The right tools make a job so much easier. When it comes to barbecuing, that’s definitely true. If you want to cook up a fantastic meal in your backyard, a lot has to go into it. Of course, choosing the right food comes first. A great grill is also key. But we can’t neglect the value of having the right equipment to flip the burgers, turn the corn, and baste the chicken.
As you know, you can buy each tool separately. But getting them as a kit is convenient and helps achieve consistency in their appearance. Kits come in all shapes and sizes. Some include only the basics while others carry all kinds of extras.
Your own grilling preferences are a big factor in choosing the right set of barbecue tools for you. But what should you look for in terms of quality and contents? We’ll look at some of the important factors to consider and give our own recommendations regarding the best barbecue tool kits available.
Factors To Consider
There are several things to keep in mind when you’re choosing the accessories you’ll want to make your grilling experience better.
The first is to make sure you have all the tools you need. As we said, you could buy them individually. However, it’s so much easier to get them in a set! The first thing you’ll want to do is to find a set that suits your needs and has all the elements you’ll want to use. We’ll talk more about some necessities and some options below.
Another key is to be sure that you choose utensils with handles of a suitable length. That is one of the most important factors setting grilling tools apart from their kitchen counterparts. On a stovetop, you only have to worry about heat and flame from a couple burners. On a grill, the whole surface is giving off heat and may have an open flame. So you need handles that are long enough to reach all parts of the grill. That will help spare you from excessive heat on your skin.
Metal tools are the clear favorite but there are also good silicon pieces. Plastic will quickly begin to melt over the intense heat of the grill. Metal will hold up for years. But if you’re using grill mats, always go with silicon.
However, you don’t want the entire tool to be metal! The handle should be a material that doesn’t conduct heat. Wood is best, although here, silicon could work also. Just remember that we’re talking a strict definition of “handle” here – only the end of the utensils, where you’ll actually hold it, should be of this other material. The rest should be metal since it will more directly face the heat of the grill.
What Should Be in a Barbecue Tool Set
So what are the key pieces to have among your barbecue set? Let’s look at a few.
Tongs are one of the most basic and familiar items. Even if you’re just grilling up some hot dogs, this is the tool you’ll want. They also work well with corn on the cob or potatoes. And if you have pots on the grill, you can use the grip of the tongs to help shift them across the grill.
A spatula is another of the most basic tools. One with an offset handle where the “blade” is lowered slightly compared to the handle is easier to use and keeps your hands further from the flame. You’ll use this to flip burgers and steaks along with many other foods that are “flat.”
A two-prong fork is handy as well. With it, you can pierce items to move them around the grill or to a plate. It can help provide stability when working with tongs or your spatula. You can also use it to help check to see if your meat or potatoes are cooking all the way through.
Another key item is a basting brush. This might not be so important if all you want to make are hot dogs and burgers. But if you want to get into chicken, steaks, or other meats that you want to add sauce to, a basting brush is indispensable.
Eventually, you’re going to have to clean the grill, too. So look for a set that has a cleaning brush included. This is an exception in many ways. Generally, you’ll want a short-handled brush. You won’t be using it when the grill is hottest, and the shorter handle gives you more leverage to scrub off the grill.
These are the basic items you should have to make your grilling go smoothly.
Nice Additions to Your Set
But sometimes just the basics aren’t enough. If you love grilling and going above and beyond the norm, there are a lot of other great tools you can add to your collection.
If you want to get your meats done just right, you may want to have a meat thermometer. Know exactly when your steak is medium rare or well done without having to cut it open!
Even with the best tools, there are going to be times when you have to reach over the grill and move something by hand. That makes it important to have a set of grill mitts handy, too.
A large knife might be hard to use on the grill itself, but it will definitely come in handy for preparation. You may get to the grill and find that a cut is too large and has to be cut down. Or perhaps a piece of fat or tendon is still holding two slices together.
Corn holders come in many kits, too. Although they’re more a tool for eating than for cooking, it’s good to have them handy and insert them into the cob so that your guests can avoid burning themselves. If you like to cook kebobs, skewers are another handy item to have in your kit.
One thing to be aware of: most large sets include corn holders. Every ear of corn needs 2 holders. So the size of the sets easily gets inflated by the corn holders!
Our Picks for the Best Barbecue Tools Sets
There are a lot of great barbecue sets out there. Some don’t quite live up to all we’d like to see; still, they do a good job of providing the essentials even if you might have to buy additional pieces separately. Here are our own recommendations:
Cuisinart has made a name for themselves in the kitchen, but they don’t come up short with this set for cooking outdoors. This set is one of the most complete we’ve found. It also lives up to Cuisinart’s reputation when it comes to offering a high-quality product.
The set includes 20 pieces:
- 1 pair of tongs
- 1 Spatula
- 1 fork
- 1 basting brush
- 2 silicone heads
- 1 mop brush attachment
- 6 skewers
- 10 burger flags
- 8 corn holders (ie, 4 sets)
- 1 Grill scraper
- 1 bottle opener
- Grilling guide
- Temperature magnet
- Silicone gloves (heat- and water-resistant)
All the utensils are made of stainless steel and are well-designed for comfort and ease of use. The handles are stainless steel, too, but designed so they don’t heat up, which is awesome.
The grill scraper is nice, although personally, we prefer a brush. Oddly, a smaller set does have the brush and even includes a replacement pad. Still, this works well
- Includes lots of great pieces
- Most pieces work well and are durable
- Includes most of what you could want and a little bit more (that bottle opener could definitely come in handy!)
- Burger flags are a nice addition for tracking how to cook each burger
- Tongs aren’t fantastic and don’t close completely
- Doesn’t include thermometer (a smaller kit they offer does have a thermometer built into the fork)
- Case isn’t the highest quality; it works but cardboard elements inside can get soggy and the velcro straps aren’t the best
Home-Complete offers this pretty complete set of tools in an aluminum case. Made of stainless steel, it’s durable and should hold up well over time.
This set includes
- 1 spatula
- 1 set of tongs
- 1 basting brush
- 8 corn holders (4 sets)
- 2 skewers
- 1 cleaning brush
- 1 replacement pad for brush
That list only comes to 15, so we’re assuming they count the case as the 16th piece.
The spatula has a serrated edge. Obviously, it’s not great for cutting because of the overall design of a spatula, but in a pinch, it can work well. It also has a bottle opener, which is a cool idea.
The skewers seem a bit awkward. They seem designed to be held rather than laid on or hung over the grill. Also, the fact that there’s just two of them implies that they’re not useful for serving, only for cooking.
- Sturdy case
- Includes all the basics
- Good workmanship
- Cleaning brush pad seems to wear out too quickly
- Handles are short compared to most grill accessories
This large set from TeiKis offers all the tools you could want and a little bit more. It includes:
- 1 Spatula (with bottle opener and scraper)
- 1 Tongs
- 1 8” knife
- 1 Fork
- 1 Grill Brush
- 1 Basting Brush
- 8 corn holders
- 4 steak knives
- 1 Digital Thermometer (with Celsius and Fahrenheit readings)
The great additions to this set are the thermometer and the knives, which are absent from many others. Having both a large knife as well as a set of steak knives sets it apart. That means you can easily cook in the yard or on the road and not have to worry about lugging around as many extra utensils.
The major cooking utensils all have hooks at the end of their handles for hanging them. The case is also great for storage.
The set has a two-year warranty.
- Easy-to-read thermometer with LCD display
- Handles are a decent length
- Case is a good-quality aluminum
- Cleaning brush wears out fast
- Scraper built into spatula is awkward to use; it’s fine for small jobs but not for a thorough cleaning
Another quality set comes from VonHaus. This includes an aluminum case and stainless steel utensils. The handles are brushed stainless steel.
Its components are:
- 1 Spatula
- 1 Tongs
- 1 Fork
- 1 Knife
- 1 Brass Wire Brush
- 1 Basting Brushing
- 4 Skewers
- 8 corn holders (plastic handles)
The utensils measure 15” – 16” inches, which is a decent length for barbecue utensils. They also have loops for hanging, which can be great if you add hooks in your grilling area.
- The knife definite comes in handy
- Covers all your basic needs
- Corn holders have plastic handles
- Skewers seem to have a plastic filler inside the handle which has been known to melt if placed too close to the heat.
If you want a basic BBQ tool set with a classic look, this 4-piece kit will serve you well. It includes the essential tools. The handles are a hard wood and the working end is stainless steel.
This set includes:
- 1 Tongs
- 1 Spatula
- 1 Fork
- 1 Cleaning Brush
Each piece has a leather strap so you can hang it on the side of the grill or on other hooks you install for the purpose.
Kitchen professionals seem to agree that the metal is not professional-grade. However, it seems to work for most general purposes. The spatula is kind of thick but has a nice edge to help get under burgers or whatever else you may need it for.
- Solid basic set
- Good for most general-purpose barbecuing
- Good value for the money
- Brush can wear out quickly
- Metal is acceptable but not good for professional use
When you’re ready to cook out, you want to have the right tools. Getting them as a set can make sure they look good together and that you have everything you need. Sets come with a variety of components and you can choose according to your needs. Just be sure to invite us over for the cookout!