Grilling Tools

Grilling Tools-1020497

Grilling Tools

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I’m a Weber fanatic. My first love is the Weber kettle. When I bought my house, the first thing I asked for as a housewarming gift was a Weber. It is a classic of American design, and built to last. My first kettle, seventeen years later, is still going strong. My original kettle has retired to a life of tailgating and road trips; my main kettle is the 22 inch Performer, with its attached work table.

Now, I’m not a charcoal snob. Weber makes many gas grills, but the two I recommend are the Genesis (if you’re on a budget), and the Summit (if you want to buy the best.)

I owned a Weber Genesis for many years, and was happy with it, but I wanted to trade up to the extra grilling space available on the higher-end summit. (And I needed a rotisserie burner. Needed I tell you!). If neither of these are important for you, or if the high-end price of the high-end Summit makes you clutch your wallet in terror, then the Genesis is a fantastic grill. The one I bought is still in use at my sister-in-law’s house, ten years later, and this is the grill my Dad uses as well.

My current grill is the massive Weber Summit – the 6 burner 650 model (this year’s equivalent is the Summit 670) . The extra grilling space, powerful burners, and infrared rotisserie burner make it worth the extra cost.


Weber Performer kettle grill


Weber Genesis

Weber Summit 670 with Infrared burner

Mandatory Accessories

There are three essential grilling tools: a grill brush (to keep your grill grate clean), tongs (your hands on the grill), and a spatula (for flipping items that tongs would break apart, like burgers and fish.)


Grill brush: How do you keep food from sticking to your grill? Preheat the grill, and keep your grill grate clean. (Science detour: protien sticks to cold metal much more than it sticks to hot metal – and anything stuck on to the grate acts as an insulator between the protien and the metal. Every time you use the grill, Preheat it, then brush it clean before adding any food.)

Spring loaded tongs: Tongs are an extension of my hands when I’m cooking. I prefer 12 inch tongs – not too short, not too long.

Spatula: I use them a lot less than I use my tongs, but when I need to flip a burger, or a piece of fish, a spatula is the right tool for the job. I like 8 inch by 3 inch perforated grill spatulas – if you have a restaurant supply store nearby, you can pick one up cheap; if not, I like this model.

Charcoal tools:

Charcoal chimney: My favorite way to light charcoal. Stuff a couple of pieces of crumpled newspaper in the bottom, fill the top with charcoal, light, and come back in 20 minutes.

Charcoal baskets: If you have a kettle grill, charcoal baskets make indirect grilling a lot easier. Dump lit charcoal into the baskets, slide them to the edges of the grill, and you’re ready to grill-roast.

“Nice to have” accessories:

Welding gloves: I use welding gloves instead of grilling gloves. They’re a little cheaper and higher quality.

Kebab skewers: I like slightly wider, flat skewers to keep food from spinning on my skewer; these Weber Essentials skewers are the width I look for.

Extra-wide kebab skewers: If you make kofta kebabs, or other ground meat kebabs, you want extra-wide skewers, like these from Steven Raichlen’s tool line.

Basting brush: For glazes, sauces, and mops. Traditional brushes wind up being single use, because I can never get them clean. I use silicone brushes; a trip through the dishwasher and they’re ready to go again.

Timer: My first choice nowadays is the timer on my phone: “Hey Siri, set a timer for five minutes”. Sometimes I prefer a separate timer; this one has a magnet, and sticks to my oven hood, waiting for the next time I need it.

Probe Thermometer with heat resistant probe: I used polder probe thermometers for years, and liked my Maverick remote thermometer, but I kept burning out probes. Now I use a ChefAlarm thermometer with heat resistant probes – no burnouts yet.

Thermoworks ChefAlarm

Thermoworks ChefAlarm

Instant Read Thermometer: The tool I miss the most when I’m away from home is my instant read thermometer. The Thermapen is the top of the line model, faster and more precise than any other thermometer out there. I can’t imagine cooking without one. Thermowork’s cheaper Thermopop is a good value. Both are available in a rainbow of colors.

Thermoworks Thermapen

Thermoworks Thermapen

Thermoworks ThermoPop

Thermoworks ThermoPop

Drip pans: I do a lot of indirect heat grill-roasting, and a drip pan keeps the inside of my grill clean and free of flareups. Cheap aluminum foil pans are readily available, and cleanup is a snap. I buy Weber’s “Extra Large” drip pans because they are built to fit between the charcoal baskets in my Kettle. For my gas grill, I got tired of the waste, so I bought a reuseable enameled steel roasting pan from Crow Canyon. That pan is dedicated to the grill, so I don’t care about scorch and burn marks.

Grill baskets: For grilling things that tend to fall through the grates, I have a couple different size grilling baskets. I don’t like “nonstick” – and I use that term loosely – pans. They don’t do as well in the grill as stainless steel. My favorite baskets are both by Weber; the oval Weber Large Original Grill Basket fits perfectly against the edge of my round kettle, and the Weber Style Professional Grade Grill Pan is the right shape for my gas grill.