The quick answer is keeping all of your knuckle hair intact, but it's actually much more than that. Having a high quality set of extra long tongs for grilling helps you focus on getting the best grill placement for your food and having fun while you grill. If it hurts to use your tongs because you are getting burned, you might not flip or rotate items as often as needed. And honestly, you probably won't grill as much because you just won't enjoy it.
In this post we look at all the aspects of BBQ grilling tongs with a bit more focus on long tongs. We set out to find and sell the perfect set of everyday tongs that will work for anyone from back yard grillers to top chefs.
Busy and don't really care about our research and testing and just want the perfect sets of tongs for the rest of your life? Check out our set of two tongs with our Extra Long Grill and Kitchen Tongs. We promise you won't be disappointed.
Here is what we look for in a set of Extra Long BBQ Tongs
I know I'm really hounding on this but it's critical that you have tongs that are longer than the standard 10-inch set of kitchen tongs. I personally think 16-inches is the perfect length for any mass production grill on the market. Anything longer becomes difficult to store or even set down between uses. They need to be long so you can reach across the heat with confidence. If flames shoot up it won't matter, your hand isn't over the grill.
The only issue with going longer is they need to be strong but not heavy. That brings me to my second criteria: Sturdy!
Having a long set of tongs that are strong enough to pick up anything you want to grill is critical. Having a set that is also light and feels good to use is the real trick.
The best test for a set of long tongs is grilling bbq chicken legs. Can they get a grip on a chicken leg and pick it up every time? The flat blade style tongs will bow and let the legs slip out. That's the worst! You end up sliding the meat across the grill and losing all the BBQ sauce awesomeness you've been working to build up.
Most tongs that come in a set from a big box store will have flimsy tips or flat blades with small teeth at the end. It makes me so mad when someone ships us a sample of their products to sell on our site and the tongs are weak and flimsy. Why even include a useless set of tongs in your set?
You really want a set of tongs that are sturdy from end-to-end, can pick up heavier foods (i.e. big steaks) or smaller, slippery bar-b-que items like chicken legs and just work every time you grill.
Some sets of long handled tongs will have big thick wooden handles that weigh as much as the food you're cooking. I don't know about you but I'm looking to eat a good meal, not get a workout. I want light but sturdy tongs with a good steady grip.
I saw a pair of tongs in a big box store that were really long (over 20") with solid metal handles. I assumed it was actually a weapon masquerading as a set of long tongs. I didn't buy them, but if I had I would have expected to have to show my drivers license. In my opinion those were way too long and way too heavy to be useful for anything short of a bonfire on a beach in Australia, where naturally you would use the tongs to hunt your food and then cook it. In my backyard, I'm not building my grill fires that big and I'm certainly not using my extra long tongs to fight off dangerous animals.
The worst thing besides the tongs not being able to pick up your food, is to have parts of them start melting. I've seen the silicone tipped tongs fail over fire. That's why I personally only use the stainless steel. You don't want anything close to the flames that will burn or melt.
I was at a friends BBQ once where he had a spatula handle melt while making the food for the night. It goes without saying it wasn't the highlight of the evening watching him try to slide our dinner off the charcoal grill.
I don't want to have 5 sets of tongs to cook meals. I'm not a French chef that dabbles in making ultra delicate fancy food. Honestly, I only want two sets of grilling tongs. One extra long set of tongs for the grill (that's initially working with uncooked meats) and a second pair for the kitchen that only touch prepared foods or used for serving. I want both pair to be strong enough to lift a 3lb tomahawk steak and at the same time have fine enough control to pick up a hotdog without leaving "tong marks" on the side of it.
It seems like a lot of tongs either don't have any teeth so the tongs can't pick up my bar-b-que soaked softer meats, or they have shark-like teeth that make things look pre-chewed (yuck!). We prefer the style of tongs that have a wider flowing style of gripping tip instead of the sharper teeth. The tongs that have no teeth at all seem pointless to me.
How did you pick the ones you are selling?
We went to the manufacturers of tongs and got dozens of samples. I tested them on charcoal and gas grills as well as a griddle. I was looking at the different styles of tips and grips as well as overall construction. I want to offer our customers a lifetime guarantee, so I need a pair of tongs built to last a LONG time and that works every time. When we were finished we honestly didn't think any of the existing tongs were perfect. We ended up working with a manufacturer to make a custom set of Extra Long Grill and Kitchen Tongs (yes you get two with your purchase!!!) and we couldn't be happier!
The long tongs are 16" long and designed to be the best all-around grilling tongs you will ever own. The shorter tongs are 12" and intended for serving food or working in a skillet in the kitchen. We have thousands of happy customers. Order yours today!