Optimal Grilling Accessories and Grilling Tools For The Best Backyard BBQ
Become a backyard boss with the best grilling accessories to turn any meal into an outdoor summer feast.
Whether you’re an amateur patio chef or a seasoned backyard gourmet, proper grilling accessories make a huge difference. Get yourself the helpful grilling supplies everyone should have in their ever-expanding outdoor dining arsenal. From today’s WiFi and Bluetooth grills to new tongs, the best and brightest grill gear is the secret sauce of a memorable summer.
But not all grilling tools are created equally. The right or wrong grilling tool can make or break an entire season of outdoor cooking. Learn what to look for in grills and grilling accessories. Discover grilling tools you never knew you needed. Explore new, better ways to add flame and flavor to meat and veggies. Turn up the classic rock and slap on the sunscreen—it’s time for a good ol’ fashioned and new fashioned outdoor BBQ.
- Best wood pellet grill for foodies: Traeger Pro 780
- Best propane grill for old-school grill masters: Cuisinart 3-in-1 Propane Grill With Side Burner
- Best grilling side table for party hosts: Keter Unity XL Portable Outdoor Table and Storage Cabinet
- Best meat thermometer for backyard carnivores: Cuisinart Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer
- Best grilling accessory for pan frying meat: Lodge 12-inch Seasoned Cast Iron Pan
- Best grilling accessory for bacon lovers: Blackstone Cast Iron Griddle Press
- Best grill cover for grills: Blackstone 36-inch Grill and Griddle Soft Cover
- Best grilling accessory kit for first-time grillers: Cuisinart 10-piece Stainless Steel Grill Set
- Best backyard umbrella for sunny-day grilling: Mainstays 7.5-foot Round Market Push-Up Patio Umbrella
- Best grilling accessory for less than a dollar: Expert Grill Disposable Lighter
How to shop for the best grilling accessories.
Stores are filled with a wide range of grilling tools. And these grilling accessories come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. How do you know what’s good and what’s best left on the shelves? If you’re new to the grilling game, or if you simply want to upgrade and replace your current grilling rig, the first step is to explore all your options.
Start with the basics: Get yourself a fiery chamber of controlled heat. If you haven’t shopped for a grill in a few years, you’ll be surprised (and overwhelmed) by the options and features of today’s backyard grills. Modern grills are high-tech tools designed by thoughtful engineers dedicated to user-friendly cooking. But modern conveniences may cost more, so think before you buy: Are the fancy new features something you’ll actually use? Or do you just need the basic fiery chamber of controlled heat?
The second step of successful backyard grilling is finding the right accessories. Stainless-steel tongs, grill brushes, meat thermometers, basting brushes, and all sizes of forks are essential parts of the BBQ master’s toolbox. But don’t go crazy. It’s easy to get over-zealous and buy grilling tools that you’ll never use. Look at the function of each tool. Think of how it can improve your grilling experience. And if you have trouble justifying the purchase…get it anyway.
With these two steps in mind, it’s time to do some shopping and find the best grilling accessories and BBQ tools every backyard needs.
When it comes to fuel and flavor, wood makes it good.
If you’re shopping for a grill, you have three types to choose from: Charcoal, gas/propane, and wood pellet. Charcoal grills are the classic 1980s way to slowly (very slowly) cook your burgers. Propane has been the industry standard for the past few decades. But most recently, wood pellet grills have become more and more popular.
Wood pellet grills have a wide variety of benefits over their charcoal and gas brethren. First, the food tastes better. There are no gas fumes or smelly charcoal smoke to interfere with the flavor profile of the meat. The wood pellets burn clean and consistently. Wood pellet grills also provide many more options for cooking: Grill, smoke, roast, bake, sear, and barbecue all from the same backyard cooker. And different types of wood pellets will create a variety of flavors.
Another reason wood pellet grills make for the best grills on the market: they’re incredibly easy to use. Many wood pellet grills have simple, push-button operation. Load the pellets in the hopper, set the temp, tap a button, and the grill gets to work. WiFi and Bluetooth options make it even more convenient to monitor and manage the cooking process. If the chef cares about flavor, cooking options, and simplicity, a wood pellet grill is the new hotness for backyard barbecues.
Best wood pellet grill for foodies: Traeger Pro 780
Versatile With Fantastic Flavor
Make the best-tasting burgers with ease in this six-in-one wood pellet cooker. Walmart
Even if you’ve never used a wood grill (or any grill), the Taeger Pro 780 is a user-friendly beast that grills, roasts, smokes, and more. The harwood pellets burn clean and won’t add chemical flavors to your food. The 780-square-foot grilling surface provides consistent heat and with WiFi temperature controls, you won’t need to babysit the grill while it’s cooking.
You can save money with a gas grill.
Wood pellet grills make for a tasty burger, but all that flavor comes at price. Wood pellet grills can cost twice as much as a propane grill. And food cooked in a gas grill still tastes pretty good.
Gas grills are the most common way to cook outdoors. It’s simple. They’re less expensive. And it’s worked for the past 40 years, so why stop now? When shopping for a gas grill, look for trusted brand names. Grills that are cheap and made by unknown companies have the tendency to sputter out and fall apart after one or two seasons.
Features you want in a gas grill include easy ignition and comfortable controls, side burners for veggies, a rotisserie, a large cooking surface, and smoking options. Modern gas grills can smoke with the best of them using the wood fuel of your choice to add extra flavor and aroma to your food. Gas grills can sometimes be oversized, though, so look for a grill that fits your needs and your outdoor space. While a giant monster of a cooking machine looks cool, you may not need all the extra firepower.
Best propane grill for old-school grill masters: Cuisinart 3-in-1 Propane Grill With Side Burner
Classic And Modern
More than just a burger cooker, the Cuisinart gas grill adds new features to traditional outdoor cooking. Walmart
The stainless-steel Cuisinart gas grill checks all the boxes for classic propane grill, and goes above and beyond with a side burner and smoker. The roomy 670- square-foot cooking area can feed a large party. A viewing window lets you keep an eye on the food without losing heat. And the side burner is a handy helper for cooking corn, beans, and any other staple of summer backyard menus. It’s everything a gas cooker needs, and more.
Store grilling accessories properly while adding work space.
Grilling tools need a place to live. A shoe box in the shed isn’t exactly the best place to store your grilling accoutrements. While most grills offer some storage for a few grilling accessories such as metal tongs and basting brushes, you may need more space. Keep everything organized and handy with a convenient side table.
These tables not only give you a more tabletop place to assemble burgers and kabobs, the storage underneath houses all of your necessary grilling accessories. Think of this as a true toolbox for your grilling instruments. Meat thermometers, tongs, forks, skewers, rotisseries, grilling gloves, and every other grilling tool imaginable can have a nice, orderly place to hide when not in use.
When shopping for a side table and storage, style is important. A sophisticated, stainless steel tabletop and cabinet will blend in with most outdoor decors. Be sure the storage area is big enough for all of your tools and is equipped with side hooks for grilling accessories that get the most use. A paper towel dispenser is also a huge plus.
The side table must be portable. Position it next to the grill for cooking and chopping, or roll it closer to party guests to use it as a drink station. You’ll find dozens of uses for these simple tables.
Best grilling side table for party hosts: Keter Unity XL Portable Outdoor Table and Storage Cabinet
Expand the party with a side table cabinet to keep grilling accessories accessible and backyards beautiful. Walmart
Roll the Keter Unity table wherever the party goes. Use it as a serving station for food and drinks. Put it to work as a cooking assistant and prep station to hold hot dog buns and toppings. The stainless-steel tabletop is easy to clean and looks sharp. Best of all, there’s ample storage and side hooks that give you quick access to all your grilling instruments.
The right grilling accessory lets you know when dinner is ready.
Every cut of meat is different, so to safely serve guests perfectly done food you will need a high-quality meat thermometer. Forget the rules of thumb (press the meat and if it feels like the meaty part of your palm, it’s done). The old-school tricks are great ways to get sick and ruin an entire weekend.
Stick with science. Meat must be cooked to specific temperatures to kill off any harmful bacteria and prevent food poisoning. But if you cook it too long and too hot, the meat will dry out and guests will be spending the entire night chewing rock-hard steak and hockey-puck hamburgers.
A meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of temperature control. The minimum cooking temperature varies based on the type of meat. Ground beef should be cooked to no less than 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Medium rare steaks should peak above 145 degrees. And chicken should be above 165 degrees.
A digital meat thermometer may have preset alerts for specific types of doneness. If someone prefers well-done steaks and someone else likes their meat bloody, the thermometer will tell you when to yank the steaks off the grill. (Always let your meat rest for three minutes after cooking so it absorbs some juices and cooks through.) The thermometer must be long enough to reach right into the middle of your food to get an accurate reading. The biggest factor for meat thermometers is readability. Make sure you can clearly read the temperature—even on a dark night.
Best meat thermometer for backyard carnivores: Cuisinart Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer
Keep things safe and delicious with an accurate and legible meat thermometer. Walmart
This meat thermometer is loaded with eight settings for beef, chicken, pork, and just about any other edible meat. The backlit display is big enough to read and bright enough to see even at night. There are five doneness settings so you get the perfect amount of pink in the middle. And the 5-inch probe gets to the center of every cut of meat on the grill.
The right pan turns any patio into a steakhouse.
When you think of the best, most useful grilling accessories, a cast-iron pan may not be an obvious choice. But don’t overlook this amazing, hot and heavy cooking vessel. Cast-iron pans can be used directly on the grill, giving you a place to not only cook burgers and steaks but also fry onions, peppers, and anything else that needs evenly distributed direct heat.
Don’t be intimidated by cast-iron pans. Yes, they require a bit more love and attention than other frying pans and cookware. But a well-seasoned cast-iron pan is remarkably easy to maintain and clean. Never put these heavy hitters in the dishwasher, obviously. Just hand wash with hot water and quickly dry after use. (Avoid soap if possible.) Keep the pan in prime cooking condition with vegetable oil to create a nonstick surface. When cooking with a cast-iron pan, don’t use metal utensils that could scratch the surface. Wooden spoons and rubber spatulas work best. And make sure the cast iron is 100-percent dry before storing it.
So why go through all that trouble for simple backyard cooking? Cast iron distributes heat evenly and gives steaks a delicious and uniform crust. They can handle a lot of heat, unlike other pans in the cabinet which will weep when used on your super-hot grill. And cast-iron pans are heavy enough to make great weapons against intruders and bears. (Just kidding, kind of.)
Best grilling accessory for pan frying meat: Lodge 12-Inch Seasoned Cast-Iron Pan
Sturdy, Seasoned, And Strong
Nothing beats the feel and flavor of a cast-iron pan, even on an outdoor grill. Walmart
Give steaks the best crust with a solid 12-inch cast-iron pan. The loop handles make it easy to transport and serve. It’s pre-coated with vegetable oil and cured at high temperatures. Use a little oil after every use and it will last years and years. This is the best way to cook steaks in the great outdoors or the cozy indoors.
Make food look and taste like a pro cooked it with a griddle press.
A griddle press is a grilling accessory that does more than just flatten curly bacon. Just as a cast-iron pan helps give steak a perfect crust, the heavy paddles of a griddle press ensure burgers and bacon are hit with even heat and help meat cook faster.
Griddle presses also help form and firm-up burger patties, giving off a satisfying, “Sssss,” sound that makes you feel like a real chef. The press adds grill marks to meat for a more professional look. The presses are also great for making paninis and other grilled sandwiches.
They come in all types of sizes and designs, with unique patterns to sear into the meat. But some novelty griddle presses are made for decoration, not real-world use. For a genuine griddle press that works, look for a heat-resistant, non-slip handle and a heavy, cast-iron paddle.
Best grilling accessory for bacon lovers: Blackstone Cast-Iron Griddle Press
This hefty griddle press is easy to hold and irons out all the wrinkles of even crispy bacon. Walmart
The Blackstone griddle press feels great with a solid, rubber grip handle. The 10-inch press covers a big area. It’s the best way to keep bacon flat and burgers hot. It also makes a pretty fantastic grilled cheese. Keep it away from water when storing. This is the uniquely necessary grilling accessory to flatten out unruly food.
The right grill cover must fit snugly and without much hassle.
The grill cover is a must for every outdoor cooker, and for more reasons than you may think. Yes, the cover protects the grill from rain, snow, and bird droppings. But it’s also a shield that defends the grill from corrosive lawn chemicals and pesticides.
Buying an official branded grill cover from the manufacturer is an obvious choice, and it will fit perfectly. But you can save money—sometimes a lot of money—by opting for a third-party cover. With a little adjustment, these one-size-fits-most covers get the job done at a fraction of the price.
Take a few measurements before buying a third-party grill cover. If you purchased your grill within the last twenty years, you should have no trouble finding a grill cover that fits. Avoid thick covers with flannel linings, as these can attract mice. A simple lightweight weather-resistant cover will keep your grill well-protected all year long. (As long as you actually use it.)
Best grill cover for medium-sized grills: Blackstone 36-inch Griddle/Grill Soft Cover with UV Protection
For mid-sized grills, the Blackstone’s got you covered. Walmart
The Blackstone Universal Medium Cover will fit most grills between 41 and 52 inches wide. Adjust the cover with simple cinch straps and buckles. The polyester grill cover is weather-resistant and holds up against year-round exposure to the elements. It’s also lightweight enough to make it easy to wrangle. And at less than $25, it’s an inexpensive way to protect your grill.
Get the right grilling accessories all at once.
Whether you’re an occasional backyard griller or if every summer night is a cookout, you don’t need to spend a fortune on grilling utensils. There are well-rounded grilling accessory kits that give you everything you need to flip, poke, and skewer.
The top tools you’ll need are: Stainless steel tongs for picking up food off the grill. A metal spatula for flipping and pressing burgers. A carving knife and fork for thinly slicing up big slabs of meat. Skewers for kabobs (and marshmallows). Poultry shears can also be useful for quick, efficient butchery.
Buying an all-in-one kit means all the handles and blades will match. Your workspace will appear well-managed instead of looking like a yard sale exploded in the backyard. These kits should come with a carrying case for storage. Make sure you clean and dry all your tools before sheathing them; the cases will keep the tools safe. The other benefit of owning an accessory kit is that it provides tools you may not even know you needed. When the day comes that you actually need to make bagel bite kabobs, you’ll be ready.
Best grilling accessory kit for first-time grillers: Cuisinart 10-piece Stainless-Steel Grill Set
Everything You Need
Become an instant chef with this collection of well-made grilling accessories. Walmart
This 10-piece set includes everything you need, from stainless-steel tongs to a sharp carving knife. It also contains a few unique items like an extra-wide metal spatula that doubles as a cleaver and bottle opener. The tools feel good in your hand with a nice weight and balance. The set lacks a grill brush, so add the Expert Grill 21-inch Three Head Grill Brush to keep your cooking surface clean. (And please be careful with that cleaver.)
Make the grilling area cool (literally) and cool (figuratively).
It’s not fun standing between a hot grill and an even hotter sun. One of the most overlooked grilling accessories is anything to keep the chef protected from the sun. Using a grill under an awning or patio roof can smoke out your guests. And cooking in the garage just feels wrong.
Add sun protection to your cooking area with a sturdy and stylish umbrella. A backyard umbrella is a cheap and easy way to cover the cooking space in cool shade. You can set it up and adjust it in minutes by tilting and swiveling the umbrella to find the perfect mid-day coverage.
When shopping for a backyard umbrella, fade-resistant material is a huge plus. Cheap and poorly made umbrellas will fade and tear in a few months of direct sunlight. You’ll have a rainbow of colors to choose from. For most outdoor spaces, a solid color works well and won’t seem too tacky.
Best backyard umbrella for sunny day grilling: Mainstays 7.5-foot Round Market Push Up Patio Umbrella
Sturdy Sun Protection
Add a fun and simple umbrella to the backyard and keep the party alive even in the hot, hot sun. Walmart
When it comes to patio umbrellas, simple is better. The Mainstay Push Up umbrella doesn’t rely on clumsy cranks to raise and lower the shade. It’s a no-nonsense manual umbrella that you push open until it clicks into place. The fade-resistant fabric looks sharp even after a few summers. And the 7.5-foot umbrella is tall enough to shield someone standing at the grill. (The base is not included.) When shopping for umbrella add-ons, toss in some LED lights to lend your patio umbrella some cool.
What’s fueling (and starting) your fire?
Ask ten people, “What’s the best way to light a grill?” and you will get about 17 answers. When shopping for grill accessories this summer, don’t forget about the firestarter. From standard lighter fluid for starting grills and firepits, to long-burning Royal Oak Tumbleweed Firestarter for charcoal grills, how you start the fire depends on the type of fuel and type of grill you’re using. Read the advice that comes with your grill to find the best way to ignite the evening.
As for fuel, wood pellet grills offer the most options. Apple wood pellets create a sweet, smoky flavor. Hickey wood pellets are fantastic for grilling chicken and pork. And Pit Boss 100 Percent All-Natural Hardwood Competition Blend Pellets are a great all-around fuel for any meat or veggies cooking on a wood pellet grill. Experiment and see what type of hardwood pellets works best for your palate.
If you’re a charcoal griller, you probably have a favorite brand that’s been passed down from generation to generation. If not, go for the trusty and legendary Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquets. If you want lump charcoal, Royal Oak Lump Charcoal is a high-quality option for the taste of a classic summer meal.
And don’t be afraid to branch out and try new fuels and firestarters. If humans are good at anything, it’s finding new ways to make and keep fire. We’ve been doing it for about a million years.
Best grilling accessory for less than a dollar: Expert Grill Disposable Lighter
The best grilling accessory this summer is the classic disposable lighter you can count on. Walmart
It’s the torch of choice this summer. No backyard cookout would be complete without a longneck disposable lighter. These inexpensive yet indispensable tools should be part of every grilling kit. From starting grills, to lighting fireworks, to burning citronella candles, this little lighter is the true hero of the summer season. Keep a few of these lighters stocked up in case the power goes out. Just keep them out of the reach of young ones.
Grilling accessory FAQ:
What accessories do I need for my BBQ?
Your BBQ accessories should be a variety of useful tools. Start with stainless-steel tongs. These are the workhorse of all grilling accessories. Find a pair with a comfortable, non-slip handle. You will also need a metal grilling spatula for expert burger flipping. A comfortable pair of grilling gloves will keep your hands protected. And a nice sharp fork is ideal for cooking and adjusting hot dogs and sausages. Other tools may be needed for specialized cooking, like skewers for kabobs and a rotisserie for roasting a chicken. You can pick those up as you need them. For the general grilling tools, go with a simple multi-piece set of tools. They’ll give you the basics and then some.
What can I put in a gift basket for grilling?
A grilling basket is a great gift for any outdoor chef. But what should you add? Simply put, you can’t go wrong. The more tools the merrier. Spatulas and griddle presses are usually a hit. But if your recipient is already a well-armed and experienced griller, think about unique spices and flavor enhancers. They probably have plenty of forks and knives, but they can always use fancy salt and gourmet aromatics. Explore the BBQ sauce aisle. Every year there are new flavors and brands of sweet and/or spicy sauces for grill masters to try. Thow in a new metal grill brush because we can all use an extra grill brush. Avoid funny aprons, please. Pretty please.
What are the appropriate accessories for a charcoal grill?
The best accessories for a charcoal grill don’t differ too much from other grill types. All grills need tongs and spatulas and cleaning brushes. Charcoal grilling usually requires more time and patience. A good meat thermometer is a must to make sure the meat is done—you don’t want to assume anything. You’ll also want to use high-quality charcoal that lasts, and decent lighter fluid or fire starters to get the flames going. And with all that fire, it wouldn’t hurt to have a fresh fire extinguisher standing by.
Start your collection of high-quality grilling accessories.
With this guide, you’ll be well on your way to equipping your backyard with the best grilling accessories. But a collection of grilling supplies is never complete. Even if you own the best grilling gloves and grilling brushes, and even if your garage, shed, and kitchen are bursting with a wide assortment of grilling utensils, it will never be enough. Getting new tools and gadgets is part of the fun of grilling. Start with the basics and watch your grilling station grow and your grilling mastery reach new heights.