To many people, buying their first smoker is the most important thing.
Important enough for them to completely forget that, besides a smoker or grill, they also need adequate accessories.
As someone who has been cooking regularly for a few years now, I am perfectly aware of what tools are needed if you’re thinking of smoking. Not all things will come in handy in every situation, which is why it’s the best to have a ready set of smoker and grill accessories in order to be prepared for every situation.
Below I will present my list of the things I can’t imagine smoking without.
Remember that accessories are meant to make cooking easier while also improving the results. They are not a must, but they’re very useful, which is why they are good to have.
Especially considering that they really cost a little compared to a full-sized grill or smoker.
The 15 Must-Have Smoker Accessories
1) A quality smoker thermometer
I can’t imagine cooking without an adequate meat thermometer.
Most smokers come with a built-in thermometer, but there are many reasons why those are not accurate. It is important during smoking to know the internal temperature of the smoker as well as the temperature of the meat.
It guarantees you perfect meat every time without any risk.
The best option is a smoker thermometer equipped with two probes. That makes it possible to monitor the temperature inside the meat and the smoker at the same time.
There are plenty of interesting models available on the market, but there’s only one that I’ve picked for you. It is my favorite model that I use regularly and recommend to everyone for multiple reasons.
I’m talking about the ThermoPro TP20, which is a wireless meat thermometer with two probes and many interesting features. It is accurate, fast and durable, and on top of that it comes with a very good warranty from a renowned manufacturer.
I believe that it is the best option considering all of its advantages and the affordable price.
2) Heat resistant barbecue gloves
Cooking comes with the risk of multiple unpleasant situations if you don’t get appropriately prepared.
A very hot grill is a source of many hand burns, which is why, when being exposed to hot elements, it is important to take good care of your hands, especially if you cook with charcoal.
For that purpose, the bbq gloves were made, which depending on their class and type protect hands from intense heat or simply from getting dirty.
When you have the right gloves, you can easily get the charcoal burning, move very hot grill grates or simply hold your hands for a long time directly over the source of heat.
In this regard I can recommend to you the CI Jolly Green Products Ekogrips Premium BBQ Gloves.
The insulated gloves made of silicone are durable enough and resistant to high temperatures. The advantage here is the ability to wash them entirely in a sink, or even in a dishwasher.
They are long enough, they protect not only hands but also quite a lot beyond the wrists. When wearing such gloves, you can easily move food from one place to another without worrying about intense heat or even flare-ups.
Their only downside is slightly limited dexterity.
For particularly hot smoking, like with charcoal, I recommend the Grill Heat Aid Extreme Heat Resistant Gloves, which are characterized by much better heat resistance (up to 932 degrees F).
3) A charcoal chimney starter
You have problems getting charcoal burning? There is no better solution than a charcoal chimney starter.
Plenty of people believe that the fastest and most convenient way is to use lighter fluid. That’s the worst mistake made by majority of beginners when starting on their journey with barbecue.
I understand that it might be a convenient solution, but using such chemicals has a negative impact on the food’s flavor, or even your health. Lighter fluid burns for a long time, maintaining a weird chemical smell and producing toxic compounds.
All you have to do is buy a chimney starter, fill it with charcoal, put a few sheets of paper or natural lighter cubes (chemical-free) on the bottom and you’re done.
The construction of the chimney causes getting the charcoal burning to only take 10 to 20 minutes.
More or less as much as when using chemical fire starters etc, except in this case you’re not using any chemicals.
On top of that, you don’t have to get your hands dirty when getting the charcoal burning in a safe way, only using safe methods for that.
For this situation I recommend the Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter.
It isn’t expensive, comes with an adequately designed construction and a convenient handle with a cover to protect from intense heat.
It is available in many sizes, which is why I suggest to carefully analyze your needs.
4) A BBQ grill brush
There are plenty of reasons why it’s a good idea to clean your grill, especially the grill grates. If you haven’t taken this activity seriously so far, I suggest changing your attitude by reading the reasons why you should do that.
A solid grill brush guarantees not only better results of cleaning, but also safety.
Bristle that fell out might stay on the grates where it gets stuck to the food. Swallowing sharp bristle comes with high risk to your health, which makes it important to use the right brush.
I believe that it won’t be a problem for you to buy a high-quality grill brush, especially if you own a fairly expensive smoker. I know that plenty of people still buy the cheapest brushes, not taking the topic seriously.
That is an irresponsible approach and in case of many people a pretty ridiculous one when they buy a smoker worth a few hundred dollars, but won’t spend a dozen dollars more on a better brush.
Personally, I use a Kona Bristle Free Brush.
It’s a brush where the structure of the bristle is safe, reducing the risk of it falling out to the minimum.
It has a long enough handle (18”), which allows you to hold it conveniently in your hand at the right distance from hot grates.
5 ) Spatula
A spatula is very useful when smoking fish, hamburgers and many other things. It makes it possible to easily, quickly and safely flip the food over or remove it from the grates.
Some types of delicate food require the right tools so that they don’t fall apart when you try to flip them over.
It is also important for a spatula to have a long enough handle in order to protect hands from intense heat and flare ups.
Properly balanced sizes of the spatula and the handle are essential, which is why I recommend the Mercer Culinary Hell's Spatula.
It comes with a long enough handle, a perfect spatula width, high quality of workmanship, good grade steel and durability.
6) BBQ Tongs
It is difficult to flip hot meat over or remove it from the grates with your bare hands. You might just pretend that intense heat has no effect on you, but it’s a much better solution to simply use bbq tongs.
Tongs are available in many sizes and types, which is why, if you cook a whole lot and take it seriously, a good solution is to buy a whole set. It will come with plenty of different tools for every occasion, including tongs in several sizes.
As for me, I highly recommend the GRILLHOGS Barbecue Grill Tongs
They cost a little more, but are solidly made and well-designed. They come with a long enough handle with wooden elements, it looks great and enhances convenience.
7) An instant read meat thermometer
I know that I have already mentioned thermometers, but this one differs significantly from a smoker thermometer.
The Instant Read Thermometer was created, as the name suggests, to read the temperature inside the meat as fast as possible. These are very useful tools for fast and hot grilling where time and measurements make a difference.
For example, when it comes to grilling steaks, knowing the temperature inside the meat allows you to prepare a perfectly done steak. When smoking large amounts of meat fast, such tool is a must if you want to get perfect results.
It also comes in handy while smoking thick slabs of meat when you wish to check the temperature in different places.
My favorite thermometer in this category is the Lavatools Javelin Pro.
It’s a suggestion for those more demanding, but it’s still available at an affordable price.
You can expect very fast and accurate measurements (the parameters are among the best on the market). The thermometer comes with several useful features that improve convenience, an adequately long probe and, what is most important, it’s solidly made and durable.
8) A basting brush/mop
A marinate is very often used when smoking (for ribs, for example) to keep the meat moist, give it a better taste and make it look better.
A proper basting mop is made of materials that are safe in hot conditions. For that reason, I would advise against using a regular kitchen basting brush as in many cases these are made of materials that are sensitive to high temperatures.
Personally, I use the GRILLHOGS Professional BBQ Basting Mop
It can hold enough sauce, and the fairly soft material of the head allows to spread it evenly all over the surface of meat. The results are very good in my view, especially when it comes to more watery sauces.
It comes with a long enough handle that ensures precision while also effectively protecting hands from intense heat. Another advantage is the ability to remove the head (the set includes two), so you can then easily wash it in a sink.
9) Charcoal basket holds
Plenty of people use a standard grill not only for grilling but also smoking. For that purpose, plenty of very useful accessories have been made that significantly improve the efficiency and comfort in such situation.
When smoking with charcoal, it is important to maintain an adequately stable temperature over many hours, which is difficult to achieve if you’re not using the right techniques and accessories.
In such situation, I really recommend the Slow ‘N Sear 2.0, which is a charcoal basket.
A full basket is capable of holding briquettes that will be enough for about 8 hours of constant smoking at a fixed temperature. It comes with an integrated recess that serves as a water container to help maintain a stable temperature.
A basket of this type makes it possible to cook more easily using indirect heat at a much lower fuel consumption and more comfortably.
It is my number one when it comes to smoking in a kettle grill from weber instead of a typical smoker.
10) Stainless Steel Grill Basket
You have a craving for a smoked fish or small vegetables? Without an adequate basket it is sadly impossible. The gaps between grill grates are too wide which would cause small pieces of food to fall inside the smoker.
It is similar for fish, which is so delicate that it’s hard to flip it over without damaging it.
This basket, solidly made of high quality materials, can withstand a lot. It is large enough to fit big and long vegetables.
Food doesn’t stick to its surface, but due to its shape the basket is a little difficult to clean.
11) Bear Claws For Pulled Pork
Meat shredders are very useful in many situations, they can be used in different ways.
In most cases they are used to shred meat but they can also be used to move food around and to hold it during slicing.
The claws should be sharp and durable enough so that they can easily shred meat because that’s what they are mostly used for.
The Original Bear Paws Shredder Claws live up to all expectations.
They are solid, convenient and durable, a huge upside is that they can be cleaned in a dishwasher.
They were made of a material that provides them with resistance of up to 475 degrees, which means you don’t have to worry about them during hot grilling.
12) Rib Rack
Smoking a bigger number of ribs might be problematic, especially if it’s full spare ribs.
A solution to the problem is not to buy a bigger smoker, but to simply buy a rib rack.
A properly designed rack makes it possible to better utilize the entire surface for cooking.
Personally, I recommend Sorbus Non-Stick Rib Rack.
It is intended for smoking as many as four pieces of ribs (if they’re too big, you can cut them in half).
That way you gain a lot of room for other types of food or for even more ribs. The space between ribs is big enough to provide the largest air flow possible.
13) Cutting Board
A large enough cutting board is a must, especially if you cut large pieces of meat.
To me, buying things like that is something normal, I’d rather spend a little more money and get better quality and comfort (especially that I cook a lot).
What I’d suggest is: Sonder Los Angeles Wood Cutting Board ( size 17x13x1.5 )
It’s a solid and durable board, with interesting design, functional and in adequate size (there are others available).
14) Charcoal Briquette
High quality, natural briquette is something essential.
Good charcoal briquette should be free of any chemical additives etc. Plenty of people use the cheapest supermarket-brand briquette, which is a huge mistake.
The difference between high and poor quality briquette is enormous.
Above all, they differ in efficiency, burning time, amount of ash and finally, the food’s flavor.
Out of all those brands available on the market, I mostly buy the Kingsford Original Charcoal Briquettes.
It is not the best briquette on the market, but it could certainly be classified as very good. Its greatest advantage, besides good properties, is high availability, including online.
15) Lump Charcoal
The lump charcoal is most often used in kamado type grills, where its properties are put to the best use.
You need to keep in mind that high quality, natural lump charcoal is very expensive compared to run-of-the-mill briquette.
I use it mainly when cooking on a ceramic grill or when I want to get the best cooking results possible.
It is important for lump charcoal to be made of 100% hardwood and to be free of chemicals of any kind.
It is hard to get truly good quality lump charcoal, a reliable brand in this regard is without a doubt the Jealous Devil All Natural.
I really recommend it, even despite its fairly high price, it is worth it.
Of course, accessories won’t suddenly turn you into a pro chef, that’s not what this is about.
Accessories are meant to make cooking more convenient, effective and versatile, achieving things that a regular grill can’t.
Not all of them are a must, but things like meat thermometer are something everyone should own. That way you can make sure whether the meat is really perfect, a very useful tool that is worth any amount of money.
Of course the list could have been even longer, but that is just my personal collection of accessories, so if you believe that something is missing, you are welcome to share your favorite accessories.