The Very Best Grills and Grilling Gear Every Backyard Cook Needs for 2022

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wood tray on countertop  with speckled plate of grilled beef, pepper, and onion skewers. Pair of tongs on tray as well
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzales Hart

In case you missed it, we just updated our 2022 Tools edition of Kitchn Essentials to include a bonus section, featuring our very favorite grills and grilling tools. Why? Because we know that being a home cook often includes being a backyard cook — especially this time of year. And because there are so many non-essential grilling tools out there. For example, we strongly believe that no one needs to own a fish-shaped basket!

What do you need? After much testing, tasting, and debating, we bring you this list. On it, you’ll find our top pick for a gas grill, a charcoal grill, and smoker — plus the only tools and accessories you need. Note: You will not find any of those utensil kits that come in metal briefcases. Let’s take a look!

1 / 15
Best Charcoal Grill

When you picture a charcoal grill in your mind's eye, this is likely what you imagine. And for good reason: This charcoal grill is sturdy, relatively hassle free, and easy to clean. It produces a ridiculously nice sear on meat, holds up to 12 burgers, and features an ash catcher at the bottom. Fun fact: The design remains relatively unchanged since it first hit the market 70 years ago.

2 / 15
Best Gas Grill

Look! Another Weber grill! This gas version has a relatively small footprint, but still has a large grilling surface (it also fits up to a dozen burgers). Assembly is fairly uncomplicated, it features a fold-down side table, and it's easy to slide the propane tank in and out of place. (There's even a built-in propane gauge!) Of course, the three burners offer impressive grilling performance and the price is pretty hard to beat, all things considered.

3 / 15
Best Smoker

Super Serious Smokers will have a lot of opinions when it comes to naming the best smoker. And while this $800 price tag isn't exactly entry-level friendly, we do believe this is the best smoker for most people. Especially those who wouldn't consider themselves part of the SSS club. (Proof: It's the best-selling pellet grill on the market.) It's a smoker, yes, but it can also be used to grill, bake, roast, and braise.

4 / 15
Best Pizza Oven

If it seems like everyone you know got an Ooni during the pandemic, that's because they did. The company’s sales increased by 150 percent during the summer of 2020 and the ovens were constantly selling out. They're back in stock and this remains the brand's most popular model. We've been using it for more than a year and we remain thoroughly impressed. We just have two suggestions for you: Get the table to go with it and try it out with veggies, too.

5 / 15
Best Grill Grate Brush
was $29.97

You can rest easy with this grill brush: The bristles arey tightly twisted into the heavy wire frame, which means they're unlikely to fall off and end up in your food. "I've had this brush for few years now and I've never had a single bristle fall out," says our former Executive Lifestyle Director, Lisa Freedman. It's angled just right for optimal leverage and the head includes a built-in scraper for the extra burnt-on bits.

6 / 15
Best Chimney Starter

"Don't even try to start charcoal grilling without a chimney starter," says Contributor Patty Catalano. "I don't know why they don't sell a starter kit for charcoal grills with this included!" This gadget is wildly easy to use and gets charcoal hot and ready to go faster than other method or tools.

7 / 15
Best Grill Basket

We love this grill basket — made of thick-gauge stainless steel — because it has large perforations that allow for direct on-the-grill contact but still don't let pieces fall through the grates. That means more flavor and more of those coveted sear marks. It's also easy to move around the grill and dishwasher safe.

8 / 15
Best Probe Thermometer
was $109.00

You may recognize this gadget as a winner from our Tools section below. That's right, it's made this list twice! There are lots of special thermometers made to target grillers, but we find them all just a little too extra. This one is perfect inside the kitchen and at the grill, giving read outs in just one second.

9 / 15
Best Grill Gloves

A good pair of grilling gloves need to protect your hand from hot flames, yes. But they also need to allow for dexterity. This pair checks both of those boxes, so that you can grab skinny skewers, grill pans, hot potatoes, basting brushes, and more with precision. They're machine washable, too.

10 / 15
Best Spatula

This may technically be a fish spatula, but our editors use it more like an all-purpose spatula while they're grilling. It's perfect for flipping burgers, digging under chicken breasts, and more. It's also super sturdy, which means it can easily transfer all your food from the grill to a platter.

11 / 15
Best Tongs

Tongs become an extension of your hand while you're standing at the grill. While the 12-inch ones listed below are absolutely great for grilling, these are 20 inches, allowing you to distance yourself from the flame just a little bit more. Note: In our experience, those heavy-duty tongs made specifically for grilling are just way too big and awkward to use. Stay away from those.

12 / 15
Best Skewers

Not only do we believe skewers should be reusable (why waste the wood?!), we also believe they must be flat instead of round. This way, your food doesn't roll around when you go to flip the skewers! These hold plenty of food and have sturdy handles that also nest for storage.

13 / 15
Best Basting Brush and Pot
was $27.99

For extra saucy meats and veggies, you need this basting pot and brush set. The pot has a comfortable handle and a lid to keep the bugs out. The brush has an angled head featuring patented silicone bristles that sop up sauce.

14 / 15
Best Paper Towels

Paper towels got multiple nominations from editors: "I ball up paper towels, dip them in oil, and then hold them with tongs to oil the grates," says Senior Food Editor, Megan O. Steintrager. "This is also a good way to make sure there aren't any bits on there before you start grilling." Other editors seconded all of this and mentioned that they're good for cleaning up spills, wiping hands, and more. Of course, Bounty is unmatched when it comes to absorbancy and we love being able to pick the size of the sheet.

15 / 15
Best Headlamp
The Grommet

Grilling at night is hard — no matter how many string lights you have strung up! Allow us to suggest this slightly nerdy but oh-so practical LED headlamp. It charges through a micro-USB (no having to worry about batteries!), has an adjustable tilting design, and also works as a flashlight. For grilling-at-night purposes, just slip it on and adjust it to fit your noggin.

How many of these Essentials do you have? Tell us in the comments below.