My Top 5 Must-Have BBQ Tools and Why They’re Essential

To prepare a good barbeque for your friends and family, besides the cooking techniques, equipment is very important. I learned this the hard way because I believed that my culinary skills exceeded my equipment. However, as I watched more modern cooking techniques and the results on various videos online, I realized that I was getting a little outdated with my traditional methods and needed to equip myself with some tools.

As I bought adequate cooking equipment, the results are much better and similar to what I have seen online, and cooking has become easier for me. On the other hand, many of these tools are there for security. I have burned or injured myself in the kitchen so many times because I didn’t have the right equipment. Therefore, having the right equipment and tools for cooking is not only a matter of choice but also a matter of safety.

That’s why I’m sharing with you five must-have gadgets in the kitchen for a smooth and fulfilling experience:

1. Reliable Meat Thermometer

Following my traditional cooking techniques, I did everything at my discretion, and then, although not always, I did make mistakes. Ever since I got the thermometer, mistakes don’t happen anymore and I’ve made cooking easier for myself. This simple gadget has been a game-changer in managing that every piece of meat I grill reaches the perfect doneness, improving the flavor I prepare for family and friends. But there are different types of thermometers, and you will have to discover which one is the best for you:

Instant-Read vs. Leave-In Probe Thermometers

I used both of them and each has its place in the BBQ toolkit, offering distinct advantages depending on the cooking situation.

Instant-Read thermometers are my go-to for quick checks. They’re designed to provide a temperature reading within seconds, making them perfect for those moments when I need to quickly check the doneness of various meats on the grill. The speed and accuracy of instant-read thermometers help me avoid overcooking, ensuring that every piece of meat is just right.

Leave-in probe (smart) thermometers, on the other hand, have transformed the way I no longer cook. Designed to remain in the meat throughout the cooking process, these thermometers send continuous temperature readings to a base unit or smartphone app.

This means I can monitor the progress of a slow-roasting brisket without constantly opening the grill or smoker, which can lead to heat loss and extended cooking. Smart thermometers let me check temperatures remotely, giving me freedom without sticking close to the grill.

In essence, the reliable meat thermometer is much more than a tool; it’s my secret ingredient to perfect grilling. Whether I’m aiming for a seared steak at medium rare or ensuring a slow-cooked pork shoulder is perfectly tender, my thermometers provide the precision and confidence I need to achieve grilling perfection every time.

2. Long High-Quality Grill Tongs

man holding bbq tongs

It may sound like a very simple item that is not even worth mentioning, but how many times have you not had adequate grilling tongs, so you used a regular fork, and then you burned yourself because you were too close to the fire? It happened to me many times and that’s why I think that one of the most important things when grilling, is the use of high-quality and long tongs.

Functionality and Design

The significance of possessing a dependable pair of tongs for grilling and cooking tasks is something that simply cannot be emphasized enough. They serve as an extension of the chef’s hand, allowing for the safe and effective handling of food on the grill. The key features that set apart the best grill tongs include:

  • Long Handles – The length of the tongs is crucial for keeping your hands at a safe distance from the intense heat of the grill. Long handles help prevent burns and improve comfort, even during extended periods of grilling.
  • Good Grip – A pair of tongs with a good grip can securely hold onto food items, from delicate vegetables to steaks, without slipping. Silicone or rubber grips on the handles also provide additional comfort for longer use.
  • Durability – Durability is important for standing the high temperatures and heavy usage associated with grilling. Stainless steel is a preferred material for grill tongs because of its rust resistance.
  • Materials – Besides stainless steel, quality tongs may consist of materials like silicone tips for gently handling delicate foods without damaging them. The choice of material impacts not only the longevity of the tongs but also their versatility in handling different types of foods.

Safety and Precision

A pair of good grill tongs improves the safety and precision of cooking. By keeping the chef’s hands away from the grill’s direct heat, they minimize the risk of burns, a common hazard in BBQ and outdoor cooking. They allow for the delicate flipping and precise movement of food items, ensuring that each piece receives even exposure to the grill’s heat.

Efficiently moving food around the grill not only makes an evenly cooked meal but also makes the overall grilling experience enjoyable. It reduces stress and allows me to focus on the flavors and company rather than struggling with inadequate tools.

In fact, it is calming and I enjoy simply turning my food on the grill while having a beer in my other hand.

3. Barbecue Exhauster

smoke and grill

One of the smartest additions to my BBQ setup has been the barbecue exhauster. This tool has truly transformed my outdoor cooking experiences, especially during those long, slow cooks or when I’m grilling up a feast for friends.

Living in a neighborhood where houses are relatively close together, and with a patio that’s more enclosed than open, smoke is a big concern. Before I had my barbecue exhauster, smoke would not only go over my guests but also reach my neighbors’ yards, making some apologetic conversations over the fence.

So installing one will save you from unwanted problems and conversations. Also, no one will smell like smoke.

Installation and Use

Installing the barbecue exhauster was straightforward. I looked for a model that was easily attached to my grill, with enough suction power to handle the smoke. From the first time I used it, the difference was obvious.

The exhauster efficiently sucked away the smoke, directing it away from my guests and neighbors, which meant clearer air and happy neighbors.

The Benefits

Clearer cooking – I could keep a closer eye on how my meats and veggies were doing without squinting through a smoky haze.

Comfort of my guests – My BBQ gatherings became more enjoyable for everyone. Guests could sit near the grill without being chased away by smoke, making the whole experience more sociable. So, no watering eyes and smoky clothing anymore.

Neighborly Relations – Perhaps one of the most unexpected benefits was the positive feedback from my neighbors, with less smoke going into their spaces. The smoke from the grill can be very intense and can be felt throughout the neighborhood, not just by your first neighbors.

Health and Safety – Reducing smoke exposure for myself, my family, and my friends felt like a healthy decision and I was personally feeling better without the smoke in my face. It also minimizes fire hazards that can occur from the uncontrolled smoke.

4. Fire-Resistant Grill Mat

man grilling meat

I’ve always believed in my outstanding grilling skills, but with great power comes great responsibility—particularly when it comes to protecting my deck and patio from splashes, heat, and grease.  I discovered the need for a fire-resistant grill mat after a BBQ party that left grease stains all over my wooden deck.

After some research, I decided to invest in one, to keep my outdoor space safe and clean. It really pays off and I highly recommend it.

The Protection It Offers

The primary function of the grill mat is to act as a protective barrier between my grill and the deck. Made from durable, heat-resistant materials, it catches all the spills, splatters, and stray sparks that are unavoidable when grilling.

This means no more grease stains or burn marks on my decking—a relief, given the time and expense of maintaining wooden outdoor spaces. It is much cheaper to buy a simple fire-resistant grill mat and avoid all the cleaning headaches after the barbeque is over.

But it’s not just about protecting surfaces. The mat also provides safety, reducing the risk of fires from sparks of hot grease.

Very Easy for Maintenance

One of my concerns was whether the grill mat would be another maintenance added to my BBQ adventure, I was pleasantly surprised. The mat I chose is so easy to clean—most of the time, a quick hose-down is all it needs.

Sometimes I scrub it with soap and water when there are tougher stains. It dries quickly and is ready for the next grilling session in no time. That makes it a low-effort and high-impact on my grilling experience, therefore I highly recommend buying a grilling mat for all barbeque enthusiasts.


My fire-resistant grill mat is not just functional; it’s also pretty. It comes in various sizes and shapes, so it can be a perfect fit for any grill. Some mats even feature designs or textures that imitate the look of my outdoor cooking area. So, my grilling mat contributes to the ambiance of my BBQ gatherings, and I love it so much!

5. Grill Basket

man grilling

The grill basket opened up a whole new world of possibilities, allowing me to explore dishes that were previously challenging to manage on a grill. The moment of revelation came during a family BBQ when I attempted to grill some vegetables alongside my meats.

Previously, this would normally result in sacrificing veggies to the flames below, as pieces slipped through the grates. But, with the grill basket, every slice of zucchini, bell pepper, and even asparagus stayed safely contained while still getting that delicious smoky flavor.

Here’s why I consider a grill basket, an essential part of my grilling arsenal:

Versatility and Ease of Use – One of the most compelling aspects of the BBQ grill basket is its versatility. It’s not just for vegetables; I’ve used it for fish, shrimp, diced meats, and even fruit for grilling. The basket prevents delicate foods from falling through the grill grates or sticking to them, a common frustration that can ruin a perfectly good meal.

Using the grill basket is straightforward. You simply need to preheat the grill, place the food in the basket, and then set it on the grill. The baskets come with handles, making them easy to shake or turn, ensuring even cooking and that beautiful grill mark on the food. This feature alone has improved the quality and presentation of my non-meat grilled dishes.

Material and Maintenance – My grill basket is made from heavy-duty stainless steel, which not only conducts heat efficiently but also stands up to the high temperatures of the grill without degrading over time. Cleaning is easy —a good soak and a scrub after use keep it ready for the next grilling session.

Healthier Cooking – Grilling with a basket includes also healthier cooking. It encourages the use of more vegetables in meals, as the basket makes it so convenient to grill them alongside the main dish, and they taste much better. Also, because the basket contains the food so well, I feel like I’m using less oil or butter to prevent sticking.

Final Thoughts

Although, as I said at the beginning, I am a fan of traditional grilling and for a long time I avoided using any additional equipment and tools, using the tools I listed above made my life and cooking easier. Besides using them increased safety, they have made me enjoy my grilling experience, and not struggle like I used to.

Well, I thought I enjoyed it at the time, but now I can’t imagine grilling without this equipment.

From grill tongs that let me cook with precision, to a meat thermometer that gives me confidence, a smoke exhauster, and a mat that protects my deck, each tool has made grilling better. Using a grill basket has made cooking easier, while a splatter mat made it safer and cleaner.

All these tools have not only improved my grilling skills but have also made the food I cook better. This shows that with the right tools, grilling becomes a special experience worth enjoying.

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