Essential BBQ Supplies - What Do You Really Need?

A great barbecue is just the first step to enjoying outdoor cookouts. To make the experience fun, convenient, and yes, practical, there are a few essential that everyone with a barbecue should have. Even though you could "get by" by improvising with stuff you have lying around the house, the whole BBQ experience really is easier and more fun if you have the right tools.

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  • BBQ cooking tools. At a minimum, you need a good pair of tongs. Get a medium-length set - this will give you great control over the tongs, while not burning yourself from the heat. Try to find some that are made of stainless steel and which have "grippy" or textured tips, which is useful when picking up food. The handle should have a soft grip too, for comfort.

  • A basting brush or a BBQ mop comes in handy too. Silicone brushes or mops are easier to clean (although they're still a pain) but don't hold as much marinade or sauce. A brush or mop with removable / replaceable heads are great. Brushes / mops with long handles and an angled head are easiest to use.

    A spatula is also useful with BBQ. Again, you want a long, angled handle, and depending on what you're using it for, you might need a long flat spatula rather than the regular shorter ones. Shorter ones are fine for regular cuts of beef, pork, chicken, etc... but a long, rectangular spatula is more suitable for fish fillets or whole fish. Look for a spatula with a bevelled edge too - it is easier to slide underneath the food.

    You'll also need a BBQ brush for cleaning, preferably one that won't require you to use a lot of elbow grease to get the cooking grate clean. Look for grill brush with a long handle, a scraper on top (for scraping off tough, cooked-on foods), and if you can find one with a replaceable head that's just a bonus. There are also brushes that use steam to clean the grate!

  • A chimney starter or an electric starter are both handy ways to get the charcoal going. Okay, you can start the coals without them, but they make it much easier and much faster (and there's no chemical taste from using lighter fluid, either). You can read more about starting the coals in the article, how to BBQ with charcoal.

  • A good set of silicone barbecue mitts is a must. Silicon washes easily and is safe around the heat of the BBQ (yes, you can use cloth mitts if you want, but they might burn or singe from the heat). Look for longer mitts that will protect more of your arm.

  • Unless you're a pro chef, a meat thermometer is another useful tool. They're a cheap and easy way to make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked and safe to eat. Look for an instant-read thermometer with a large face (squinting at the thermometer face, close to the heat, just isn't a safe thing to do).

  • A charcoal grill cover will protect your BBQ from the elements, including rain, snow, ice, wind, dirt, and even bird poop! Plus a nice cover makes your grill look "pretty", even when it's not in use.

When you're first starting out, you really just need the basics in terms of BBQ supplies. You can always get more later if you find you need them. It doesn't take all sorts of fancy gadgets or accessories to make great food (although some of the fancy gadgets can be fun)! Check out our other BBQ tips or check out some of our recipes.


This website offers tips on how to BBQ as well as some of our favorite barbecue recipes. We barbecue with a charcoal grill in an outdoor kamado-style cooker called The Big Green Egg. We love food and we love the grill, and hope you enjoy our recipes!