17 New Essentials for Your Best Ever BBQ

Backyard barbecues have taken on a new look in recent years. Innovative tools and technology are making the experience of prepping, grilling, and enjoying cookout fare more fun than ever. Take a look at some of our favorite new tools that will perk up flair and flavor alike at your next grill fest.

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O-Yaki Standing Skewer Set


This summer, scrap flimsy bamboo skewers for a shish kabob set that’s reusable and ready to entertain. These stainless steel skewers transition easily and attractively from barbecue to outdoor buffet, where they’re displayed on the included stand. Build your kabobs as you like, with fresh vegetables, chicken, or steak; cook as usual; then display so dinner guests can help themselves. Available at The Grommet; $40.

Related: No Sweat: 7 Best BBQ Shortcuts

Corona Hot Dog Grilling Basket


Meet the high demand of hungry guests at your next backyard barbecue by serving up six sausages (or hot dogs) at a time. This nonstick custom-fit grilling basket keeps your sausages contained as you cook up dinner. The best part? Not a single dog will roll away—or, worse, slip through the grates—when it’s time for flipping. Available on Amazon; $18.

Related: How To: Grill Like the Pros

Light Your Fire


Even for experienced outdoor cooks, getting a charcoal grill fired up can take time—and a lot of lighter fluid. Solve the problem with the Looftlighter, which harnesses its patented hot airstream technology to ignite wood chips and briquettes in seconds, slashing setup time and saving food from the chemical taste that can often come from lighter fluids or gas grills. Available on Amazon; $80.

Related: Get Grilling: 10 Best Grills Under $100

S'mores Rack


What is grilling season without s’mores? This roasting rack makes preparing your favorite summer backyard treat a cinch and ensures that every ingredient gets that nostalgic campfire taste. The basket locks six of the sweet sandwiches into place for secure and even cooking. Perfect for grown-ups and kids alike, this inexpensive buy enhances one of life’s simplest pleasures. Available on Amazon; $20.

Related: 7 Camping Favorites Destined for Your Home

Kabob Grilling Baskets


Anyone who has grilled fresh summer vegetable kabobs knows that as easy and delicious as they are, when you flip them they have a frustrating tendency to lose a few succulent pieces through the grates. Take the “grrr” out of grilling with the practically fail-safe kabob grilling basket, which encloses rather than skewers those morsels of goodness, keeping them right where they belong—on the grill instead of burning on hot coals. Available from Uncommon Goods; $17.

Related: 9 Backyard Games to Make and Play This Summer

Charcoal Companion Stainless Grill Clips


If you favor your grilled veggies in strips instead of on skewers, these stainless steel grill clips will be a revelation. Each hinged clamp cooks exactly one serving of vegetables, to make meal planning—and grilling—as simple as can be. Available on Amazon; $9.

Related: Weekend Projects: Get Cooking with a DIY Grill

Up in Smoke


Smoking your meats and vegetables opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to give nuanced, all-new flavors to the old standbys in your grilling repertoire. Best of all, you don’t need to sacrifice the push-button convenience of your gas grill. Simply toss your favorite wood chips into the Char-Broil Stainless Steel Smoker Box, then place the box on the grill grate. The slotted openings in the lid let the fragrant smoke escape and reach the food you’re cooking, while the box safely stores the ashes. Relocate or refill the box as needed. Available on Amazon; $8.

Related: Bob Vila’s 13 Best Projects for a Long Weekend

Clear as Day


If you can’t see what you’re doing, grilling dinner in the backyard becomes a lot more difficult than it has to be. A simple solution: Mount a grill light like this one. Designed to slip over the handle of a conventional gas grill, the durable heat- and moisture-resistant fixture offers both manual control and convenient motion-sensor activation—meaning that you can set the LED light to switch on when the lid is raised and off when it’s lowered. When you’re finally able to see what you’re cooking, imagine how much easier it will be to turn out perfectly done meats and vegetables! Available on Amazon; $28.

Related: 10 Money-Saving Gadgets That Pay for Themselves

Better with Beer


Nothing ruins a BBQ faster than bland, dry chicken. With the Beer Can Chicken Rack, you can infuse your bird with the rich, hoppy flavor of your favorite brew. The stainless steel rack keeps your chicken upright for even cooking and perfect, crispy skin. Not a fan of beer with your chicken? No problem! The included metal canister can hold any liquid, so you can switch up the flavoring with wine, lemon juice, or vinegar instead. Available on Amazon; $20.

Related: Genius! The Trash Can Turkey Smoker

A Quick Read


A thermometer isn’t a prerequisite for juicy, delicious grilled meat, but even experienced outdoor cooks appreciate devices like the ThermoPop that take the guesswork out of the equation, ensuring that nothing under- or overcooked makes it to the table. More accurate and easier to read than a traditional analog thermometer, the digital ThermoPop reports the meat temperature within a matter of seconds, and the backlit, rotating display can be read even at night, no matter the angle at which you’re holding the ergonomic, splash-proof probe. Available at ThermoWorks; $34.



Not only can the stainless steel Rib-O-Lator handle steaks, burgers, veggies, and more, it can also cook up this deliciousness all at once. The rotating, adjustable trays make the most of the indirect heat of your grill to produce juicy—never dry—fare that is sure to have your guests begging for seconds. Add one to your barbecue arsenal, and you could reach grill master status in no time. Available on Amazon; $100.

Related: 10 Morsels of Grilling Wisdom from the Pros

Nonstick Hamburger Grilling Basket


When you’re grilling up a feast, it’s not uncommon for a few burgers to stick to the grates—or even fall apart—when you go to flip them. That’s a problem that’s easy to fix with a nonstick grilling basket like this one. Not only does the wire frame prevent the meat from sticking to a hot grill, but its easy-grip handle also makes flipping four burgers at once a foolproof feat. Available on Amazon; $10.

Myron Mixon's 3-in-1 Pitmaster BBQ Grill Tool


“Be prepared”—the motto of every good Boy Scout as well as of celebrated pitmasters like three-time World BBQ Champion Myron Mixon. This stainless steel 3-in-1 grill tool flips meats, slices finished fillets, and even cracks open a cold one for you after you’ve made sure everyone is fed. What more could a grill master need? Available on Amazon; $25.

Grill Press


We all love a good burger, but we don’t all love the fat that often comes with it. A cast-iron grill press like this round version can flatten meats and push out grease, leaving drool-worthy grill marks in its wake. Also great for preventing bacon or thin meats from curling, this inexpensive tool ensures a lean, evenly cooked cut every time. Available on Amazon; $15.

Related: 11 Low-Cost Buys to Boost a Boring Backyard

Outdoor Popcorn Popper


Popcorn is not traditional barbecue fare, but with an outdoor popcorn popper in your tool kit, maybe it will be! Compatible with gas and charcoal grills as well as campfires and fire pits, this three-quart popper cooks up your favorite crunchy snack in a mere four minutes, giving you a delicious refreshment for a backyard movie or any outdoor party. Available at Uncommon Goods; $17.

Related: 11 Low-Cost Buys to Boost a Boring Backyard

Mr. Bar-B-Q Corn Holder


Corn holders are considered de rigueur by many cookout connoisseurs, which makes sense, because a corn cob can be hard to handle otherwise. The Mr. Bar-B-Q Corn Holder takes the same convenient concept to the next logical place: the grill. Once stuck into the base of an ear of corn, this long-handled tool allows for easy maneuvering from a comfortable distance. Available at Walmart.com; $10.

Related: How To: Clean a Grill

Bottle Brush Baster


Take the guesswork out of marinating your meats and veggies with a bottle brush baster that comes with customizable settings that give you control of exactly how much marinade you apply to your food. This kitchen tool takes the mess out of BBQ prep, plus it’s dishwasher-safe for no-effort cleanup. Available on Amazon; $8.