So you got yourself a good new grill or smoker and you may be wondering what are the best or essential grilling accessories to have. There are a ton of BBQ grill accessories available these days. Some are definitely essentials and some may be considered more “nice-to-have” gadgets.
Of course, the goal is to cook great tasting meat. One key aspect of doing this is to make sure you’ve got the right tools. With the proper tools on hand, you can make sure you are prepared, help make your outdoor cooking go smooth and easy, and take your BBQ skills to the next level.
Let’s break down what the essential grilling accessories are for your grill or smoker if you are looking to cook great quality BBQ:
Consistent temperatures are key to great BBQ. Don’t rely just on your smoker or grill’s built-in lid thermometer (which can sometimes be inaccurate). Avoid overcooked or undercooked meat by using a quality digital wireless meat thermometer, especially on those “low and slow” long cooks. Out of any of the tools in our list, this is a #1 priority.
Ideally, you want to use a dual probe BBQ thermometer so you always know the temperature inside your cooker as well as the temperature of your meat. With both readings digitally displayed in an easy to read manner on the same device. As well as timer settings so you know your meat is getting the desired cook time at the right temperatures. Wireless capabilities allow you to move around more freely without having to hover over your cooker the whole time.
Make sure you get a quality, rugged and durable design so you’re not replacing your wireless thermometer every other cooking session.
Yes, you read that right. We’ve got two thermometers listed here. But they serve two different purposes and you’ll want both. The digital wireless thermometer above is used to monitor the temperatures on your long cooks. For grilling, a good instant-read meat thermometer is another essential accessory.
With an instant-read thermometer, you can quickly and accurately test the temperature on steaks and other meats. Where even a slight variation of degrees in temperature can make a huge difference.
You can also use your instant-read meat thermometer on long cooks to check the temperature in different parts of the meat.
When you’re smoking (or grilling) meat you’re dealing with high temperatures often around 500 degrees. So, a good pair of insulated heat resistant BBQ gloves to protect your hands are going to be another essential.
The gloves are very useful for handling meat and you don’t want to damage the bark on the outside, need to move your whole smoker, or when you’re lighting your grill with a chimney starter. They’re also great for when it comes time to shred or pull meat also.
Look for gloves that are rated for 900 degrees or higher and fit your hands snug so you don’t lose any dexterity.
Many agree that a charcoal grill provides a much better flavor than propane. But struggling and waiting 20 minutes to get your charcoals lit can be a pain. Get rid of those chemical fire starters and lighter fluid. Start your charcoal in a much cleaner and faster fashion with a charcoal chimney fire starter.
Grab those gloves we mentioned above. Then just put your charcoals into the chimney and scrunch up some paper into the bottom of it and light it. It’ll only take about 10 minutes before you have fully lit charcoals ready to be used in the grill. One of the best parts of a chimney starter is that you’ll end up with charcoals that are all heated evenly. This means your meat will be also be cooked evenly and thoroughly.
The best size chimney starter is usually going to be the 7.5 x 7.5 x 12 inch. Check out this video on how to use a chimney fire starter.
Meat claws, sometimes referred to as bear claws, are another handy choice of BBQ accessories to have. Sometimes lifting and transferring meat from the smoker or grill to a plate or cutting board can be tough.
These handled meat claws are ergonomically designed, designed for high heat, and make the process much easier. They are also great when it comes to shredding or pulling the meat.
One of the BBQ tools you’ll use and need most often is a good, LONG pair of metal tongs. Having a long pair of tongs (think 16”) will allow you to work with the meat and still keep your hands at a distance away from the heat. Keeping you from having to put on the gloves every time. Many BBQ pros actually have two pairs of tongs. One only for moving around charcoal when needed, and another pair only for moving meat and food around.
Look for tongs that are high-quality stainless steel so you don’t have to worry about the metal getting far too hot too easily and bending. A good pair will also have a spring-loaded hinge, the ability to open wide and lock closed, and have some kind of insulation on the handles like wood or nylon.
You spent good money on your smoker or grill, you want to protect it and make it last. One way to do that is to make sure it is cleaned well before and after use. A good BBQ grill brush is an essential tool to make that happen. This is one tool to definitely not skimp on quality.
A good grill brush will also ensure you don’t have any leftover gunk from before burning up and tainting the flavor of the meat you just put on to cook.
The best way to keep your cooker clean with a BBQ grill brush is to turn up the heat for about 10 minutes when you’re done cooking and brush any leftover meat or gunk off while it’s hot and easy to remove. Then, before the next time you cook, make sure to take the inside grate off and rinse with water, replace it, and let it get hot before you put any meat on.
Look for a grill brush that has a long handle and a wide surface cleaning area of high-quality metal brushes that can effectively get in between grate bars. Make sure if you are using porcelain or ceramic grill surfaces that the brush is rated safe for those surface types to avoid scratches.
There are BBQ recipes that call for the meat to be basted with a sauce or marinade while cooking. This is a situation where the marinade brush you might have in the kitchen isn’t going to cut it. Get your hands on a basting brush or mop made just for outdoor cooking.
A long-handled brush or mop will allow you to easily and evenly spread the glaze, marinade, sauce, or butter across the meat. A basting brush often performs better for thicker sauces while a basting mop works great for thinner sauces or marinades.
A high-quality sharp knife is a BBQ pro’s best friend. One specific type of knife that works great in many instances for trimming BBQ is a boning knife.
Because of the shape of the blade, a boning knife works great for cleaning up a slab of ribs, tidying up the cut on a ribeye, or trimming the fat cap on a brisket. Look for a boning knife with an extra sharp approximately 6” blade and a comfortable handle.
If you’re taking your smoking or grilling seriously, especially if you’re cooking a brisket, a quality butcher block cutting board is a good accessory to have. For large cuts of meat, your average kitchen cutting board isn’t going to do it.
A good large wood butcher block board is going to keep your knives sharp and give you plenty of room to work with when trimming or shredding meat. Look for boards made of high-quality pre-treated woods like bamboo and approximately 13 inches by 17 inches. A juice groove around the edge will also help keep your area clean and prevent the juice from getting everywhere when moving or slicing meat.
If your smoker or grill is in an area outdoors that is not undercover, then the best accessory you can’t pass up is a cover. You spent good money on your cooker, keep it covered to keep it dry, prevent rust, and keep out dirt and dust.
Most manufacturers make covers for their smokers or grills but there are also great quality third-party covers. Just look for a quality heavy-duty cover that is made from a thick polyester that is fade-resistant and waterproof.
It’s important to make sure you don’t just stop at getting a good bbq grill or smoker. Set up for BBQ success by arming yourself with the essential bbq accessories. By having the tools listed above, you’ll be fully prepared and have a much higher chance of cooking great BBQ. You’ll also protect your outdoor cooking investments and increase their lifespan.
The online tell-all BBQ cooking classes available from BBQ Champs Academy will show you just how to put those grill accessories to good use. Learn from some of the best BBQ pitmasters and grillmasters in the country as they show you pro techniques, recipes, and secrets to cooking championship-quality barbecue.
Have you found your perfect mix of the best grilling accessories? Did we forget something on this essentials list? Tell us about it below. We want to hear from you!