Each year our staff and contributors round up their best gift ideas for cooks, eaters, and the kitchen curious. Read on for the best grilling gifts for cooking outdoors.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably rummaging through the internet in hopes of finding that special something for the Grill Person in your life. The problem is, that person likely has all of the stuff—a grill, a grill brush, grill tongs, and so on—that they need. Still, they’ve probably got a hefty list of wants, and we’re here to help you figure out what those wants may be. Below we’ve collected some of the best grilling gifts for every kind of griller we know, from novices to professionals.
Grills (that go beyond the propane or charcoal kettle your Grill Person already has)
BA contributor Amanda Shapiro loves Spark for its ability to deliver the flavor of charcoal with the convenience of a gas grill. This smart grill essentially lights itself and monitors temperatures as your food cooks. The Spark mobile app (along with the grill’s temperature probes) can even tell you when your meat is cooked through—decreasing your chances of error while increasing your level of control. Plus its sleek, midcentury-modern design makes it easy on the eyes.
Our friends at Epicurious say there’s nothing quite like the Nomad, which they have anointed the best portable grill on the market. This charcoal grill is made of cast aluminum with a heavy-duty stainless steel grate, and it’s ideal for both low- and high-temperature grilling. Unlike other portable grills, the Nomad is built like a suitcase with a silicone-padded handle for easy packing and carrying—perfect for tailgates.
Year-round outdoor entertaining is simple with the BioLite FirePit+, which converts from wood to charcoal and from fire pit to BBQ grill in a flash. It’s lightweight with handles and foldable legs, so you can easily take it anywhere. So gather ’round to toast marshmallows over its open flames or pop on the grate and fire up some sambal chicken skewers.
Grilling accessories and gear
The dorkiest grilling tool is also the most important grilling tool, says BA contributor Carla Lalli Music: “Eventually, no matter how well you think you’ve planned it, the sun will set on you.” At which point, it’ll be hard to tell if your steak is sufficiently charred or if your chicken is fully cooked. While you could use a cell phone flashlight or grill lights, your favorite griller will appreciate this portable, compact, hands-free headlamp that comes in multiple colors.
Cookbook author and Netflix host of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat Samin Nosrat loves a great pair of heat-resistant leather gloves for moving hot grill grates, handling unwieldy pieces of meat and vegetables, and picking up burning logs to toss onto the fire. With these grilling gloves from Barebones—made from thick cut, full-grain cowhide leather that’s both durable and flexible—burns and accidents can be one less thing to worry about.
Any self-proclaimed grill master will appreciate a good (and stylish) apron. We love Hedley & Bennett for its high-quality chef’s workwear with personality. Their Essential Apron features adjustable neck and waist straps, multiple pockets, and durable, stain-resistant material. Bonus: it comes in an array of different colors and designs like Jalapeno Red and Grateful Dead Tie Dye Bears.
Like going to the gym without headphones, a cookout without a wireless speaker just doesn’t feel right. We like the JBL Clip because it’s so compact—about the size of a hockey puck—and it has a clip/handle that makes it incredibly portable. It produces great, bold sound and it comes in a variety of colors. You’ll be glad to have packed this in your dedicated grill bag, along with your grilling utensils, quick-light fire starters, and bug repellent.
Grilling tools, cookware, and ingredients
If you cook meat, you need a digital instant-read meat thermometer (here’s our favorite one for most tasks). But if you’re smoking a brisket on the grill or slowly roasting a six-bone rib roast, you’ll appreciate having the Thermoworks Smoke, our favorite option for barbecuing. It’s a leave-in-style probe thermometer that allows users to remotely monitor both the temperature of the grill and the internal temperature of their meat.
A charcoal chimney is the best way to get coals started quickly and efficiently without using lighter fluid, which can give off a chemical smell. With a spacious main chamber, two handles for increased control, and an affordable price tag, this one from Weber is among the best you’ll find.
Brian Wolfe, chef at Kimball House in Atlanta, GA, uses a perforated grill skillet to cook smaller items like shellfish or veggies without the worry of them falling through the grates. Made In’s carbon steel grill pan sits somewhere between a grill basket and a cast iron skillet, but it’s more lightweight and naturally nonstick. The 62 dime-sized holes allow for flame contact and a smoky flavor. We can’t think of a better way to make these crispy grilled chicken wings with perfectly charred shishito peppers.
We love The Spice House for their huge selection of high-quality spices, and they recently partnered with whole-hog pitmaster and James Beard Award winner Rodney Scott to curate a collection of his favorite flavors to bring to the grill. Featuring a Garlic Butter Pepper Herb Rub, Carolina Fire Chile Rub, Smoky Sweet Chile Hickory Rub, and Green Chile Lime Citrus Rub, this makes the perfect gift set. (The Deluxe Collection features even more blends).
When you need something that can handle grilled cheeses or smashburgers for a crowd—either outside on the grill or inside on the stove—BA contributor Amiel Stanek says, “Go griddle.” The length and shape of this two-burner griddle is ideal for achieving a good sear on foods that don’t really fit in standard pans, like a whole skirt steak or large filet of trout or salmon. “It’s clutch on top of the grill, too, as it prevents fat flare-ups and food sticking to cheap grill grates,” Stanek adds.
We’re big fans of GIR silicone tools, and this brush was specially designed for basting from a distance, over high heat—think glazing a rack of ribs on the grill. It features two sets of bristles: a tapered outer layer, and a series of zig-zagging perforated flaps in the middle to hold a lot of liquid. The silicone material makes it both durable and flexible, while also being comfortable to hold and easy to control.