Your guests will thank you for this.
So maybe you just had that aha moment. It's the sunniest summer day. The sky is the brightest shade of blue. It's the perfect day for a cookout. Grilled everything is on the menu—juicy chicken, burgers, steaks, ribs, fish, shrimp, hotdogs, even grilled fruits and veggies, marinades and rubs—you're ready to make the works.
You take a dish of well-marinated soon-to-be-masterpieces of meat and set it by the grill for easy transfer. You grill a most gorgeous spread to perfection, and then—CRINGE—you place the cooked meat back on the SAME dish.
And suddenly it dawns on you: You've been making a serious mistake.
Watch: How to Clean a Grill
Yes, it's possible that you just contaminated all of your fresh-off-the-grill, charred-just-right food. You've potentially spread Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter jejuni, and other bacteria to your food (and everyone else's).
Foodborne illness is no joke. And sometimes, in the heat of the moment (or the grill), it can be easy to forget to bring out a new clean tray for your just-cooked meats. Here lies the genious of a prep-and-serve set; they're specifically designed to address this problem. A well-designed set (such as the options below) is the one tool you need for safer grilling all summer long. Here are two favorites we've found:
You can find this durable 3-piece set at Target.com for a mere $22.99. And considering the quality and convenience of this multi-functional set, we think this is an absolute steal. This trio is dishwasher safe and makes it easy to cleanly transfer your grilling items, whether we're talking between the kitchen and patio, or over to a friend's house.
It includes a grooved marinating tray (which can also be used for storing and transferring cooked items), a 2-sided prep/serve cutting board, and a tight-fitting storage lid. The nesting design makes makes for super convenient storing and carrying. Marinate whatever you plan to grill in the tray, place the cutting board on top (you can always layer a sheet of plastic wrap in between if you're concerned about the marninade splashing), and tote the whole thing out to the grill; lift and set aside the cutting board so that you can place your meat on the grill, and then, you have a clean surface to place (and even slice) the cooked meat on.
Basically, it's a tool that makes the entire grilling process seamless—from marinating to grilling to storing and transporting. It would also be an incredibly convenient set to pack for a beach house weekend.
Now, if you're looking to splurge on something a little showier, you can find this similar set for $100 at Williams Sonoma. The versatility of this dish from Le Creuset lies in the fact that it is completely oven, broiler, freezer and microwave safe—so beyond grilling season, you can use it like you would any casserole dish. Its durability is ideal for transporting marinating meat (or veggies) to the grill for your next cookout, but you could also use the lidded dish for transporting any number of other summer goodies, like cobbler, casserole, or banana pudding. While this set option does not include a cutting board, the lid conveniently makes for a gorgeous serving platter for anything you've got grilling.