9 Must-Have Grill Tools for Your Best Barbecue Ever
Your barbecue skills will be on fire with these grill tools in your arsenal. Food safety, better-tasting meals, and easier cooking will be guaranteed when you put essential tongs, grill gloves, fire starters, and other grilling tools to use.
It’s not just about the grill itself. (Although studying up on the parts of a grill and control its temp is a great place to start.) The key to your best barbecue is in the accessories. Stock up on these nine grill tools to make your next grilling menu safer, tastier, and more fun to prepare.
Related: Your Guide to Summer Food Safety
Assemble a grill tool set with these turners, burners, and grill-cleaning tools and your next barbecue will be no sweat. We’re including some editor-favorite product picks below to make it even easier to grill some great grub.
Best Fire-Starter: Charcoal Chimney
Our Test Kitchen suggests starting your flame with an easy, affordable charcoal chimney. To put this, one of the best grilling tools for charcoal grills, to use, you only need some newspaper, charcoal briquettes, and a lighter. See more about how to safely light a charcoal grill if you need a quick refresher.
Best Multitasker: Tongs
Say farewell to the pointy metal forks and prongs. Tongs are a much better grill tool because they don’t puncture meat (which allows a lot of the juices to drain out onto the grates and the flame below). Use tongs to toss ingredients in marinades, to transfer items from platter to grill, to flip food, and to serve with ease. Stock up on two or more of this 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 this grill tool 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 so they don’t burn on the barbecue). Invest in a set, then try them at your next cookout using these healthy kabob recipes.
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 study bristles and easy-to-wash—and even dishwash—components, this 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 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.
Buy It: Thermapro, $11.04, Amazon
Best Safety Grill Tool: Grill Gloves
A pair of heat-resistant gloves sure comes in handy when you need to handle the piping-hot lid, turn kabobs or corn on the cob with tongs, and adjust the grill grates. We prefer pairs coated with silicone for its 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: Grill Basket
Similar to the skewers, a stainless-steel 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.
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 blew or dropped onto the surface since the last use. (Don’t feel like buying a brush? You can clean your grill with an onion too.) To avoid dangers of bristles in your grilled food, look for bristle-free grill brush options.
Be sure to start 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 need several sets of tongs. A grill tool set is sure to get you success.