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Barbecue gloves should, first and foremost, provide adequate heat and flame protection. In addition, they should be durable and easy to clean. The ideal barbecue gloves are comfortable and offer a firm grip to minimize the risk of accidents while cooking. Barbecue (BBQ) cooking is often a social exercise as well as a culinary one, and many chefs find that they especially enjoy grilling food while wearing gloves that look good as well.
The most important feature in barbecue gloves is their ability to protect the wearer against flame and heat. Gloves should be insulated so that extended contact with hot surfaces and dishes is not uncomfortable. Different gloves are rated for different sorts of exposure and should be used in the manner intended. Flare-ups are common when grilling, and barbecue gloves should be long enough to protect fully against unexpected flames. Many cooks opt for gloves that securely cover the wrists or even the forearms.
Gloves used for outdoor cooking should be rugged. A pair of gloves should be able to survive small accidents and endure heavy use. Leather gloves are often an excellent choice for durability, but some modern fabrics and synthetics also perform very well.
Ease of cleaning is an important factor. Even the most careful cooks will spill something on their gloves sooner or later. Worse yet, sooner or later most cooks forget to wash their hands after touching raw meat. Gloves should either be easy to clean or have removable liners that are easy to clean in order to deal with the sweat resulting from normal use and the occasional inadvertent exposure to bacteria.
Cooking on a grill involves a great deal of moving food back and forth, so a pair of barbecue gloves should feature a sturdy and reliable grip. Some have textured gripping surfaces while others offer individual fingers instead of the more traditional mitt construction. In any event, a cook should be able to comfortably hold even slippery plates while wearing gloves.
From Russians cooking kabobs to Americans grilling burgers, BBQ cooking is often a social endeavor. The deciding factor when shopping for grilling gloves is often visual appeal. Individual preferences vary, and some cooks opt for gloves with sports logos or specific messages. Others prefer the basic and utilitarian appearance of unadorned leather. In any event, the appearance of barbecue gloves is important but should only be a factor after safety concerns have been addressed.