People spend so much time worrying about what smoker to buy or which type of charcoal to cook with they tend to forget about accessories.
Investing in the right accessories for your grill or smoker doesn’t just make your life a lot easier, it’ll improve the quality of your BBQ too!
You’ll regret not investing in these smoker and grill accessories sooner!
Essential grill and smoker accessories you should own
These are the tools you will reach for time and again. The staples of your barbecue toolkit.
1. A quality wireless meat thermometer
Our top accessory is a no-brainer if you like to cook barbecue low and slow.
If you’ve tried to BBQ without a meat thermometer I feel sorry for you!
If your smoker has a built-in lid thermometer you’re not exempt either. These are notoriously inaccurate.
The best solution is a dual probe bbq thermometer that lets you measure the temperature in your cooker and the temperature of your meat from the same device.
Preferably with wireless functionality so you can check your temps from the comfort of your couch.
Remember that low and slow is all about consistent temperature.
Our pick: Thermoworks Smoke
The dual-probe Smoke has been designed with professional barbecue teams in mind.
Both the transmitter and receiver are incredibly sturdy and can withstand a few drops or splashes.
The large LCD screen makes reading temperatures from a distance easy. Everything is super simple to set up with no confusing menus.
Lastly, the probes are super fast and accurate, so you can trust that the temperature reading is exactly what it should be.
2. Heat resistant BBQ gloves
Your primary goal when you grill and barbecue should be to create delicious smoked meat.
A good secondary goal is to avoid burning your hands.
The first time I used a Weber Chimney Starter I got to enjoy a nice shower of scolding hot sparks on my bare hands.
Try and find oven mitts that protect your hands at 932 degrees!
While some people report being able to feel some heat coming through if you avoid letting cooking liquid get on the gloves a pair of these will do the trick when you BBQ.
They come in a variety of sizes, including one with a longer cuff which gives you extra protection when reaching in to a hot grill.
- Temperature protection: 932˚F thanks to an exterior layer of premium quality Para & Meta aramid fibers
- Grip: Silicone strips for a superb grip, complete confidence and safety
3. A BBQ grill brush to keep your cooking area clean
You don’t want to be the person who spends over $1,000 on a Kamado Joe but won’t spend $10 bucks to keep their fancy grill clean.
Get into the habit of cleaning your grill with a good grill brush after every cook and your life will be a lot easier.
- After a cook, crank the temperature for around 10 minutes and then clean with a wire brush while all the built-up meaty gunk is fresh.
- Before the next cook take the inside grate and give it a good cleaning with water while your smoker or grill is coming up to temperature
- Put the grate back into the grill/smoker and let it get nice and hot before putting food on.
This way you make sure there are no stray wires getting left behind by the brush and making their way into your food (this is rare but you really don’t want it to happen once!).
Our pick: Kona Bristle Free Barbecue Brush
With no wire bristles, there’s no need to worry about anything dangerous falling off and getting into your food.
With an 18″ long handle, you can keep your hand far back from the heat of the grill when you are cleaning a hot grill surface.
The 6″ wide scrubbing surface lets you quickly get any built-up gunk off your grill.
- Construction: 18″ long, very strong and able to reach the farthest parts of the grill easily and without the risk of burns
- Safe to use on: Cast iron, stainless steel, carbon steel, porcelain, and ceramic grill surfaces for charcoal, gas and infrared grills
4. Sturdy BBQ Tongs
If you’re like me and like to avoid burning your hands you’ll appreciate owning a good pair of LONG grilling tongs.
If you really want to be a pro, consider investing in two pairs of tongs.
One for moving around charcoal, and another for moving food around the grill.
I find I use my tongs more than any other barbecue tools, but you might also want to consider investing in a full toolset. We like this 13 pieces set from Cuisinart.
Our pick: GRILLHOGS 16″ Barbecue Grill Tongs
We like these 16” stainless steel locking grilling tongs with a damage resistant oak wood handle from GrillHogs.
- The 16” length helps to keep your hands further away from the heat.
- The clamping strength is impressive. They open very wide allowing for you to grab just about anything you could possibly want.
The only possible downside with these tongs is that the wood handles can get a bit slick.
So we prefer to use these tongs with heat resistant gloves on to help with gripping.
The scalloped end of the tongs performs superbly with certain foods, but sometimes, struggled with others.
For example, when I was trying to turn chicken quarters that I was grilling, I struggled to get a good firm hold on the chicken pieces. The scalloped end kept slipping.
I found myself sometimes wishing the tongs had some little teeth on them. But I had no trouble flipping a ribeye that I was searing.
The locking feature (tongs lock in the closed position) is handy to have as well to maximize your grilling accessory space.
5. An instant-read meat thermometer
Hold on a second, didn’t we already mention the importance of a thermometer at the top of this article?
An instant-read meat thermometer actually serves a different purpose.
A WiFi thermometer is for monitoring the temp in your grill and of your meat during long cooks.
An instant-read thermometer is crucial for grilling, especially when cooking steaks where every few degrees can have a big impact.
I also find these useful when cooking low and slow as you can quickly test the temperature at multiple different points.
Our pick: ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE
The ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE ain’t cheap.
But nothing else we’ve tested comes close in terms of build quality, features and temperature speed, and accuracy.
It’s one of the gadgets I find myself constantly reaching for.
Everything has been designed for ease of use. The screen turns on automatically when you touch it, and the temperature readout flips automatically so you can always read it.
6. A basting brush/mop
Some recipes call for basting the meat with a mop or marinade to add flavor and keep the meat moist.
Having a dedicated mop for barbecue is useful because of the longer handle and a more durable head.
The brush you might already have in your kitchen cupboard would probably burn. Not the kind of flavor you want to impart!
Our pick: GRILLHOGS Grill Basting Brush
With its soft and absorbent head, this bbq brush is designed to spread an even glaze, sauce, marinade, or butter across your barbecued meats.
I’ve tested a thick sauce and a thin sauce on this basting mop. The mop soaked up a bunch of the thick sauce, but it didn’t transfer to the food terribly well.
It did brush some of the sauce on, but most of the sauce stayed soaked up in the mop head. For thick sauces, you are much better off using a basting brush like this one.
Now, the thin sauce is a TOTALLY different story. I used this basting mop to baste some smoked ham using a thinned out mopping mixture, and let me tell you, this basting mop has its place!
It soaks up and holds a ton of thin liquid and transfers it very well onto whatever you happen to be grilling/smoking.
Bonus: the removable mop head can be put in your clothes washer (obviously after it’s at least partially washed off in the sink first).
7. A quality butcher’s block
A large butcher’s block or cutting board is an essential accessory for any barbecue kitchen.
Even an average-sized brisket won’t fit on your standard sized kitchen cutting board.
A quality wood board will also help keep your knives sharp. To learn more about wood butcher blocks including the best type of wood, check out our article on the best butcher blocks.
Our pick: SoulFino Bamboo Butcher Block
Measuring 17 by 13 inches, this bamboo butcher’s block should be large enough to hold even a full packer brisket.
The juice grooves are an important feature to prevent the juice from getting everywhere when transporting or slicing cooked meat.
This board is pre-treated so it’s ready to use right away.
8. A sharp boning knife for trimming
Out of all my BBQ knives, I find myself reaching for my boning knife the most often.
The blade shape makes it perfect for trimming the fat cap on a brisket or tidying up a slab of ribs.
Our pick: Dexter-Russell Boning Knife
Unlike a lot of the knives we like, the Dexter-Russel is boning knife is super affordable.
It’s a tool not a work of art.
The blade is super sharp and it holds its edge well. The 6″ blade is a good length for most common tasks.
The handle is a good size and comfortable.
9. A slicing knife for serving perfect portions
If you need a boning knife to trim your meat up before cooking, a slicing knife is just as important for making the final product presentable.
The high carbon steel blade on the Victorinox slices through brisket like butter. The 12″ length is perfect for slicing through larger cuts.
You’ll regret going for a standard chef’s knife will when you realize you can’t make single clean slices.
Victorinox makes a quality product at a budget-friendly price point, one of the reasons you see them used so much in professional kitchens.
10) A charcoal chimney fire starter
I would consider this essential if you grill or smoke with charcoal, otherwise it’s not needed.
Unless you like painstakingly stacking your charcoal over chemical fire starters a chimney starter is your obvious choice.
And if you are dousing your charcoal in lighter fluid please stop now!
Just pour your charcoal into the chimney starter, scrunch up a few paper towels with a few teaspoons of oil and then light.
Place the chimney over the ball of paper towels and you should be good to go with 10-20 minutes.
Our pick: Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter
You can’t go wrong with the classic
Just make sure you get the right size for the amount of charcoal you need to use.
- Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 12.7 x 12.5 inches
- Capacity: Holds enough briquettes for a 22-1/2-inch kettle grill
Nice to have accessories and toys
These are the items you don’t necessarily NEED, but make your life easier, or are great for showing off to your friends.
11) Rib racks for loading up on ribs
Fitting more than a few racks of ribs on to the smoker can be a problem.
This can be especially problematic if you are cooking full spare ribs on a round smoker like the
Rather than buying a larger smoker, you can increase your real estate with a cheap investment in rib racks.
Our pick: Sorbus Non-Stick Rib Rack
This rib rack can hold up to 4 racks of ribs upright. Made from steel with a porcelain coating, the rack measures 11.4″ lengthwise by 9.8″ wide.
The racks are spaced apart wide enough to ensure plenty of airflow.
You will probably struggle with full-length ribs flopping over the edge. Cutting racks in half will help, but that also reduces the space-saving.
12. Pink Butcher Paper
To become a complete barbecue hipster, you need to start using pink butcher paper to wrap your meat.
The idea is that butcher paper helps the meat develop a better bark than you get with foil.
Any food-grade butcher paper will do the trick. We are partial to this USA made FDA-approved unwaxed paper.
13. Stainless Steel Grill Basket
A grill basket is a great option for cooking vegetables or anything else that’s small or delicate on a grill.
The basket keeps small items from falling through your grill grates, while still allowing your food to develop that grill taste.
I have used the grill basket from Grillaholics to grill some yellow squash and onions and it worked very well.
All you need is a little olive oil to coat the basket and you avoid any issues with food sticking. If you want to be able to easily flip fish, consider a closed basket like this one
Another bonus: It’s dishwasher safe! Easy cleanup.
14. Black Disposable Gloves
Just like pink butcher paper, black disposable gloves are part of the “barbecue uniform”.
You’ve probably spotted them if you’ve seen any barbecue shows on TV or watched YouTube.
They come in handy any time you are handling meat, applying sauce, or rubs.
They also look cool and do a good job of hiding any messy grease stains.
Nitrile gloves are a lot tougher than latex and don’t contain any powders. You can get a box of 100 for pretty cheap.
15. Bear claws for pulled pork
Was a set of bear claws the first bbq accessory I ever bought? Yes. Are they necessary? Absolutely not.
While a good set of bear claws make you look like a total BBQ badass, I’ve found it much easier to shred pulled pork with a couple of forks.
They can be useful for lifting and transferring meat, but it’s easier and cheaper to just use gloves or a cloth.
Use them to transform pork butts into delicious pulled pork, or shredding slow-cooked chicken.
If you do want to indulge yourself, these claws are a good option.
Wrapping it up
It’s true that spending time and money obsessing over accessories won’t make you a great barbecuer.
But investing in some simple, quality bbq accessories can save you a lot of time and hassle, and ultimately make your BBQ taste better.
These are just a few out of hundreds of great smoker accessories.
Now that you have your accessories sorted, go and cook some barbecue! Our list of our best bbq recipes is a good place to start.