Which tools you find essential and which merely ‘nice to have’ depends on the type of barbecuing you plan to do. But there’s a list of tools that most backyard chefs will find come in handy much of the time.
Sometimes it’s best to start with the end in mind and the end of every barbeque is the clean-up phase. Some grill models can be a nightmare but with the right tools it can be relatively painless.
One way to ease the burden of clean up is to not get so messy in the first place. Disposable drip pans are a great way to accomplish that. They catch any grease or bits of meat and bun that fall through the grill and after cooling off you just pull them out and toss them into the garbage. After a couple of days, though, the garbage will begin to smell very foul with old grease in it. Make sure it doesn’t stay around very long unwrapped.
The next best thing to disposable drip pans are removable ones. If you can’t throw one away, at least you can make the job easier by pulling out the pan and spraying and scrubbing over a large sink. Oven cleaner is a lot easier to use when you don’t have to wipe around a dozen other parts that are in the way.
It also makes for a better grill experience, since any oven cleaner used on a grill really has to be rinsed/removed before the next use. The alternative is foul smelling and foul tasting, if not downright unsafe.
A wire brush will be essential for most clean up situations. Getting a dual purpose style is helpful. These have wire brushes on one side and a metal scraper on the other. For scraping crusty carbon off the grill, there’s just no substitute.
There are many tools that make the cooking itself a pleasure rather than a chore.
Skewers are handy for shish-kabob style meals and essential as part of cooking a chunk that requires repeated turning. A good pair of tongs complements the set. ‘Good’ here means easy to grip, low slip and no chance of overheating in your hands. Modern materials have done wonders in solving this problem.
Oven mitts will still be useful for most applications, though. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll come in contact with grill parts and metal tools that make wearing gloves the only sensible thing to do. Hot plates, hot food and other aspects of barbecuing make them mandatory.
You’ll probably find a wire basket handy from time to time, if you cook fish or want to be able to turn a slice of ham without using tongs. Add to that a different style that allows, for example, putting vegetables into a wire mesh container with a handle and you’ve got a convenient way to make a healthy meal outdoors.
There are dozens of useful barbecuing tools. Check out your list of favorites and always buy quality. That way they end up in your hands, and not in the drawer collecting dust.