Now, those of us who have read Steven's books know his mantra for the grill: keep it hot, keep it clean, and keep it lubricated. I've even bought grill pads and I've got one of Steven's grill oilers for the purpose:
by the way, Canada. What do you think of the grill oil pan? I bought one and stopped using it, it seemed to get oil everywhere.
Sorry - I forgot to answer this one.
The cotton pads that you hold in a pair of tongs are OK, and better than using a rolled-up paper towel. I found that the paper towel burned too easily and left bits of charred paper on the grill. The "hunk of beef fat held in a pair of tongs" works well if you can find a butcher who has some beef fat to spare, and I've even tried the "stick a grill fork in a half onion and use it to oil the grill" method Steven likes to use on Primal Grill. The last one works a bit better on medium heat than on high heat - more onion-y good flavor.
The one thing I haven't tried yet is one of those pump-type oil sprayers (I have a Misto brand sprayer I use in the kitchen). I know I've posted a few rants about TV chefs spraying PAM on a lit grill, and now I'm wondering again if it's the atomized oil, or just the propellant (propane) that causes the blowtorch effect. (And I'm sure that now that I've mentioned it I'll try another mad-scientist experiment next grill session.)
Having said all that, I've used a few different grill oilers and the cloth-pad-based ones seem to do exactly as you said - they seemed to get too much oil on the grill at once. The silicone oiler brush seems to work a bit better and I like it. The brush doesn't drip as much oil, and it's pretty good at laying down a good coat of oil quickly - the heat shield helps with this too. I didn't see a lot of flareups from this brush, either - just don't use a lot of pressure on the brush or you might.
Come to think of it, this brush came in very handy when I seasoned my new gasser last summer. It covered about 700 square inches of grill grate in less than a minute, so I guess I like it a lot. We'll see how well it performs on the CG Outlaw when I season its grates in a week or two - part of my annual maintenance/modding session.