19 Practical Gifts Under $20 For Barbecue Cooks

by Matt Gross

So you’re buying gifts for a barbecue fanatic and you’re not sure what to get. Or maybe you’re picking up a few things for yourself and you need a list to remind you of all the little things.

I’ve come up with a list of 19 practical gifts for the home barbecue cook, many of which I consider essential. The focus of these gifts, as I just stated is practicality. Nearly each one of these items is, in my opinion, critical to successfully executing perfect barbecue.

Without further ado, here’s my list:

  1. Ultra-Fast Thermometer$18.95 – Basically one of the most important items any cook or chef will ever own. The only way to truly know when your food is done is to take the temperature. This is one of the most essential tools in the kitchen.
  2. Leather Barbecue Gloves$16.99 – Another essential item for the home cook. These gloves will allow you to briefly hold lit charcoals, easily move hot grates (and other hot parts) and move wood without getting splinters.
  3. Seasoning Injector$16.07 – Particularly useful for turkey, chicken, pork loin and numerous other cuts of meat. The injector allows for incredibly deep penetration of flavors.
  4. Chimney Coal Starter$14.99 – If you use a Weber Smokey Mountain or own a charcoal grill, the only way you should be starting coals is with a chimney starter (ok, there’s another way). Works especially well if you use brisket fat soaked butcher paper as the initial fuel source.
  5. How To Grill$15.17 – This was the first book I owned about grilling/smoking and I consider it mandatory reading. There are all sorts of recipes for brines, sauces and numerous essential cooking techniques.
  6. Headlamp$15.70 – The dedicated barbecue cook needs to start early, many times well before the sun comes up. And most of the time it is impossible to hold a flashlight. Thankfully, a simple headlamp on a strap will give you more than enough light to see everything you’re doing.
  7. Meat Handler & Shredder$12.50 – Pick up large cuts of meat or shred things like pork shoulder without burning your fingers off.
  8. Spray Bottles$8.50 – I love to spray my ribs with various concoctions. Heck, I’ve been known to spray a brisket or two with a slightly more dilute simple syrup. The point is that nearly every serious barbecue cook will need spray bottles.
  9. Apron$7.99 – There’s gonna be fat, raw meat, juices, brines, oils and other various things flyin’ everywhere when you cook barbecue. Put an apron on so you don’t have to change clothes when you have a pork malfunction.
  10. Mop & Bucket$15.96 – Some folks like to mop their meats. I’ve done it a few times and found it can add some major flavor, particularly to pork. I highly recommend giving it a try.
  11. Black Latex Gloves$12.28 – When your brisket is done, you’ve got to cut it. During the cutting phase it would be nice to not put your bare hands all over the delicious brisket you’re serving. Solution: gloves. Why black? Because they look way more rock ‘n’ roll.
  12. Food Grade Bucket$9.95 – Particularly useful for brining, this bucket has a ton of practical applications. I use mine for holding sausages and other meats during preparation.
  13. Utility Knife$16.88 – Having a dedicated food utility knife is critical to the home barbecue cook. Cutting open the packaging of briskets, ribs, etc needs to be done with something very sharp and  this knife is perfect. Oh, and you can get cheaper ones but don’t.
  14. Sharpening Steel$17.95 – If you own a knife, you need to sharpen it each time you use it. Sharpening steel is your day-to-day sharpener and you would be wise to use it religiously.
  15. Coal Shovel$10.20Once your cooker has expended its fuel, you’ll need to clean it out. The best way to do this is with a coal shovel. No more turning things upside down or staring at fireboxes with no clue how to get the 3 inches of ash out.
  16. Digital Scale$19.20When making sausage you need to weigh out spices and salt with very high. A digital scale that gives you an accuracy of .1g is what you need so that your measurements are spot on.
  17. Cutting Board$19.95 - At 20in by 15in, this is a good sized cutting board. Perfect for putting salt and pepper on your briskets and pork butts.
  18. Grill Brush$7.99 – You need to keep your cooker and grill clean. This particular brush has bristles on the side so you can reach those tough spots.
  19. Temperature Gun$15.66The temperature gun is great for knowing the surface temperature of everything. For instance, I have had a recent obsession with using a griddle in my grill. The temperature gun tells me when it’s ready. Also useful in the kitchen when pan searing steaks.

Gifts Over $20

  1. Propane Torch$50.00 – Tired of waiting around for coals to start? Hook this baby up to your propane tank and you’ll have hot coals or a fully lit fire in literally 2 minutes. Pretty awesome if you ask me.
  2. Ninja 2HP Blender$211.67 – Looking for a kick ass blender but don’t want to drop nearly $500 on a Vitamix? The Ninja blender is what I use and it stomps. Pulverizes everything and makes perfectly blended concoctions.

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