In today’s article, we’re taking a closer look at some of the best smoking and grilling accessories on the market. We’re going to share the must-haves, nice-to-haves, as well as the I-just-want-to-have gadgets for outdoor cooking.
By using the right grilling accessories, you can make any task easier. Some accessories are essential, while others…maybe aren’t.
You can find grilling accessories at various price points. A high price doesn’t always mean you’re getting top-quality, so it’s important to do some research to ensure you purchase what suits you best.
To help, below, we list a range of some top grilling and tools and gadgets, explaining how they function and how they can benefit you.
So if you’re ready, let’s take a deep breath and dive right into it.
Table of Contents
- 1 Essential Grill Accessories – And a few Nice to Have Extras
- 2 What are Your Favorite Tools?
Essential Grill Accessories – And a few Nice to Have Extras
Let’s start this list with the tools we think are essential to any barbecuer or griller. Without the following tools, grilling or smoking will be either impossible, difficult, or even dangerous.
Whether you own a charcoal grill or gas grill, offset, or pellet smoker, you need to have some of these tools in your arsenal.
We’ll then move onto items that are nice-to-have tools. They might not be essential, but they can make grilling and smoking easier and more enjoyable.
Grilling Tools (Grill Brush, Spatula, Tongs)
You need to transfer food to and from the grill, turn it as it cooks, and clean off burnt bits from the grill once you’re done.
To make these tasks easier (or even possible), you’ll need these three essential grill tools. Sure, a large fork can do all the transferring and flipping for you, but you’ll risk searing your fingers on the hot grates.
Now, some grill manufacturers will include a basic grill tool set with their grill — if you’re so lucky, you might already have what you need. Kits are usually basic, but some can include extra things like corn holders and even bottle openers.
Spatulas and tongs made specifically for grill use are sturdier compared to regular kitchen utensils, and they should provide some protection against the heat of the grill.
Grill brushes make it easy for you to remove any crud or grime from the grates. However, you must take care when using these tools.
There are several excellent grill sets available, such as the Cuisinart 13-Piece Bamboo Tool Set and a 14-piece stainless steel kit, which comes with an aluminum case.
You’ll get pieces such as a spatula with a bottle opener, fork, tongs, corn holders, and even a silicone basting brush. Owners speak highly enthusiastically of both quality and functionality.
Grilling tools are crucial for grilling. You might start out with a basic set of three tools, but as you advance, you might find more use for skewers, injectors, or other extras.
Check out this article for the very best in grilling and bbq tools.
Instant Read Thermometer
- 1-3 second ultra-fast response time with an accuracy better than ±0.9°F.
- Large 2" auto-rotating ambidextrous backlit display and IP65 splash-proof construction.
- Intelligent stabilization alert and read-out hold function with integrated magnet for convenient storage.
- Used by professional chefs, BBQ competitors, cooking show hosts, and award-winning baristas.
- NSF certified superior build quality like nothing else on the market. Backed by an industry-leading 3-year limited warranty.
Instant-read thermometers are essential to have while grilling. There can be some guesswork involved when cooking meat, but this can be dangerous.
By using a thermometer, you can ensure that your meat has reached the correct internal temperature as directed by the USDA — you can also use it to prevent your meat from overcooking.
An instant-read thermometer uses a probe inserted into the center of the meat while on the grill. Within 3 seconds or less, you’ll get an easy read of the internal temperature on a digital display.
These provide you with dead-accurate readings instead of relying on firmness, cooking time or even the ‘hot hand test.’
One of our favorites is the Lavatools Javelin Pro instant-read thermometer — there’s a whole range from which to choose! They’re super quick and have high accuracy.
Instant-read thermometers are essential when grilling — so do some research, find the best one for you and enjoy your perfectly-cooked meat.
We’ve a buying guide and collection of reviews you can find here in our look at the best instant read thermometers.
Tongs, spatulas, and forks aren’t always enough to handle your food; therefore, you sometimes need to take matters into your own hands — literally!
For this purpose, you’ll need heat-resistant grilling gloves to protect your hands against the heat of the grill and the hot food.
You can use heat-resistant gloves to remove kebabs from the grill or roasts from the smoker. They’re available in different materials, such as suede with a silicone or cotton lining that prevents any burn-through, which could happen with cloth mitts. Silicone is much thinner as well, which enables you to get a better grip on the food.
You can also use the gloves to handle items in the kitchen, such as a cast-iron skillet.
A favorite of ours is the black-colored gloves by Artisan Griller. We love that there’s different size options, where most BBQ gloves are a ‘one-size-fits-all.’ They also provide you with a secure but flexible grip.
Your hands are the most important grilling tools that money can’t buy, so you have to take care of them while working with such high heat. A good pair of heat-resistant gloves will give you all the protection you need — and that delicious roast is less likely to land on the patio or grass.
If the artisan grillers gloves don’t suit your needs, check out our guide to the best insulated BBQ gloves for more choices.
Lighter fluid can be difficult and even dangerous to use. Instead, we like to invest in a good firestarter — these are convenient and can be used in the grill, campfire or even fireplace.
They’re usually compact and, therefore, easy to take with you. If stored dry, firestarters can keep indefinitely, making them an excellent addition to any emergency supply kit.
If you’d like a multipurpose natural lighter, we recommend the Walden Backyards Natural Sure-Fire Starters. These are made of a combination of newspapers with soy ink, cardboard, natural soy, and food-grade paraffin wax.
Some users have reported a piney scent, while others claim they’re unscented. The starters catch quickly in any conditions, whether seaside, rainy, or winter — they can burn over 15 minutes, giving you enough time to get the charcoal ready.
For a quick route to a charcoal hot-bed, try natural firestarters.
Charcoal Chimney Starter
Feeling frustrated with how long it takes you to get the grill going? You should try a charcoal chimney starter, these will get your grill started in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes.
They look similar to metal pitchers, featuring holes in vertical rows around the bottom edge. Instead of filling it with your go-to drink, load it with charcoal briquettes, and get the grill going!
The chimney’s unique shape will draw hot air up through the briquettes, which causes an even burn through the charcoal.
The Weber RapidFire 7146 Chimney Starter is one of our favorites as it’s made of aluminized steel and has a cone-shaped bottom — ideal for the fire starting area. It also features a thermoplastic handle that provides a comfortable grip even when the coals are scorching.
At 7.5 x 7.5 x 12 inches, this chimney can hold charcoal to run a 22-inch kettle grill. Furthermore, owners are pleased with the second handle that adds stability to the unit as you’re emptying the coal — they were also happy with how quickly it got the charcoal started without the need of lighter fluid.
The instructions are straightforward — simply apply a match to newspaper, and you’re good to go. Some users, however, have gotten creative and placed their chimney over a propane burner. You get the same results — hot briquettes — but in a fraction of the time it takes to fuss around with lighter fluid.
In saying that, we much prefer to use one or two natural firelighters.
If you want to start your grill without the additional flavor of chemicals, do as competition winners and get your grill started with a charcoal chimney.
If the classic Weber chimney doesn’t light your fire, check out further options in our reviews of the best charcoal chimneys for more choices.
Whatever you’re cooking on the grill or in a smoker, it will dry out the longer it cooks.
Brushes look similar to paintbrushes, but with longer handles. Silicon is a more popular option as it eliminates the chance of any stray fibers, which typically happens when using fibrous brushes. Silicon is also easier to clean and more resistant to heat.
Using a brush, you can add moisture after a crust is formed on the meat while it cooks.
The HQY Heavy-Duty BBQ Basting Brush is a favorite among many grillers — it features a stainless steel frame with silicone bristles.
Replacements are available if any of the bristles were to fall out due to heavy use.
If you’re often handling larger cuts of meat in a BBQ or smoker, you’ll need something a little larger than a silicone brush. For this, a sauce mop is perfect — resembling a miniature floor mop, with strings and a long handle
Good sauce mops feature replaceable heads, so you can clean one while the other is in use — most heads are safe to toss in the washing machine or dishwasher.
With a long handle, you can easily reach the back of the grill or smoker without risking a burn to your hand.
The GrillHogs 18-Inch Basting Mop with Replacement Head is specifically designed for pro grillers. Psst, this doesn’t mean it’s hard to use — after all, it’s a mop.
Remote Digital Thermometer
- Hands free wireless remote monitoring of both your BBQ temperature and your meat
- No synch required. Turn it on and receiver connects to transmitter automatically
- Has USDA preset temperatures for most common cuts of meat – no need to research or remember proper food temperatures
- Food grade stainless steel probes with thin tip for easy insertion and measuring
- Probes can withstand temperatures up to 716 Degrees Fahrenheit
Instant-read thermometers are excellent at getting an accurate reading of the meat’s internal temperature while standing by the grill. However, you must open the lid and be there physically to check the temperature.
A more convenient way to monitor the temperature is by using a remote digital thermometer. This enables you to relax with your guest while keeping track of the grill.
A typical set includes two devices: a thermometer with a probe that you insert into the food, as well as a remote receiver that displays the temperatures of the grill and your food within the range of the wireless.
We like the ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Digital Meat Thermometer. It features Dual Probe and a timer that allows you to set your desired level of doneness.
You can use the two probes together or separately — they can measure temperatures ranging between 32 and 572 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermometer also features an alarm that goes off should the temperature fall or rise outside of your temperatures.
If you’d rather enjoy your BBQ than running to and from the grill to check on the food, a remote digital thermometer is what you need. Keep track of your food while it cooks to perfection.
If the striking orange of the ThermoPro doesn’t suit you, look at more options in our reviews of the best smoker thermometers.
The spaces between the grates make it challenging to keep small items on the grill — and not falling through onto the coal! Don’t get me started on the trouble of keeping skewered food together.
For this reason, many grillers like the convenience of grill mats — however, these don’t have edges, so food can easily roll off the grill.
A grill basket is an excellent option — it enables you to get small foods on and off the grill with minimum trouble, you won’t even need skewers for kebabs!
There are different models available. Some will keep the food locked in place — you can lift and turn the entire contraption using the heat-resistant handle. What grillers mostly enjoy about this type of basket is that the food is more exposed to the fire — giving it a better flavor.
More simple models are square or rectangular trays featuring angled or straight sides.
Stir-fry on the grill? Impossible? Think again.
With a wok-style basket, you can easily toss and turn your stir-fry while infusing it with that delicious smoky flavor from the grill. This type of basket features pencil-eraser sized holes that allow both heat and smoke to enter while keeping your food in place.
Baskets are must-haves for any griller who likes to cook everything on the ‘cue. They’re versatile and can accommodate a range of foods as well as cooking techniques. If you’re looking for new ways to use your grill, a basket is what you need.
One of the most basic cooking methods has to be meat on a stick — or skewer. Kebabs are insanely popular to cook on a grill, and understandably so. But, to make kebabs, you’ll need skewers.
Skewered kebabs can be sourced back to ancient times, where lamb or mutton was the most often used meats.
Today, kebab can be made of any meat combo. Vegetable kebabs, fish or seafood kebabs have also become very popular.
Skewers are traditionally made of wood, but stainless steel skewers with or without wooden handles are more popular today. The length of a skewer can range between a mere 7 inches to a whopping 14-inch size — consider which length would best suit your cooking.
The skewers can either be thin rods or flat-bladed (looks similar to stilettos). Flat-bladed skewers will keep the meat in place and are, therefore, easier to turn, as the thin rod sometimes won’t turn all the kebabs — resulting in an uneven cook.
Smaller portions of meat will naturally cook quicker — and what’s better than kebab skewers with a few vegetables? It’s super easy to get both meat and veggies on the table simultaneously, you could even do without a plate!
With kebab skewers, there are no limits to the food combos you can create — you can easily use them on a grill or in a smoker for an even deeper flavor. Get yourself one or more sets and let the creativity flow!
Meat Shredding Claws
Lifting a heavy roast or shredding pork is made much easier with this one tool: meat claws!
Different types of claws are available — some are less than 2 inches but sharp enough to require extra care. Newer models are made of sturdy BPA-free nylon that can be washed easily in the sink or dishwasher. They’re usually included with a smoke box, thermometer or grill set.
Meat claws aren’t just suitable for shredding; they can be used to hold the meat as you’re carving or lifting heavy cuts or poultry — one user even used meat claws to hold a watermelon still while slicing!
Due to the ergonomically-friendly design, meat claws can fit most hands comfortably. If you love pulled pork, meat claws are essential to have in your grill or smoke kit.
- RIB RACK – Makes it simple to grill for a party – Ensures all-around air flow and even cooking
- HOLDS – Ribs upright for grilling and cooking – Designed to hold 4 racks of ribs while cooking other foods
- PERFECT – For slow cooking, barbecuing, outdoor grilling, camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities
- FITS – Charbroil, Weber, Kenmore, Forge, Brinkmann, and other grills – Can also fit oven or smoker
- MADE – Durable steel construction with porcelain coating – Measures approximately 11.375” L x 9.75” W x 3.25” H
Nothing takes up the grate space more than a rack of ribs, but a rib rack can cut it down by around two-thirds. As a griller, seeing rows of ribs stacked alongside chops or chicken is a beautiful sight.
Rib racks are generally made of metal, usually stainless steel. A popular choice is the porcelain-coated steel Nonstick Rib Rack from Sorbus. These are durable, fitted with handles, and are dishwasher-safe.
Measuring 11 x 10 x 3 inches, the Sorbus model can hold up to four racks at a time, and it’s suitable to use on different grills — you can even use it in the oven for a more low n slow cook.
Large racks will need to be cut in half — on the other side, smaller ribs might fall through the rack, so it’s important to consider the gap between them.
One owner used the Sorbus to keep their fired veal cutlets warm — they found that it also kept them crispy. Other users found it to work very well with other meats, such as chicken, giving it a little bark as it cooks.
If you’re a rib-lover, a rib rack is good to have as it enables you to easily cook your ribs on the grill, in the smoker or oven. Get yourself a few racks and line your rib army up on the grill.
If you prefer to make your own neat and even burgers, you’ll need a burger press.
There are different types available, ranging from a simple 2-piece set to a heavy-duty hinged plate with a handle.
You can make plain or even stuffed burgers in seconds — scoop, drop and press. This is a major time-saver, no matter the occasion. You can also press your perfect burgers and save them in the freezer.
Most presses can adjust to your desired thickness — some are even able to adjust from tiny bite-sized sliders to full-size burgers.
Burger-sized wax paper is usually sold along with the press, but they can also be bought separately. The wax paper will keep the patties from sticking together.
Burger presses are available in different materials, such as heavy plastic, metal or non-stick. The weight of the press will vary significantly depending on the material. Keep in mind that many plastic models will tout their BPA-free material, but many don’t mention BPB or BPC content.
Unhinged presses are dishwasher-safe and easy to clean. On the other hand, hinged sets will need to be taken apart when cleaned as according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Some users say they don’t actually need to take their press apart to clean; however, this is a recipe for food poisoning as meat can get stuck in the hinge.
Of course, quick burger-makers will be able to slap 2 or 3 neat patties together by hand at the same time it takes to load, press, and release a single patty from a press. But, if you aren’t a super-handed burger maker, a press is a handy tool.
What are Your Favorite Tools?
What are your favorite grilling accessories, gadgets, and tools?
Do you have a tool that you find absolutely essential to have as it makes grilling much easier? Maybe you know of a gadget that’s not exactly necessary, but it’s so handy that grillers must have it?
Tell us about the tools you recommend in the comment section below!