12 grilling essentials you need for your next barbecue
We've tested the products you need to up your grill game.
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The first cookout of the season is a special time to celebrate friends, family, and the arrival of warm weather. But when you go to dig out your grill equipment from storage, you might realize your tools didn’t fare as well through their hibernation. If you’ve got rusty, dusty, or broken grilling equipment that needs to be replaced, we’ve got your back.
From the best-performing grills to the grippiest tongs and most accurate meat thermometers, we’ve spent hours cooking burgers, turning corn on the cob, and smoking pork loin to see which equipment will make your cookouts the stuff of neighborhood legend. And after hours of testing, we can recommend everything you need to throw the perfect barbecue.
If you’re finally ready to ditch your dusty, old grill and spatula in favor of something better, these Editor’s Choice award winners and top-rated grilling accessories are an ideal upgrade.
1. The best gas grills on the market
Whether you’re hosting your first or fiftieth barbecue, you can’t have a successful summer without the right grill. The Weber Spirit II E-310 was our favorite grill to use on every test of our recently updated gas grill roundup, producing perfect sear marks on burgers, evenly cooked chicken, and crispy asparagus.
The Spirit can’t hold quite as many burgers as our upgrade pick, the Weber Genesis II E-310, but the 18 or so burgers that do fit will be cooked evenly to perfection. It’s also easy to build, aesthetically pleasing, and reasonably priced—it doesn’t get much better.
2. Our favorite grill tongs and spatula in one bundle
After separately testing both the best grill spatulas and best grill tongs on the market, we conveniently found the best of both categories are manufactured by OXO and sold as a discounted bundle. During testing, the tongs flipped heavy, saucy chicken with ease and were even able to grip even the tiniest sprig of asparagus. The spatula's sharp top edge makes quick work of separating the burgers from the grill, while the long handle keeps your hands a safe distance from the flames.
Between their comfort-forward design, their versatility, and their grip, these grill accessories will feel like an extension of your arm—and the price is definitely right.
3. A digital meat thermometer for quick temperature reads
Before you pull your meat off the grill, it’s always smart to have a digital meat thermometer on hand to make sure your food is cooked to perfection. The winner of our best meat thermometer roundup, the ThermoPop, offers super quick, accurate readings in a nice-looking package. It averages a mere 3 seconds to reach final temperatures.
Fast and precise, the ThermoPop’s aesthetic features are also a slam dunk. With a click of a super-soft button, the display rotates 360 degrees for ease of viewing. Another click and the backlight illuminates the large numbers. Simple and convenient, and useful well beyond grilling season.
4. The best probe thermometer for serious grill masters
If you’re serious about your barbecue and plan to cook large cuts of meat or entire animals, a probe thermometer that tracks internal temperature and cook time is what you need. The ThermoWorks ChefAlarm is the most accurate probe we’ve tried, as well as one of the easiest to use and most durable. We especially love that it has a hinged, tilting screen for easy viewing on the grill table, in addition to a magnet and clip if you’d prefer to place it elsewhere.
Spending $60 on a thermometer might not be for everyone, but it's well worth it if you want to master your barbecue this summer. The cable is heat resistant to over 700 degrees, so there's no reason to think that this model won't last a lifetime.
5. A classic charcoal grill
If you prefer the unbeatable smokiness of a charcoal grill to the convenience of gas, consider the iconic Weber 22” Original Kettle Grill. It’s been in production since 1951, and more than 60 years later we think it still offers a great combination of price, convenience, and performance, having aced all the tests in our best charcoal grill roundup.
It's about as simple as they come, constructed from two curved sheets of steel, but the iconic kettle shape isn't just for looks: The lack of weld points also prevents unwanted heat loss. Quick to set up, quick to heat up, and impossible to break, this Weber is also covered by the company’s limited 10-year warranty. While the Napoleon NK22K-LEG-2 is our new favorite charcoal grill overall, this Weber is both cheaper and currently more widely available.
6. A few steaks and burgers from our favorite meat delivery service
A cookout is only as good as the food that's served at it, right? Well, thanks to our favorite meat delivery service, Crowd Cow, you can have delicious, high-quality meat shipped right to your door in time for your barbecue. The company sources its meat from independent ranchers and farmers who raise their livestock in a sustainable and ethical way without any added hormones or unnecessary antibiotics, and offers a wide range of cuts to choose from. You can also choose either a one-time, à la carte purchase or a subscription, which you might be tempted to opt for once you taste these meats!
7. A cast iron skillet to cook more food outside
Cast iron skillets are amazing because you can go from the stovetop directly into the oven. But, did you ever think you can use it on your grill too? This is great for cooking side dishes and smaller foods without risking them slipping through the grates and into the coals. This cast iron skillet from Lodge is our absolute favorite—and the brand, which has been making its pans since 1896, is pretty much synonymous with cast iron.
8. A tough grill brush to keep things clean
Let’s be honest, grills get gross, especially if you’re not diligent about cleaning them after each use. We've all been there, but this year, why not get a good grill brush and set a goal to keep it cleaner so your food tastes amazing all summer long? While we haven’t personally tested grill bushes ourselves, this Curtis Stone Barbecue Grill Brush doesn’t have any actual bristles, which means you won't end up with stray bits of metal in your food.
9. This popular non-stick grill mat for more versatility
This non-stick grill mat from Kona is one of the most popular on the market. It can handle temperatures up to 600 degrees, is super thick, and is super easy to clean. Plus, it's very handy when you're cooking food that might slip through the grates of the grill. More than 14,000 Amazon shoppers swear it's a worthwhile addition to your grill.
10. Gloves that keep your hands safe in the heat
This pair of heat-resistant gloves from Grill Heat Aid has saved hundreds of grillers from burned fingers and dropped plates of food. They’re heat resistant up to 932 degrees, and some Amazon reviewers have even used them to grab burning logs in their fire pits and bowls. If you’re messing with non-gas grills and fire pits, these are essential. Want more protection in the backyard this summer? Check out our roundup of the best work gloves.
11. A portable grill for parties away from home
We tested a bunch of portable grills, and our favorite gas model is the Weber Q 1200. The model's cast-iron grilling grates, sturdy side tables and even heat distribution set it apart from the rest of the pack.
Still want to stick to charcoal? The Weber Jumbo Joe takes everything we loved about the 22" Original and crams it into a package small enough to bring to the park. The portability is aided even further by its locking lid.
12. An immersion circulator for perfectly-cooked meat
Pro tip: Sous vide your meat to the perfect temperature before throwing it on the grill for a quick sear and a perfect char. You won’t have to worry about undercooked meat, and it’s way quicker (if you prep the meat in a big batch first) and easier when you’re serving a large group of people. If that sounds good to you, you’ll want to invest in an immersion circulator—the Breville Joule is one of our favorites. Oh, and sous vide will serve you well all year long.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.