: really cheap - <$10

Two other models earn their keep, though they are less frequently used:
9" stainless steel tongs with nylon tips, spring activated, with lock: as above, but safe for non-stick cookware, these are great for grabbing vegetables, flipping chicken breasts, etc. I'd use 'em all the time, except the tips don't "grab" quite as well as aluminum, and I worry about melting them, especially on the grill - they're only good for temps below 400F. Price: cheap - <$15
16" stainless steel, spring activated, with lock: sometimes - such as when i need to move a chicken off the smoker - 12" just isn't big enough. These tongs are really too long for most indoor uses, but they're perfect for tending wood, moving grates and relocating hot poultry. Get the locking ones. Price: cheap - <$15

Others range from handy-but-seldom-used to unsafe-at-any-speed. In particular, the stainless steel scissors-style tongs are completely useless for any task. Ditto for the bobby-pin design single-piece plastic tongs, which are too slippery to hold anything, even if they could muster the leverage for a decent pinch.

The lock may seem like unnecessary frill, but you'll appreciate it when you put tongs in the dishwasher or in a drawer; locking them shut makes for a much more compact package.

OXO makes all of the sizes I've mentioned; their tongs feature a nice non-slip rubber ridge on each handle, and they have held up to active use for years. (To be fair, I've been just as pleased with the no-name ones I picked up at a restaurant supply house for $4.)

1 comment:

Cooks Standard said...

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