10 Must-Have Grill Tools for Your Best Barbecue Ever (Plus 3 That Are Nice to Have)
Your barbecue skills will be on fire with these best grill tools in your arsenal. Food safety, better-tasting meals, and easier cooking will be guaranteed when you put essential BBQ tongs, grill gloves, fire starters, and other small grill tools to use.
It’s not just about the grill itself. (Although studying up on the parts of a grill and how to control its temp is a great place to start.) The key to your best barbecue is in the accessories—and of course the grilling recipes, bbq sauces, and quality ingredients. Stock up on these 10 best grill tools to make your next grilling menu safer, tastier, and more fun to prepare. And if you want to upgrade your ultimate grilling tool collection, add on our 5 bonus “nice-to-have” BBQ tools. By assembling your own grill tool set with your picks from these turners, burners, and grill-cleaning tools, your next barbecue will be no sweat.
10 Must-Have Grill Accessories
Available at most hardware stores and online retailers, these grill tools start at just $11.
Best Fire-Starter: Charcoal Chimney
Our Test Kitchen suggests lighting your charcoal with an easy, affordable charcoal grill chimney. One of the best grill tools for charcoal grills, you need only some newspaper, charcoal briquettes, and a grill lighter to get started. See more about how to safely light a charcoal grill if you need a quick refresher.
Best Multitasker: Grill Tongs
Say farewell to the pointy metal forks and prongs. Long grilling tongs like these are a much better tool because they don’t puncture meat (which causes juices to drain out onto the grates and the flame below). Use these best grill tongs to toss ingredients in marinades, transfer items from platter to grill, flip food, and serve with ease. Though you may not have thought of tongs as a grill cleaning tool, they are the perfect item to wipe down a still-hot grill without getting burned: Just wad up some foil and pinch with the tongs. Stock up on two or more of this ultimate grill tool so you can switch to a new pair of tongs between handling raw and cooked meat.
Best Heat Monitor: Air Probe
Many grills come with a thermometer in the lid to help you judge the cooking temp. But don’t be fooled: Because it’s at the top of the lid rather than adjacent to the cooking surface, the reading is not always the most accurate cooking temp. For a more precise estimate of the temperature, a factor that can help you ace that perfectly medium-rare steak, invest in an air probe to add to your grill tool set.
Best Way to Grill Small Ingredients: Skewers
Mushrooms, scallops, shrimp, and more taste incredible cooked over an open flame, but their small rounded shape means they can roll around or fall between grill grates. Keep everything in line with a set of sturdy kabobs. We like stainless-steel versions of these grill tools because they’re easy to clean, reusable, and don’t require soaking (compared to wood skewers, which are often disposable and require soaking for about 30 minutes before use so they don’t burn on the barbecue).
Best Flavor-Enhancer: Silicone Brush
Have you ever used a kitchen brush with brittle ends that break off and add strands to your recipe? You’re not alone. That is why we’ve added a silicone brush to our grill tool set so this never happens again. With its sturdy bristles and easy-to-wash components, this tool is our new go-to for slathering on barbecue sauce and basting with marinades. (But be sure to mix up a new batch with the same marinade ingredients rather than using the same marinade that you used to soak raw meat in order to be completely food-safe.)
Best Food Safety Savior: Instant-Read Thermometer
You've got to cook meat to the proper temperature to prevent any pathogen-related foodborne illnesses. (Use our Test Kitchen “it’s done!” breakdowns as a guide.) Instant-read thermometers are ideal because they offer an accurate reading quickly—when you use it correctly. Here’s how to use your meat thermometer like a pro.
Best Safety Grill Tool: Grill Gloves
A pair of heat-resistant gloves comes in handy when you need to handle a piping-hot lid, turn kabobs or corn on the cob with tongs, or adjust grill grates. We prefer pairs coated with silicone for the nonstick grip. This grill tool is versatile: Bring the gloves inside when grilling season is over and use them while baking and cooking.
Best Seafood and Side Dish Secret: Meat, Vegetable, and Fish Grill Basket
Similar to skewers, a stainless-steel grill basket is a low-fuss way to grill fruit, vegetables, and smaller pieces of meat and seafood. The holes allow smoky flavor to penetrate, but the base keeps the itty-bitty items from slipping into the flames. Thanks to its ability to cook smaller pieces without having to thread skewers, we especially adore this as a vegetable grill basket.
Best Grill Cleaning Tool: Grill Brush
For the best flavor and safest cooking environment, brush the sediment off your grill grates before and after (it will slide right off if you do so while the grates are still warm!) each time you use your gas or charcoal grill. Once the flame is extinguished and the heat has died down a bit, brush thoroughly. Then before lighting it up again, give it another brush for good measure in case any items dropped onto the surface since the last use. To avoid the dangers of bristles in your grilled food, look for bristle-free versions of this ultimate grilling tool.
Best Clothing-Saver: Apron
To avoid getting splattered by sauces and grease, tie on a cloth apron. It'll also help you look the part and provide a spot to store your grill tongs, grill lighter, and more. Seek out an apron that’s machine washable to add to your barbecue tool set. We recommend stocking up on two or more so you can clean one while you wash the other to keep your grill game going strong (and tidy).
3 Nice-to-Have Grill Tools
If your budget and storage space allows, these are the best BBQ grill utensils to add on to your essential grill tool set.
Best Fast-Forward Grill Lighter: Lighter Cubes
For a more environmentally-friendly way to start a charcoal grill or smoker without using lighter fluid, consider grill lighter cubes. They’re ash-free and work in minutes even when it’s windy or wet. Pair with a chimney like the one mentioned above. Light one or two cubes on the bottom of the grill, place the chimney above it, and soon you’ll have glowing coals ready to cook.
Best Grill Tool for Pizzas and Baking: Ceramic Baking Stone
If you love to bake homemade bread or are a budding pizzaiolo (that's a person who makes pizza), this is the ultimate grilling tool to add to your arsenal. The cordierite stone is heat-safe up to 1,450°F and can make beautiful work of everything from sourdough bread to New York-style pizza to a batch of cookies—yes, right atop the grill. This grill tool is 15 by 12 inches (to fit on a charcoal or gas grill surface) and spreads out heat evenly from edge to edge more efficiently than a metal pan might.
Best Space-Saving Small Grill Tool: Pocket-Sized Multi-Tool
Helping a pal cook in his or her backyard or grilling on-the-go at the park or a campsite? This versatile and compact multi-tool features a grill spatula, fork (remember not to poke that meat!), basting brush, plus a corkscrew and bottle opener for all of your drink pairings. This stainless-steel product is the ultimate grill tool for gifting, since it can be customized with a personal message or name on the handle.
Be sure to kick off grilling season on the right foot by putting together the grill tool set that fits your style and needs. Start with these guidelines for what's important, then customize as needed. If you use a gas grill, there's no need for the chimney fire starter. Maybe you always opt for a grill basket instead of kabobs for grilled veggies. Perhaps you love grilling meat, veggies, and desserts all at once so you'll need several sets of tongs. A grill tool set is sure to get you success.