The 10 Best BBQ Tool Sets
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in April of 2015. There's an old saying that a carpenter is only as good as his tools, and that might be true of a grillmaster as well. If you're gearing up for a busy outdoor cooking season, take a look at these handy, durable BBQ sets. They come with all the utensils you'll need for flipping, turning, cutting, and serving your culinary creations, and many include cases for convenient storage and transport. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
July 12, 2020:
In today’s update, we added in the Weber 6630, which comes from the most popular name in BBQ grills. This basic set includes just the essentials for skewering, turning, and flipping meats and vegetables on your grill. The fork is good for piercing food without shredding it, the tongs lock for compact storage, and all of the pieces feature soft, ergonomic handles. They can be attached to your grill with their built-in hanging loops, so they’re always within easy reach. We also added the Alpha Grillers Heavy Duty to the selection, which comes with the same components as the Weber set, but also with a handy basting brush for applying sauces to your meats. You can purchase this set with confidence, thanks to its money-back satisfaction guarantee. These two sets replace the Flamen Non-Slip, the pieces of which tend to rust over time, as well as the Teikis 19-Piece, which has been discontinued.
We kept the Cuisinart Backyard in the number one spot on the list, which comes with an impressive variety of tools for your grilling needs, including a spatula, fork, tongs, basting brush with a replacement head, insulated glove, six skewers, eight corn holders, burger flags, a bottle opener, and more. For a set that’s easy to take with you to either a picnic or a friend’s for a cookout, look to the Simplistex 4-Piece Kit, which comes in a knife roll-style carrying pouch. With it, you’ll receive a spatula, a fork, tongs, and a brush.
For safety's sake, always keep pets and small children away from a hot grill, and use care when using and cleaning the utensils, many of which feature sharp points and edges. Never leave a hot grill unattended, and remember that heated grills typically take around an hour to cool down.
April 14, 2019:
There's nothing like the smells and sounds of a good grill-out, and having the right tools can make or break the experience. If you don't want to drop a lot of cash, you still have plenty of options; the Simplistex, Home-Complete, Flamen, and 3-piece Cuisinart are quite reasonably priced and exhibit good-quality manufacturing. None of those other budget-oriented options can match the versatility of the Mr. Bar-B-Q 94001X, which includes a wealth of useful tools and costs surprisingly little. It does have a few rough edges and isn't the prettiest option, but it's probably the best value in its price range.
If you're willing to spend a little more, the Teikis and Vysta are highly functional sets that have attractive finishes and a wide variety of implements. Now, if you really want to look good, check out the Cuisinart Bamboo and the Mr. Bar-B-Q Forged, which both have a professional appearance to match their dependable performance. The latter, while beautiful, will set you back quite a bit of money by comparison. For maximum usefulness, it's hard to beat the Cuisinart Backyard kit, which is crafted with the quality for which the brand is generally known, and has excellent touches like high-end silicone handles and even metal burger flags, which are perfect for not only holding sandwiches together, but also marking individual meals with their specific doneness, so everyone gets exactly the burger they want.
Finally, whenever you're cooking -- but especially at outdoor social events where guests and kids are milling about -- pay careful attention to the heat sources, and try not to light the grill, food, or surroundings on fire. And always practice food safety by washing your hands and dishes and avoiding contamination of food products.
Williams Sonoma 4-Piece Set with Storage Case These professional quality tools are forged from durable stainless steel, and their rounded, tapered handles ensure both comfort and control. Included are a slotted spatula, a fork, tongs, and a basting brush, and they all come in a convenient storage case. The components feature extra-long synthetic handles to keep your hands away from the heat, and leather loops allow for convenient hanging. williams-sonoma.com
Brief History Of BBQ
Barbecuing was the perfect method to tenderize this tough, chewy meat.
The technique of slow cooking meats over a fire likely dates back hundreds of thousands of years and may even predate homo sapiens, but there is limited evidence to support this theory. Instead, what most historians consider the origin of modern day BBQ comes from the indigenous tribes Christopher Columbus encountered on an island in the West Indies. He named that island Hispaniola and it was the location of the first European settlement founded by him in the Americas.
These indigenous tribes used green wood on their cooking fires and hung the meat high above the flames. This low fire created more smoke and also kept the food from burning as the green wood did not create large flames as typical with dead, dried wood. The Spanish referred to this style of cooking as barbacoa.
Another traditional method of barbacoa involves digging large pits to be used for cooking whole animals, often lambs and pigs. The tribes placed hot coals along with the meat inside the pit and then covered everything with leaves and sometimes dirt to create a makeshift oven. Sometimes they would build a fire on top of the covered pit to ensure there was enough heat to fully cook the meat. This process could take anywhere from three to eight hours.
Spanish explorers took these barbacoa cooking techniques north with them as they headed towards North America. The early colonists mostly used barbacoa to cook pork. This is because unlike cows, pigs were set loose to roam and forage for their own food. The meat of wild pigs was much leaner and tougher than the pork meat we are used to consuming today. Barbecuing was the perfect method to tenderize this tough, chewy meat. For this reason, BBQ purists often say that for a meal to be considered true BBQ, the meat must be porcine.
Popular BBQ Styles
Barbecue is as much a part of American culture as is baseball and the 4th of July. Because it is so deeply ingrained in our culture, every region has developed its own particular BBQ style and sauce that they are exceptionally proud of. Trying to convince a person from North Carolina that the best BBQ sauce comes from Kansas City, or vice versa, might well result in a competitive shouting match. Barbecue enthusiasts show the same sort of die-hard loyalty often only seen in the most dedicated sports fans.
Because it is so deeply ingrained in our culture, every region has developed its own particular BBQ style and sauce that they are exceptionally proud of.
The majority of the BBQ dishes in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee are pork-based and will come slathered with a sweet tomato-based sauce. There are also regional varieties. Parts of northern Alabama are known for a unique mayonnaise and vinegar-based white sauce, while Memphis, Tennessee is known for its dry rub style of barbecuing.
In Kansas City, one will encounter a large variety of barbecued meats ranging from beef brisket and goat ribs, to smoked sausages and turkeys. This can partially be attributed to its history as a meat packing hub. More often than not, Hickory will be the primary wood used for smoking applications in Kansas City, and their tomato-based sauce is the perfect balance of tangy, spicy, and sweet.
Eastern Texans often prefer to BBQ beef, which is to be expected from the largest cattle-producing state, while Kentucky has a unique take on BBQ and is known for using mutton as their meat of choice.
North Carolina and South Carolina are two states well-known for BBQ, perhaps because of the variety of sauces which can be found there. South Carolina is unique in the fact that they are the only state which traditionally uses all four of the most popular BBQ sauces, including both light and heavy tomato-based, mustard-based, and vinegar-based versions. In North Carolina, the traditionally served sauces vary by region. The central region generally serves a ketchup and vinegar-based sauce. In the north, you'll often find pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw and served with a tangy vinegar-based sauce, while the eastern part of the state prefers a heavy ketchup-based sauce.
Essential BBQ Tools For Every Grill Master
Every BBQ master will have their own selection of tools they feel are most needed to get the job done, but there are a few commonalities which can be found in nearly every grill master's tool kit. Barbecuing is an outdoor activity and occurs at night just as often as during the day. Trying to achieve that perfect crust without burning your meat is nearly impossible at night without a trusty flashlight or grill light.
The most commonly found long-handled tools are a spatula and tongs.
Long-handled tools are also a must for every BBQ aficionado. Barbecues get extremely hot and often have high flame flare ups that can easily singe eyebrows or arm hairs, if not burn the skin. Having a set of long-handled tools ensures that you can properly cook your meat from a safe distance without worry of getting burned. The most commonly found long-handled tools are a spatula and tongs. One should avoid any BBQ tools that have silicone heads as these may burn or melt. Instead, purchase a set with stainless steel heads.
Other useful items include a basting brush to evenly spread the BBQ sauce and a BBQ brush for cleaning the grill after it has cooled down. An instant read or leave-in meat thermometer can prevent one from over-cooking their meat, and a grill basket offers an individual the ideal way to cook sliced vegetables or delicate meats like fish, without surrending them to the flames below.