~thirdeye~ is now on facebook and Twitter. Click the links below

Thirdeye Q

This site contains a collection of techniques for barbecuing, smoking and cooking over fire. The techniques shown here are not the only way or the best way to prepare a certain item. This site is just a starting point and these techniques are a guide to creating your own recipes. Recipes included here come not only from personal experiences, but from many knowledgeable folks kind enough to share their secrets. ~thirdeye~


From time to time I feature Polls to see what YOU, my readers are cooking. Currently no poll is available.

If you click HERE you will go to my Poll Page and can see results of other polls as well as web statistics for my site.


Grate Tools for Lifting Hanging or Rotating

April 10th, 2012 - Please go to thirdeyeQ.com for current information and pricing on my line of BBQ tools.

What do you use to remove your cooking grate while cleaning out the ashes and reloading your grill or smoker with fresh charcoal? Are you tired of getting your hands dirty handling your cooking grates? An extra hand would sure make things easier, so with these questions in mind, I designed a couple of tools.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ThirdHand ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The first tool I designed and fabricated is the ThirdHand, a grate lifting tool that also works as a hanging tool if you have a table or deck railing close to your cooker. The ThirdHand works on standard cooking grates found most of the major brands of grills, barbecues or smokers. In addition, the ThirdHand works on large cast iron grates. The ThirdHand is the most popular and most universal of the two grate lifting and hanging tools. Usually, I have several on the shelf ready to go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ThreeFinger ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A couple of years after introduction of the ThirdHand, I started getting requests for a tool specifically designed for lifting and hanging smaller cast iron grates and smaller standard grates on "tailgater" or camping size grills. The answer is a tool I call the ThreeFinger. It is a smaller design with shorter forks and a handle that is three fingers wide. The ThreeFinger is a special order and custom build, there may be a waiting list as I try to build several at one sitting.


Contact me at mail.thirdeye@hotmail.com for payment information, (including PayPal instructions) or if you just have a question about any of the tools. Please put the name of the tool or "tools" in the subject line.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


INSTRUCTIONS - The ThirdHand and ThreeFinger grate lifting and hanging tools are only effective when used properly. Here are some demonstration videos.

REGULAR COOKING GRATE - Tip the handle forward and slip the fork between the cross members of the grate with an approximate even spacing on each side of the center rib or ribs. Depending on the weight of your grate, select the slot which allows you the best balance and control. Usually this is the 3rd, 4th or 5th slot from the edge.

CAST IRON GRATES posed a particular problem because the unique shape of the cross members and the slot width varies a bit from each manufacturer. As you can see from the pictures, the handle must lean farther forward (almost touching the grate) to allow it to slip between the cross members. I find it easier to shift the fork to one side of the center rib, then shift back to center after they are in the slot. The fit can best be described as a "wedge fit" as the fork-to-grate contact is at the rear of the fork.

CARE & CLEANING - Wash by hand and not in the dishwasher. You may notice a slight discoloration in the weld area. This is caused by the heat of welding and is normal.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Q & A

1. Will it work on all grills and grates?I like the word "most". I've tried it on the grates used by a very popular brand of kettle cookers, and on my two personal ceramic cookers. Heavy cast iron grates posed a challenge because the cross bars have a unique shape. The ThirdHand may not work on all cast iron grates.

2. My ThirdHand won't work on small cast iron grates, what do I use?I designed the ThreeFinger just for smaller cast iron grates and grates used on table top and "tailgate" style grills.

3. The handle seems backwards to me. Wouldn’t you get better leverage if it was reversed? Actually, it would take some leverage to use the ThirdHand if the handle was reversed. But I wanted a tool that did not require leverage. With proper positioning, all you do is lift.

4. Is it stainless steel or can it rust?
Yep, the ThirdHand and ThreeFinger is 1/4" diameter stainless steel and has one weld joining the two pieces. Stainless steel is just that, "stain less". It is resistant to rust and stains, not rust proof.

5. I have big hands, do they come with a bigger handle?I thought about it, and that might be an option down the road. Remember, the tool is only in use a few seconds when removing or replacing your grate.... The handle on the ThirdHand is plenty long, which helps in the balance. The ThreeFinger needed a shorter handle to enable it to lean farther forward so the forks could slip between the crossbars. The handle is three fingers wide, hence the name. Both tools have a return bend on the end of the handle to prevent slipping.


Feedback is really important, both positive and negative. A couple of months ago I made a "please give me your comments" post on several barbecue forums that I hang out on. I was afraid I had overlooked something in the design that would make this tool even easier to use. All the comments were really positive, I appreciated every ones comments!! To all you field testers, about 25 in all, thanks again for confirming that my idea was workable.

Here are just a few of the testimonials I have received:

"...works like a charm...simple but functional"

"It's a great tool...way cool"

"You just lift and the handle does all the work"
Richard FL

"...it's my MOST USED Q'n TOOL!

"...your lifter has made me fall in love with my cast iron grate again"
Retired Railroader



The ThirdHand grate lifting and hanging tool was designed to lift and/or hang a cooking grate when adding charcoal or cleaning your outdoor grill or barbecue. Working around hot charcoal is dangerous. Wearing leather “welder type” gloves or special heat resistant cooking gloves is recommended. Use caution when moving or hanging a hot grate. Never set a hot grate on any surface which is not suitable for hot items, such as a wooden table or deck.

All grills, barbecues and smokers are dangerous if not used properly and correctly, and can cause serious bodily injury and property damage. I advise you to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your particular cooker. You as the consumer and purchaser are responsible for understanding of all owner manuals, safety literature and fire safety provided by the manufacturer. Proper clothing, eye, face, ear, and hand protection is the responsibility of the consumer.

ISC or myself are in no way responsible for any mishaps, damages, irresponsibility, loss of time, material and injuries incurred from misuse, poor training or accidents that are associated with any product sold or distributed.