A good set of tongs aren’t just great for one task, but multiple ones. These can be used when transferring uncooked chicken to the grill from your plate, as well as plating a rib rack as soon as they’re perfectly cooked, or turn delicately formed veggies.
My favorite is the locking tongs included in the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece set of grilling tools. Sets, in general, I usually don’t recommend, but both the spatula and tongs you get here shine above a range of tools after testing them out. I like these OXO tongs because they’re constructed excellently with heads scalloped delicately; their reach is long and their handles have a grip that feels nice in a grilling glove or bare hand.
If you’d rather buy a single tool versus a set, I also recommend the 16” OXO Good Grips Locking Tongs. They’re basically the same thing as our main tong recommendation, but you’ll only find the large hanging loop featured in the OXO set. But getting them for only a couple ten dollar bills, the set costs only five bucks more than the single OXO tongs.
The OXO tong’s length of 16 inches makes them long, but not obnoxiously so. Your hand will be kept clear of heat searing from the grill and the ever so often flare-up. Those who’ve been lucky enough to try a handful of grilling tongs (with shorter lengths) will know the few inches extra featured on the OXO is quite welcome in the face of a grill’s hot temps. They’re made of heat-resistant, thick stainless (430-grade) steel. That’s no different than the stuff put together in burners of many high-to-mid-priced gas grills, so it’s a safe bet that it’ll withstand high temps from the cooking surface of your grill. ➡ And, every other model tested was harder to hold, perhaps because they don’t have OXO’s silicone grippy handle accents and steel-rolled construction, which prevents heavier loads from bending them.
The tong’s tips boast gently-tapered, wide heads with a scallop-like design following its sides, just what you’d need for picking up grub of a delicate nature. But they also have enough sturdiness to work with thick steak cuts.
The strength of the spring is highly comparable to the tongs that scored better after testing, and compressing it is easy and snaps smartly back to its original form when the tongs are let go of.
After running the OXO tongs through a dishwasher for about half a year regularly, the wear they showed wasn’t as much as the other tested tongs. Hanging them isn’t difficult at all with its metal ring. Its locking mechanism is similar to other tongs, but I haven’t come across any that have as sturdy of a feel as the OXO pair.
The OXO 2-Piece Good Grips was just brought out in 2015, so I have yet to see a recommendation in any editorial on it. But users on Amazon score it 4 ½ stars. The equipment testing executive editor of America’s Test Kitchen, Lisa McManus, recommends the OXO 16” Good Grips highly for grill locking tongs. Craig Goldwyn has mentioned that these tongs are his go-to choice. (The locking mechanism on his tongs actually broke, but he’s had more time cooking with grills than that of the average guy, and OXO will replace the tongs due to its lifetime satisfaction guarantee.) Good Housekeeping and Men’s Health also give them a heap of praise.
Grilling Tong Competition
I was disappointed with Cuisinart’s tongs in their CGS-134 Grilling 3-Piece Tool Set (w/ Grill Glove). The steel doesn’t feel as sturdy, and the tong’s heads don’t align when you compress the handles, making it not very easy to get a hold of small objects, and easier for chicken or sausage skin to tear. The metal-and-vinyl (low-quality) handles under whelm with their grippiness that’s needed for control. Also, you won’t be able to close them locked for storing.
Yet I’ve warmed up to the locking (intuitive) mechanism and the tong’s grippy and sturdy handles featured in the Weber Style 6707 Stainless Steel 2-Piece Set. The tong’s scalloped heads have angular, sharp edges (sausage skin was punctured with them). The heads on the tong are D-shaped, while our #1 OXO tong pick is a little less awkward due to its heads’ symmetrical design. I can say that the 6707’s spring within it isn’t very strong- when pressure was released on the tool it responded slowly.
The Cave Tools BBQ Set features tongs with a metal, small ring so they stay closed when storing it away, but it doesn’t have a locking mechanism. Yes, I do like the tong’s large heads; they’re more like a slotted fork and spoon, which didn’t make it any easier picking up smaller food items. On top of that, there’s no grip on the stainless-steel handles.
The cost of the Best of BBQ Forged tongs from Steven Raichlen is usually around $17, and they’re longer than the OXO Good Grips 16” Locking Tongs by two inches. But when you switch out your tongs for one with a longer set of arms (at least from what I’ve found), your food will feel more weighed down as it’s being lifted.
The OXO Stainless Steel 18-inch BBQ Tongs set also doesn’t have a mechanism for locking and are too lengthy.
The cheaper Weber 6610 Original Tongs (usually $14) have thinner handles than the OXO and aren’t made as well, and the curvy end of the tong’s heads doesn’t make them very suitable for going beneath meaty pieces.
Keep looking if you have any interest in the stainless steel Outset Locking Tongs. At 17.5 inches, they could have been shorter, and its locking mechanism had somewhat of a flimsy feel. They were able to be slightly bent with very little pressure from the fingertip.
The large (freakishly so) tong heads on the GrillPro 40240 Stainless Steel 16-inch Turner/Steel Tong Combination should not be bothered with (not to mention it’s constructed flimsily).
The foldable grill tongs in the Cuisinart CIT-201 are no differently priced than our main OXO choice. And since they’re foldable, storing them is a cinch. But they’re shorter by an inch, are unlockable, and for the most part the body is made of plastic.
The tongs in the Weber Style 6441 are $3 cheaper than the lockable 16-inch OXO Good Grips tongs, but the Weber’s cupped heads makes them awkward for picking stuff up.
The tongs in the three-piece Coleman BBQ Tool Set are short, flimsy, and don’t have a lock.
While these stainless steel Brinkman tongs appear to be a $7 (or less) bargain, after trying them out, we found the wooden handles seemed cheaply manufactured. The tong’s tips are recessed deeply, making them really good when you want salad picked up but a dud for working with what you’re grilling up.
The stainless steel 16-inch Messermeister Locking Tongs are usually priced at $9. I found that the steel they were made of was more flimsy than our #1 OXO recommendation was and the alignment of its heads would slip in and out when smaller objects were attempted to be picked up off the surface of the grill. Raising an even bigger red flag, the tong’s stainless steel didn’t seem to go unscathed after putting it through a dishwasher for one run (had a tarnished appearance).
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