5 BBQ Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

Make sure you're set for summer with this must-see guide from the Master of 'Cue, Rashad Jones.

June 30, 2022
Contender Rashad Jones plates one of his final dishes, as seen on BBQ Brawl, Season 3.

Contender Rashad Jones plates one of his final dishes, as seen on BBQ Brawl, Season 3.

Photo by: Dawn Hoffmann

Dawn Hoffmann

By: Rashad Jones

As you gear up for a summer of grilling, check out my list of five must-have tools to ensure you’re set up for success.

1. A Legit Smoker: The specific type of smoker is totally based on your preference, budget, space restraints and how much of a barbecue nerd you plan on becoming. My preference is a durable offset smoker. I own six of them in various sizes, ranging from a small 120-gallon smoker that I use in my backyard to a 1,000-gallon smoker for big jobs. An offset smoker consists of a long cylindrical cook/smoke chamber, a firebox and a smoke stack. These types of smokers are ideal for low and slow backyard cooking, which produces the most tender, delicious and mind-blowing barbecue. Finding the right smoker that suits your life and your needs is super fun and super important. Some things to look for in a legit smoker are thick steel, sturdy handles, ease of mobility, a quality temperature gauge and ample grill grate/cooking capacity. Also another rule of thumb for me: It’s better for your smoker to be a little larger than what you think you’ll need.

2. A Great Thermometer: Get a high-quality, hand-held digital thermometer. One of the keys to cooking amazing barbecue is understanding critical internal temperatures for the different cuts of meat you’re cooking. There’s no certain way to know that your poultry is at 160 degrees F, your pork tenderloin is at 135 degrees F or your rib roast is at 125 degrees F without capturing an internal temperature reading. It’s a fact that barbecue tastes better when it’s not overcooked or undercooked. I can’t underscore enough the importance of knowing the internal temperature of what you’re cooking.

3. A Wireless Grill Brush: In my opinion there’s no reason, under any circumstance whatsoever, to purchase a wire grill brush. They can pose an extremely dangerous health hazard if a wire bristle breaks off, somehow adheres to whatever your cooking and inadvertently gets consumed by someone as they eat. This is called a physical contaminant, and it’s always best to find ways to avoid them at all costs. Almost any other grill brush is better than a wire brush. My preference is a grill brush with bright colored thick plastic bristles. Bright bristles are a must because nearly all bristles will eventually weaken and break off. When they do, you want to be able to see them so you can remove them.

4. An Extremely Sharp Filet Knife: A quality knife is key to getting a proper trim on your meat before it hits the smoker. I do some level of trimming on just about every piece of meat that I smoke. Great trimming before meat hits the smoker ensures a great finished product once the meat comes off of the smoker. And there’s absolutely no great trimming without a great, razor-sharp filet knife. I also recommend a honing steel and some sort of high-quality knife sharpening system.

5. An Extremely Sharp Slicing Knife: Once you’ve got your smoker set up, your meat trimmed and seasoned, and you’ve cooked it low and slow until it is nearly perfect, it’s time to handle it with extreme care during this final phase. An extremely sharp, high-quality knife will allow you to make some beautiful cuts on whatever you’re serving. For me, a 12” slicing knife or a 10” chef's knife work really well. I like to say that the worst enemy of a perfectly tender brisket is a dull, poor-quality knife. Instead of a perfect, precise, clean slice of meat, you’ll get frayed, shredded and meat that’s being torn apart by a dull knife. Stick with a sharp knife whenever possible to avoid this.

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