10 Essential Grilling Tools, According to Chefs
Kitchen tools don't necessarily make you a better cook, but good tools make cooking well easier. Barbecue and grilling tools are no exception. We looked at many grilling accessories, from the essential pieces to the "it would be nice to have" items, to find you the best products in these areas and in between. We also consulted four chefs to get their input on which tools are necessary, which are nice, and which won't elevate your grilling. Combining their input with our research and expertise, we arrived at the best grilling accessories across multiple categories. Our list includes the best grill brush, best grill thermometer, best grilling gloves, and more.
Our Top Picks
- Best Spatula: Char-Broil Comfort Grip Spatula
- Best Tongs: OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Stainless Steel Locking Tongs
- Best Grill Brush: Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper
- Best Grill Lights: Permasteel PA-12002
- Best Thermometer: ThermoWorks Thermapen One
- Best Chimney Starter: Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter
- Best Barbecue Tool Set: Cuisinart Deluxe Grill Set
- Best Grilling Basket: Lodge Dual Handle Grill Basket
- Best Grilling Gloves: Semboh Extreme Heat-Resistant BBQ Gloves
- Best Basting Brush: Consevisen Silicone Basting Brush
Best Spatula: Char-Broil Comfort Grip Spatula
Best Tongs: OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Stainless Steel Locking Tongs
Best Grill Brush: Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper
Best Grill Lights: Permasteel PA-12002
Best Thermometer: Thermapen One
Best Chimney Starter: Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Best Barbecue Tool Set: Cuisinart Deluxe Grill Set
Best Grilling Basket: Lodge Dual Handle Grill Basket
Best Grilling Gloves: Semboh Extreme Heat-Resistant BBQ Gloves
Best Basting Brush: Consevisen Silicone Basting Brush
Whether it's the essential Char-Broil Comfort Grip Spatula or the added protection of the Semboh Extreme Heat-Resistant BBQ Gloves, these tools will help you improve your cooking skills and make cooking easier. Yet, the best tool you can have is your mind, according to Oscar Cabezas, executive chef of Teleféric Barcelona in San Francisco.
Knowing the steps and processes of your recipes before you even light your grill is the first step toward success. Mise en place, organizing your selection of tools and ingredients in the order that you will need them, is your next step in setting yourself up to win. Combine those with tools that fit your needs from our guide, and you are well on your way to mastering the art of grilling.
Factors to Consider
We've mentioned that finding the right-sized tool that doesn't become unwieldy is an important factor in our selection process. The right size may vary from person to person. An equally important factor is the right size for your grill. If you're using a small, portable grill, a 20-inch handle on your spatula may feel very clumsy. The converse is equally true, where a 12-inch handle may get your hands too close to the flames in a larger grill.
You are the judge of your grilling style and frequency. As a pro, I have tools that may sit around and collect dust for several years before I need them again. They make the job easier and more efficient when cooking for large groups of people. But as a rule, I eschew most tools for personal use that aren't going to see the light of day regularly. Equally, if you're going to be cooking burgers and hot dogs on a gas grill as your realm of grilling, you may not need things like a grill basket or heat-resistant gloves.
Q: How often should you clean your grill tools?
A: Clean your tools every time you use them. Dirty tools can spread foodborne illnesses and affect the flavor of your food. If your tools live outside or in the garage, cleaning them before and after each use is in order.
Q: How should I store my grilling tools?
A: The best place to store your tools is inside. Put them away clean and dry, and, in the case of cast iron, carbon steel, or similar metals, with a light coating of vegetable oil to prevent rust.
Q: What is the best grill cleaning tool?
A: A grill brush is your best friend for cleaning your grill. Though some chefs prefer a scrubbing pad and soapy water, others rely on a ball of aluminum foil for cleaning.
Four chefs lent their insight and expertise to our in-depth research process. Rob Nelson, co-founder and culinary director of Good Gravy, whose flagship is Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville, Ark.; Megan Walker, president and executive chef of Made By Meg Catering and La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes, Calif.; Oscar Cabezas, executive chef of Teleféric Barcelona in San Francisco; and Matthew Dolan, chef, and partner of 25 Lusk in San Francisco. We then scoured the market for the best options based on their input and our own expertise. We weighed the grilling tools we found against several criteria, including value, ease of use, and quality of construction.
Greg Baker is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and food writer with decades of experience in the food industry. For this piece, he interviewed chefs Rob Nelson, Megan Walker, Oscar Cabezas, and Matthew Dolan to find out what the pros look for in various grilling tools. He then used their insights and his own expertise combined with market research to curate this list.