A beginners guide to a pellet smoker setup with a container of wooden pellets, a digital temperature control, and smoking meat equipment against a house exterior.

Tools & Equipment for Smoking & Grilling Meat

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Writer / Enthusiast / Meat Curer / Forager / Harvester | About Tom

For decades, immersed in studying, working, learning, and teaching in the craft of meat curing, now sharing his passion with you through eat cured meat online resource.

I get asked a fair bit what ideal gift ideas someone who loves smoking meat would want. So here is a breakdown of what I find super useful for someone who loves smoking and grilling. Sometimes you just want to know what other equipment could help bring out the best in your cooking.

Tools for any Style of Meat Smoking 

  • Apron (it’s a messy business)
  • Wireless Thermometer single & duel
  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Smoke Generator (for more Smoke flavor!)
  • Ham or Brisket Knife
  • Heatproof Cooking Gloves

Depends on what you have got and I will cover off on the best of the basics. Then a quick rundown on each styles and some specific kit that can make anyone’s smoking projects a ton easier or more fun.

They say that having the right tools for the job is very important. Now, I believe that you can improvise, but sometimes convenience is a beautiful thing too. I have done everything the hard way, and have now taken on some of the gadgets to make smoking easier.

I will start with what I think is a really valuable kit for the smoking enthusiast.

Beef short ribs smoked weber large

Then, you will find below tools for specific styles of smokers, either electric/gas, charcoal, or pellet grills.

I will then jump into some other tools that add another dimension to the cooking:

  • Tools for the Griller & Searer
  • Pizza Time
  • Kebabs
  • Rotisserie
  • Effective Fire Torch
  • Cleaners
  • Pulled Meat Claws

All these tools can enhance your smoking to get better results more consistently. When I have purchased one of these, it has always been a gamer changer.

Although the pellet grill already has built-in temp probes, some don’t, so I still listed it above.

Each Essential Tool & Why

Wireless Thermometer Single & Duel

I guess this is the first thing you want to go for, it just takes all the guess work out of cooking/smoking. When I got a wireless probe to stick in the meat, it changed my whole approach. For many years, I had learned through just experience and checking.

The duel probes make sense to me, but for a long time, I used a single probe and had it in the smoking chamber or the meat when I wanted to check how close it was.

So I don’t think duel probes are essential, but it does give you all the information you could want instantly. Unless you have more then one meat in the smoker, so you might want several probes I guess.

Now I don’t like to say one device is the best or better then another, so if I have checked out something, I will give a budget option and a high-end option that I have or have seen working well. If you want to read more about some temp probs, please find a post here.

Instant Read Thermometer

This may be the other tool you want if you go for a single probe for the chamber. What’s nice about one of these is you can instantly check on any of your meats or stick it in different parts of the meat to check for consistency.

I like to use mine because it just gives you a quick peek at what is happening in the smoker. But, try not to pop the lid too much, you don’t want to lose too much heat. It’s not so important if I’m using a thermostat-controlled smoker because it starts becoming consistent due to the managed heat.

Smoke Generator (for more Smoke Flavor)

Smoke generator

I actually really love my smoker generator, it’s about portablility adn flexibility.

It can be attached to a kettle, drum, gas grill, or even a traditional kamado egg-shaped ceramic smoker. I saw the kamado (Japanese old school ceramic cooking method) at an expo with the smoker generator attached for additional smoke.

The smoke generator also has the benefit of adding smoke to turn any outdoor cooking into a smoking session. Alternatively, it can be used affixed to something for cold smoking. I use a gas grill turned off or my kettle grill to cold smoke all sorts of tasty goods. If you want a comprehensive rundown on cold smoking, please find a post here.

Ham or Brisket Knife

Now a chef’s knife was what I used for carving turkeys or slicing brisket for many years. Then I saw a friend with this long thin beast of a knife, seeing how consistent the cuts were, I wanted one. I did some more reading about it, my preference is having the granton edge.

Brisket knife button 250x small

Granton design is little egg-shaped grooves along the blade, it helps with the air pockets. This, in turn, means it’s harder for the meat to stick to the knife. This design has been around for many years, and it’s a great addition to the long, thin profile of the ham knife.

Here is where I talk about my ham knife and a few others.

Heatproof Cooking Gloves

I have lived on the edge for many years; I haven’t had heatproof gloves. But just like the oven baking gloves, these did end up reducing the number of burns on my arms when smoking in the dark.

Tools Specific to Types of Smokers

  • Electric/Gas Smoker
  • Drum, Kettle or Charcoal Smoker
  • Pellet Grill

Electric/Gas Smoker

Most electric or gas makers are already good to go. Because of the built-in thermostat which makes the cooking really easy and convenient. Some don’t have water pans, which is the only thing I would add.

In saying that, you want to look at an instant reading or a wireless probe if you want to have the set-and-forget setup.

A lot of the brands that have cold-smoking attachments go on the side. Most of the ones I have seen are switch-on, switch-off smoke generators. Being electric, it’s really plug-and-play.

So, you just leave the heat off in the main smoker and leave the cold smoke generator on. Certain conditions and a process needs to be followed, so check out the cold smoking section for more details.

Many electric or gas smokers have great thermostats but don’t have thermometers for the meat. So this is a great add-on to the electric or gas smoker.

Here is one I reviewed and used a lot that’s awesome. IBBQ-4T

Drum, Kettle, or Charcoal Smoker Gifts

The lack of technology with charcoal smokers means it’s all about two main factors. Heat/Wood management and airflow are achieved through airflow control. So decent charcoal smokers have good airflow control and are well insulated to help maintain the heat.

There are so many different types of charcoal smokers in the market today. The main one I have used is the classic Weber kettle grill, probably the most popular among friends. You can see why it has over 30 years of history and a well-built design.

When it comes to the tools that you use, they have developed a huge array of accessories now.

There are a lot of brand tools in regard to the different setups of the grills and different pans. The temperature probes that are branded have a minimalist and simple style. When I see these running, they are like a well-designed Apple product. I guess that’s why they called the iGrill.

A chimney starter makes quick work of starting some charcoal.

Pellet Grill

These are generally kitted out with everything you need, sometimes a water pan is needed but apart from that it’s an all in one unit.

I love pellet grills because you can turn it into a grilling BBQ also. So you need you normal BBQ utensils to take care of that aspect.

You have all your standard accessories for a grilling BBQ; I think some of them come with projects for the probes, but you have to buy them extra.

Tools for the Griller & Searer

The equipment I use the most for my kettle, gas grill, and pellet grill would definitely be a large barbecue spatula and long tongs.

Because you are cooking over an open heat source, it can be a real mission to avoid getting burned, especially when you’re searing steaks.

Some guys still laugh at me, but I love a decent apron because sometimes it just gets messy.

Pizza Time

I have used a whole bunch of pizza stones on my gas grill. I think I have broken three of them; they just couldn’t handle the heat.

I like to make Napoleon’s a thin crust which is generally at a very hot temperature, around the 550°F. I can get up there on the gas grill, it’s a five burner so I used three burners on Macs for and direct heat under the hood.

So my advice is to get a quality pizza stone to get up to decent temperatures. My partner also likes to do sourdough bread in a Dutch oven on a pizza stone.

Kebabs

There are many different types of kebab sticks, I like steel ones since the reusable. But you definitely want a pair of tongs because they will get super hot. I like to use very long marinades for 3 to 5 days, I learned some recipes from an Italian and Russian couple. Who had a mad kebab Xmas party every year for 80 people. Big deep charcoal grills with giant kebab metal sticks over 1 foot long.

Rotisserie

So when it comes to rotisserie, it will depend on what type of grill you have. My first few rotisseries were on an open fire with a whole pig. The setup was really simple but you had to be constantly managing the fire and turning it over.

Effective Fire Torch

I have tried to use a normal lighter to start many different types of smoking apparatuses. So I eventually did change to a propane torch, although during the transition, I decided to use a camp gas burner on the side of my smoke generator, which worked just as well apart from the dangerous flames occasionally when you tilt a camping propane burner.

There are even some that I’ve seen and can recommend that will get you a character started superfast.

Cleaners Brushes or Auto Cleaners

Sometimes even choose to clean the gas grill, most of the time I use heat to sterilize. When it comes to certain compounds in the smoker, keeping the whole set up clean is always a good idea.

Steel brushes are definitely the way to go I use one with the scraper on the other side.

Although I have come across these alternate cleaners at some expose and am looking to try one of these out in the near future.

Pulled Meat Claws

I see a lot of these being used, and they do look really cool. Here are the ones I’m looking to buy, using a couple of folks still works really well but doesn’t look as cool.


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