8 Essential Tools for Aspiring Grillmasters

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You have the great new grill, an apron, a tray full of steaks and maybe even a silly hat. But do you really have what it takes to be a grillmaster? Here are the eight must-have accessories that every outdoor chef needs for a killer cookout.

With the right tools, even beginners can throw a great BBQ.
(Kris Robertson/Demand Media)

Managing temperature is the most important task in outdoor cooking. A quality oven thermometer will tell you the temperature of the grill. An instant read thermometer will quickly tell you the internal temperature of meat. Tech-savvy grillers can even use a remote digital thermometer for larger roasts so they can track the temperature of the meat without lifting the hood and allowing heat to escape.

Thermometers ensure that the grill temperature and meat temperature are where they need to be.
Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Turners are essential for flipping grilled foods. The blades are slightly off-set from the handle at an angle so you can press the blade flat on the grates and slide it under whatever is on the grill. Choose a turner with an 8 inch blade of hardened steel for grilling fish.

The angled blade of a spatula turner will help cleanly flip your grilled items.
Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Tongs are the preferred way to move meat around on the grill. Their flattened, scalloped ends provide an ideal grip that you can't get with turners. Separate tongs for raw and cooked meats help prevent cross-contamination.

Don't try to balance food on a turner. Move food around the grill with tongs.
Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Transferring raw food from the preparation area to the cooking area and cooked food to the serving or carving area is easier with 18 gauge aluminum sheet pans. Measuring 18” x 26” with a 1” lip all the way around means no spilling of delicious meat juices.

Sheet pans with a lip help prevent post-grilling spills.
Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Heavy duty foil to wrap meat that is smoked but not finished cooking is critical to most outdoor cooks. Foil can also serve as makeshift oven by tenting food on an open grill and is useful for keeping cooked food warm and not drying out.

Aluminum foil can also be handy for grilling fruit.
Kris Robertson/Demand Media

The quality of the cleaning brush is critical because better made brand name brushes do not easily lose the metal brush bristles as cheaper versions tend to do. The brush should be appropriate to the design of the grill grates and should only be used when the grates are warm and not over open flame.

Don't cook over a dirty grill. Clean grates with a good brush.
Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Most sauces and glazes have high sugar content that burns when exposed to high heat of grilling, and should only be applied during the final 3-5 minutes of cooking. A 12-inch handle, slightly bent, with silicon brush works best and is easily cleaned in the dishwasher.

Use basting brushes for sweet, last minute glazes.
Kris Robertson/Demand Media

When cooking with charcoal, propane or natural gas there is always a chance for fire to start via a spark or grease build-up. To be safe, a fire rated and properly charged fire extinguisher is a must for every outdoor chef.

Don't get caught with a fire you can't put out. Have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Kris Robertson/Demand Media
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