Whether you’re standing in the warm summer sun holding a beer while grilling a few burgers, or trudging out to sear some steaks on a snowy winter night, you’ll want the best BBQ set by your side. Good equipment not only makes it easier to cook, it’s safer, too. Assemble your go-to tool kit, and get grilling!
Here are the 10 tools you need for BBQ season:
The uninitiated may say a grill brush is boring, but it’s the key to even cooking on any style of grill. That’s because the bristles remove any bits of food on the grates that will cause food to stick or impart unwelcome flavors (no one wants last week’s onion on tonight’s grilled pineapple). Use a grill brush before and after everytime you grill. Look for heavy-duty bristles that won’t fall out and can stand up to generous pressure. Wire is by no means essential for a great grill brush—you can find ones made from nylon that will do the job just fine.
Regular grillers know that a grill is good for more than just slapping some corn on and calling it a day. Enter the grill pan, which corrals smaller foods (like chopped vegetables, shrimp, and cubes of bread) so they don’t fall through the grates. Look for one with perforations that are large enough to allow flavorful smoke to permeate the food, but small enough so that nothing falls through.
To avoid scorching your hands when barbecuing, you’ll want to invest in a pair of long-handled tongs (leave the 8-inch shorties in your kitchen drawer). This allows you to turn steaks and more without getting too close to the heat. Opt for tongs that are at least 12 inches long, though 16 to 20 inches will give you even more flexibility when the heat is on high.
If you have a charcoal grill and you want to skip the lighter fluid or match-light charcoal, go for a chimney starter. It’s the easiest and fastest way to light coals. To use it, fill the bottom up with crumpled newspaper, then top with coals, and light the newspaper. The burning newspaper will ignite the coals. Once the top coals are covered with gray ash, tip them into the grill.
Heavy-Duty Rimmed Baking Sheets
Transferring food to and from the grill is much easier with a heavy-duty sheet pan, which can corral both food and tools. You can season the food with ease in the kitchen, store in the refrigerator overnight, or simply use the sheets to remove food from the grill once it’s cooked.
This long-handled version of a carving fork is essential for handling large pieces of meat and other big items on the hot grates. Use it to lift and turn food without getting too close to the grates. Some BBQ pros will say that a grill fork pierces (and by extension, ruins) a good piece of meat while it’s cooking, so if you want to avoid that, use your grill fork for things like grilled vegetables and fruit, instead.
Flexible Slotted Metal Spatula
Those burgers won’t flip themselves! A long, flexible slotted metal spatula (like the kind you use for fish) will allow you to turn things on the grill that you don’t want to use tongs for—burgers, grilled pizzas, and yes, fish—are all better off with a more delicate flip. Look for one that’s long-handled for safer grilling.
Pity the pit master without a basting brush by their side. A basting brush allows you to slather BBQ sauce or any other juicy addition as you grill. While ones with natural fiber bristles will give a more even coating, they might melt on contact with high heat, so something made from silicone is a better bet.
Grilling is a dirty business, for good reason! Avoid getting charcoal or any grease splatters on your party clothes with a heavy-duty apron (we’re partial to HexClad’s own sturdy apron).
Avoid over- or under-cooking your food with a handy instant read thermometer. If you regularly grill at night, opt for one with a backlit display for easy reading.