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10 Cooking Tools You Can Get Cheap at the Hardware Store

Find better quality cooking and entertaining items at the hardware store. Eschew the froufrou!

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meat

Cedar Grilling Planks—about $1 each

You can spend around $15 for a pair of cedar planks made specifically for grilling, or you can head to the lumber department for an untreated 12′ cedar board. Have the employee cut the board into 12- or 15-in. lengths and you end up with 10-12 planks for about $11. That’s a savings of 85%—and a whole lotta cedar planked salmon for years to come!

New to plank grilling? This beginner’s guide will help get you started.

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funnel

Plastic Funnels—$1 to $2 each

No need to hit the kitchen supply store for overpriced funnel sets with pieces that you don’t need. Just grab a funnel a la carte from the hardware store. These may not collapse like pricier silicone funnels made specifically for the kitchen, but they cost only a fourth or a fifth as much. The hole in the handle means you can hang the funnel out of the way. Plus: 10 high-tech grilling tools you absolutely need this season.

Parchment paper makes a quick funnel for dry ingredients. Here are 9 other uses.

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brush

Paintbrushes, AKA Pastry Brushes—$2 each

Long-bristled paintbrushes work just as well as those sold specifically for pastries, and they cost less than half as much. Plus: We’ll discuss everything you need to know about grill fuels.

You can also get pastry brushes for cheap at this unexpected store.

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cheese

Slate Tile Cheese Tray—free to $12 each

One of the big kitchen stores sells a 12×18-in. slate cheese tray for $49.95, but we found a sample of this tile, also in slate, for $11.70. That’s 76% off! Some hardware and flooring stores have free samples, too. Now, here’s how to nail that perfect cheese assortment.

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scraper

The Best Bench Scraper—$9

Chef Alton Brown says the 8″ Wal-Board Taping Knife is the best bench scraper he’s ever had. A name-brand one from a kitchen store will set you back about $15—and because it’s smaller, it takes more time to do the job. Plus: Build a shelter for your grill for the best barbecue season ever. Here are the full plans.

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dowel

Wooden Dowels—$0.41 and up

Place 1/4-in. dowels around your cookie or pie dough and you’ll always roll ’em to the right thickness. (Rolling guides specifically for kitchen use cost a lot more dough—from $6 for rolling pin rings to $20 for more elaborate dowel-type set-ups.) You’ve got to check out these 25 must-have grilling tools.

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torch

Basic Blow Torch—$17

You’ll pay $25 to $40 for a cute mini creme brulee torch from a cooking store. Or you can reach for the professional chef’s choice—a basic blow torch from the hardware store. It’s reliable and it comes with more than 1.5 times the fuel. In no time it broils up this irresistible Chocolate S’mores Tart.

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veggies

Kitchen Twine—$0.71 per 100′

Even cotton twine is cheaper at the hardware store—about 30% less than what we found for comparable twine at a home-goods store. Build this foldable companion table for your grill. Get the full plans here.

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food

Ring Molds—$1 each

PVC coupling pipes will give you the same formal look as a ring mold—and they cost about 70% less. Use a mold for fancier plated presentations. Plus: These 10 informercial products may actually improve your home…you be the judge!

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brownies

Plastic Putty Knife—$1.59

Keep these on hand for all those potluck desserts made in a 13×9 pan! The plastic edge means it won’t scratch your pans, and the cheap price means you won’t be heartbroken if it gets misplaced. Here’s a versatile one. Want more? Here are 20 things DIYers should always buy at Harbor Freight.