Essential Grilling Tools

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

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

REC TEC offers high-quality pellet smokers featuring excellent digital controllers and sturdy construction. With a 40-pound pellet hopper, a 680-square-inch cook surface, and nine inches of headroom, the REC TEC 680 is a large, smartly constructed pellet smoker. It also looks awesome.  — Serious Eats Staff

This knife features an extremely sharp edge; a well-balanced, comfortable handle; and plenty of flexibility. It carves through roast turkey like butter, leaving very little meat stuck to the bones. It has a composite handle and a full tang to offer balance and support, with a bolster that is lightly angled and slim enough to make gripping the blade easy.  — Kenji

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

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

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

After countless failed grilling mitts, we got ourselves a pair of welding gloves to use when grilling or smoking and never looked back. With great heat protection, dexterity, and construction, these are a necessity for every backyard cook.  — Serious Eats Staff

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

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

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

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

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

The Akorn is a double-walled, insulated steel egg that is much lighter and in some ways more durable than the popular Big Green Egg. It performs fairly close to traditional kamados at a fraction of the cost, so you can spend your saved bucks on getting some great meat.  — Serious Eats Staff

Time was, you had to build an actual wood-fired stone oven to get Neapolitan-style pizza in your backyard. With the Serious Eats–edition KettlePizza and Baking Steel combo, you can convert your Weber kettle grill into an honest-to-goodness wood-fired pizza oven that'll bake Neapolitan-style pizzas in minutes.  — Kenji

Single-use wooden skewers are just fine if you only rarely cook meat-on-a-stick, but if you kebab your dinner more regularly, a set of sturdy reusable skewers is a sound investment. I like to use flattened metal skewers, which prevent vegetables and meat from rotating as you maneuver them on the grill.  — Kenji

There's form, and then there's function. The aprons from Tilit are great on both fronts. Made from waxed cotton, they offer breathability along with water resistance, but they're also damned handsome. Several NYC restaurants have commissioned custom apron designs from the company for their chefs and cooks, and I'm pretty psyched to wear one of these bad boys at home, too.  — Daniel

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

What's the point of perfectly grilling meats if you don't have a pretty surface to carve them on? I love this teak cutting board because it's large enough for major projects, but lighter than thicker boards, making it easy to move from the kitchen to the dining room. It's made from scraps of larger teak products, making this cutting board a good environmental choice as well.  — Kenji

This is an incredible little oven with simple, reliable operation, whether you're using gas, wood, or charcoal to fire it. It consistently hits wood-fired-oven temperatures and maintains them for as long as you are cooking, with no fussing or babysitting, which means you can spend more time enjoying pizza with your friends and family and less time coddling a temperamental flame. It's attractive, solidly built, weatherproof, and portable.  — Kenji

Surprisingly, many of the portable pellet smokers out there still have an antiquated LMH controller, while Davy Crockett employs Green Mountain's advanced digital touch-pad controller, with an integrated meat thermometer that lets you check internal meat temp with the flick of a switch.  — Serious Eats Staff

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

The Spirit E330 was introduced last year to replace the E320. The two models are identical except that the 330 adds a 7,500-BTU sear burner between the left and middle main burners. Sear burners are one of our favorite extras for gas grills. You'll love turning this baby up to 11 when searing steaks and burgers.  — Serious Eats Staff

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