The Best Grilling Gloves for Every Task
Seasoned grillers know to avoid mistakes like using lighter fluid or charcoal briquettes, keeping steaks from tasting like kerosene. Yet, add a live flame, hot charcoal, and metal grates, and otherwise-careful cooks can make the mistake of burning themselves. Grilling gloves will not only protect your fingers and forearms but also provide you with peace of mind when you're stationed at the fire.
Whether you're just learning to work with charcoal or are already an advanced pitmaster, a solid heat-proof glove is an essential tool. Top-of-the-line gloves protect from temperatures of 500 to 1000° Fahrenheit, and many offer the advantages like comfort, easy clean-up, and resistance to water and oil. You'll find a glove to fit the job here, from smoking to grilling to cooking in cast iron over a campfire. Our best choice is the Semboh Extreme Heat-Resistant BBQ Gloves, thanks to their superior heat resistance and dexterity. Read on for our favorite grilling gloves to use at home.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Semboh Extreme Heat-Resistant BBQ Gloves
Best Silicone: Geekhom Grilling Gloves
Best for Barbecue: Artisan Smoker Heat Resistant Gloves
Best Leather: Steven Raichlen Extra Long Suede Grill Gloves
Best Waterproof: Jolly Green Products Ekogrips BBQ Gloves
Any chef, pro or otherwise, can benefit from excellent heat protection. Heat protection means limited contact with live fire and extra hot temperatures. For the best results, focus on the type of glove that works best for your cooking style. The Semboh Extreme Heat-Resistant Gloves offer high heat resistance and easy maintenance. At the same time, the Jolly Green Products Ekogrips BBQ Gloves are generally user-friendly and an inexpensive option for everyday use on the grill and beyond.
Factors to Consider
Usage and Care
Considering how and what you cook will help you choose the right grilling gloves. Are you a once-a-season griller looking to flip burgers and corn? Or are you in a weekly routine with a full smoker setup?
Some grilling gloves are made for handling meat and some are made more for heat protection. Decide which side of the equation you fall on and purchase a set best fit for the job. Waterproof, food-grade silicone is a good choice for pulling apart that pork shoulder. Leather gloves, meanwhile, won't be as convenient as food-grade disposable gloves for food prep. The right tools make any project a whole lot easier.
Also, consider how much cleaning and care you want to give your gloves, says Daniel Holzman, chef and founder of Danny Boy's Pizza. "Some are dishwasher safe, some appropriate for the washing machine, others are spot clean only. Generally speaking, I use grill gloves to shield me from the heat but not directly in contact with the food. I still use utensils to manipulate food on the grill so my gloves don't need to be food surface sanitary, just clean from dirt and debris."
Any cloth-like glove must be fully dry before use. Wet materials conduct heat faster and will defeat the purpose of using a heat-resistant glove, no matter the temperature.
- Silicone gloves are ideal for smoking meats and handling food. They resist oil and water and tend to be easy to clean. They offer a bit less flexibility than other styles of glove but are relatively inexpensive. The biggest downside is their low heat resistance compared to other types.
- Leather gloves are heat resistant, hold up well over time, and are consistently the most comfortable kind of grilling glove. They can be a solid investment or gift and great for working over hot coals or fire on a regular basis. Leather, however, isn't recommended for handling meat, as it's more difficult to to clean and maintain.
- Neoprene/Silicone Synthetic gloves resist high heat and are affordable. Yet, this material isn't a great choice for handling meat, as it absorbs fat and other fluids. While the best ones fit like a glove, most don't offer forearm protection.
- Kevlar/Nomex gloves mimic many of the best qualities of synthetic but are very easy to use and heat resistant even at high temperatures. Also like synthetic, the fabric absorbs fluids. Prices vary from inexpensive to investment.
Pro Panel Q+A
Q: Are grilling gloves necessary?
A: For pitmaster Leonard Botello, owner of Texas-based Truth BBQ, gloves are a necessary part of the process. "I love using gloves when grilling and smoking. I find them to be more necessary than a thermometer," he says. In addition to a pair of heat-resistant gloves, Botello recommends keeping knit gloves on hand for food preparation.
"What I love about these knit gloves is they are super affordable, and you can just throw them in the washer when they get dirty," he says. "We simply replace them when they get stained or just take on too much wear. Luckily, the cotton-knit gloves typically come in a pack of 12 which will last the 'weekend warrior' and holiday home cooker quite a while before they have to buy more."
Q: How often should I replace my grilling gloves?
A: "Replace your grill gloves when the threadbare spots appear and/or you start to feel your fingers burning. For gloves with liners, the inner padding can become packed down and lose its insulating quality," says Holzman.
Alissa Fitzgerald is a chef, recipe developer, and food writer with over 15 years of experience in the food industry. For this piece, she interviewed Daniel Holzman, chef and founder of Danny Boy's Pizza, and Leonard Botello IV, pitmaster and owner of Truth BBQ, to find out what the pros look for in grilling gloves. She then used their insights, market research, and her own expertise to curate this list.