With all these uses, you want to make sure you have the right tongs to meet your needs. After all, they may look similar, but not all tongs are created equal. Select these workhorse food prep utensils carefully to ensure functionality and durability.
· Length: Most chefs prefer 8- to 10-inch tongs. "Longer tongs are useful when pulling items out of a deep stove, but the trade-off is you lose leverage," says chef-turned-consultant Michael Horst of St. Louis. "And with the weight of many items in the kitchen, longer tongs often bend under pressure and do not last as long as shorter ones. My favorite is the standard heavy-gauge 8-inch tong."
Pro tip: Keep a set or two of longer tongs available for deep oven access, and use shorter tongs for all the other cooking tasks.
· Grip: Some tongs come with coated handles, which can help avoid pinches and burns, and provide better ergonomics. Choose the tongs that fit best in your hand and match your ability to provide special care (see below).
· Strength: Solid construction and metal are required support when lifting heavy and awkwardly shaped items. "Flimsy tongs fall apart," says Francois De Melogue, executive chef at in La Quinta, Calif.
Pro tip: Pay special attention to the spring mechanism. Of course, it needs to be heavy-duty, but you also want tongs that open and close easily so you don't have to use two hands to open them — that wastes time.
· Replacement Costs: Most chefs expect tongs to last at least a year — another
· reason why strength is important. Choosing less expensive models may save cash now, but if you have to replace them regularly, it may be a false economy.
Standard multipurpose tongs are the most popular and cost efficient. But there are specialty tongs for everything from asparagus to spaghetti. You might also consider a slotted tong, which provides grabbing and draining abilities at the same time.
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