If there was a noise that marked the start of summer, what would it be? Kids splashing in a pool, or maybe the crack of a bat at a baseball stadium? Personally, I think it would be the sizzle of meat on a grill—I can't help but associate warm weather with endless evening cookouts, surrounded by my friends and family (aka my happy place).
To prepare for the beginning of grilling season and ensure you have all the necessary supplies to pull off an amazing backyard barbecue, you'll want to stock up on the essentials: tools, accessories, and ingredients that'll help you step up your grilling game. Here are some of my hands-down favorite grilling items that you'll want to snag before the season gets into full swing (they start to sell out quickly once summer is here).
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Go-To Grilling Tools
1. OXO Grill Tools, $29.99
Even if you buy nothing else for your grill, you're going to need a high-quality set of tools to flip, rotate, and otherwise tend to your food. This grilling tool set from OXO includes a durable stainless- steel turner for flipping burgers—I absolutely love its double-bend design, which gives you improved leverage—and a set of tongs for grabbing hot dogs and veggies. The best part? The tongs have a bottle opener built into the handle, so you can open a drink without missing a beat.
2. FlipFork Boss, $22.99
For big-batch grilling, you need a large, versatile spatula like the FlipFork Boss. This 5-in-1 tool does it all: It has a fork for lifting meat, a sharp knife-edge for slicing, a serrated edge for tenderizing tough cuts, and even a bottle opener; it's basically the Swiss Army Knife of grilling tools. Made from stainless steel with an attractive acacia wood handle, it even comes with a lifetime warranty.
3. Barebones Living Grill Skewers, $20
There's nothing you can't grill with these handy stainless-steel skewers. Vegetables, kebabs, chicken satay—it's all fair game. The metal design saves you from having to soak the skewers like you would with wood, and the hooked ends make them easy to rotate, pick up off the heat, and hang for storage.
4. OXO Grill Basting Pot & Brush Set, $24.99
Keep extra marinade or BBQ sauce within reach with this convenient basting pot and brush set. The stainless-steel pot can hold up to 18 ounces of your favorite dressing, and it features an easy-grip handle and silicone lid that will keep bugs out of the sauce. Plus, its matching brush has angled silicone bristles that deliver the perfect amount of marinade to your meat, minimizing splatter and mess.
5. ThermoPop Thermometer, $35
The secret to great grilling? A fast, reliable instant-read thermometer. The ThermoPop in particular is a favorite among many cooks, thanks to its fast readings, large display, and superior accuracy. The ergonomic design comes in a rainbow of pretty colors, and it will let you know if your meat is done in just three to four seconds, allowing you to close the grill lid faster and minimize heat loss.
6. Weber Gourmet Pizza Stone, $47.99
No pizza oven? No problem! This handy pizza stone is designed to be used right on your grill, and delivers an amazingly crispy, restaurant-quality crust. The secret's in the 13-inch cordierite stone, which helps absorb moisture while cooking. Bonus: The stone comes with a carry rack that makes it easy to move your pizza from grill to table.
7. Wildwood Grilling Grill Planks, $20 To $30
Grill planks are an easy way to infuse more flavor into your favorite foods, whether it's fish, steak, or vegetables. This sampler pack includes planks made from five different types of wood: Western red cedar, alder, maple, cherry, and hickory. Find your favorite flavor, then all you have to do is soak the plank for an hour and put it right onto your grill with food on top. Easy, right?
8. Cuisinart Grill Press, $19.99
If you're cooking a particularly fatty cut of meat or just want to get those picture-perfect sear marks on your food, a grill press will be your best friend. This cast-iron press weighs just under three pounds, and you can use it to press excess fat and oil from meat or hold burgers flat on the grill. It's also great for making paninis or grilled sandwiches on the stovetop, and the cast-iron construction will last forever if cared for properly.
9. Boska Cheese Barbeclette, $40
If using a cheese barbeclette while grilling is wrong, we don't want to be right. After all, the only thing that can make an expertly cooked hamburger even better is a slice of melted cheese. These mini nonstick pans are just the right size to melt a slice of cheese, and they come with a spatula that lets you slide the ooey-gooey goodness onto your burger.
10. RVZHI Barbecue Grill Light, $19.99
Grilling at night is tricky if you don't have a well-lit patio, but you can ensure you never overcook a burger again with the help of this handy grill light. It clips right to the handle of your grill, and the cordless design can be angled in any direction to light up your space as needed. It has 10 super-bright LED bulbs, and it's both heat- and water-resistant, making it safe to leave outside.
11. BK Grilling Outdoor Cookware Collection, $50 To $70
You can cook even more recipes on your grill this summer with these carbon steel cookware pieces. Whether you opt for the fry pan, roaster, or grill tray, you'll be able to put the cookware right onto your grill, giving your favorite meals a delicious smoky flavor that's tough to replicate indoors.
12. Weber Grill 'N Spray, $10.67
Don't ruin a juicy steak by getting it stuck to your grill grates. Weber's Grill 'N Spray is a non-flammable formula that you can spray directly onto your hot grill, and it will prevent food from sticking (without affecting its flavor). Plus, as an added bonus, it will also make clean-up that much easier—a win-win, if you ask me.
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Let's Get Grillin'
- Grilled Peach & Apricot Salad
- Suzanne Goin's Grilled Pork Burgers
- Grilled Corn with Basil Butter
- Sugar Steak with Bourbon
This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by Food52 editors and writers. Food52 earns a commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.