As smoking has evolved, so have the “must have” tools and accessories that enhance the experience, making it more efficient and enjoyable. Investing in quality accessories for your smoker not only simplifies your grilling experience but also enhances the overall quality of your BBQ.
As an experienced Pitmaster, I created an extensive guide to the must-have smoker accessories for any smoking enthusiast, as well as nice “optional” accessories. Whether you’re an experienced smoker or just starting, having the right accessories can elevate your smoking game to achieve your perfect flavor and texture in your meats.
Key Benefits of Using Proper Tools
Precision in Cooking – Controlling the smoker’s temperature and cooking the meat to the exact required temperature is crucial. This is where a reliable thermometer becomes an indispensable tool, ensuring consistency in cooking and the best possible results.
Optimizing Flavor: The choice of wood and fuel is a major determinant of the final flavor. Selecting the correct type and size of wood is vital to infuse your food with the desired taste and aroma.
Increased Efficiency: Utilizing appropriate tools can significantly reduce the time you spend monitoring the smoker and minimize unnecessary trips. This enhances the overall efficiency of the smoking process.
Enhanced Safety Measures: When it comes to handling heat and fire, safety is paramount. Employing heat-resistant gloves, long tongs, and sharp knives is essential to minimize the risks of burns and injuries.
Here are the “must have” smoker accessories in my opinion. Your BBQ forays will have much better success using these tools.
Digital Meat Thermometer
A reliable meat thermometer is the most crucial accessory when smoking meat. Smoking is all about precision and control, and the only way to ensure your meat is perfectly done is by monitoring its internal temperature. Ain’t nobody trying to get food poisoning.
There are several types of meat thermometers available:
- Instant-read thermometers provides a quick temperature readout and is ideal for spot checks.
- Probe thermometers can be left in the meat while it cooks, sending continuous temperature readings to a display outside the smoker. This is ideal for large cuts of meat requiring a long cook time.
- Wireless meat thermometers are the latest trend, allowing you to monitor your meat’s temperature from a distance through a smartphone app.
We have one of each as different cuts of meat require different thermometers.
Keeping your smoker clean is crucial for both maintenance and flavor. Brushes for the grill grates, scrapers, and cleaners designed for smokers will help you remove residue and buildup after smoking sessions.
DO NOT PURCHASE a metal brush! I repeat. DO NOT PURCHASE a metal brush. Every expert and Dr. advise against it since the bristles break off and can stick to your food. Why is that such a big deal? Google “mouth abscess” and see what pops up. I have first hand experience as it led to a 5-day hospital stay. Talk about one fatty bill! The ER doctor’s first question was “do you use a metal grill brush?” Heed the warnings guys.
Highly Recommend: Grill Rescue BBQ Brush
Quality Wood Chips, Chunks or Pellets
The type of wood or pellets used in smoking is a significant flavor determinant. It’s beneficial to have a variety of wood chips or chunks on hand to match the type of meat you’re smoking. For example, the Best Wood for Turkey is different than The Best Wood For Prime Rib and The Best Wood For Smoking Chicken.
Wood chips are ideal for producing a significant amount of smoke quickly, while larger wood chunks are more suited for generating a steady amount of smoke over an extended duration.
Protecting your smoker from the elements will extend its life and maintain its appearance. A good quality cover that fits your smoker snugly is essential for when the smoker is not in use, especially if it’s stored outdoors. A cover is particularly key for regions with heavy rain, snow or humidity.
Ensuring you have enough fuel is crucial. Be it charcoal, wood, or propane make sure your stash is replenished often. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of making Smoked Prime Rib and running out of fuel.
Recommended Brand: Jealous Devil
Heat Resistant Gloves
Smoking involves handling hot meat and moving around hot grates or pans. Heat resistant gloves protect your hands from burns and allow you to handle hot items safely. This is absolutely a ‘must-have’.
Recommended: Comsmart BBQ Gloves
Long-Handled Tools (Tongs, Meat Forks)
Long-handled tools, such as BBQ Tongs are a must-have to maintain a safe distance from the heat. They make it easier to turn and move meat without getting too close to the hot smoker.
Meat forks are robust, long-handled utensils designed for securely holding and turning large cuts of meat during cooking and carving. Their sharp, sturdy prongs offer a stable grip, making them ideal for handling hot, heavy meats without risk of slipping or tearing.
Basting Brush or Mop
To keep meat moist and flavorful during long smoking sessions, you’ll need a basting brush. A basting mop helps to apply sauces or marinades, and the long handles ensure you can reach inside the smoker without getting burned.
Large Cast Iron Dutch Oven
You’ll need a sturdy cast iron dutch oven to make things like smoked chili or smoked mac and cheese. You don’t want to use your inside pans outside and disposable aluminum pans get expensive.
Recommended: I love and highly recommend a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven.
Small Cast Iron Skillet
You’ll also need a sturdy small cast iron skillet to make side dishes such as smoked cream cheese, or corn bread.
A grill basket allows you grill up small or delicate items like vegetables and shrimp, without fear of food falling through the grill grates while still imparting the classic grilled flavor. Lightly coating the basket with olive oil ensures that food doesn’t stick. For those who grill fish, a closed basket is ideal for effortless flipping.
Recommended: Weber Grill Basket
Black Disposable Gloves
If you’ve ever watched a cooking show, you’ve probably noticed the chef’s wearing black disposable gloves when handling meat, applying sauce, or rubs. They help keep cross contamination to a minimum and keeps the meat grease off your mitts! Nitrile gloves don’t contain any powders, which is key, and are stronger than latex.
Pink Butcher Paper
Wrapping meat in pink butcher paper during smoking, a method popularized by barbecue expert Aaron Franklin, can help speed up the cooking process and lock in juices. Butcher paper is breathable, allowing for a more robust bark formation on the meat, while aluminum foil is impermeable, locking in all the moisture and heat thereby prohibiting the bark formation.
Smoker Box for Gas Grills
If you’re using a gas or electric smoker, a smoker box is essential for imparting that authentic smoky flavor to your meats. It holds wood chips and contains the embers, letting the smoke permeate the meat while preventing any flare-ups or excessive ash.
The brand I own and recommend: Weber Smoker Box.
A rib rack maximizes space in your smoker and ensures even cooking. It’s particularly useful for smoking multiple racks of ribs at once. If you own a round smoker, real estate is in short supply, so a rack helps solve the issue.
Recommended: Rib Rack
Getting your smoker to the right temperature quickly and safely is essential. Fire starters can help you light charcoal or wood with ease, without the need for lighter fluid, which can impart an undesirable flavor to your meat.
For those using a charcoal smoker, a chimney starter is an efficient way to get your coals burning evenly and quickly without the need for lighter fluid. To use, fill the chimney starter with charcoal. Then, take a couple of paper towels, dab them with a few teaspoons of oil, and shape it into a ball. Place the oiled paper towel ball underneath the chimney starter. Light the paper towels, and set the chimney on top. Your charcoal should be ready for grilling in about 10 to 20 minutes.
Recommended: Char Griller Chimney Starter
Meat claws are kitchen tools designed for handling and shredding large cuts of meat, such as pork, beef, or chicken. Their sharp, claw-like tines offer a strong grip and make the task of shredding meat quicker and more efficient compared to using forks or other utensils.
A searing torch is a handheld device designed for producing a concentrated flame. It’s used to reverse sear steaks and roasts and add color without overcooking the meat.
Accessories For Smoker Grills
The right smoker accessories can not only make your smoking process easier and more enjoyable but also elevate the quality of your meals.
BBQ enthusiasts – what’s your “must have” smoker accessories?