15 Best Grill Accessories [Essential BBQ Tools]

By Ben Isham-Smith

Published:

Complete your BBQ setup with these essential grill tools and accessories. Essential gear from digital thermometers to grill tongs, and wireless brushes to charcoal chimneys.

charcoal grill tools accessories

Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or a novice, having the right grill accessories and tools at your disposal can make all the difference. From spatulas to thermometers, there are countless options out there to help you achieve the perfect cookout. But with so many choices, it can be overwhelming to know what is best to buy.

Today we’re sharing the best BBQ tools and accessories you can buy to help you take your outdoor cooking game to the next level and also our top tips for what to consider before making your purchase.

Chimney Starter

charcoal chimney starter

Getting coals started and up to temperature for a charcoal grill can be one of the first hurdles many new grillers face but having a charcoal chimney starter makes the process so much easier.

A chimney starter is an open-ended metal cylinder with a grate at the bottom and air holes up along the side walls. To use, you fill the chimney with charcoal briquettes (you can opt to neatly stack or just chuck them in, it’ll work either way) and then light them using a small bit of kindling wood or rolled-up newspaper set under the bottom grate.

The flame and heat from the kindling is pulled up through the coals thanks to a phenomenon known as the stack effect, and it sets the coals alight. The good airflow in the chimney starter means the coals burn evenly and quickly, making the perfect set of base coals for your grill.

The only real difference you’ll find between chimney starters is the size and amount of briquettes they can hold. The size you will need depends on the size of your grill.

Digital Thermometer

digital grill thermometer

No matter which type of grill you are cooking on, having a consistent temperature is essential to producing good food. A lot of grills come with a built-in thermometer dial set into the hood but these are notoriously inaccurate; the best way to get an accurate read on any grill’s temperature is with a digital grill thermometer.

Available in a variety of styles, BBQ grill thermometers can range from simple digital read probes to hi-tech thermometer sensors that relay info back to an app.

Beginner grillers will be fine with an instant-read digital probe thermometer as it can cover you for both monitoring the ambient temperature of your grill and the internal temperatures of meats.

Grill Light

If you want to keep grilling when the sun goes down and ensure you’re still getting that perfect sear on your steak, you’re going to want to invest in some grill lights. There’s nothing wrong with grilling in the dark but there’s also no point in making things hard for yourself.

Low light levels and smoke coming off of a grill can make it impossible to see when food needs flipping, so to save yourself from potentially under (or over) cooked food, eye strain, and any accidents, grill lights are a must.

Grill lights will usually either mount onto your grill with a clamp, clip, or have a magnetic base, just make sure to get the right type for your grill – magnetic bases won’t work on stainless steel.

Also, it’s worth remembering that you’re going to be putting these lights over a potentially very high source of heat. Regular clip-on lights that you can easily find for low prices on Amazon aren’t a suitable alternative. You need to make sure that any lights you buy are specifically marketed as grill lights as they will have been made to withstand high temperatures. 

Tongs

grill tongs

Tongs are another must-have item in any grillers tool kit. Being able to easily turn food on the grill is key to getting a good cook so you want to have the best tool for the job.

Opt for long-handled tongs that give you good reach over the grill and that have either wooden or silicone grips, this stops your fingers from getting too close to the flames or any fat that could be spitting up, plus you’re also protected from any heat that might travel up the metal tongs. 

Spatula

grill spatula tong set

You won’t get very far with cooking on a grill without a decent spatula! This essential grilling tool is used for getting underneath and flipping food to make sure you are getting an even cook.

When looking for a good grill spatula you want something with a long handle, wide blade, and thin profile. A long handle will help protect your fingers from getting too close to the heat and a wide blade makes it easy to turn both small and large pieces of food. A thin profile means you can get cleanly underneath even flakey foods such as fish without leaving too much stuck to the grates.

Gloves

grill gloves

When you’re working around high temperatures and open flames safety is always a must. A good pair of heat-resistant grill gloves is an essential bit of grilling kit and will mean you can work around the grill without worrying about getting burnt.

There are a variety of styles of grill gloves available but we suggest buying ones that have a longer cuff so that it protects more of your arm and also ones that have the highest heat resistance rating you can find.

A lot of heat-resistant gloves that are designed to be used for cooking tasks such as pulling a hot baking tray out of the oven will be rated to around 662℉ (350℃) but there are also gloves rated to 932℉ (500℃) and above which are better suited to working near open flames.

Grill Basket

grill basket

You don’t tend to understand the need for a grill basket until you lose half of your food through your grill grates, once that happens you realize how handy they can be!

There are a few different styles of grill baskets available on the market but their main purpose is the same – to prevent food from sitting directly on the grates and then either sticking or falling through them.

Grill baskets can either be open-topped or have a close-down mesh lid that allows them to be flipped. Open baskets are used more for grilling vegetables or smaller pieces of food where you can turn the contents easily with tongs or a spatula.

Close-top mesh grill baskets are better suited for grilling things like fish. The mesh tends to be a closer weave which stops any meat falling through the gaps and it also means you can easily flip fish without worrying about it falling apart.

Rib Racks

bbq grilling rib rack

Ribs are a staple recipe in many people’s grilling repertoire but they aren’t the easiest thing to cook if you’re only working with a small grill. A great solution to this problem is getting yourself a Rib rack. Made out of wire, a rib rack allows you to stand your ribs upright so that they take up less grill space but still get a good even cook.

Racks come in a range of sizes to accommodate both full and half cuts of ribs. If you enjoy using a sauce or mop on your ribs you’d be best off finding a rack with a non-stick coating to make clean-up easier.

Smoker Box

rectangle smoker box on grill grates next to pork meat

Got the hang of grilling and want to dip your toe into the world of smoking? Don’t rush out to get yourself a full smoker set-up, instead try out a smoker box. You can turn your regular gas or charcoal grill into a full-on smoker with one affordable little metal box.

A smoker box is a metal box where you add wood chips that are then lit and left to smolder. Once smoldering, the lid of the box is closed and smoke will start to escape from the holes around the box giving you that wonderful smokey taste.

Metal Skewers

metal skewers

If you’re cooking any kind of skewered meat or kebabs on the grill, metal skewers are a must.

Metal skewers are generally considered a better option than bamboo skewers as they are reusable, come in a multitude of sizes, and aren’t going to fall apart when you’re grilling.

Metal skewers can be bought in a range of lengths and sizes so make sure you are buying ones that are going to fit properly on your grill. Flat skewers are handy for making sure food is easy to turn so that all sides are cooked evenly (rounded needle-like skewers can mean food ends up ‘spinning’ so you have to turn each piece individually with tongs). If you’re worried about food sticking to the grill grates you can also get skewer rests or holders that keep the skewers just slightly above the grates.

Rotisserie Insert

charcoal grill rotisserie insert

Rotisseries are a great bit of kit to add to your grilling setup if you want to get a bit more adventurous with your cooking choices. Rotisseries allow you to turn meat at a slow and steady rate so that it gets cooked evenly on all sides. Constantly rotating the meat also keeps the internal juices moving to ensure it stays moist.

Grill rotisseries come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. Some of the higher-end versions can integrate into the grill you already have and can be rotated by a motor, whereas others will sit as a stand-alone bit of equipment that you set on the grill grates and rotate by hand.

Grill Brush

grill brush

Making sure to give your grill a clean after every use is one of the most important habits any griller should form. Not only is it good food hygiene practices, but it also helps to prolong the life of your grill. A good grill brush will clean any excess grease or food debris off of the grates once you’ve finished cooking.

When shopping for a grill brush the main question you’ll come up against is whether you want to go for a bristle brush or a non-bristle brush. Both styles of brush will work equally as well to clean a grill.

The reason there are different styles is that there has been some concern in the past about lower-quality wire bristle brushes shedding and leaving sharp wire fragments on the grill. These wires could then end up embedded in food the next time you cook and cause injury to whoever eats them.

The easiest way to avoid any issues is by going for a well-known trusted make of wire bristle brush such as Kona or try out a bristle-free coiled wire option. 

Weatherproof Cover

gas grill cover

When your grill isn’t in use you’ll want to keep it protected from the elements with a weatherproof cover. A grill cover doesn’t have to be overly fancy, but you do want it to be durable especially if your grill is stored outdoors year round. The most important things to look for when purchasing a grill cover are that it fits correctly, attaches well (you don’t want it blowing off in the wind), is waterproof, and isn’t going to tear or rip easily.

Grate Mat

grill mat

Grill mats are a great way to help keep your grill grates clean and free from burned-on food when cooking. They also give you a nice flat surface to work with so that you can experiment with cooking a wider range of things on the grill without the need for a skillet or pan.

Best used to cover your whole grill area or just one side, grill mats are a versatile bit of kit for anyone who likes to experiment with recipes on the grill.

Cleaning Fluid

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to keep your grilling area clean, you’ll end up with stubborn areas of mess that can’t be tackled with just a grill brush. This is when having a bottle of grill cleaner under the sink comes in handy.

Grill cleaners work on penetrating through layers of built-up and burnt-on food while also being a degreaser and taking care of any sticky spills.

The strength of grill cleaners can vary so it’s important to pick the right one for the job. Some can be sprayed on and left to work for 5-10 minutes before being wiped clean whereas others will require an overnight soaking if there is a particularly bad build-up of burnt-on food and grease to lift.

The most important thing to remember is that all grill parts that have been cleaned with cleaning fluid should be thoroughly rinsed afterward in running water to avoid any chemicals being left on the surface and coming into contact with food.

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.


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