13 Must-Have BBQ Tools for the Backyard Enthusiast

September 22, 2020

Whether you’re new in the backyard BBQ grilling game, or you’re a seasoned professional, having the right BBQ tools makes all the difference. This post walks you through my all-time favorite BBQ tools to ensure your food is prepared and cooked well every time.

 

Best BBQ Tools

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is what BBQ tools should I buy for backyard grilling. From knives to butcher paper, these 13 items are the must-have items that I could not live without. Oh, and if you’re looking for all my recommendations for grills, check out my Backyard BBQ Grill Guide.

Butcher paper, grill basket, tongs, spatula, meat thermometer, grater, meat claws, and leather gloves on a table.

1. Knives

First up, I highly recommend investing it a high-quality chef’s knife. It’s time to ditch those dull, cheap knives and purchase a great knife that you can use for years to come.

Chef's knife on a white tablecloth.

I’ve tried a lot of knives during my BBQ journey, and the one I keep going back to is this Dalstrong chef’s knife . While it’s a bit on the pricey side, it is worth every penny. Trust me when I say you will get a lot of value out of this knife for the price. The 8″ knife is a great fit for all things BBQ. Whether you’re chopping veggies, trimming fat, slicing meat, or cutting fruit, this chef’s knife will be used over and over to help get your BBQ in top shape before it hits the grill.

2. Kitchen Shears

Now that you have a great knife in your kitchen drawer, make sure you have a pair of high-quality kitchen shears as well. These guys come in handy for a variety of purposes, including preparing a Spatchcock Chicken or clipping butcher’s twine. There are a handful of great brands, so don’t get too hung up on which one to purchase. I also have some cheaper shears hanging out in my drawer that I reach for quite often as well.

Kitchen shears on a white tablecloth.

Some key things to look for when purchasing kitchen shears:

  • Get em’ Sharp. Make sure whatever shears you purchase are nice and sharp. When you’re cutting out a backbone to make that spatchcock chicken, you don’t want to waste time and energy with dull shears.
  • Rubber reinforcement. Look for kitchen shears that have rubber reinforcement on the handles.
  • Able to disassemble. These kitchen shears are going to be cutting a lot of raw meat and produce. Make sure you get some that you can take apart to sanitize in between meals.

3. Grater

A fine grater is a must-have when cooking anything in the kitchen as well as on the BBQ. This Microplane grater is awesome, and I use it multiple times per week. Not only is it great for zesting, but it makes quick work of garlic, parmesan, or hard cheeses.

Microplane grater on a white tablecloth.

These graters are reasonably priced, and you’ll be using it all the time. Another quick note: snag a grater in a couple different sizes. The smaller, fine size will allow you to get that perfectly thin zest for your marinades, while a coarse, larger size gives you those nice, thick shreds of cheese to top your Smoked Mac and Cheese.

4. Pepper Grinder

Fresh ground pepper will change your life. The flavors from freshly ground pepper are more powerful than the pre-ground kind. Pepper is used a lot in BBQ, so make sure you use good pepper on your meat. It’s a super affordable and easy way to up your BBQ game.

Wooden pepper grinder on a white table.

You don’t need to get fancy here. This pepper grinder is affordable, good-looking, and functional. Simply snag some black peppercorns and you’re in business.

5. Instant Read Thermometer

I could not live without my instant read thermometer. Truly. Okay, well maybe I could live, but I sure couldn’t cook or BBQ without one. Not only is it important to take quick and accurate temperature measurements when cooking a steak or brisket, but it’s also handy for use when cooking items on your stovetop or in your oven.

Peach ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 on a white tablecloth.

The ThermoWorks Mk4 is easily one of my top BBQ tools in my arsenal. It can be a bit on the pricier side, but it is durable and stands the test of time. I’m not exaggerating when I say I use it every day. It’s not just for BBQ, either. You can can also use it for baked goods, making candy, or anything that needs a temp check. This bad boy gives you an instant reading within 3 seconds, and it’s backlit for grilling at night. Do yourself a favor and snag one of these ASAP.

6. Skewers

If you’re planning on cooking a lot on the BBQ, you’re likely going to need some sturdy metal skewers. These guys are extremely important for outdoor cooking. Aside from kabobs, skewers are a great way to cook shrimp as well as Brazilian Picanha Steak.

Metal skewers on a white tablecloth.

There are two types of metal skewers that I use all the time. The first are these double prong skewers . Using double prong skewers helps to keeps the food on the skewers and prevents the meat from spinning. Oftentimes when you place the meat on a single skewer, you’ll find that the meat doesn’t turn with the skewer, leading to meat that is only cooked on one side. 

Along with double prong skewers, these 12″ flat metal skewers are also extremely handy and can be doubled up for extra security, if desired. You can also use bamboo or wooden skewers, but I prefer to use metal since I don’t have to worry about them burning or only lasting a short amount of time.

7. Meat Claws

Looking for that one BBQ tool that can do it all? Enter: Meat Shredder Claws! These guys are super handy to have in your kitchen, they’re the multipurpose BBQ tool you didn’t know you needed.

Hey Grill Hey branded meat shredder claws.

They allow you to lift heavy items (like brisket, pork butt, ribs) while keeping your hands away from that scorching direct heat. You can also use them as the ultimate meat fork when slicing London broil or Smoked Tri Tip. Finally, they’re the ultimate shredding tool. Leave the regular forks in the drawer, and use these shredder claws to pull all your smoked chicken and pork.

Bonus: You’ll feel kinda like Wolverine when you use these, and there’s nothing like looking like a superhero when feeling like a backyard BBQ hero, right?

8. Tongs

If I were to recommend the top grill tool set, this Weber stainless steel BBQ tool set would be the one. And I’m not the only one who swears by this set. It has over 1300 5-star reviews on Amazon!

You really don’t need all sorts of utensils and tools hanging up by your BBQ. First and foremost, you need a good, sturdy set of tongs. These ones from Weber have a useful hang tag for hanging on smoker or grill (useful if you don’t have drawer space for your BBQ tools!). They lock on bottom, and open wide for handling large cuts of meat. A nice, long length means you won’t be cooking your hands while you cook your food, and the teeth on sides of the tongs allow for a bigger surface area for gripping.

Lastly, these tongs come complete with an excellent clicking sound. After all, you gotta give those tongs a few clicks before opening up the grill, right? Gotta make sure those tongs be tonging!

9. Spatulas

The spatula that comes in the Weber BBQ tool set is great as well. It’s nice and long with a wide head. Additionally, the handle is rubber coated, plus it comes with a hang tag so you can hang it alongside your tongs.

If you’re planning on making some serious Smoked Hamburgers at your next neighborhood cookout, you best have an awesome spatula to help you do all the flipping without fear of losing precious burger meat through the grates.

10. Gloves

Nitrile gloves. Gloves come in extremely handy when BBQing. Whether you’re prepping meat, or you’re handling hot items, I always recommend having a few different types of gloves on hand at all times.

Worn leather gloves on a white tablecloth.

First up, grab a box of powder-free nitrile gloves. These are great for prepping meat, and moving stuff around on the grill. Just keep in mind that these don’t have any heat prevention. If you want to add a layer to allow to use on the grill, pair these with some with thick cotton gloves to prevent burns.

When dealing with the really hot stuff (cooking with wood, charcoal, or moving grill grates around), put on a pair of thick leather grill gloves. These are the workhorses of open fire cooking, and extremely handy to have while camping.

11. Grill Baskets

Next up, make sure to purchase at least one good grill basket. These are great for grilling vegetables, shrimp, chopped meat, meatballs, meatloaf, and more.

Copper grill wok on a white table.

You don’t have to go super fancy here. I personally love this Outset Grillware Copper Grill Wok , but any basket will do. Remember to keep it simple. Invest in a large basket that will allow you to cook larger quantity of food. My favorite grill basket is wok-style with holes all around. Oh, and remember to purchase a basket without plastic. You’ll thank me when you have that guy in a hot grill for a long period of time!

12. Charcoal Chimney

If you’re cooking on a charcoal grill, invest in a charcoal chimney. Using a chimney lights charcoal quickly and evenly. You also don’t need lighter fluid with this guy, simply light and let the chimney do all the work.

To use a charcoal chimney, simply pour your charcoal into the chimney, light, and pour the charcoal where you want it in your grill once the top briquettes have turned ashy gray. A charcoal chimney also gives you great control over where to focus your heat, a must-have when cooking using Two-Zone Grilling on a charcoal grill.

13. Butcher Paper

Last up in my list of BBQ tools that are must-haves is butcher paper. This is key if you’re in the smoking game. Brisket, ribs, pork shoulder are all great wrapped in butcher paper during the smoke time. Unlike wrapping in foil, butcher paper continues to cook the meat without softening your bark. It’s also great for serving food as a BBQ placemat.

Hey Grill Hey branded peach butcher paper on the end of a white table.

So, if you’re planning on smoking that big beef brisket soon, I can’t recommend my American-made Hey Grill Hey Butcher Paper enough. Oh, and for an added bonus, it comes in two sizes: 18″ x 150′ and 24″ x 150′.

 

Making some epic BBQ should be easy, and Hey Grill Hey is here to help!  Join my members-only group The Grill Squad today for access to my master classes, podcasts, and so much more. It’s an amazing community of grillers that will help support you and increase your confidence of all things BBQ.

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