There’s a heap of ‘must-have’ barbecue accessories. A lot of them pretty gimmicky too.
Here at Burning Brisket, we ain’t into the smoke and mirrors. We believe you can get great smoked meat by keeping it simple and straightforward. And, good news for your wallet, that means keeping the accessories basic and effective too.
So, what do you really need to make smoking easy?
This is our list of the best smoker accessories out there.
You might not need all of them, depending on what you’re cooking and what type of smoker you’re using. But, these are all solid essentials that you won’t just use once, you’ll be reaching for time and time again.
Scroll to the bottom to read our list of the most over-rated, unnecessary smoker accessories so you know what not to buy as well!
And, if you’re gift shopping, check out these 25 bbq gift ideas that aren’t gloves!
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Table of Contents
Wireless Meat Thermometer
Smoking meat without a meat thermometer really is like going in blind. It’s not only important that you hit an internal temperature that makes the food safe to eat, it’s also nice to not overcook it and end up with a dried out hunk that somewhat resembles jerky.
The solution? A wireless meat thermometer.
Yes, you can use a cheaper, instant-read one (and, if that’s what you’re looking for, here’s our favorites).
But, you’ll have to open the lid, letting out that heat and smoke to get a reading. So, investing in a wireless one that might even link up to your phone for updates wherever you go is not only easier, it’s going to get you better results too.
Some pellet smokers come with meat probes that hook up to their control boards. If yours has one, great! They’re awesome. And, as long as you’re not cooking more cuts than you’ve got probes for, you can tick this accessory off your list.
But, if you’re smoking on pretty much any other type of smoker, grab yourself one! Save yourself the headache of eyeballing it and you’ll take one huge step towards better results too.
Our Favorite Wireless Meat Thermometer
When you’re trimming up meat to go on the barbecue, it’s so much easier and faster with a sharp knife! And, the type I always prefer is a boning knife.
With a thin, sharp blade, it’s easy to get it under pork skin, trim away fat without cutting extra off, or, tidy up a rack of ribs.
They’re also not super expensive (depending on which brand you go for). And, it’s best to have a knife that’s solely for meat instead of blunting it on everything else.
Our Favorite Boning Knives
Mercer Culinary Ultimate Curved Boning Knife
Victorinox Swiss Army Pro Curved Boning Knife
DALSTRONG 8 Inch Gladiator Boning Knife
Large Butchers Block
It’s the most expensive thing on this list. But, if you’ve ever tried trimming a whole brisket, spicing a rack of ribs, or pulling pork on a regularly sized chopping board?!?
If you’re cooking large, you need a good quality, large base to start with. And, an extra large butchers block isn’t just handy for trimming. You can also use it to slice finished meat, and serve stuff right to the table.
We’ve included a few different price points to fit your budget.
Our Favorite Large Butchers Blocks
SoulFino Bamboo Butcher Block
Greener Chef XXXL Bamboo Cutting Board
Mevell Walnut End Grain Cutting Board
Extra Long Tongs
Enjoy not getting burnt hands? A set of extra long barbecue tongs are essential for smoking.
Tongs are hands down, the easiest tool for lifting large pieces of meat. But, you need ones that are strong enough to handle the weight, and, long enough that your hands are far enough away from the heat.
And, if you’re using charcoal, get two! Extra long tongs are great for moving and turning hot coals easily. But, you’ll want a dedicated pair so you’re not then getting charcoal all over your meat, or having to wash them between uses.
Our Favorite Extra Long Smoker Tongs
Weber 6610 Original Tongs
Grille Perfect Extra Long Stainless Steel Tongs
OXO Good Grips 16" Stainless Steel Tongs
Trying to light charcoal without a chimney starter is practically impossible unless you literally douse the charcoal in chemicals to get it going. So, if that doesn’t sound right to you, invest in one of these!
You simply pour in as much charcoal as you’d like, add a couple of natural fire-starters, or use newspaper underneath the chimney, light and let it do it’s thing. Your charcoal should be good to go in about 20 minutes and then you can pour it into your smoker and done. It’s that simple.
An absolute essential for charcoal smoking.
Our Favorite Charcoal Chimney Starters
Weber 7429 Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Kingsford Quick Start Charcoal Chimney Starter
Oklahoma Joe's Half-Time Charcoal Starter XL
High-Heat Barbecue Gloves
Either as an alternative to extra long tongs, or to use as well, a good quality pair of high-heat resistant gloves is another accessory we use every smoke.
Use them to pick up meat without damaging the bark, move coals around with your hands alone, or lift hot grates in and out without any struggle, gloves just make things less awkward! But, you’ve got to make sure they’re actually rated high enough to protect your hands. These are our favorites…
Our Favorite High-Heat Smoker Gloves
Steven Raichlen Extra Long Suede Grill Gloves
RAPICCA BBQ Gloves 17 Inches
Vemingo Extreme Heat BBQ Gloves
Aluminum Foil or Butchers Paper
Whether you’re using it to wrap meat, cover it to keep it warm, or, line a drip pan for easy cleaning, aluminum foil is hot property in any barbecue enthusiasts home. That is unless you’re keen on following Aaron Franklin’s wrapping technique of using butcher’s paper for better bark.
Regardless, you’re going to need one, or both of these things. And, no, regular aluminum foil probably won’t cut it. When it comes to smoking or lining a huge pellet smoker drip tray, you’ll want the thicker, heavy-duty stuff. And, extra-wide will make things a whole heap easier too.
Our Favorite Aluminum Foils and Butchers Paper
Reynolds Wrap Pitmaster's Choice Aluminum Foil
Tenderlicious Pink Butcher Kraft Paper Roll
Bbq Butler Pink Butcher Paper
Basting Brush, Mop or Spritzer Bottle
Keeping your meat moist and flavorful goes a long way to cooking great barbecue. And, most recipes call for you to baste or spritz your meat regularly throughout your cook.
So, what’s best to use?
For thicker sauces, we like silicone brushes that won’t suck it all up. But, for thinner sauces, we find silicone just won’t transfer enough and a cotton mop head will do a much better job. Or, for plain water or vinegar-based mixtures, a spritzer bottle means you don’t have to clean messy brushes.
Grab what you need for the baste type that you prefer. Or, you might like to try a couple. They’re all fairly cheap and sometimes it’s a bit of personal preference.
Our Favorite Basting Brush, Mop and Spritzer Bottle
GRILLHOGS Silicone Sauce Basting Brush
GRILLHOGS BBQ Basting Mop with Wooden Handle
BAR5F BPA-Free, Food-Grade Plastic Spray Bottles
Pen and Paper
You won’t normally see this suggested as one of the best smoker accessories. But, recording what you did this time so you can do the same, or refine your process for next time is probably THE most important thing you can do to get better at barbecue.
And, you’ve probably already got a pen and some spare paper lying about.
If not, or you want a special place to keep all your smoker related stuff, dedicated pitmaster journals are cheap, pretty much guide you through what you should be paying attention to, and, makes a good gift as well.
Our Favorite Smoker Journals
Hardcore Carnivore Pitmaster Log Book
The Barbecue Smoker's Journal
Real Men Rub Their Meat: A BBQ Smoking Journal
Ribs take up a LOT of space on a smoker. It’s not an issue if you’re cooking up one rack for your family. But, everyone loves ribs so they’re a great thing to smoke for entertaining. If only you had enough space that is…
Your solution? A rib rack.
One of these will usually stack about 4 racks of ribs upright. There’s good airflow between the racks so they still get really smoky, and, they don’t impact the cook time. Basically, they just save you money and time because you can cook more at once.
Our Favorite Rib Racks for Smokers
Sorbus Porcelain-Coated Rib Rack
SOLIGT Extra Long 304 Stainless Steel Rib Rack
Dracarys BBQ Rib Rack For Larger Smokers
Grill Cleaning Brush
Cleaning your smoker grates is kind of like stretching after a good bench session. Everyone knows you should do it but you’ve already got the goods so it’s low priority.
But, grill cleaning brushes are cheap and actually make the job a whole lot easier. They’re a worthwhile purchase, will last a long time, and, help your grates stay in better condition.
When buying a tool to help clean your grates, avoid ones with wire bristles. They can damage your grates, break off, hang around and then get eaten along with your next meal. Sponges also just fill with junk, break off and become a huge mess quickly so avoid those too.
If you want to learn more about what NOT to buy, check out our review of the best grill brushes.
But, for the quick version, here’s the ones we do like…
Our Favorite Grill Grate Cleaning Tools
Easy Function Wood Grill Scraper
Cave Tools Grill Scraper
Kona Bristle-Free Grill Cleaning Brush
Pellet Smoker Tube
A cheap and versatile piece of kit, pellet smoker tubes aren’t just for pellet smokers. They can literally be used in any type of smoker to boost the smoke levels for more flavor, cold smoke meats (it’s one of our favorite cold smoking solutions), or, as an easy and better alternative to wood chips in charcoal smokers.
Pellet tube smokers are also the easiest and cheapest way to convert a gas grill to a smoker.
Their perforated shape is designed for optimal airflow to burn 100% wood pellets at the best rate for smoke production without burning through it too fast. They’re far better than the traditional tin for wood chips. And, most can actually be used with wood chips too if you’d prefer, although, quality pellets burn better and for longer.
Our Favorite Pellet Tube Smokers
Lanney 12" Stainless Steel Pellet Tube Smoker
A-MAZE-N Oval Expanding Pellet Tube Smoker
BBQFAM 6" EZ Smoker Tube
Making your own dry spice mixes is a lot cheaper than buying pre-made packets. And, having a few mason jars in your cupboard will give you a good sized container to mix them in. You can also make up extra and store them in the jars. And, have a few different ones going at a time for different meat types.
Mason jars are also great for making and storing mops, sauces and glazes.
Tip – get ones that are at least 16 oz so you’ve got plenty of space. Plus, you want the regular sized lids so you can get spoons, brushes and mops in there easily.
I’ve got a whole shelf of them. Problem is my wife keeps trying to swipe them for everything else! I guess I should add Mason jars to her birthday wish list…
Our Mason Jars and Spice Essentials
12 Pack 16 oz Ball Mason Jar with Lids
McCormick Culinary Paprika & Garlic
Over-Rated Smoker Accessories
With everyone trying to make a dollar, there’s a lot of accessories out there. And, you really don’t need them all! These are some of the smoker accessories we’ve tried and don’t think are worth the money:
- Bear claws – Super sharp handheld tools used to pull pork apart after smoking, we think if you’ve done it right, a couple of forks should do the trick. Plus, they’re pretty dangerous if you’ve got kids around!
- Grill lights – I don’t know about you but whenever I’m smoking at night, I always turn the outside light on. Having extra grill lights attached to the smoker is just a pain. But, if you’re out camping or something, we see they might be useful.
- Grate lifters – They sound good on paper. But, if you’ve got high-heat gloves, it’s so much easier to just put them on and pick up grates with your hands instead of fiddling with an extra tool.
- Charcoal rakes – Arranging your charcoal for optimal efficiency is definitely useful. And, charcoal rakes do a good job. But, again, if you’ve got high-heat gloves, pick them up and move them, or use your barbecue tongs. It’s one less thing to buy and have sitting around.
- Barbecue tool sets – Tool sets tend to be worse quality then just buying individual tools. And, you’re paying for the case as well. We prefer to just buy what we actually use which are extra-long tongs for smoking and an extra-long spatula for grilling burgers.
- Smoker boxes – They’re difficult to use and often don’t actually put out that much smoke. If you’re looking for an easy way to add wood smoke, or boost the total amount, pellet tube smokers are far more effective and are easier to use.