Barbecue is an art, and grill aficionados will surely agree. As with any form of art it requires passion, patience, technique, a bit of discipline, and, of course, the right tools. Read and learn the methods of grilling here.
Hosting the perfect barbecue involves more than just a BBQ grill and a piece of meat. The right BBQ accessories can make the difference between an enjoyable outdoor feast or a memorable disaster (Okay that may be a bit of a stretch in an honest attempt to get your attention).
If you enjoy barbecues, read on to find out if something is lacking in your arsenal, or better, prove me otherwise!
- What Are BBQ Accessories?
- Six Must-Have BBQ Accessories
- Other BBQ Accessories To Have
- Do You Need A Meat Thermometer For BBQ?
- How To Choose Quality BBQ Accessories
- Frequently Asked Questions About BBQ Accessories
1. What Are BBQ Accessories?
Barbecue accessories include all the tools for grilling that are needed during a barbecue. Most of them are used to handle food (spatulas, knives, tongs) and others to facilitate the job of the griller, like grill baskets, gloves or aprons.
BBQ tools usually combine stainless steel (easy cleaning and low risk of cross-contamination), and wood (for example in handles, to prevent burns).
It doesn’t matter what is on the menu: ribs, entrecôte, steaks, hamburgers, sausages, chorizos… every grilled meat calls for its perfect grill accessory.
2. Six Must-Have BBQ Accessories
Paying more attention to the next items will dramatically improve your BBQ experience.
1. A wooden cutting board
You will need a reliable surface on which to place and cut the raw meat, and then cut the cooked meat. It may even be a good idea to get two cutting boards for your barbecue to avoid cross-contamination (or even more, if you count bread and vegetables).
If you play your cards right, your cutting boards can also serve as prep stations and serving boards.
When it comes to cutting boards for BBQ, size and materials do matter - a lot. Wooden boards are the best choice because they protect the edge of knives and are more hygienic. They also need to be big enough to accommodate any cut of meat (picture a rack of ribs).
Recommended: Lionswood Colossal | Teak Cutting Board
The large size and sturdy wood construction make this magnificent cutting board a great grilling accessory in any barbecue kit. The wide surface area is not only comfortable for any cutting task, it is also suitable as a prep station.
- Teak boards naturally resist moisture, bacteria and stains.
- The end-grain construction allows the wood fibers to restore after each cut and prevents scratches.
- The unique checkered construction builds a non-slip surface that absorbs impact and cuts, protecting the cutting edge of your knives.
- Two steel side handles allow you to carry the board safely and gracefully display your steak.
- The board has a curved cut-out underneath to “hide” a plate.
- Good value for money. Even if it’s not the cheapest option, when you consider the quality it’s more of a bargain.
- There is no juice groove to collect liquids, a desirable feature when dealing with oil and raw meats.
- The price thing can be either a pro, as stated above, or a con, depending on your real budget here.
2. A proper BBQ Apron
Unlike regular everyday aprons, a barbecue apron is made of highly resistant, heavy-duty materials such as leather, for example, which protect the griller from fire and splashes while keeping meat juices, charcoal stains and barbecue sauce away from your clothes.
A proper BBQ apron should also offer enough pockets to keep close all the BBQ accessories mentioned here.
Recommended: BBQ Apron | Heavy-Duty Waxed Canvas
This is not your regular quick-lunch apron. This fantastic, heavy-duty apron has been specially designed to protect the grill master and can perfectly withstand heat exposure, flames, smoke and splashes. Bring it on!
- It is made of durable, highly resistant, top-quality materials.
- Equipped with several pockets, rings and loops to store and keep everything you need at hand, including other small BBQ accessories like a thermometer or totally unrelated items, like your phone.
- It comes with a bottle holder and a bottle opener to enjoy a refreshing beverage while grilling.
- The cross-back straps prevent neck strain.
- It is flexible enough to allow comfortable movement.
- It’s a heavy-duty apron, as it’s recommended for grilling. But it could feel too heavy for some.
- Leather can be a hot material, so if you’re not grilling, it’s better to use a poly-cotton denim fabric such as The Gandalf | Professional Chef's Kitchen Apron.
3. Meat claws
Perfect for handling chunks of meat and easily shredding a juicy brisket and other cuts. With Dalstrong meat shredding claws, for example, you can shred faster and more consistently than with your own hands or a regular fork.
Recommended: Meat Shredding Claws
The Dalstrong Meat Claws are your perfect ally for shredding grilled meats during your BBQ sessions. Each claw features a cool wolverine-like design, crafted from very durable tempered stainless steel. The handles are made of slip-proof, G10 materials known for their heat and stain-resistant capabilities.
- Very durable and can withstand newly-cooked hot meats.
- Easy to maintain and clean.
- Has a reasonable price point perfect for those in tight budget.
- Some folks who are new to the BBQ world might not find these essential.
4. A carving fork
A carving fork is larger than a normal fork and has only two tines and a long handle. It’s commonly used to stabilize roasts or meat while using a carving knife. It also serves to protect the cook's hand, keeping it away from the blade and the heat.
Carving forks can also be used as serving utensils.
Recommended: Meat & Carving Fork 7" | The Impaler
This high-carbon stainless steel carving fork is built to last a lifetime. Together with a matching chef’s knife, you’ll have the grill tool set of your dreams, ready to master even the thickest cuts of meat, poultry and fish.
- The two tips are razor sharp and will carve any meat like it’s jelly.
- Made of premium quality steel for high resistance to rust and corrosion.
- The G10 fiberglass resin handle is solidly secured with triple rivets.
- Optimum weight and balance.
- Easy to clean.
- If what you need is the whole carving set, then this might be a better deal for you: Carving Knife & Fork Set 9" Crusader Series.
- Some cooks are more comfortable with longer carving forks.
5. A barbecue knife
Not every knife can be a barbecue knife. A barbecue knife must be able to slice through raw meat and cooked meat, and maybe even debone and mince. In any case, a proper knife is a non-negotiable BBQ accessory.
Barbecue knives include chef knives, carving knives, boning knives, paring knives, utility knives and butcher knives or cleavers.
Recommended: Pitmaster BBQ & Meat Knife 6.5"
A versatile barbecue knife with an ingenious design. You can use it as you would use a carving knife or a slicer, but with the advantage of having a fork at the tip of the blade. And because cooling off with a drink is almost a grilling tradition, this BBQ knife comes with a bottle opener.
- Made of ultra-premium Japanese high-carbon steel.
- Damascus 67-layer coating for extreme durability.
- The dimples along the blade reduce friction for cleaner slices.
- Scalpel edge. The edge is polished to 8 to 10 degrees with extraordinary precision.
- The knife is full tang and very robust.
- Ergonomic and comfortable to hold.
- I find this size to be very practical, but those who prefer a bigger size can get the 8" BBQ Pitmaster & Meat Knife from the same series.
- The design is a little extravagant, I’ll give you that. More conservative chefs will choose tradition over innovation.
6. A Chef Knife
A chef's knife is not necessarily a BBQ accessory, but it is any cook’s almighty weapon, that tool capable of rising to any occasion - including barbecues. And it can be quite the workhorse when grilling.
You could even use it to carve meats and separate bones if you don't have a carving knife available (but we do recommend you get a carving knife!).
Recommended: Chef Knife 8" | Gladiator Series
When everything else fails, this multi-purpose blade will slice, chop and grind all ingredients for your barbecue without a complaint. And this Gladiator model is forged from premium German steel with high carbon, featuring great cutting edge and excellent endurance. Meaning: it’s ready to withstand long and hot cutting chores.
- Ideal for thick, heavy cuts of meat, and also for thinner, more delicate cuts.
- The Olive wood handle is beautiful and naturally resistant to stains and odors.
- The blade is wide enough to pick up and transfer food from the cutting board to the grill.
- Comfortable and maneuverable knife.
- Suitable for both right and left-handed users.
- Excellent quality at a reasonable price.
- If you prefer a longer, sturdier-looking chef knife for grilling cutting tasks, check out this one: Chef's Knife 10" | Delta Wolf Series.
- Or maybe the opposite is true… you are more comfortable with a smaller knife. In this case try the 6” Chef Knife from the Shogun Series.
3. Other BBQ Accessories Worth Having
Pitmasters may as well take it to the next level and add more to their grill tool set to make barbecuing more professional, fun and safe. Here are some nice-to-have additions to your arsenal:
A type of spatula known as a "slotted turner" is widely used in barbecues. This spatula has openings that allow oil and liquids to drain and they are super handy for turning steaks, flipping burgers and even mixing vegetables. You can get them with a sharp edge too.
Tongs are among the most popular and versatile BBQ tools. They are used to handle hot food, turn food during cooking and remove food from heat. They are usually made of metal, stainless steel or plastic with a scalloped or serrated end for better grip.
A good pair of tongs will allow you to safely manipulate food in hot environments and have better control while flipping, stacking and moving food from and to the grill.
3. Skewers (for brochettes)
Another common accessory for grills and barbecues. Skewers are usually made of metal, bamboo or wood and in case you don’t know how it goes, you can use them to thread small pieces of food such as meat, fish and vegetable before grilling. The most popular choices of skewers are made of bamboo (inexpensive and disposable) or stainless steel (durable, sturdy and reusable).
4. Barbecue basting brush
A silicone basting brush, for marinating or basting meat, is a very useful (and pretty) utensil to have when grilling. I was actually debating whether to include it in the essential BBQ accessory list. Silicone basting brushes are noble too: they always stay in the best condition and never absorb any color, odor or flavor.
Other important bbq accessories:
- Grill baskets
- Drip pans (for non-charcoal barbecues)
- Grill brushes and basting brushes
- Meat injectors
- Grilling spatulas
- Food thermometer like the Javelin Pro Duo.
- Burners, lighters
- Lighter fluid (in some cases, for example charcoal grills may need lighter fluid)
- Wood chips for charcoal grills with smoker box and a barbecue cover to keep chips dry and safe
- Grill mat
- Grilling planks
- LED lights or magnetic grill lights to illuminate the grill, when BBQing at night
- Cleaning kits with grill cleaners and cleaning brushes
- Grilling gloves (you should get extreme heat resistant oven gloves)
- Extra safety accessories such as a water spray bottle, fire extinguisher, fire blanket and a first aid kit.
- Storage solutions for barbecue accessories, such as hooks for hanging towels and utensils, shelves and cabinets under the grill for storing dirty utensils.
4. Do You Need A Meat Thermometer When Grilling?
Yes, a grill meat thermometer is a very convenient barbecue tool.
Beef, lamb, chicken: they all call for different cooking times. With grill thermometers, you can check the doneness and exact internal temperature of the meat, ensuring not only that it is perfectly cooked, but that it is actually safe to eat.
By including a cooking thermometer in the BBQ accessory kit (whether it is a digital food thermometer or an infrared thermometer), you will be sure to be serving the best meat you can.
5. How To Choose Quality BBQ Accessories
If you invested in a good-quality BBQ grill, congratulations! However… you’re only halfway there to the perfect barbecue.
Investing in the right BBQ accessories is not only a matter of making the grilling easier and faster - but it will also make you feel good and enhance the general experience.
But how to choose your accessories? Here are a few things to take into account:
- The first thing to figure out is which accessories you need according to what you want to grill. For example, you may need skewers if you’re grilling brochettes. If you’re grilling burgers, a burger press is in order. Also, different cuts of meat will require different BBQ knives.
- This may sound obvious, but you need accessories designed to resist flames and heat. Stainless steel is a good option, but the handles in your accessories should be capable of insulating the heat.
- Even though brands are not necessarily a synonym for quality, they make it easier to know where to look. For example, if you already have a knife brand that you love, it’s likely that they offer BBQ accessories that will also be of your liking.
- The length and overall size of accessories should be adequate so that the griller feels comfortable and safe while handling food (for example, tongs should be long enough to ensure a distance from the heat).
6. Frequently Asked Questions About BBQ Accessories
What should a BBQ tools set include?
The options and combinations are many, but we recommended a basic BBQ grill set including a pair of tongs, a grilling spatula and a carving fork. Remember they should be made of heat resistant materials and have insulating handles (like wood handles).
What tools do you need for grill cleaning?
A grill cleaning set should include grill cleaners and a brush set with several grill brushes (wire, nylon), as well as scrappers and tongs (yes, tongs are also used as a cleaning tool!)
Should a grill set include gloves?
Grilling gloves are a top grilling accessory, but not every grill set will include them. Make sure to get extreme heat resistant gloves to be safe.
Are grill thermometers necessary?
A grill thermometer is another top grilling accessory you shouldn’t skip. They are among the most important tools for grilling because they guarantee food safety. The javelin pro duo is one of the top models available in the market.