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Top 10 Essentials You Need to Barbecue

Top 10 Essentials You Need to Barbecue

Photo of ribs in a smoker. Text that says "Top 10 Accessories You Need to BBQ" is over the photo with the Big Plate logo.

Barbecuing is the perfect excuse to get outside, and we have a list of ten barbecue essentials that you need! Whether you like brisket, ribs, sausage, or chicken, cooking that meat low and slow, imparting the perfect amount of smoky flavor, is an art form. Make the twelve to sixteen hour process easier, keep yourself safer, and ensure you get the best results by having the right accessories.

Black & white photo of a hand in a cut resistant glove holding a chef's knife.

1. Cut Gloves

One of the most important barbecue essentials is to STAY SAFE. Cut resistant gloves are super cheap insurance and great protection when you’re cutting your meat. The cuts of meat we barbecue tend to be large, and they often require a lot of knife work, whether it’s trimming the meat before cooking (see How to Trim a Brisket) or slicing it to serve after it’s done (see How to Slice and Serve Smoked Brisket). These gloves also give you a little more protection and insulation when you’re grabbing hot meat off the grill. They come in four sizes (small, medium, large, and x large), so they fit well and allow your fingers to maintain dexterity.

Photo of two hands in black nitrile gloves holding a cut of meat on a wooden cutting board.

2. Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves come in four sizes (small, medium, large, and x large). We recommend you buy them to fit over your cut resistant gloves. The nitrile protects you (and your cut resistant gloves) from all the grease, blood, and other messy fluids that come with barbecuing. The black color looks sharp and hides the mess. They help you avoid cross contamination. These gloves are relatively inexpensive, and they’re well worth the price to keep everything cleaner and more sanitary–a great barbecue essential.

Photo of a rack of ribs over charcoal with a thermometer probe in them.

3. Digital Thermometer

An essential part of the barbecue process is to make sure you’re serving properly cooked, safe food to the people that we love. A thermometer allows you to ensure your meats are adequately cooked. We recommend a digital read for the fastest look at your temperature. You’ll also want an instant read thermometer so that you can get a temp in 3 to 5 seconds. That way you don’t have to leave your grill open, losing all that heat and smoke. One of our favorites is this bluetooth thermometer that gives you a temperature reading from 300 feet away. You can leave a probe in the meat or on your grill, and then you can sit in the shade while checking the temperature of your meats.

Photo of a hand squeezing a spray bottle with the spray mist showing in front of a black background.

4. Spray Bottle

A simple but important barbecue essential is the spray bottle. These are so inexpensive. They keep moisture on your food when barbecuing, especially briskets or large meats. Many pit masters use a little spritz of apple cider vinegar or apple juice or water on their meat during the cooking process. For more information on spritzing your meat while barbecuing, check out our blog post titled How to Smoke a Brisket.

Photo of a Grillight spatula lighting up the grate of a grill with meat on it.

5. Light

With a 12-16 hour average cook time, some of your barbecuing is likely to take place in the dark. You’ll need a light of some sort on your smoker. These Grillight tools have the light built into both a grilling spatula and grilling tongs, which is convenient! You won’t have to carry anything extra, and you won’t misplace your light. You can also get a light to clip on to the smoker. Either of these options is easier than trying to hold a flashlight in your mouth while opening the smoker and handling the meat.

Photo of a slicing knife cutting brisket on a white poly board.

6. Knives

There’s a right knife for every job, and there are several jobs involved in barbecuing:

  • Boning
  • Trimming
  • Slicing

A curved boning knife is ideal for boning meat and making big trims. A straight boning knife is best for trimming the fat cap on a brisket. And a slicing knife is great for slicing; the scalloped edge helps cleanly break through the skin or bark on smoked meats so they’re attractive as well as delicious. Good knives are important barbecue essentials.

Photo of a man wearing a bib apron and honing a knife.

7. Apron

We like an apron that goes over the neck. The bib apron keeps you safe from splatters and from wiping your hands on your shorts. You need lots of pockets for the thermometer, a towel, gloves, and a bottle opener. (You’ve got to stay hydrated, right?)

Photo of ribs on a wooden cutting board. Herbs, garlic, and a container of BBQ sauce are nearby.

8. Cutting Board

When it comes to a cutting board for your barbecue, you can’t buy too big. The larger the workspace, the better. Our favorite is this 18″x24″ poly board. These are light, thin, and easy to clean. They’re easily transportable. Wooden boards are beautiful and functional but are heavier. Whatever material you prefer, a big cutting board is a barbecue essential.

Photo of Pitmaster Arnis Robbins holding up butcher paper that was wrapping a cooked brisket.

9. Butcher Paper

When smoking brisket, get a good bark and good color on your naked brisket. Then wrap it up in butcher paper (also called peach paper). The paper helps maintain the moisture and protects the meat. Briskets in butcher paper are easier to handle and transport. If they’re wrapped, you can stack finished briskets in coolers and keep them warm for hours. We have a blog post that details local celebrity Arnis Robbins‘ method for wrapping briskets.

Photo of a black bus tub on a white background.

10. Plastic Tub

The last essential accessory for your barbecue is a good plastic tub. This is a super inexpensive item. These heavy duty bus tub runs less than ten dollars, and you really can’t beat it. A big tub will save your good dishes and plates because you can put big chunks of meat in this tub to season them. Use it to hold your trimmings. Transport your meat from the kitchen to the smoker in it. A big plastic tub will contain the mess. After your cooking is finished, you can pack up all your barbecue accessories in the tub and store them in the pantry or garage. That keeps everything contained and out of the way.

There you have it–our list of the top ten barbecue essentials. With just these few key accessories, you’ll be ready to barbecue like a PRO! Big Plate has a huge selection of barbecue and grilling tools and accessories, so come check them out!

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