Essential Grilling Tools

All the gear you need to grill like a pro at your next barbecue.

For many of us, grilling and barbecuing have long dwelled in the realm of folklore and legend. In his eponymous book, Meathead Goldwyn (you may know him as the founder of AmazingRibs.com) distills decades of research into the art and science of barbecue and grilling into a single volume that will show you not just the best ways to take food to live fire, but why the techniques work.  — Kenji

In the inexpensive-thermometer department, the ThermoPop is the new kid on the block, but it comes in an impressive package. An easy-to-read display rotates at the touch of a button, so you don't have to twist your head to see it. It takes a few seconds longer to read temperatures than its big brother, the Thermapen, but it's every bit as accurate.  — Kenji

Indoors, I prefer the control that a shorter, seven- or nine-inch set of tongs gives me. When flipping a dozen steaks over a blazing-hot fire, though, it's better to keep your distance. I use these OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Tongs at home, and their solid construction has lasted for a good six years of heavy (and I mean heavy) use so far.  — Kenji

This spatula's strong head allows you to flip a big one-pound steak or a delicate piece of salmon with equal ease. It's one of the tools I use most, both in the kitchen and at the grill.  — Kenji

A New York Times best seller! The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, by J. Kenji López-Alt, is his column on this very website, blown up to 900+ pages (and 7+ pounds) of concentrated culinary science. Gorgeous color photos, detailed how-tos, and elaborate explainers cover ingredients, technique, gear, and the secrets of the universe underneath it all. May include puns.  — Serious Eats Staff

High-quality Swedish steel and Japanese design, along with great features like a perfectly balanced handle and blade and an ergonomic bolster, make the Misono UX10 Santoku the most used knife in my arsenal.  — Kenji

Grill brushes come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, but for a tool that sees so much use, I find it hard to justify spending a huge amount of money. This simple, heavy-duty wire-style grill brush has served me well for years, and if it ever wears out, well, it's cheap enough to replace.  — Kenji

To avoid singed arm hairs, you need a heavy-duty grill spatula with a long handle. This one's wide size is great for cooking whole fish, or even for flipping grilled pizzas—a tough task for a regular spatula or wooden pizza peel.  — Kenji

With solid stainless steel construction on all of its parts, the Broil King Baron is a big leap up in quality from the discount grills at your local home center, and is made to last you for many seasons to come. It has four dual-tube burners, designed to even out gas pressure from front to back and provide a consistent temperature across the cook surface, plus a decent side burner for sauce or sides. I fire this guy up several times a week during the summer, especially on weekdays, when I don’t have the time or energy to wait for my coal grill to heat up.  — Kenji

One of the most frustrating parts of grilling for me is the parade of bowls, plates, and tools you have to carry from the kitchen to the grilling station outdoors. A stack of inexpensive rimmed aluminum baking sheets makes this easy. Just load them up with food or utensils, and you're ready to go. Of course, in the off season, they're the best pans for roasting meat, baking cookies, and charring vegetables.  — Kenji

Lighter fluid is fun to play with, but it can impart an off flavor to your food. A chimney starter is faster, cleaner, more efficient, and better for the environment. It's a tall metal cylinder with holes punched in it and a grate at the bottom for holding the charcoal. It works with the power of convection: When a lit newspaper is placed at the bottom, igniting the lowest coals, the hot air rises up, pulling fresh oxygen in through the vent holes and through the bottom. This constant supply of fresh oxygen, coupled with the fact that the metal efficiently reflects heat back toward the coals, means you require nothing more than a single piece of newspaper and a match to turn a full six quarts of coals into a roaring inferno within 20 minutes.  — Kenji

I’ve been cooking on Weber charcoal grills for over 20 years now, and the only reason I’ve ever retired one has been to give it to a deserving friend or because a cross-country move forced me to. If you want a family-sized charcoal grill for less than $200 that can cook anything and will last forever, the Weber Original 22-Inch is it. Whether you get the standard, ash tray–style model or the Premium (formerly the One-Touch Gold) with its built-in ash catcher, the sheer space and searing power of a Weber Kettle will put gas grills to shame. Its large cooking area and deeply domed lid will allow you to smoke a few racks of ribs or a turkey over indirect heat, or grill over a dozen burgers at a time.  — Kenji

The Cadillac of kitchen thermometers is indispensable when roasting meat, cooking steaks, making candy, deep-frying, or at any other time precise temperature control is needed. With a big display and a blazing-fast measuring time of under two seconds, you won't find a better, easier-to-use thermometer out there.  — Kenji