Essential Grilling Equipment

The simple pleasure of a summertime cookout can quickly become a stressful and complicated affair if you lack the right supplies. Whether you're just starting out or have years of grilling experience under your belt, these 15 grilling tools are hand selected to make the process as effortless and enjoyable as possible, from start to finish.

Charcoal

Charcoal (along with some newspaper and matches) is the most common heat source for outdoor grills. If you choose purchase match-light briquettes, make sure to take added safety precautions and close the bag tightly after use. 16.60 lb Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes, $14.35 at Amazon.com

Chimney Starter

No more frustrating attempts to light your grill or waiting for gas to burn off match-light coals. Chimney starters rapidly heat coals and ready your grill for cooking within minutes. Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter, $17.49 at Amazon.com

Basic Tool Kit

Virtually any grill recipe can be executed with a set of tongs, spatula, and 2-prong fork. This particular set also includes a brass grill brush, which has a significantly longer lifespan and greater utility than most steel ones on the market. Charcoal Companion 4-Piece Tool Set, $19.99 at Amazon.comGrilling Tool Kit

Pit Mitt

The aramid fibers in this fitted and lightweight mitt keep heat at bay without interfering with dexterity. Charcoal Companion Pit Mitt, $14.82 at Amazon.com

Leather Grill Apron

With a flame retardant lining and durable suede exterior, this rustic apron offers welcome protection from sparks, spatters, and spills. Outset Leather Grill Apron, $33.19 at Amazon.com

Grilling Basket

Ideal for grilling delicate fishes or batches vegetables, this basket keeps food intact, allows for simultaneous flipping of multiple items, and prevents smaller cuts of vegetables or meat from falling through the grate. MR BAR B Q Grilling Basket, $15.99 at Amazon.com

Super Skewer Barbecue Skewers

These ingeniously designed skewers use two prongs to allow for quick and easy turning of food that might otherwise spin helplessly on single-prong devices. Super Skewer Barbecue Skewers, 6 for $69.90 at Amazon.com

Silicone Basting Brush

Easy to clean and available in an array of bright colors, this silicone basting brush withstands high temperatures and helps food retain its moisture and flavor. Le Creuset Silicone Basting Brush, $10.95 at Amazon.com

Cast Iron Grill Press

A grill press can help you keep bacon from curling, add a charred crust to your food, or release excess fat from a cut of meat or burger. This particular one also comes pre-seasoned, available for immediate use without threat to its durability. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Grill Press, $14.97 at Amazon.com

Thermometer

This handy instant read thermometer indicates the temperature thresholds for various cuts of meat and poultry, depending on your preferred level of doneness. Component Design InstaRead Cooking Thermometer, $9.99 at Amazon.com

Grill Light

A cordless light eliminates the difficulty of backyard grilling after sundown. Unlike a flashlight, this weather resistant clip-on light leaves hands free and provides more than four hours of continuous, stress-free use. Maverick Cordless LED Grill Light, $28.00 at Amazon.com

Bear Paws

Fun to wield and great for lifting and moving large roasts, these forks are also perfect for tackling time-consuming activities like pulling pork. Bear Paw Meat Handler Forks, $13.95 at Amazon.com

Cedar Grilling Planks

Cedar planks infuse food with a tantalizing smokiness and help to keep flaky fish intact when grilling. See our technique for grilling salmon with cedar planks » Coastal Cuisine Cedar Grill Planks (set of 6), $18.37 at Amazon.com

Aluminum Drip Pans

Drip pans serve a wide variety of purposes, from eliminating clean-up time, to catching desirable juices, to altering the intensity of heat on the grill. Inexpensive and disposable, it's amazing how many functions they can perform in a pinch. Weber Aluminum Drip Pans, 10-Pack for $8.84 at _Amazon.com

Hardwood Carving Board

This maple carving board has sloped grooves that allow flavorful juices to pool in a generously sized well for easy basting and serving. J.K. Adams 20 x 14in Maple Carving Board, $55.99 at Amazon.com