How’s it going, grill masters? We are back again with the down low on all the must-have accessories, tools, and tricks for taking your grilling game to the next level. From essential grilling accessories like thermometers and gloves to smoker setups and quality knives, I’ve got you covered. Grilling season never really ends for us diehard backyard chefs. As soon as the weather cools down, I start prepping my grilling accessories and setup for next spring.
In this guide, I’ll cover my top recommendations for essential grilling gear, smoker tips, quality knives, and more. Whether you’re a rookie looking to get equipped or a seasoned pro in need of an upgrade, I’ve got you covered. Let’s get fired up!
1. Grilling Prep Essentials
Any serious chef knows, that having the right accessories can make or break your barbecue. Here are my picks for elevating your next cookout.
Protecting your mitts is priority number one when working the grill. I always keep a pair of heavy-duty BBQ gloves on hand. A good set of gloves will be made from flame-retardant Kevlar or Nomex, offer full wrist and forearm coverage, have a textured silicone grip, and be rated for temps up to 500°F.
Chef friends, don’t risk nasty burns – treat yourself to a solid set of insulated gloves and grill with confidence. I snagged these beauties from Artisan Griller that have yet to let me down.
Preventing sticky flare-up messes is a must for any backyard chef. I swear by using reusable grill mats to keep things clean ‘n easy. These babies sit right on your grates to provide a non-stick surface for cooking up veggies, fish, burgers – you name it.
The best mats are made from PTFE-coated fiberglass that can handle high heat. Just give ’em a wipe or rinse when finished cooking. I recommend Grillaholics mats – affordable and they get the job done right.
If you’re not injecting marinades directly into large cuts of meat, you’re missing out! Meat injectors are a game changer for infusing big roasts, whole birds, pork shoulders, etc. with extra juices and flavor.
I use a 2-ounce stainless steel injector with multiple needles to penetrate deep and evenly. A few pumps of a custom wet rub, broth, or wine marinade make meat ridiculously tender and moist. Don’t sleep on this tip, people!
2. Smoker Setups and Techniques
For the true smoky flavor of low ‘n slow barbecue, a charcoal or electric smoker is the way to go. Once you become a smoker, you never go back. Here are some pro tips I’ve picked up.
Wrapping large cuts of meat in pink butcher paper while smoking keeps the surface from drying out. This helps form that crusty, textured “bark” we all crave.
Unlike foil, butcher paper is breathable, so smoke and moisture still penetrate. I like to wrap in foil at first, then finish off in butcher paper for tender, juicy pulled pork and brisket. Gotta have that peach paper on hand!
I get asked a lot if those non-stick grill mats are legit safe to use. The answer is yes – if you stick to reputable brands like Grillaholics and follow the instructions.
Stay under the mat’s max temp rating, replace them periodically as they wear, and wash gently by hand. As long as you avoid cheap knock-offs and overheating, grill mats provide a convenient, mess-free cooking surface.
3. Quality Cutlery for Outdoor Cooking
A backyard chef is only as good as their tools. Here are the knives I rely on for prepping ingredients and serving up finished dishes.
When I need to chop through pork shoulder or thick slabs of meat, nothing beats a Damascus steel chef’s knife. The forged Damascus pattern makes these blades super durable yet crazy sharp.
The hammered look isn’t just for show either – the layers of metal prevent chipping and increase edge retention. I use my MCusta Zanmai Damascus for heavy-duty tasks, and it still cuts like butter.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a quality knife. The Victorinox Fibrox Pro costs less than $50 but delivers commercial-grade performance.
It’s got a full tang, high carbon steel, a comfy grip, and a wicked sharp edge right out of the box. For home cooks wanting an affordable workhorse knife, you can’t beat the value of this bad boy.
I get asked a lot about the differences between a santoku and a standard chef’s knife. They both handle general slicing, dicing, and chopping tasks.
The thinner, lightweight santoku is ideal for precise work on fruits, veggies, and boneless cuts of meat. A traditional chef’s knife with its heavier blade is better suited for chopping through bones, thick cuts, and tough vegetables.
My advice is to eventually have both in your collection. Pick the right tool for each ingredient and cooking method.
When only the sharpest blades will do, you gotta go with handcrafted Japanese steak knives. The cutting-edge technology and precision manufacturing make these stand out above all others.
I just got the Miyabi Birchwood SG2 knife block set and man, let me tell you, these beauties slice through steaks like an absolute dream. The craftsmanship provides longevity that can’t be beaten. A worthwhile investment for any meat lover.
When I’m prepping deli meats, jerky, or need even vegetable slices, nothing compares to my Weston electric meat slicer. The 150-watt motor and 12-inch stainless steel blade powered through anything I throw at it.
Being able to adjust slice thickness from paper-thin to 3/4-inch makes this a very versatile addition for any home chef. It’s a bit of an investment but pays for itself with perfectly cut meats any night of the week.
4. Paper Smackdown
I used to get confused about all the different types of paper for prep and cooking. Here’s a quick breakdown to clear things up:
– Butcher paper is uncoated and great for smoking meats.
– Freezer paper has a plastic coating for storage and shouldn’t be heated.
Stick to the peach-colored, unlined butcher paper for the best results when smoking. Freezer paper is only for prep and freezing.
– Butcher paper is untreated and very breathable for retaining moisture when cooking low and slow.
– Parchment paper is silicone-coated for high-heat oven cooking like roasting or baking.
Butcher paper excels at smoking while parchment paper is better for roasting. Pick the right one for the job!
6. Essential Grilling Tools
A grill master needs quality utensils and tools to flip, grab, and handle food with ease. Upgrade your grilling game with these top picks.
A sturdy spatula is a must for flipping burgers and moving meats around the grill. When choosing a grill spatula, look for a long, strong handle and wide metal head with a beveled edge to easily slide under foods. Our top grill spatula picks excel at flipping while resisting heat damage.
No outdoor kitchen is complete without a quality butcher block. These thick wood cutting boards provide the perfect surface for prep. Look for end-grain construction and juice grooves to control mess.
Let me know if you would like me to expand on any of these sections further! I’m happy to write up full recommendations for the products listed in a matching tone and style.
Maintaining precise temperature control is crucial when smoking large cuts of meat low and slow. A quality smoker thermometer monitors internal temperature and ambient grill temp simultaneously. This lets you make adjustments and ensures finger-licking results.
For instance, for pinpoint temperature readings, an infrared thermometer is a must-have accessory. Just point and shoot these handy tools at any food or surface to get an instant digital temperature display. Never over or undercook again!
For hands-free monitoring as you grill, Bluetooth meat thermometers connect wirelessly to your mobile device. Track real-time temperatures from up to 300 feet away. Perfect for long BBQ smoking sessions.
8. Grilling & Smoking Gear
Take your backyard cookouts to the next level with specialized grilling and smoking accessories.
For freshly ground burgers and sausages, a manual meat grinder attaches right to your table or counter. Much faster than chopping by hand, these grinders unlock homemade ground meats for BBQ perfection.
For making my own jerky, fruit rolls, and other dehydrated goodies, I count on my trusty food dehydrator. It gently removes moisture at low temps to retain nutrients and flavor way better than an oven.
I’m a fan of the Nesco Gardenmaster with an adjustable thermostat, a built-in timer, and enough space to make big batches. The end result is always tasty homemade snacks on the healthy side.
A grill gun makes lighting coals quick and easy. The push-button igniter reaches even large grills. Locking tongs grab a coal to start the fire. A must-have for charcoal purists.
Smoker tubes are stainless steel cylinders filled with wood chips that generate thin blue smoke over several hours when lit, providing an easy way to add subtle smoky flavor to foods cooked in a smoker, grill, or oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are great questions we have received in the past about grilling accessories and we wanted to share them.
What are the most essential grilling accessories every backyard chef needs?
Some grilling accessories that no chef should be without include high-heat grill gloves, instant-read thermometers, stainless steel tongs, and spatulas, rapid start chimney starter, grill mats or baking sheets, and insulated mitts for handling hot food.
What tools help make grilling meat easier?
Helpful tools for grilling meat include digital meat thermometers for monitoring doneness, marinade injectors for flavor infusion, barbecue skewers for handling multiple pieces, cedar planks for fish, and smoking boxes or tubes for adding flavor.
What accessories can help keep my grill clean?
Grill cleaning essentials include a brass wire grill brush for scraping the grates, disposable aluminum drip pans to catch grease drippings, grill mats or foil packets to contain messy foods, and a shop vac attachment for removing ash after use.
Do I need special knives for grilling and barbecue prep?
Quality knives make preparing ingredients for the grill much easier. Look for thinner and more nimble boning knives for trimming and slicing meat, along with sturdy chef’s knives for chopping veggies and herbs. A good set of steak knives is great for serving.
What accessories make grilling vegetables easier?
Grilling baskets and perforated pans help contain small vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, and new potatoes on the grill. Wood planks can add flavor to meat and veggies. Grill mats provide a non-stick surface. Skewers thread veggies for easy flipping.
What should I look for when buying grilling tools?
Look for grilling tools with long, sturdy handles to keep hands safely away from the heat. Opt for metal scalloped edges that can scrape and flip food easily. Ensure any plastic components are heat-resistant. Dishwasher-safe tools make cleaning easier.
What kinds of thermometers are useful for grilling?
The two thermometer types every griller should have are instant-read thermometers for quickly checking food temps, and wireless thermometers with probes for monitoring temps of large cuts like brisket over long cooks.
How can I keep baked goods from getting soggy on the grill?
Cooking items like bread or pizza on a grill basket or pizza stone prevents sogginess from direct contact with grates. You can also place items on foil with raised edges to allow air circulation underneath.
What accessories are useful for smoking meat?
Helpful smoking accessories include a chimney starter to get coals hot quickly, chips/chunks for flavoring smoke, drip pans to catch grease, spray bottles for spritzing meat, oven mitts for handling hot items, and a knife/fork for pulling meat.
What should I look for when buying grill baskets and trays?
Opt for baskets and trays made from stainless steel rather than coated metals. Be sure they are hinged or have removable handles to get on and off the grill safely. Size the trays to your grill’s cooking surface.
How do grill lights help when cooking at night?
Attachable grill lights illuminate the cooking surface for better visibility at night. Look for adjustable gooseneck designs with magnetic bases or heat resistant clamps to attach to the grill. Waterproof LED lights work best.
Let’s Get Grilling!
Well there you have it, my picks for must-have grilling gear and backyard cooking tips. Hopefully, you picked up some useful info to take your skills to the next level. The right accessories and techniques really do make all the difference.
Hit me up if you have any other questions. I’m always down to chat grilling and swap stories of success (and occasional smoke-filled failures!) over a cold one. But for now, I’m off to gather supplies for one epic cookout. See you out there!