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The Essential Equipment Needed to Host the Best BBQ Cookout

Great barbecues bring together the best things in life. Delicious food, good company, the great outdoors — really, what more could you want?

Actually, there are some must-have items that every griller should be sure to have on hand when you host a barbecue. We’re going to assume you know that you need food for your cookout, but what about the other essentials that will make your guests’ experience awesome? 

Our experts’ checklist of the essential equipment needed to host a barbecue will help you put it all together and make sure your cookout’s not missing any of the grilling essentials. 

a grilla silverbac grill on a wood deck

1. Grill

This one might be a little obvious, but it’s worth thinking about whether your grill is up to the task. Consider what you want to cook, how many people will be joining you and how much food to make per person. Every kind of grill out there is able to bring something different to the party. With so many types of Grilla Grills available, there’s one that’s perfect for your barbecue! 

Our Kong kamado grill, for example, has over 600 inches of cooking space to make sure everybody stays stuffed. Kamado grills are great for cooking with direct and indirect heat, and are able to steadily maintain temperatures of 180-700+ degrees. 

On the other hand, you might choose a portable pellet grill like the Chimp if you plan on hosting your BBQ somewhere other than your house. If you’re looking for convenience and flexibility, check out a larger pellet grill like the Silverbac Alpha WiFi Pellet Smoker. WiFi pellet smokers give you fine-grained grill control from wherever you are, and are the easiest of all grills to use. 

Finally, the Primate Gas Grill and Griddle gives you the most versatility possible. You can cook with the flat top griddle and open flame grill grates at the exact same time, pumping out massive amounts of food faster than ever! They’re also great for all-day affairs, giving you the ability to crank out a breakfast scramble in the morning, hot dogs for lunch and steak and veggies for dinner all on the same unit.

2. Grilling Tools

You’re not gonna flip those burgers with your bare hands (we hope), so make sure you have a complete BBQ tool set as part of your equipment to host a barbecue. Which grilling accessories you need will depend on what you’re grilling, but almost every pitmaster needs a basic grill tool set that includes slotted tongs, a spatula, a carving fork, a grill thermometer and a marinade basting brush. (We recommend silicone basting brushes for their easy-to-clean versatility.) A pair of heat-resistant grilling gloves is never a bad idea, either. 

While it’s easy to get a cheap set of barbecue tools that will work in a pinch, choosing a high-quality, heavy duty stainless steel set like this one will ensure you are good to go for years to come. The last thing you want is to spend all day smoking a brisket, just for it to fall on the floor when your spatula or tongs break under the weight.

It’s also a good idea to grab a grill brush for fast and easy grill cleaning. Pro tip: Try a grill scraper brush that’s made from threaded steel rather than metal bristles, as bristled brushes can leave their tiny wires behind on your grill grates. You’d probably rather not have those making their way into your food!

Finally, there are a few miscellaneous grill tools that make specific types of cooking easy. A pizza stone is a great one. These simple porous stones turn any grill into a pizza oven and make it a snap to produce a crispy, delicious crust every time. If you’re into searing steaks and seafood, meanwhile, a cast iron pan is an incredibly useful tool for creating the high-heat surface you need for a perfect sear. 

3. Fuel

Whatever type of fuel your BBQ grill uses, make sure you’ve got enough of it on hand. For a pellet grill, a single bag of Grilla Grills wood pellets will almost always last you a full day of grilling and smoking. We recommend Grilla Grills Competition Blend wood pellets for a fantastic smoke flavor that works on any kind of meat or veggies. 

With charcoal grills, choose lump over briquettes. The flavor will be better, and the burn is longer lasting. You should always have a spare bag of lump laying around if you use your grill often. You’ll also want to pick up a few natural fire starters like tumbleweeds or paraffin cubes, too, which are faster and easier to use than a chimney starter. Forget about lighter fluid, especially if you use a kamado grill — it will ruin your ceramic lining.

Finally, when you’re using propane, we like to have a second cylinder around that’s always full. That way, if the fill gauge is off on the one you’re using, or you just forget to check it, you won’t be stuck with half-cooked food.

Remember that you’ll burn more fuel when it’s cold outside, and even more when you cook at temperatures above 400 degrees. Consider picking up some extra pellets or charcoal if you’re cooking steaks or something else that requires high temperatures. 

4. Appetizers/Snacks

Think about giving your guests something tasty to munch on while they’re waiting for the main event. Chips, salsa, pretzels or other snacks are always reliable. However, if you’re grilling something with a long and variable cook time (looking at you, brisket!), bring something a little more satisfying, too. Try our recipes for smoked pigs in a blanket with your choice of dip, delectable chicken bacon ranch skewers or homemade jalapeno poppers that everyone will go crazy for.  

If you’ll be serving hot appetizers, make sure they’re not competing with mains for grill space! Plan ahead by grabbing some add-on racks for your grill. The Grilla Jerky Rack is an awesome choice for cooking appetizers in big batches, with a colossal 840 inches of extra cooking space. (That’s 150 wings, for those of you who like to measure space in meat like we do!)

Meet the Most Versatile Kamado Grill on the Market

a group of friends eating bbq together

5. Cooler and Ice

What’s a barbecue without cold beverages? A cooler should most definitely be on your list of equipment needed to host a barbecue, and it should be big enough to stock all of the drinks you’ll need. You might also require a separate cooler for holding raw meat while it’s waiting to be cooked. 

Remember to get some ice and/or freezer packs to keep everything cold. In most cases, either one is OK, although freezer packs are more versatile and less messy. Oh, and don’t worry about getting an expensive cooler. High-end coolers shine most when you need things to stay cool for a very long time, like on a camping trip. For the length of an average cookout, one or two normal coolers will be just fine. 

6. Sauces and Rubs

Using the right seasonings and sauces will give your BBQ an extra kick that keeps people coming back for more. Try our collection of Grilla BBQ sauces and rubs for an award-winning range of flavors that will add mouth-watering new dimensions to your favorite meats and veggies! While you’re at it, pick up a grill caddy to keep your sauces close at hand while you’re behind the grill. 

7. Music

Maybe the sound of birds, wind, passing traffic or the beeping of your meat thermometer is your ideal grilling soundtrack. (No judgment!) When you’re having a cookout, though, it’s all about getting some good-time atmosphere going. You know what’s great for that? Music! 

An outdoor Bluetooth speaker can put out a surprising amount of sound, and it makes it easy for anybody to connect and put on some tunes. If you need more volume for a large event, consider the models that can pair with other speakers throughout your home and patio. Some music streaming platforms also offer the ability to make shared playlists, so think about setting one up for guests to contribute to! 

8. Bug Control

In most parts of the U.S., prime cookout season is also bug season. That means you’ll need a way to keep annoying uninvited guests like mosquitoes away. There’s a few different ways to do this, such as bug zappers, bug repellent for guests and fly swatters. If possible, clear out your backyard beforehand, removing things like standing water and tall grass that can harbor annoying bugs.

Get the Essential BBQ Tool Set Every Pitmaster Needs

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Holland, Michigan 49423