There are all sorts of grillers in this world, from backyard Weber owners to city dwellers who tote coolers of meat to the park. No matter their setup, the pitmaster in your life is sure to appreciate a gift to support their hobby. The only problem? There are a lot of tools to choose from. Do they really need those seven-in-one gadgets for flipping and scraping and who knows what else? What about ridiculously long tongs? In short, the answer is no: A practical, non-novelty accessory will be much better appreciated. To help you find the best gift for the grilling enthusiast in your life — you know, the stuff that’s actually super-useful and special — we talked to more than a dozen professional grillers about the items they think would be nice to give (or receive), then combed our archives for even more standout stuff. Alongside the coveted big green egg burner that every griller in the world has on their wishlist, we’ve picked out pans and cookware, superb charcoal, handy grilling tools, and even some actual grills. Look out for gloves of all sizes, charcoal logs recommended by restaurant chefs, and an ingenious metal dome that guarantees perfectly melt-y cheeseburgers.
Pans and cookware
A grill basket can be placed atop any sort of grill (charcoal, gas, or even wood fire) and filled with loose veggies, shrimp, fries, and so on. This one from tried-and-true brand Weber comes in two sizes and can be thrown in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
With enough determination, entire meals can be made on grills — mains, sides, even dessert. That’s why you should give the gift of a carbon-steel pan, which conducts heat beautifully and can easily withstand the high temperatures inside a grill, says chef Jordan Wallace, the culinary director of Denver’s Pizzeria Locale.
For more advanced cast-iron users, award-winning competitive pitmaster this Lodge system can be used as a saucepot, a mini Dutch oven, or a ten-inch skillet to fry up eggs, bacon, burgers or a steak. Former Strategist manager of audience engagement Mia Leimkuhler also likes using hers to bake no-knead bread.
This cast-iron griddle is the indoor grill that’s closest in spirit to firing up the charcoal and a favorite of professional chefs. Of course, it can be set directly on your grill, too, if you want to turn the grates into a flattop.
Carbon-steel is the preferred metal for both paella pans and woks because it heats so fast. According to Marcos Campos, the executive chef at Bonhomme Hospitality Group, the surface of this pan is bigger than that of most, so you can get a nice sear and caramelization — and serve food in it at the table too.
Charcoal and grilling tools
These cotton-lined gloves are coated with neoprene rubber and designed for true-blue barbecuers who have to handle hot meat on the smoker — that means they’re waterproof, stainproof, and, most important, greaseproof. They also come recommended by Patrick Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville, who actually prefers these heavy-duty gloves to tongs, especially when working with big cuts of meat, like whole hogs.
These elk-skin gloves are both special-looking and useful for when your hands are close to the heat source. They also protect hands from splinters when you’re cutting wood.
It can be challenging to find a pair of grill gloves for petite hands. If you’re buying for someone whose hands might not fit in a one-size-fits-all pair, award-winning competitive pitmaster and founder of Girls Can Grill Christie Vanover says these in the small-medium size are ideal for women, with a comfortable fit, good heat protection, and plenty of flexibility for wielding hot tools and trays.
Used to grill the tender, wildly delicious poultry at Philadelphia-based restaurant Laser Wolf, these bricks impart just the right amout of smokiness and have a tunnel through the center to allow for airflow and even cooking. They’re also a more sustainable choice than traditional charcoal because they’re made with wood from rambutan fruit trees, which are a renewable resource.
As well as encouraging cheese to melt on top of her burgers, this dome can be used to capture smoke on vegetables and keep food warm when it comes off the grill.
This is traditional style of charcoal used for making yakitori. Like the logs above, these have a longer, more rectangular shape and are perfect for building a controlled heat source.
These charcoal briquettes burn for up to eight hours, which is plenty of time to grill anything from ribs to brisket to big cuts of pork. If your recipient prefers long, low, and slow cooking, few fuel options are better.
Fey says that JJGeorge’s old-school, easy-to-use design is suitable for both beginners and lifetime grillers — just screw the torch onto the bottom of a standard butane tank and you’re good to go. Ryan Fey, who makes up half of the comedy culinary team the Grill Dads, says this one is the duo’s favorite by far.
Creating zones for your charcoal allows for more precise grilling. These baskets, which fit snugly into the rounded sides of a classic Weber, ensure that whatever goes directly over them will get hot and charred.
It’s difficult to “low and slow” a piece of protein on a propane grill, but this tube of perforated metal can help. As Fey explains, it allows you to turn basically any grill into a smoker — “put one of these inside, fill it with pellets, shut it, and later on you’ve got smoked salmon.”
Speaking of prep, a plastic cutting board is a must for anyone who grills a lot of meat because best practice is to keep the raw stuff away from wooden boards. While any board will do, Material Kitchen is beloved by many professional cooks and is pretty enough to make a particularly lovely gift.
This easy-to-use little gadget will clip onto any grill or smoker and assist you in getting those coals burning fast and evenly. Proudly southern chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois calls it “a fire starter’s best friend.”
This cookbook by legendary chef Francis Mallmann (who specializes in cooking over a live fire) is maybe not the kind where someone is going to follow each recipe to a T. But as Kalpakis says, “it’s really inspiring and informative — it shows how he does things that are a little outside the box.”
While Mallmann’s book is a great choice for someone who wants to go particularly hard for learning about cooking over life fire, Carla Lalli Music’s might be a better fit for someone who’s getting into it more casually. There’s a whole section dedicated to grilling, but the recipes take her usual approachable form.
A heavier-duty, waxed, darkly colored apron is a must when grilling because of all that ash and fat and fire. Hedley & Bennett is a chef-favorite brand and even lets you customize this apron with embroidery or a patch to make your recipient feel extra special.
A meat thermometer that quickly and easily detects when meat is properly cooked to temperature is a must-have accessory for any grill enthusiast. As Strategist editor Maxine Builder wrote in her review of the Thermapen, it stands out from other kitchen thermometers for “its speed and accuracy.”
If your griller already owns a Thermapen, they might appreciate an upgrade to this slightly techier, Bluetooth-enabled smart thermometer. The Grill Dads love it, with Fey telling us it’s another one of the tools “we use pretty much every time.”
A headlamp isn’t something you’d necessarily think you need when grilling, but it’s actually one of the most useful accessories for when you start cooking in the daylight, it suddenly gets dark out, and your food isn’t ready. “I have string lights up where I grill,” Kalpakis says, “but being able to focus in and have that precision is really important.”
A great addition to your griller’s cast-iron pan, a cast iron grill press can be used for smash burgers, grilled cheeses, spatchcocked chicken. Or anything else that could benefit from being weighed down over the heat.
GIR is our experts’ preferred brand when it comes to spatulas — and its silicone brushes are just as durable. This one is perfect for applying marinades and sauces while food is on the grill because of the long handle and heat-resistant silicone (which also makes it a breeze to clean).
Fire and skin really shouldn’t mix, but this thick, oil-based salve, made with olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, and pomegranate-seed oil, can help soothe. It’s a favorite of Kalpakis, who found replaced her regular moisturizer with it after repeated grilling started to take a toll on her face and hands.
If they’re always hosting outside with disposable dinnerware (or feel nervous about setting the outdoor table with their good pieces), gift them a set of melamine plates that can take wear and tear. Not only are they better for the environment, but we found that the material doesn’t break when dropped.
Meats, spices, and marinades
Heritage Foods is the gold standard in ethical, ancient-breed livestock meats. Novelist and Strategist contributor Ivy Pochoda calls this single-bone rib-eye Roast “just the right size for a celebratory dinner” — that, if you’re lucky, the griller in your life will share with you.
Seemore offers sausages loaded with veggies, cheeses, and seasonings with distinct flavor profiles like “Chicken Parm” and “Loaded Baked Potato.” They come already cooked (so there’s no stress in knowing when they’re done), but a few minutes over the flame will give them a distinct char and impart smoke.
Good steak needs so little to shine: just salt, pepper, and olive oil. Consider using something special for that last ingredient, like this bottle from Frantoio Grove, which Emily Lycopolus, olive-oil sommelier and author of The Olive Oil and Vinegar Lover’s Cookbook, calls her “steak oil.”
While this heirloom grinder will be appreciated in any kitchen — we’ve noticed that it’s popular among the Bon Appetit elite — a high degree of adjustability makes it particularly useful for grillers fussing over an open flame. On the high setting, “every twist throws about ten times the amount of pepper onto whatever product you have it aimed at, similar to dusting by hand,” Brine New York City executive chef Joseph LoNigro explains.
The sweetness of this syrup is what makes it an excellent addition to a barbecue tool kit. “Grillmasters use it at the base of marinades, where it tenderizes meat and its mildly tart and subtle flavor blends in with wood smoke,” explains writer Hugh Merwin.
Whether swirled in a dip to go alongside smoky vegetables or used in a marinade for meats, this funky, salty condiment packs a lot of flavor.
Bachan’s Japanese barbecue sauces will give them a quick and delicious marinade for meats and fish, but they also work well as a sauce to drizzle on after food has hit the grates. Tell them to try the yuzu flavor brushed over grilled shrimp or the hot and spicy bottle with charred corn.
People who love grilling likely already have at least one proper grill on which to do it. But true obsessives know that different equipment can yield different results, and The Big Green Egg is one of those grills that real heads (including Tayari Jones and Nick Offerman) geek out over.
If you want to splurge, we’ve heard great things about this sleek yakitori grill from Yak.
This grate will allow a grill master to cook over any open flame. Made from welded steel, it is sturdy enough to handle the hottest fires and support a heavy Dutch oven.
This flattop gas grill gives you the pleasure of cooking outside with flexibility. Because it’s just one big surface, you can move things around, cook more than one food at a time, have some burners on and some off. It’s perfect for everything — smash burgers, pancakes, a whole plancha meal, or steak.
A pellet grill is a barbecue grill that uses an automatically fed supply of wood pellets to maintain a pre-established temperature and infuse the cooking foods with smoke aroma and flavor. Your fuel source is also your smoke source, which means your meat takes longer to cook, but it also gets a smokier flavor.
We found this smoker on a long hunt for the best, not-too-massive city grill. As Myron Mixon, the winningest man in barbecue, explains, “The truth is, everything that someone would want to barbecue you can cook with the Masterbuilt smoker, and it’s much more delicious.”
This mini-Weber is perfect for the person in your life who doesn’t have a lot of room — it can fit easily on a small patio or balcony. Mark Jenner, editor-in-chief of barbecue site Food Fire Friends, says that, even though it’s small, “you can set up two-zone grilling, banking coals to one side, more easily.
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