Shot of a man grilling burgers during a barbecue
Moyo Studio/istockphoto

31 Unusual Backyard Cooking Gadgets That Are Actually Useful

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Shot of a man grilling burgers during a barbecue
Moyo Studio/istockphoto

Get Fired Up!

Grilling is a great way to cook while enjoying the outdoors and the company of others. For backyard cooks looking to expand their grilling vocabulary beyond spatulas and tongs, here are some useful, unique accessories worth buying to impress your family with mouthwatering specialties throughout the summer.


Prices and availability are subject to change.


Related: The Best Grills Under $300

Hot Dog Roller
Amazon

Hot Dog Roller

Price: $17 from Amazon
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Jim Beam's hotdog roller is the perfect tool to make your next backyard barbecue a little easier. You can evenly grill five hotdogs at once, so there's no need to worry about accidentally over-cooking a few. The roller is also good for sausage links, bratwursts, taquitos, and egg rolls. 


Related: Beyond the Bun: 21 Creative Hot Dog Recipes

S'more Basket
Amazon

S'more Basket

$20 from Amazon

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S'mores might just be the quintessential treat of summer and now you can make six of them at once on your grill thanks to this basket. The contraption securely locks each s'more into place for mess-free cooking.

Rib-o-Later Rotisserie Trays
Ribolator

Rotisserie Trays

Price: $105 from Ribolator
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The four-tray Rib-O-Lator is most useful for big cookouts with a lot to serve but not enough space on the grill to cook it all at once. Save on gas or charcoal and conserve succulent juices by putting roasts, ribs, or vegetables on the stainless steel trays and turning them as desired for a nice, even, indirect cook.

Pizza Stone
Amazon

Pizza Stone

Price: $37 from Amazon
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On a grill or in the oven, a heat-proof ceramic stone is crucial for preparing a good pizza. This Cuisinart set has the stone plus a cutter and foldable peel to remove and serve each pie, so you can start making gourmet wood- or coal-fired pizzas alongside burgers and hotdogs at the next barbecue.

Automatic Grill Cleaning Robot
Amazon

Automatic Grill Cleaning Robot

$130 from Amazon

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If your mind was blown when robot vacuums debuted, prepare to pick your jaw up off the floor. The Grillbot is an automatic grill cleaner equipped with nylon grill brushes and a scraping tool. All you have to do is set it on your grill grate — whether it's hot or cold — and press the button. The robot will do all the cleaning for you and let off an alarm to let you know when it's done.

Jalapeno Popper Rack
Amazon

Jalapeño Popper Rack

Price: $23 from Amazon
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Like an oyster pan, this specialized grill-top rack for jalapeño poppers saves time and energy checking and flipping individual ingredients as they cook. Instead, put up to 36 stuffed peppers in the stainless steel openings and watch them blacken evenly in minutes. The rack also comes with a corer to faster remove the jalapeños' flesh and seeds.

Oyster Grill Pan
Amazon

Oyster Grill Pan

Price: $40 from Amazon
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This nonstick pan works better if you tend to have oysters in the shell but don't want the hassle of individually placing and removing them from the grill. Use it to grill up to 12 oysters or bake small, single-serving bites of corn bread, drop biscuits, mac-and-cheese, and more.

Chicken Wing Grill Rack
Amazon

Chicken Wing Grill Rack

Price: $19 from Amazon
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Chicken wings and drumsticks can be difficult to flip and cook evenly on a grill, so this steel wire rack lets them hang suspended above the heat for a more consistent char. Let the excess fat drip away (or save it for later) as the wings cook, then turn up the heat in the final minutes to get nice crispy skin.

Chimney of Insanity Charcoal Starter
Target

Charcoal Starter

Price: $30 from Target
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If you have a charcoal grill but get fed up waiting for the coals to ignite, try speeding up the process with the Chimney of Insanity, which features a hole in one side to allow more air circulation and fuel insertion. Newspaper works fine, but in a fix, the heating process will go even faster with a chimney starter.


Related: 35 Foods You Wouldn't Think to Grill But Definitely Should Try

Hotdog Slicing Tool
Lowes

Hotdog Slicing Tool

Price: $26 from Lowe's
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Slotdog's hotdog slicing tool has stainless steel blades that cut into the hotdog, creating crispy texture and caramelized edges that grab the toppings. The slicer also accelerates cooking and ensures consistent temperature throughout the hotdog. 


Related: Quiz: How Much Do You Actually Know About Grilling?

Grill Clips
Amazon

Grill Clips

Price: $10 for four from Amazon
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There's nothing quite like a good char to add some flavor to your favorite veggies. But if you've ever grilled vegetables, you probably know there's an art to it — especially for longer veggies like asparagus. If you don't cook them just right, they might end up too crunchy or too mushy. Enter grill clips. This nifty tool allows you to easily maneuver and manipulate vegetables while you grill them, making an even cook more attainable.


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Wood Grill Scraper
Amazon

Wood Grill Scraper

Price: $20 from Amazon
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Another good tool for keeping your grates clean is this simple wooden paddle, which starts out flat but over time molds to fit the exact grooves of your grill. Thus, it's effective, aesthetically pleasing, and naturally customizable.

Vegetable Grill Basket
Amazon

Vegetable Grill Basket

Price: $20 from Amazon
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Don't complicate a cookout by preparing your sides on the stovetop — instead, invest in a cheap steel basket so even smaller vegetables can go on the grill and get infused with the inimitable charred flavor. This version will fit inside most any grill and can also be used as a wok to contain shrimp or other proteins cut into smaller chunks.

Gill Light
Amazon

Handle-Mount Grill Light

Price: $149 from Amazon
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If you don't have the best outdoor lighting by your grill, don't let that stop you from making dinner outside. This grill light mounts right on the handle of your grill, so when you lift the lid, it illuminates the entire cooking space.



Gloves
Amazon

Heat-Resistant Grilling Gloves

Price: $16 from Amazon
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Most grilling gadgets come equipped with elongated handles that allow you to safely use them without burning yourself. But being hands-on while grilling makes things a lot easier. These gloves are heat resistant up to 1,472 degrees plus they have a silicone non-slip texture grip on them. 

Stuffed Burger Press
Amazon

Stuffed Burger Press

Price: $10 from Amazon
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A stuffed burger, or "Juicy Lucy," is a meat patty with cheese and other flavorings cooked into its center. They're often delicious and extra-decadent, but they can be difficult to make without falling apart. Cuisinart's stuffed burger press makes matters simpler with a three-piece tool to stuff and shape the two halves of your Juicy Lucy before grilling.

Related: 30 Celebrity Chefs' Favorite Burger Recipes

Himalayan Pink Salt Block
Amazon

Himalayan Pink Salt Block

Price: $50 from Amazon
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This thick grilling plank is made entirely from pink Himalayan salt, so as it heats, some of the salt and savory flavor will seep into whatever vegetables or cut of meat you cook on top of it. This version is good for many repeat uses and includes a metal holder to transport the slab and hold the pieces together as they break apart.

Cedar Planks
Amazon

Cedar Planks

Price: $30 from Amazon
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These chemical-free, Western red cedar planks double as grilling surfaces and serving trays for salmon and other meats, absorbing excess moisture and emitting rich smoky flavor as they cook. This particular set of five reusable planks comes with a burlap drawstring bag for storage and a grilling recipe to get you started.

Smoker Box
Amazon

Smoker Box

Price: $23 from Amazon
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If you're interested in adding rich woody flavor to your meats but don't want to invest in a full smoker setup, start simple and cheap with this smoker box. Just pre-soak some wood chips and place them in the box beneath the grate to get the taste you want even on a gas grill.

Lighter Cubes
Amazon

Lighter Cubes

$6 for 24 from Amazon

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Weber's lighter cubes are the ideal companion for any charcoal grill. The odorless, non-toxic fuel is easy to ignite and makes lighting charcoal a breeze. You can even light them when they're wet.

Slow 'N Sear
SnS Grills

Slow 'N Sear

Price: $105 from SnS Grills
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Another kettle grill attachment, the Slow 'N Sear confines charcoal to one section of the grill for better temperature control, so you can sear a meat for seconds or slow roast it for hours. It fits 22-inch grills and includes an integrated water reservoir to keep food moist for longer cook times. While this one is back ordered, they're expected to be back in stock in time for Father's Day.

Grilling Skewer
Amazon

Flexible Grilling Skewer

Price: $12 for 2 from Amazon
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Sometimes grilling dinner turns into a game of Tetris — arranging everything tactfully to ensure there's enough space for all of the food that needs to be cooked. These flexible skewers make that game a lot easier to play since you can move them however you need to to make more room for more. Plus, they are rust resistant.

Cast Iron Reversible Griddle
Amazon

Cast Iron Reversible Griddle

Price: $50 from Amazon
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This 20-inch-long griddle also allows you to cook bacon on the barbecue, along with eggs, pancakes, and any other typically fried ingredient. It's a durable and versatile accessory that enables you to grill just about anything, with reversible sides so you can still get nice grill marks when desired.

Quesadilla Grill Basket
Amazon

Quesadilla Grill Basket

Price: $70 from Amazon
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Gone are the days of merely grilling burgers and hotdogs. Nowadays, there's a recipe for just about anything on the grill, from breakfast to dessert. Traeger offers a gadget to expand that realm even further with the quesadilla grill basket. 

Beer Can Chicken Rack
Amazon

Beer Can Chicken Rack

Price: $11 from Amazon
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If you've never heard of beer can chicken before, it's a method of cooking a whole bird by placing it upright with a beer can in its cavity, so the beer evaporates and keeps the meat deliciously moist while cooking. This no-frills wire rack will support the beer can and a chicken up to 4 pounds.

Rib Rack
Amazon

Rib Rack

Price: $22 from Amazon
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Grill up to five racks of ribs at once using this plain steel holder from Weber. The ribs are held vertically above the grill grates, allowing their fat to drip down and the meat to cook more consistently than with direct contact. The steel bars are rather large, however; they work best with larger, full-rack ribs.

Kabob Grilling Baskets
Amazon

Kabob Grilling Baskets

Price: $35 for four from Amazon
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Kabobs are another barbecue favorite that can get difficult to flip with the components sliding around independently on their skewers. These elongated baskets keep skewered meats and veggies in place during grilling for a better, more evenly cooked result.

Grilling Floor Mat
Amazon

Grilling Floor Mat

$54 from Amazon

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Whether your grill legs are causing damage to your patio, deck, or lawn or grease and sauce keeps dripping from your grill, making a mess, this floor mat is the perfect solution. It is both flame resistant and fire retardant plus it's machine washable.

BBQ Multi-Tool
Amazon

BBQ Multi-Tool

$20 from Amazon

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If you're grilling burgers, a spatula will do the trick. Tongs for hotdogs. A grill fork for chicken breasts. You get the picture — everything on the grill has an ideal utensil companion. But what if you're hosting a backyard get together and you're making all of those things at once? This multi tool eliminates the need to dirty up every utensil in the drawer — it has fork and releaser, toothed tong, bottle opener, and spatula and wide tong functions.

Nonstick Grill Mat
Amazon

Nonstick Grill Mat

$19 for two from Amazon

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These grill mats not only help you keep your grill clean, they make cooking easier since you don't have to worry about anything falling through the grates. They're designed and tested in the U.S. and they are heat resistant up to 600 degrees. 

Wireless Meat Thermometer
Amazon

Wireless Meat Thermometer

$100 from Amazon

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With a 165-foot range, this wireless meat thermometer makes grilling so much easier, taking the guess work out of wondering how long to cook meat to reach your desired temperature. The thermometer works via Bluetooth, connecting to a downloadable app.


Related: 25 Finger-Licking Barbecue Sauce Recipes


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