The material of construction is very important to consider when shopping for tongs. The two most common materials used are stainless steel, plastic or a mixture of the two.
Personally, I think the best tongs for cooking are stainless steel tongs as they are the best “all-around” option. There is very little stainless steel tongs cannot do. The only reason to ever be weary of them is if the majority of your tong-usage will be tossing salad greens. Plastic tipped tongs are a better option for salads, as the plastic is less likely to bruise any leafy greens. However, this isn’t really an issue and stainless steel tongs will be perfectly acceptable for this use as well.
The main reason I like stainless steel tongs is because they are very sturdy, strong and feel comfortable in the hand. Stainless steel tongs also have far better grip than plastic ones. Anytime you need to flip meat, or stir-fry, stainless steel is the best material for this.
Stainless steel is also highly recommended for grilling and BBQing. The intense heat of the grill can cause damage to plastic tongs, which is the last thing any cook wants to see. Even if the plastic is rated to be “heat resistant”, all this really means is that it wont melt when it touches the grill. It will however still warp and over time lose shape, rendering the pair of tongs useless after prolonged exposure to heat.
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