Essential Grill Tools

Essential Grill Tools

I am a modern guy, but the cooking I enjoy the most is the kind that’s been around the longest — over fire. Here are my essential and not so essential (but awfully nice to have) grill tools.


  • Fire extinguisher (C02)
  • Spring-loaded tongs (long)
  • Stem-style digital thermometer
  • Chimney style charcoal starter
  • Clean platter for retrieving cooked foods (cross contamination = bad)
  • A slotted grill spatula for fish and burgers
  • Pumice stone for scrubbing off heavy crud (and light rust) removal
  • A clean(ish) side towel for rubbing down the grill with oil before each use
  • Wire brush for general cleaning (the bristles need to be closely clustered and short; otherwise they’ll simply fold to either side of the grate)
  • Spray bottle or squirt gun for putting out flare-ups
  • A beat up old metal mixing bowl to use as lid for specific foods


  • Grill light for night maneuvers
  • Metal skewers for kabobs
  • Saute basket (looks like a giant square metal ashtray with lots of holes drilled in it)
  • Portable hair dryer (for churning up the fire and blowing off ashes)
  • Ash bucket
  • Small metal trash can with lid for charcoal storage
  • Fire stick for lighting fires
  • Fireproof mat for placement underneath grills on decks or wooden structures


Add yours
  1. 2
    Jim W.

    I never use a squirt bottle to quell flames on a charcoal grill because it causes the coals to release ashes which stick to the bottom of the food. I just put the cover on and the flames go down quickly.

  2. 3

    Be careful with the hair dryer…on a trip to MI, my brother showed us this trick with our travel hair dryer. It caused a cloud of ash like Mt St Helens. We were never able to use the hair dryer again due to the ash smell.

  3. 4

    I’m sorry. Actually, not just a Harley camp-kitchen, but a motorcycle camp-kitchen or bicycle camp-kitchen for that matter. If I can carry that kitchen in that size of a bag it would be great. My home kitchen has everything. My ideas don’t all fit in that bag. Camping with no fires allowed or yes fires allowed. Fire season makes a huge difference when camping of any kind. This site is talking about Essentials. What ‘essentials’ will fit in that bag? I have a tendency to over pack then not use everything I pack. Thanks for your help

  4. 5

    Ok everyone this is an interesting site. How about the “cooking” equipment for a camping kitchen for 2 on our Harley in a 10x12x6 canvas bag? I remember Alton’s show when he was riding his MC. I would like to re-view those episodes. I was hit and miss on being able to see those shows because of work. But I don’t remember him camp-cooking while on his MC. That is what I would really love to see. camp-kitchen shows. Would be exciting to watch. So, anyone out there have ideas for a Harley camping kitchen? Thanks!

  5. 7

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Alton use a Looftlighter. What a great tool, but in practical terms, it does violate the unitasker rule!

  6. 8

    This Fall my wife gave me an electric fire Starter. I looks like a really big curling Iron and it has a blower inside and a super hot heating element. I used it all winter to fire the wood burning stove. The first time the rains stopped for a little while here in Texas I used it to fire up the Weber. Worked Great! Once you get a little flame going it sounds like a jet engine with the blower blowing…….and no fumes from chemicals.

  7. 10
    B. Williams

    I have a spray bottle designed for spraying oil that creates a flat fan-shaped spray pattern. I was iffy when I first got it, but now as far as useful tools, it’s second only to my tongs. I spray the cast iron grates when they’re heating up, then again when cooling down.

  8. 14
    Crystal R

    I found something that is better than pumice stones or a wire brush. Char-Broil makes a stiff nylon brush that cleans without damaging the grate or leaving any shavings or bits behind. And they come as removable (and replaceable) heads. The best thing besides protecting the metal is, you can pop the head in the top of the dishwasher after you have cleaned the grill and use a clean brush every time! The design is just great!

    • 15

      I agree about not using a wire brush. I was told the shavings can get into your food and thats not good. I use a “used” oily towel while grill is still hot/warm.

  9. 16
    Mike S

    Instead of a dedicated grill light, I have a good quality headlamp. They look dorky, but they’re the perfect for any project where you need two hands free (cooking or otherwise )

    • 17

      Completely agree. I have a grill light, but the head lamp is far more effective. If it’s good enough to use on stage as a guitar tech it’s good enough to grill with.

  10. 18

    Not essential at all but definitely worth owning, a ceramic “kamado” type grill. Especially when you’re looking for that life long companion that your wife will agree with.

  11. 21

    Half of your list could be eliminated with Grillgrates. These things have transformed grilling for me! The temp control I have now, the total lack of flare-ups, the perfect char-marks, the so much better than I ever imagined grilled food! Seriously check into them!!!

  12. 22

    Alton, I’ve also invented a “nice to have” that’s like your hair dryer. I have a copper pipe. On one end, it’s necked down to a small nozzle, and on the other it attaches to my Coleman battery operated air mattress pump. I can get a steady stream of oxygen right where the coals need it. I mostly have it for helping start camp fires, but it’s saved my bacon when I needed that charcoal hot just a little faster than it was going in the chimney by its self.

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