/>
X
Why you can trust ZDNet
ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

The best BBQ gadgets: Expand your grilling arsenal

These are my favorite gadgets and equipment for when I cook outdoors.
eileen-brown.jpg
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor on

As the summer gets underway and we head outside into our yards, our thoughts turn to what we can cook outside. But if you are just starting out building up your outdoor cooking equipment, you might need some inspiration. So, here are the gadgets that I regularly use at home to get slow-cooked barbecue loveliness and grilled food done to perfection.

Smartfire BBQ controller

Hands on with the Smartfire controller Never ruin a barbecue cooking session again zdnet
Smartfire

I reviewed the SmartFire BBQ controller in 2019 and have been using it for every slow cook I do. It is the ultimate hands-off control for perfect temperature management. No more fiddling around with the temperature, lid, or worrying about the meat stalling. No matter how long you cook, this controller will give you the temperature you asked for, hour after hour.

Weber Rapidfire fire starter

2-weber-rapidfire-chimney-starter-eileen-brown-zdnet.png

The Weber Rapidfire makes it quick and easy to light your grill. As the coals are stocked vertically, with air holes for good updraft, they light the fire much quicker than just lighting the grill directly. Also, if your fire starts to die down, you can prepare another set of coals to pep things up without ruining the food already cooking on the grill.

Weber charcoal briquettes

3-weber-briquettes-2-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
Weber

I have played around with lots of different briquettes, lump wood, and other charcoal, and I keep on returning to the Weber brand. Easy to light, low ash, and a long burn time make these my favorite type of fuel for my grill and smoker. I stock up whenever I see them offered at a discount.

Cameron smoke generator

4-cameron-smoke-generator-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
Cameron

If I want to add a smoky flavour to my barbecued food, I add the wood chips or dust (sawdust) to the Cameron smoke box and place the box on top of the grill. Sometimes I wet the chips, other times, I smoke from dry. I can then control which flavour I impart to my food.

ProQ Excel BBQ Smoker

5-proq-xl-smoker-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
ProQ

You might find it difficult to get my favorite BBQ hardware -- the ProQ bbq -- but grab one if you can find it in the US. I think that the ProQ is more modular than its competitor, the Weber Smoky Mountain. You can use it in three different ways depending on how many centerpieces you use, and add water or fuel to the BBQ without opening the lid. My Smartfire controller sits at the bottom, controlling the airflow, and keeping the meat at a controlled temperature for hours until the bark and the meat is perfect.

ThermaPro TP20

6-thermopro-tp20-wireless-remote-thermometer-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
ThermaPro

I like the ThermoPro TP20, as it gives good temperature information. I use two probes to set both the temperature in the pit and monitor the temperature of the meat. Wireless connectivity means that I do not have to stand over the meat to find out what the cooking temperature is.

ThermoPro TP932 silicone mat

7-thermopro-tp932-grill-mat-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
ThermaPro

I was skeptical about using a silicone mat on the grill, as I was convinced that it would reduce the flavor somehow. However, I tried it, and am now a convert. It means I do not need to burn off all the food residue after finishing the grill and guarantees that I do not inadvertently eat any fragments of metal that might have detached from my cleaning brush. I have also cooked an awesome version of smoked pancakes with maple sauce on the mat, which you must try.

Cambro Insulated GoBox food carrier

8-cambro-hot-gobox-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
Cambro

After cooking, I like to rest my slow-cooked brisket to make sure that the flesh relaxes and the juices keep the meat moist. Previously, I would wrap the meat in foil, and cover it with three or four towels to rest for 20 minutes. Now I just pop the meat into the insulated box. It is made from a material similar to compressed polystyrene and it keeps everything warm for hours. It is wipe-clean and sturdy and definitely worth the money.

Vortex

9-vortex-indirect-heat-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
Vortex (In)Direct

I use the Vortex occasionally when I want a super hot grill. The vortex channels the heat and quickly increases the temperature for a superfast hot flame cook. I can also position it for indirect heat.

Silicone tipped tongs

10-kitchenaid-silicone-tipped-tongs-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
KitchenAid

I like these KitchenAid silicone tipped tongs, as they are easy to keep clean and grip food snugly without tearing delicate items such as fish and eggplant slices on the grill. I also find that these tongs do not pinch my hands when I use them.

Related

The best BBQ, grill products of 2022: Host the perfect backyard barbecue
Placeholder product image alt text

The best BBQ, grill products of 2022: Host the perfect backyard barbecue

Yard & Outdoors
The 5 best dating apps of 2022
Placeholder product image alt text

The 5 best dating apps of 2022

Services & Software
The 5 best surveillance drones of 2022
easy-aerial.jpg

The 5 best surveillance drones of 2022

AI & Robotics