10 Essential Grilling Tools

Find our favorite tools and gear to help you grill smarter and healthier.

Grilling Tools and Gear

Choosing between gas and charcoal is a lifestyle choice (and can be the topic of much heated debate), but the tools you use when headed to the great outdoors can make or break a grilling session. We’ve collected our top tools, from the very basic to the more specialized, that will give you great results. Any one of these would make a great gift for grilling-lovers everywhere.

Long-Handled Spatula

A good grilling spatula should have an offset handle that allows you to slip the spatula under food with ease. Silicone and metal spatulas work best for grilling, and a long handle to keep the heat away from your hands is best. Spatulas work best with fish fillets and other delicate foods that need a swift flip.

Chimney Starter for Charcoal

If you have a charcoal grill, the easiest way to light charcoal, briquettes, or lump hardwood, is to use a chimney starter. It’s best to choose a high-capacity chimney starter, or you’ll probably discover that you need two starters to light enough charcoal for your grill (a traditional kettle grill works most efficiently with 50 briquettes). Use an odorless, tasteless fuel starter or crumpled newspaper to initiate the fire. Let the charcoal burn until it’s covered with white-gray ash, which indicates it’s at the perfect cooking temperature.

Charcoal-preferred Chicken: Grilled Chicken with Sriracha Glaze

Grill Mitts

Don’t assume the cute little oven mitts you use in the kitchen will suffice when dealing with a hot grill. Large grill mitts that come close to the elbow are best. There are lots of choices on the market these days, with mitts coming in an array of high-tech materials such as silicone, fire-retardant fabrics, leather, heavy-duty cotton, and more. The main goal is to find something that will protect you from the heat or flames when flipping burgers, handling coals, or moving food from one side to the other.

Meat Thermometer

To keep everyone around the BBQ happy, and more importantly, healthy, an instant-read meat thermometer is your best friend. Insert the thermometer into the center of the thickest part of the food and away from the bone. Cook beef to at least 145º; pork at least 160º; lamb at least 145º; and poultry at least 165º. Since grills can cook at very different rates, check meat near the end of the recommended cooking time so not to overcook. And remember that letting the meat rest a few minutes after taking it off the grill will make for juicier, tastier meat.

Grill Brush

Keeping the grill rack clean is your first line of defense for healthy grilling. Each time you grill, preheat the rack with all burners on high for 10 to 15 minutes to incinerate any remaining residue from the last cookout, making it easy to clean off. Then brush the grates with a grill brush, and clean the grates vigorously so they’re smooth and free from food. We recommend brass-bristle grill brushes rather than steel bristles, which can damage the enamel finish of some grates. In a pinch, use a ball of heavy-duty aluminum foil between a pair of tongs in place of a brush.

Basting Brush

Basting—brushing, spooning, or pouring liquids, sauces, and marinades over food—is one way to add additional flavor to grilled food and help keep it moist. The classic basting brush is made from boar or plastic bristles, which are potential traps for bacteria because they can’t be cleaned in a dishwasher. To keep the brush clean, you’ll need to dip it in bleach periodically to kill any bacteria. The newest brushes are made of dishwasher-safe silicone, but because they don’t hold as much liquid as natural bristles, you may need to dip more frequently in the basting liquid.

Basting-Beauty Recipe: Carolina Pulled Pork with Lexington Red Sauce

Long-Handled Tongs

Tongs, especially those with spring-loaded handles, are the ideal tool for grilling. They can be used with any foods—from thick steaks and hamburgers to thin asparagus spears. Reaching for tongs rather than a big fork will help maintain the shape and juiciness of the foods—the fork will pierce and let the flavorful juices escape. Also, the long, slender handles keep your hands away from the heat.

Wood Plank

Grilling on a wood plank imparts mild, smoky flavor and keeps food moist thanks to damp smoke from the soaked wood. Planks suited for standard grills are widely available and come in a range of aromatic wood varieties. Alder, with its delicate flavor, pairs well with salmon and other seafood. Cedar, the most aromatic, works best with hearty foods such as chicken and pork. Hickory (think hickory-smoked bacon) loves beef, pork, and anything that can stand up to its strong, smoky aroma. Maple adds sweetness to ham, chicken, and fish. Wood planks can be found in barbecue and gourmet stores, seafood markets, and even your local supercenter.

Wood Plank recipe: Alder-Planked Salmon in an Asian-Style Marinade

Grill Basket

There is a plethora of grilling gadgets out there, but the all-purpose grilling basket holds up as a useful tool. They are especially useful for grilling sliced vegetables, delicate fish, fruit, and other small food that you don’t want to fall through the grill rack. There are many versions of the grill basket out there—one for meatballs, sliders, and fish-shaped contraptions. We say keep it simple and get an all-purpose, large basket that will allow you to cook a variety of foods.

Basket-ready Recipe: Charred Vegetable Salad

Skewers and Shish Kebabs

You may call them shish kebabs or skewers—they’re the same thing. Either way, kebabs are accommodating, easy to customize, and they’re a natural for mixing ingredients and flavors. Wooden skewers are inexpensive and available in your grocery store. Just be sure to soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using or they’ll burn. If you grill often, invest in a set of metal skewers, which can be reused, require no soaking, and come in a variety of fun shapes and sizes.

Go-to kebab recipe: Classic Beef Shish Kebabs

Curtis Stone's 10 essential grilling tools

Our friend and chef-crush Curtis Stone shared his secrets to great grilling with us – and now we're passing them on to you.

Curtis Stone’s grilling essentials. (Photo, Roberto Caruso.)

Curtis Stone came to visit the Chatelaine Kitchen recently in person, he’s as funny and genuine – an devastatingly handsome – as you might imagine. One of the many reasons we love Curtis is that his cooking isn’t at all fussy rather, it’s about getting good grub on the table so family and friends can gather and have fun. His simple ideas and clever tips add big flavour without a lot of work, so we asked him to share his secrets to great grilling.

First, find ways to add flavour right from the start:

Second, dress it up with simple sauces and salsas – like Curtis’ Avocado Chimichurri and Mouth-on-Fire Salsa.

Finally, make sure you have all the right tools on hand. Watch below to see Curtis explain the importance behind all 10 tools.

10 Essential Tools for Your Best Thanksgiving Yet

1. Marinade Injector

Use this oversize needle to inject brines, basting mixtures, marinades, or melted butter deep into the Thanksgiving turkey or other large hunks of meat. Injecting keeps even the driest meats moist during grilling and smoking. Tip: Strain your injector sauce through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter before adding it to the injector so large pieces of peppercorns or other spices don’t clog the injector needle. Find a recipe here.

2. Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke Smoking Wood Chips (Apple)

Steven’s apple wood smoking chips will ensure your turkey is bathed in fragrant smoke that will complement its mild flavor and never overwhelm. It’s great with beef, pork, lamb, and cheeses.

3. RAPICCA BBQ Gloves, 14 Inches

These food-safe gloves, textured for a non-slip grip, are just the thing for maneuvering the turkey from the grill or smoker to a cutting board or platter. Heat-resistant to 932°F, they’ll protect your hands while you carve the bird, too.

4. Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub

If ever there was a day you needed help monitoring the grill Thanksgiving is the day. This handy thermometer is like an extra pair of eyes. It’s a step-by-step grilling assistant that sends notifications directly to your smart phone. All it takes is a glance at your phone to know that everything is on track & grilling to perfection.

5. Stainless Smoking Pucks

These small-but-mighty smoke pucks pack even more punch than traditional smokers. The pucks’ directed vents force the smoke out exactly where you want it: onto your food. This set of two pucks also allows you to surround your Thanksgiving bird or vegetables with flavor, and their small size lets them get in close. Fill with wood chips or pellets. A top pick from amazon.com!

6. Best of Barbecue Stainless Mesh Grilling Basket

This roomy basket is just the thing for grilling brussels sprouts (with bacon!), pearl onions, green beans, or even shrimp for a pre-prandial nibble.

7. OXO Good Grips Angled Baster with Cleaning Brush

The OXO Good Grips Angled Baster with Cleaning Brush is a great tool for basting big birds. The angled tip is ideal for reaching into pans and ovens without burning your hands. The round silicone bulb is comfortable to hold and squeeze at any angle and the bold measurement markings are easy to read. The Angled Baster’s integrated stand prevents rolling while minimizing drips.

8. Best of Barbecue Lumatongs

The shorter days and longer nights of the holiday season call for clever devices like these Lumatongs, invented years ago by Steven and now one of the best sellers inn his line of barbecue products. A full 20 inches long, Lumatongs have two LED bulbs attached to the handle. A bright beam of light illuminates the food on the grill wherever you point the tongs.

9. Premier 2 Piece Carving Set From Shun

Here it is—a carving set worth of your beautifully burnished bird. Whether you carve the turkey at the table or tackle the job in the kitchen, this handsome set (the business end of the fork is 8 inches long to ensure you have a steady grip on the food) will give you beautiful slices every time.

10. Yeti “Hopper” Portable Cooler

Several years ago, Yeti muscled its way into the premium cooler market with its line of sturdy, tough-as-nails coolers in a variety of sizes and materials. Perhaps you’re not hosting this year’s Thanksgiving feast, but have been asked to contribute a dish to the meal. You can be sure, hot or cold, your food will arrive in perfect condition. And when the party’s over, you’ll hopefully be gifted with leftovers you can tote home.

Get Ready for Thanksgiving:

Have any questions about cooking your Thanksgiving meal? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the Barbecue Board!

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Charcoal Chimney

Do you prefer burgers that taste like beef, not petroleum-based fire accelerants? Then you're going to want to get yourself a charcoal chimney. "If you have a charcoal grill, this is essential for getting it started quickly and easily," agrees Lewy. The design is simple: just set the chimney in the grill, place charcoal in its upper cylinder, pack newsprint into the compact chamber below, and give it a light. The chimney's shape and elevated position on the grill allows for maximum airflow to the coals, creating an efficient and powerful flame. While there are dozens of similar models from which to choose, we&mdashand the pros we polled&mdashespecially liked the generously sized Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter. Widely available and affordably priced (just think of the gallons of lighter fluid you'll save!), it earns its keep in no time at all.

Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter,$30 at amazon.com

I mean honestly when it comes to charcoal grills Weber is where it&rsquos at, it&rsquos the one and only. But a grill that has both the charcoal option AND the smoker are the newer ceramic grills, I have two of those options listed below.

  • Weber Original Kettle Premium Grill &ndash Rust Resilient, built to last. This grill comes with plated steel and hinged grates. The lid handle comes with a heat shield and the bowl is porcelain-enameled. Plus i has a lidAluminized steel one-touch cleaning system. YES! This is a time tested favorite, Weber is KNOWN for it&rsquos quality. &ndash The Kamado Joe Classic II includes new innovation, featuring a thick-walled, heat-resistant shell that locks in smoke and moisture at any temperature. You can get the optimal smoke at 225°F with precise temperature control using the unique Kontrol Tower Top Vent or ramp up the fire to sear some steak at 750°F with direct charcoal flavored heat on the 2-Tier Divide & Conquer grill system. You&rsquoll get premium results with the Kamado Joe for any type of grilling or smoking you do!

10 Essential Grilling Tools - Recipes

The coals are becoming ashy, the marinades are marinating and the barbecue sauce is perfect. You have made plenty of ice, the cooler is full of cold drinks, and guests have started to arrive — the time to grill is near. Everything is in its place and the only things you need to make this backyard barbecue flawless are the correct tools. We have rounded up a few essential tools that will help you become master of the grill.

Around grills or any kind of heat source, safety is always the most important thing. Remember that when you're grilling, it's important to not only pay attention to how the meat is cooking, but to watch children, animals, and party guests around the hot grill. What seems like an obvious danger to you may not be that obvious to someone else.

Tools also play a huge role in safety. The short tongs that you use for indoor cooking are fine for a quick sauté or grabbing crusty bread out of the oven, but they are too short for the grill. Long tongs protect your hands and arms from the heat while still rotating corn cobs perfectly.

After safety is taken care of, it's time to grill. To get the char just right, include some of these tools in your barbecue toolkit and you will be set to go!

1 Kitchen Scale

Once you start baking by weight instead of volume, you will never go back. The precision of weight measurements offered by a kitchen scale means that you can achieve consistent results every time. Depending on how you measure in a measuring cup, a cup of flour can weigh as little as four and a quarter ounces or as much eight ounces, depending on how tightly packed the cup is, and how well you level the top. Think about a difference of nearly four ounces in a recipe, and you can see how something could easily get tough or dry. There are great conversion charts available, and many recipes are now written with both metric and imperial measurements.

Our pick: The Oxo Good Grips 11-pound scale with pull-out display. Will stand up to even triple batches of your favorite cookies, and the pull-out display means you can use your widest mixing bowl and still easily read the numbers.

2 Danish Whisk

Any bread baker knows that the initial mix of dough to a shaggy constancy can be hard to get right. And stiff cookie doughs can also be hard to bring together. But if you love to mix things without the use of an electric mixer, a Danish whisk will be an amazing addition to your baking arsenal. It just moves smoothly through your dough like magic!

Our pick: This set from Fuanrtk has two whisks, each with a slightly different profile, and comes with a bonus dough scraper.

3 Silicone Spatula

Whether you are folding egg whites into cake batter or scraping every last bit of whipped cream into a piping bag, a well-made spatula is exactly what you need. And one made of silicone makes for super easy cleanup, no seams to collect grunge, not to mention long life since the head cannot be accidentally detached. They go right in your dishwasher, and are safe up to 550 degrees F (288 degrees C), so you can stir your caramel without worry of melting.

Our pick: The GIR Ultimate Spatula is a serious workhorse and comes in amazing fun colors.

4 Bench Scraper

From helping release pie crust from your work surface, to moving chopped nuts or fruits easily from your cutting board to the mixing bowl, to helping cut dough, a great bench scraper is an amazing tool that you will reach for again and again and likely will sneak into your other cooking as well. We like one with an offset handle, for ease of using to transfer items, and with ruled markings on the edge for fast measurements and uniform sizes.

Our pick: The Pro Dough bench scraper is in sturdy stainless steel, one-piece construction, with clear markings on the edge for measuring. Cleans easily in the dishwasher.

5 Adjustable Measuring Cup

If you have ever tried to measure sticky stuff for baking like peanut butter, lard, molasses or honey, you know how annoying it can be to get it out of the measuring cup. We love having a measuring cup with a plunger function for ease of removal!

Our pick: the Oxo Good Grips 2 cup Adjustable Measuring cup will give you both metric and imperial measurements, and smooth plunger action to get every last drop out. Dishwasher safe two-piece pull apart construction for easy cleaning.

6 Ceramic Pie Weights

Having a great set of pie weights for blind baking crusts is a baking pleasure, and ceramic weights capture and distribute heat evenly. Plus, they are a one-time investment. Upgrade from the beans and rice you have been using, and gift yourself a generous container of pie weights.

Our pick: Most of these are pretty much made equal, so look for a minimum of 2 pounds of weights in a useful storage container.

7 Disposable Piping Bags

Cleaning out fabric piping bags is an exercise in frustration, but it is time to graduate from the resealable bag hack. Get some sturdy disposable piping bags for everything from decoration to even batter distribution. Once you start using piping bags regularly, you'll realize they are ideal for any messy job. Filling muffin tins, frosting cakes, making piped items like meringue cookies or eclairs.

Our pick: Ateco 18-inch disposable piping bags are burst-resistant and large enough to do big batches of choux pastry but can still be used for delicate decorating work. You can buy them in a handy pack of 100 so you won't run out in the middle of a project.

8 Parchment Paper Sheets

Lining your cookie sheets and sheet pans quickly is always a good idea, and precut parchment sheets make baking faster and easier. Unlike rolled parchment, which never lays flat, these sheets are designed to perfectly fit your standard half-sheet pan and are easily cut or adjusted to other sizes as needed. Parchment is the ideal liner for any baked good you want to be sure of smooth and easy removal, whether it is your stickiest gingerbread or your most delicate macarons. No amount of spraying and flouring can match the perfect non-stick of parchment, and it makes cleanup a breeze. We especially love it for easy shifting of cookies to racks for cooling, you can slide the whole sheet right off onto the rack, no risk of breaking in transfer.

Our pick: Smartake makes natural unbleached sheets, and you can purchase in packs of up to 400 sheets depending on how fast you go through it. If 400 are too many to store at once, try this pack of 120 sheets.

9 Hand Mixer

Even if you have a stand mixer, sometimes you just need that middle ground between mixing something by hand and bringing out the big guns. A good hand mixer is your best friend for fast dump cake batters, simple cookies, fast whipped cream and other everyday mixing needs. I own two stand mixers, but I still use my hand mixer regularly for easy bakes.

Our pick: KitchenAid makes your favorite stand mixer, but their hand mixer is no joke. We love the new cordless version, which makes it easy to mix things that require stovetop work like sabayons or Swiss meringue, no worry about catching a cord in your burner flame. And if you have ever accidentally knocked over the bag of flour or bottle of vanilla with your enthusiastic mixing technique and an unruly cord, you'll love the freedom of this one. All the power, untethered. Plus it comes in seven swank colors to pop in any kitchen.

Buy it: $100 Amazon

10 The Best Vanilla

Sometimes your best tool as a baker is just great ingredients. And the premium product for any baker is always going to be vanilla. Your most expensive ingredient, but also the one you reach for in nearly every recipe, if you are baking up a storm, it is time to upgrade to the pro size vanilla. Your per-ounce cost drops significantly when you buy the large size, and since extract lasts a couple of years without degrading, it is an investment worth making.

Our pick: Nielsen-Massey makes the best, and their 32-ounce pro-size bottle, while a decent up-front investment, is still nearly $2.50 less per ounce than buying in smaller bottles.

20 Best Grilling Accessories to Buy in 2021

Gear up for cookout season with these must-have tools.

Summer is quickly approaching, and if you're anything like Ree Drummond that means you're probably already dreaming of all the best grilling recipes and the best BBQ sides you'll be making. But before you fire up the grill (or grill pan!) you'll want to make sure you have the right tools on hand. The best grilling accessories will help you take cookout staples like grilled chicken, steak, and burgers to the next level.

There's truly something for everyone in this guide to the best grilling accessories. Affordable essentials like extra-long tongs, stainless steel spatulas, and instant-read thermometers are covered. Looking to amp up the flavor of grilled meats and sides? You'll also find highly rated grilling supplies like cedar planks and smoker boxes. Shopping for a gift for a barbecue lover? This round-up includes totally giftable items like a pizza grilling kit, a set of bamboo BBQ tools, and a cookbook from an award-winning pitmaster that you won't want to miss. We've also included tried-and-true cleaning tools, protective gear, and more.

Keep reading for a closer look at the best grilling accessories to buy this summer. And for more ways to step up your cookout game, check out the best barbecue sauce brands.

This affordable tool set covers the essentials: tongs for flipping, a slotted spatula with a serrated edge, and a fork for piercing and serving. They're all made of dishwasher-safe stainless steel with soft grip handles and hanging holes for easy storage.

Every burger lover needs a good grill press. This highly-rated Cuisinart one is big enough to press two burgers at the same time, and it's also great for paninis and grilled cheese sandwiches. Try it out on Ree's copycat Freddy's Burgers.

10 Healthy Grill Recipes from Around the World

1. Avocado Chile Tartines

The French word “tartine” refers to nearly any open-faced sandwich, and certainly to avocado toast, taken to a new level with the addition of fresh chiles. Use a good artisanal bread for the base as they do in much of the world. Talk about a reason to get up!

2. Smoked Gazpacho

Fresh tomatoes, lightly smoked on the grill or in a smoker or with a handheld smoker like the Smoking Gun, are combined with vitamin-rich bell peppers and cucumber in this Spanish classic. Garlic and red wine vinegar give this low-cal, low-carb appetizer zing.

3. Ember-Roasted Vegetable Salad (Escalivada)

Another Spanish dish that hits all the healthy high notes—in addition to fresh vegetables, it contains several spoonfuls of antioxidant-rich Spanish olive oil—is the grilled salad known as escalivada. For maximum flavor, we like to roast the vegetables (which can vary depending on what’s available) directly in the embers, caveman-style.

4. Thai Grilled Beef Salad

You don’t normally think of barbecue as health food, but the high proportion of vegetables to this intensely flavored steak in this Thai-inspired salad definitely makes for healthy eating. The beef is used almost like a condiment, but its electrifying flavors make it very satisfying.

5. Chipotle-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Nopalitos Corn Salad

Pork tenderloin is a very lean protein containing just 3 grams of fat per 3 ounce serving. Here, it takes on big south-of-the-border flavors in a chipotle- and orange-inflected marinade before being grilled. Serve it, if desired, with a grilled corn and nopale salad.

6. Sugar Cane Shrimp with Spiced Rum Glaze

From the Caribbean comes a very popular recipe that can be served as an appetizer of a light entrée—shrimp skewered on sugarcane with a spiced rum glaze. You can purchase sugar cane at many Latin grocery stores, or online from melissas.com. Otherwise, substitute bamboo skewers. (Tip: Use 2 skewers per kebab to keep the shrimp from spinning when they’re turned.)

7. Planked Salmon with Maple-Mustard Glaze

King salmon from the Pacific Northwest is glazed with pure maple syrup from either Canada or New England, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard and grilled on an aromatic cedar plank. Serve this company-worthy dish with grilled asparagus or broccoli rabe.

8. Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Charmoula

Steven discovered these chicken kebabs at a souk in Fez, Morocco. (They’re a great use for chicken breast.) Though seasoned simply with onion, salt, and pepper, the kebabs are served with an explosively-flavored , herbaceous sauce called charmoula. Great with warmed pita.

9. Grilled Pound Cake with Mixed Berry Salsa and Smoked Whipped Cream

Light but satisfying, a mixed berry “salsa” featuring fresh mint and fresh jalapenos tops grilled store-bought pound cake. A dollop of smoked whipped cream is optional. For even fewer calories, swap wedges of angel food cake for the pound cake.

10. Spice-Grilled Pineapple with Mezcal and Whipped Cream

Another guilt-free dessert is Spice-Grilled Pineapple with Mezcal (optional) and Whipped Cream. The high heat of the grill caramelizes on sugared slices of pineapple. Also great with a scoop of gelato or topped with the berry salsa featured in the previous recipe.

What’s your favorite healthy grill recipes? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram!

A Paring Knife

The main takeaway from our review of the best paring knives was that paring knives, though important to have, aren't so pivotal that you need to shell out for a high-end brand. Instead, we recommend buying one that’s affordable, like this Victorinox model, and keeping it sharp for mincing shallots and peeling onions. And, because it’s cheap, you won’t have to feel bad if that blade dulls over time from checking the tenderness of a roasted beet or the doneness of a batch of brown-butter brownies. or, I don't know, opening cardboard boxes—for under $10, it's not so taxing to replace.

Nothing says summer quite like a grilled dinner. In addition to being the oldest and most universally used cooking method, grilling is also one of this nation's most loved pastimes. We mark our summer holidays with grilled hot dogs, burgers, and BBQ chicken. Like most things, grilling is a lot more enjoyable-and the results more delicious-if you have a quality set of tools to help get the job done. Some grillers get geeky about their gear, but you really don't need a vast collection of grilling tools to make perfect Smoky Baby Back Ribs or sweet Grilled Corn. There are, however, a few basics that pretty much everyone needs.

Whether you grill over charcoal or gas, the basic tools are the same: First, you'll need a set of spring-handled tongs, because if they don't stay closed, tongs are not a helpful tool. Next, you'll want a good spatula, which will help you turn food gently (piercing food with a fork should be avoided). An instant-read meat thermometer is another required part of any grilling kit, because guessing just doesn't cut it when your goal is to determine if rib-eye steaks, juicy burgers, or Grilled Pork Chops with Rosemary Gremolata are done. A grill brush for cleanup is a must, as is a grill basket, which is vital for cooking foods like vegetables or shrimp that are likely to disappear between the grates. And for grilling over charcoal, a chimney starter is essential.

Take care when selecting your grilling tools as there are many variations available and a lot are flimsy or poorly-designed. When you invest in well-designed grilling tools, you'll be well on your way to upping your grilling game and further enjoying your time at the grill. Read on for our picks for the essential grilling tools you'll use on the regular.