10 Game-Changing Tools You’ll Use All Grilling Season

updated May 21, 2024
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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Summer is around the corner, and there are few better seasonal pastimes than getting together with friends and family for a park or backyard cookout. But if you’re the one in charge of the food, this can be a tad stressful. It’s one thing to prepare dinner in your own kitchen, but when you’re working with a grill of any kind, things can get unpredictable. Take your eyes off the grates for a bit too long, and your hamburgers might just get burnt and leave hard-to-clean residue behind. Plus, serving up tough, dry chicken skewers is pretty embarrassing when all the hungry partygoers have been waiting a while. Not to worry, though — we have some helpful grill tool recs that’ll simplify the process and increase your chances of being deemed a true grillmaster. Many of these products are editor-tested, so you can count on them to work effectively and become your new summer staples.

Do you have a grill accessory you can’t live without? We want to hear all about it. Tell us about your grilling essentials in the comments below!

1 / 10

If you're working with an old grill, your wings and burger patties have a higher chance of sticking to its surface. To help combat this problem, Senior Commerce Editor Ian suggests picking up one or more of these dad-approved GrillGrates. He noted that they sear meat exceptionally fast, resulting in quicker cook times. "They’re also removable and easy to clean, which is particularly important for grilling," he added. Even if you don't own an outdoor grill, you can still pick up an indoor model and use it in your kitchen!

2 / 10
was $29.99

There's almost no greater grilling-related inconvenience than prepping all of your ingredients, only to realized there's no propane left in the tank. Because of this, former editor Lisa stresses the importance of investing in a tank gauge. She likes this one, which is available on Amazon for just $15. "My husband and I used to, um, just kinda guess how much propane we had left," she wrote. "While a standard tank of propane should give you 18 to 20 hours of cook time, It can be alarming to see how much the needle drops in a single weekend. But you know what? I’d rather have this gadget keep me on my toes than have to run to a nearby convenience store, mid-party, to swap out the tank." If anything, the tank gauge will give you some much-needed peace of mind!

3 / 10

The mere thought of scrubbing grates with all your strength after a grilling session can be enough to dissuade you from cooking outside. Really, though, all you need is one of these tiny but mighty brushes from Le Creuset. It's a tool that contributor Rochelle says she and her boyfriend swear by. "I decided to tackle the grate of his miniature Weber the day after our grilled chicken dinner, so the grates had time to cool completely," she wrote. "Folks, the stuff that came off this grate was unspeakable... After another 10 minutes of scrubbing with the brush, the grates looked so much better. Perfect? Of course not — this grill is years old. But the grate no longer felt greasy, and all of the crusty bits were gone." In other words, as long as you can handle the sight of nasty gunk coming off your grill, this nifty brush will leave the grates as close to perfectly clean as possible.

4 / 10
Home Depot
was $49.99

Okay, so this product isn't so much a grill tool as it is an actual grill. But Rochelle says it's an absolute must-have for every amateur outdoor cook, mainly because it uses charcoal. "Timing is everything with charcoal, but it’s easy to get the hang of it with a miniature grill," she wrote. "A smaller grilling area is more temperature-consistent — there are less hot and cool zones to navigate — so you can gain confidence with the other variables at play." In addition to being small, this particular grill is also affordable and easily portable, so you can take it with you during camping and road trips.

5 / 10

Have you ever wanted to grill smaller eats, like chickpeas or veggies, but not been able to because they'd fall through the grates? If your answer is yes, you need one of these mesh baskets that'll allow you to grill pretty much whatever you can fit inside — and that shouldn't be a problem because it's jumbo-sized. "They allow you to toss the vegetables around so they cook evenly," wrote contributor Jesse about such baskets. "You can treat these types of baskets sort of like a wok, quickly moving items around to prevent burning." And because this product has such long handles, it also keeps your hands further away from the heat.

6 / 10

Longtime Kitchn readers know we're big fans of ThermoWorks thermometers for all kinds of cooking, whether you're preparing a Thanksgiving turkey or checking on the temperature of your dinner steaks. Former editor Riddley loves this one in particular, calling it the "Rolls Royce of thermometers." "It’s incredibly accurate and fast and has a backlight that turns on automatically when you use it, so it’s still easy to read temperatures in a cavernous oven," she added. Of course, you're not limited to using this thermometer in your oven. It's also great for checking the remaining cook time on grilled eats.

7 / 10
Uncommon Goods

Sometimes, it feels like even if you thoroughly marinate your veggies in spices and seasonings, the flavor still isn't up to par after grilling. These novel grilling wraps should help alleviate that issue. They're essentially natural wood wraps that you place around your ingredients to infuse them with a smokier flavor. The wraps contain no harmful additives, plus they keep moisture locked inside. No dried-out asparagus spears here!

8 / 10

Another common problem that occurs with grilling is that some foods naturally lift off of the grill instead of sticking to it, resulting in unevenly cooked bacon or bread. For that, contributor Meredith suggests this useful grill press tool. "Place it on top of chicken cutlets, sautéed vegetables, and quesadillas, and you’ll be amazed at the golden, crispy finish," she wrote. "Pro tip: It’s just what you need to make burger-joint-worthy smash burgers on a flat top grill or skillet." In some cases, the press can also help squeeze out excess water.

9 / 10
was $29.95

Whereas the Le Creuset scrub brush is more useful for smaller grills, this editor-favorite alternative covers a lot more surface area and promises to leave grates practically sparkling in no time. In addition to tough bristles, the brush also has a built-in stainless-steel scraper that works on even the toughest residue. "I had tried so many different grill brushes before I finally found this one,” Lisa noted. “Others I’ve tried either didn’t seem to get the job done (which is not ideal!) or left bristles behind on my grates (which is dangerous!)." You won't experience any of that nonsense with this tool!

10 / 10

Much of the time, eating meat off of a skewer can feel like some sort of cruel game as the chunks of chicken spin in the opposite direction of your mouth. But what's so clever about this skewer set from OXO is that each piece has a completely flat blade, making it easier to cook and enjoy your ingredients. The stainless steel spears are also incredibly sharp on one end, so they pierce through even the toughest uncooked meats with ease and precision.