I can’t imagine cooking on a grill without the right tools. In many situations they improve the comfort, safety and versatility, which makes them worth using.
All my life I have had chances to use all different kinds of tools and many of them I’m using to this day.
I decided to create my list of the best grilling accessories.
These are the tools I use regularly and can honestly recommend to everyone who also cooks on a grill.
Of course not all of them are obligatory (besides the few basic tools), it all depends on your cooking style or even the grill.
The Best Grilling Accessories for 2020
You’re wondering what tools might come in handy when cooking on a grill? Below I present a list of what I believe to be the most useful tools that will come in handy for most of us.
1. Charcoal Chimney Starter
Everyone who cooks on a charcoal grill definitely needs a chimney starter.
It’s a fairly simple yet very effective tool that makes it possible to conveniently get charcoal burning in a short time.
You don’t need any lighter fluid or other toxic substances, all it takes is a few sheets of paper. The chimney’s construction and the air flow make the charcoal ready as early as about 15 minutes from lighting the fire.
The advantage here is the briquette burning evenly which often comes in handy in many situations.
It is an inexpensive tool that I recommend to everyone who still hasn’t run across it.
Personally, I use the Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter (in a few different sizes).
2. Grill Gloves
When cooking, we’re always in contact with hot elements. It is easy to get distracted and consequently get your hands unpleasantly burned. You are perfectly familiar with that feeling, especially if you grill very often in high temperatures.
The simplest solution to this problem is to simply buy bbq gloves.
Make sure to buy the right gloves that will not only effectively protect your hands from high temperatures but are also durable and easy to clean.
I really recommend CI Jolly Green Products Ekogrips Premium BBQ Gloves.
With the right barbecue gloves, your cooking will become much more pleasant and safer.
They don’t cost much and are very useful, which is all the more reason to buy them as soon as possible.
3. Instant Read Thermometer
It is one of my most favorite accessories.
For everyone who cooks a lot I recommend an instant read thermometer, especially if you cook large quantities of food. Checking the temperature instantly allows to evaluate whether the meat is ready yet or not.
A very useful tool when grilling steaks, with a thermometer I am able to prepare a perfectly done steak.
A huge advantage is that a tool of this type comes in handy in many other tasks around the kitchen.
There are plenty of interesting thermometers on the market, which is why I recommend to you the Lavatools Javelin Pro. It is relatively inexpensive and offers brilliant parameters (very fast readout of 2-3 seconds).
It also comes with several useful features but if you’re looking for the simplest yet fast thermometer then I recommend a regular Lavatools Javelin model.
More interesting suggestions can be found in my guide to the best instant read thermometers.
4. Slow ’N Sear 2.0
A great accessory for a charcoal grill at a low price (especially the kettle type).
It makes it possible to easily configure a briquette which makes cooking with indirect heat much easier and way more effective. There is always a place for water which makes it much easier to maintain a stable temperature when smoking.
Slow ‘N Sear 2.0 works great during grilling and smoking alike.
It has plenty of uses which is why I believe everyone needs it in their equipment.
A full basket ensures much lower briquette consumption, which means much longer cooking time.
5. Leave-in Thermometer
A thermometer of this type allows to measure the temperature inside meat, but not only that. It also allows to monitor the temperature inside the grill if you have the right probe.
A built-in thermometer doesn’t show the exact temperature, in most cases it is very different from the actual temperature.
For that reason, it is the best to use a thermometer that allows to monitor the temperature at the grill grates level for example.
A smoker thermometer and an instant read thermometer are very useful tools that you need to have.
Such combination will work in every situation.
When it comes to leave in thermometers, my favorite model is ThermoPro TP20.
It comes with two probes that make it possible to follow the temperature inside the meat and the grill at the same time. On top of that, it has a very good range and several useful features.
A great tool for flipping the food is a spatula.
It works perfect when grilling burgers or food as delicate as fish.
A good spatula should be made of good quality materials and have a long enough handle and width.
In my collection of spatulas, my favorite is the Mercer Culinary Hell's Spatula.
It has a long enough handle, is durable and most important, it’s inexpensive.
Of course it is a tool that works great in many other situations, not just during grilling. I recommend it for cooking on a flat top grill for example, where you can especially make use of its properties.
The ability to grab food comfortably is without a doubt a great upside of tongs.
They allow to easily and comfortably take food off the grates or simply move it to a different spot. A long enough handle keeps the hand away from the intense heat, which allows you to use them even during very hot grilling.
It is the best to buy at least two pairs of tongs (personally I have a few).
One of them can be used to move/take the meat off the grill grates. The other will come in handy to move charcoal, on the other hand.
My favorite ones recently have been GRILLHOGS Barbecue Grill Tongs.
They have a long enough handle with a wooden finishing, are solid and lie comfortably in hand.
I recommend buying several pairs of tongs due to their endings as well. In this case it is flat, but there are also tongs available with teeth that hold the food in place more securely.
8. Vegetable/Food basket
It’s a great solution for grilling vegetables and fine food.
Grill grates have huge gaps that smaller food can fall through inside the grill. For that reason, it is recommended to use a griddle or dedicated baskets.
Both solutions are phenomenal, but right now I will focus on the much cheaper and convenient one – a food basket.
Their construction prevents the food from falling through and it limits the contact with direct heat to the minimum. That way you can comfortably cook different types of vegetables and more (even fish).
I recommend buying a Weber Deluxe Grilling Basket.
It’s a solid basket built of high quality stainless steel. Its construction guarantees great efficiency, durability and convenience.
9. Griddle for existing grills
A griddle is a great alternative to standard grill grates. You don’t have to buy a dedicated flat top grill, you may buy a griddle separately for an existing grill (gas or charcoal).
If you’re more into standard grilling/smoking then it is a very good solution. Buying such plate costs much less than a typical outdoor griddle.
The plate itself also takes much less space and is easy to store.
The effectiveness of such solution is close to a dedicated flat top grill if you buy the right plate.
I really enjoy the Little Griddle Sizzle-Q SQ180.
It’s a very solidly made plate of high quality stainless steel.
There’s a place in the front where the grease and food juices accumulate, and on top of that the side walls are high enough to prevent any food from falling off.
It takes a little more time to achieve the right temperature for cooking and to cool off, but the efficiency and results are worth it.
10. Grill Brush
And last but not least, we can’t forget about cleaning up.
I’m mostly talking about grill grates, which it is a huge mistake to leave dirty.
Invest in a good brush and try to clean the grates after each cooking. It is not a difficult task and doesn’t take much time, which is all the more reason to take it seriously. ( see my guide about how to clean grill grates ).
Very dirty grill grates are a cause of much more frequent flare ups, food sticking or simply a negative taste (you can feel the burn) etc.
Take a look at the Kona 360° Clean Grill Brush
Speaking from experience, I know that a brush of this type is very effective thanks to its triple-edge construction.
Of course you can buy any other grill brush, what matters is for it to be solidly made so that the bristle doesn’t fall out. The bottom line, though, is – keep the grill grates clean after each cooking.