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5 ways to beef up your grill for a better barbecue

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Boost your barbecue with these nifty gadgets. (iStock)

It’s the height of grilling season and homeowners are firing up their grills for family and holiday get togethers. You can keep it basic by just grilling a few burgers and hot dogs. But if you want to boost your barbecue cred by cooking ribs, pizza, or fish, consider these extras that improve the grill you have. 

Here are five grilling accessories tested by Consumer Reports.

Master Forge grill wok, $17 (Lowe's)
Best for keeping smaller batches of vegetables or small fish such as shrimp or scallops from going overboard due to its deeper sides and bowl-like shape. The holes are small enough to keep food from escaping while allowing juices to drain.
But: A large amount of food might cook unevenly when it's piled up.

Master Forge Nonstick Grilling Wok

Brinkmann rib rack, $18 (Home Depot)
Best for cooking several half- or full-sized racks of ribs. Cross-bars on the bottom keep the ribs from falling through. The rack is also easy to clean.
But: Its porcelain coating may be damaged by aggressive cleaning, so use a plastic scrubber.
Tip: The racks get very hot so remove the ribs with tongs.



GrillGrates, $85.99 for kit of four (Amazon.com)
Best for keeping temperatures even across the grill to improve cooking and block flare-ups, preventing charred and burned food.
But: When tested on two grills, the grates improved evenness on one but not the other. Flare-ups were reduced when cooking fish but not so much with burgers.
Tip: You can return them for a full refund within 30 days, even if they’ve been used.

BakerStone Pizza Oven Box, $150 (Bed Bath & Beyond)
Best for reliably making multiple pizzas, in quick succession, that resemble wood-fired pizzas with crispy crusts and evenly baked toppings. The porcelain-enameled steel box houses a refractor stone cooking chamber.
But: The box is big and weighs 27 pounds and must be placed on a grill with three or more burners. It takes at least 30 minutes to heat up.



Grillbot, $130 (Grillbot.com)
Best for cleaning your cooled grill while you do something else.  Set the timer for a scrub that’s 10, 20, or 30 minutes and close the lid.
But: The Grillbot makes a racket when it bangs into the sides of the closed lid and it doesn’t remove gunk from between the grates. A regular grill brush and some elbow grease on a warm grill is faster, more through, cheaper, and quieter.

Top grills from our tests

—Mary H.J. Farrell (@mhjfarrell on Twitter)