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Grilling gadgets to flip over

Scripps Howard News Service

Must credit Tampa Bay Times

By PATTI EWALD

Tampa Bay Times

If you can't dazzle 'em with your barbecuing brilliance, you can always baffle 'em with the hottest new grilling gizmo.

Like the Stake -- tongs, spatula and fork all in one. The Swiss army knife of grilling tools.

Grip it. Flip it. Serve it. You'll be the Houdini of the hibachi.

"I started by taking the tools that I used most when barbecuing," Peter Wachtel, toy inventor by day, Stake inventor by night, said.

"Then I chopped, cut and broke them apart, and started to make a rough prototype," he said.

After a lot of trial and error -- and the help of his 6-year-old son -- he came up with tool that worked, looked and felt great.

No more juggling a handful of one-function tools.

A smooth leaf-spring mechanism makes the tongs easy to use; the fork slides out for use and tucks safely into the spatula for storage.

Available at some Target stores and at quirky.com for $29.99.

Some other nifty tools:

-- The Fire Wire is a flexible cable-style skewer that allows you to effectively use the space on your grill like never before.

The skewer itself holds twice as much as a traditional skewer, and you can bend it to fit on whatever corner of the grill you have open. It's stainless steel and designed not to get hot, so you can turn it on the grill without hot pads.

You can also marinate right on the skewer. Just load it up, bend it and drop it into a bag of marinade.

It's dishwasher safe, too. Find it for $14.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams-Sonoma, BJ's Wholesale Club and many gift retail shops, as well as online at firewiregrilling.com.

-- The Primo Dual Probe Thermometer monitors the internal temperature of your food and the pit temperature simultaneously. The remote sensor will sound an alarm on the wireless receiver in your pocket or belt clip when the temperature changes in the pit, when you need to flip the burgers or when your food is done. It takes four AAA batteries (included).

This electronic chef doesn't come cheap. The thermometer, which the company says works with any grill, is about $90 at primogrill.com.

-- You can stuff a jalapeno, but you can't make it stand up -- or can you?

Well, now you can. The Grillipede grilling tool from Dixie Grillworks looks like an inverted cake pan with holes in it. It works like those Paas Easter-egg-dyeing kits. Remember? The kit box had perforated circles on the back. You punched them out and - voila! -- a rack to hold the eggs 'til they dried.

In much the same way, the Grillipede holds jalapenos upright while they roast so the delicious, gooey goods you stuffed in them don't spill all over the grill.

It's made of heavy-gauge stainless steel -- built for toughness rather than beauty, the company says -- to last years without warping or bending.

Available in 25-, 36- and 72-pepper sizes from about $27 to $47 at dixiegrillworks.com.

(Email pewald(at)tampabay.com.)

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service www.scrippsnews.com)