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  • CapaBunga! reusable wine bottle caps.

  • soireehome

    tilt stainless chilling spheres

  • Char-Griller

    Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker

  • Char-Broil

    Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio Bistro 240 grill

  • Frigidaire

    Frigidaire Professional five-spend blender

  • Healthy Food

    Yonana frozen dessert maker

  • Grill Daddy

    Grill Daddy Pro grill cleaner

Backyard entertaining: Gadgets that make you look like a pro

Published: Thursday, Jul. 4, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 10X
Last Modified: Thursday, Jul. 4, 2013 - 4:36 pm

When it comes to backyard entertainment space, it's all about the hardware. Grilling and chilling require the right tools for success, and these handy gadgets, appliances and accessories will help outfit your outdoor kitchen like a pro – even if your cooking and entertaining space is on the small side.

These items also can spur some conversation. Even on the hottest days, they're pretty cool.

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio Bistro 240 grill

Suggested price: $179

Manufacturer: Char-Broil

Available at: Home centers

Made for smaller patios or balconies, this compact grill packs plenty of power with 320 square inches of cooking space on stainless steel grates. It's available in gas or electric models (the latter plugs into any 120-volt outlet). TRU-Infrared cooking system channels heat evenly over the grates. This attractive, portable cooker can coordinate with your patio, too: It's available in six powder-coated colors. And it has such handy options as the Gear Trax condiment basket ($14.99) and tool hook bars ($7.99 for two).

Grill Daddy Pro grill cleaner

Suggested price: $24.99

Manufacturer: Grill Daddy

Available at: or

How to keep that grill looking good? An impressive and effective tool to add to the barbecue arsenal, this combo grill brush/steamer handles the dirty job of cleaning the messy grill after cooking.

The Grill Daddy Pro uses a water reservoir in its handle and the heat of the grill to steam off grease and grime. The stainless steel bristles are designed not to scratch cast-iron, steel or porcelain grill grates. The handles allow you to put just enough pressure to scrub off the gunk. Two-sided head is removable for cleaning or replacement with new brushes available online.

tilt stainless chilling spheres

Suggested price: $34.99 per set of two

Manufacturer: soireehome

Available at: Home stores and

This conversation starter is billed as a "gourmet ice replacement." Pre-chilled stainless steel balls (filled with a patented coolant) stay cold for hours. Perfect for cocktails (no water to dilute the drink), but these cold globes are really handy for keeping dips, salads or desserts chilled on a buffet. Retrieve the sphere with a little hook, provided as part of the set.

CapaBunga! reusable wine bottle caps

Suggested retail price: Two for $7.95

Manufacturer: CapaBunga

Available at: Wine stores and

What every wine party needs – a stopper (or "bung") that's easy to use. (You can't drink that bottle all in one gulp.) These reusable silicone caps fit snugly around the top of a bottle and seal it tight. You can turn the bottle upside down and shake it – and still not lose a drop. The caps come in several colors or printed with clever words (such as "I earned it" or "In case of emergency, remove cap").

Frigidaire Professional five-speed blender

Suggested price: $129.99

Manufacturer: Frigidaire

Available at: Target and Best Buy

What every Margaritaville needs: a blender that can churn out gallons of ice-blended drinks without bending a blade. Super strong, it crushes ice or liquefies fruit in seconds. Its big glass jar holds 56 ounces (more than eight large margaritas). The brushed stainless steel appliance lets the home bartender whirr like a pro. It's also great for making cold soups, sauces and, of course, smoothies.

Yonana frozen dessert maker

Suggested price: $49.99

Manufacturer: Healthy Foods

Available at: Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond and other home stores and

Got overripe bananas? Try this frozen dessert maker. Winner of Good Housekeeping's VIP (Very Innovative Product) Award for 2012, this little unit whirls frozen bananas and other soft fruit into a no-guilt, low-cal, high-flavor dessert that tastes like frozen yogurt or soft-serve ice cream – but with almost no fat. It works great with peaches, mangoes, strawberries, even pumpkin in combination with bananas.

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker

Suggested price: $350

Manufacturer: Char-Griller

Available at: Walmart, Lowe's and

This cool cooker expands the menu in your backyard kitchen. Like the ceramic Big Green Egg, this combo grill and smoker offers all the advantages at half the price. Double-walled insulation allows for efficient convection cooking with less charcoal and less moisture loss. Cooks everything – ribs, pizza, you name it. Grill offers more than 300 square inches of cooking space – enough for 23 burgers! Available in black, brown or burgundy red.

Grill-Top Infuser covered cooker

Suggested price: $24.99

Manufacturer: Char-Broil

Available at: Home centers

This innovative cooker allows you to "roast" on the grill, infusing food with flavor (from wood chips, marinade, juice, wine or beer) without losing moisture. It's ideal for rotisserie-style chicken and vegetables. A bonus rack lets you steam fish and other delicate foods while still getting that great grilled flavor.

Call The Bee's Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

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