There’s no doubt about it, we live in a day and age where the amount of additional accessories and toys available for grilling is incredible. Every time I walk into a Home Depot or store that sells BBQ equipment I usually spend a few minutes walking up and down the aisles of the grilling section, just to see if anything new has arrived or if there’s something I need and I just don’t know it yet. And while its great to have so many options, its easy to get a little overwhelmed. So, for those of you who use a charcoal grill during tailgating (or even at home), and are looking for items to help you out, I’ve put together a list of 5 charcoal grill accessories that can help you be your best self when it comes to grilling food on game day.
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Weber Chimney Starter and Lighter Cubes
A chimney starter is one of the first pieces of gear that I picked up once I started using a charcoal grill. Gone are the days of needing to use lighter fluid and waiting longer for your briquettes to heat up. This tool, along with some lighter cubes or wadded up newspaper, provides an efficient, safe, and easy way to get your charcoal ready within 20-25 minutes. Made of aluminized steel, this chimney starter is built to last and the two handle design allows more control when you’re pouring your lit charcoal into the grill. The plastic handle doesn’t typically get too hot, but if you’re concerned about the overall heat from the coals…
…Then consider getting some heat resistant gloves! Anytime you’re working with heat from the grill, its a good idea to have some sort of protection for your hands. This pair of gloves from Grill Heat Aid can keep you safe at temperatures up to 932°F, which is more than enough for working with a charcoal grill. Another great feature is the extended cuff length that gives you some extra protection on the wrists and forearms. When you’re not using these for grilling, they also work well in the home kitchen. With a 4.5 rating and over 2,800 reviews on Amazon, plenty of folks find these gloves to be exactly what they’re looking for.
I’ve only recently started using this hinged cooking grate from Weber, but I’m really liking the versatility of it. There are 2 hinges on each side that flip up and allow you to add more charcoal, wood chunks for smoking, water for a pan, etc. without taking the grate off. One thing I had an issue with during longer cooks was I’d often have to take the whole grate off the grill, add in more charcoal, and then put the grate back on. It’s definitely inconvenient to say the least. Now I don’t have that problem. You can set up the grill to have an indirect/direct zone on either side, and you also have the ability to take the center grate off to create a direct zone in the center and an indirect zone around the outside. The next accessory in this list plays a part in the advantage of being able to remove the center grate. Overall, I think the flexibility of this cooking grate will help step up your tailgate cooking by making it easier to cook with charcoal.
The vortex kettle grill accessory is another one that I’ve started using recently. I’m finding that its also really versatile and can be set up in a few different ways to be used. The common setup I’ve use it for is to place it in the center, remove the center piece of my hinged cooking grate, and fill it up with charcoal to create a direct heating zone. The concentrated high heat in the center will send the hot air to the top of the grill lid and then back down along the sides to the bottom, where the air then circulates back upwards, thus creating an indirect zone around the edge. This set up works really well for so many foods, especially chicken wings. I’m excited to experiment more with this and to try out other setup arrangements. To help illustrate the flexibility of this accessory, this video from Cooking With Ry does a great job of showing you how the vortex can be utilized.
There’s nothing worse than not having enough working space while you are BBQing. And with charcoal grills, more often than not they aren’t going to have any side tables included. This table from BBQ Dragon easily clips on to most 22 inch kettle grills and is sturdy enough to hold up to 10 lbs. of grill accessories. It’s great for storing food, rubs & seasonings, plates, and it even has 3 hooks on the end for holding utensils. You could even double them up and put a table on both sides, effectively giving you more working space. When the grill isn’t in use you can remove the table for easy storage, and at around 2 lbs. in unit weight it’s easy to transport to and from your tailgating activities.
And there you have it! I hope you found some value from this list. As I mentioned earlier, there are tons of accessories and tools available and each have their set purposes, but when it comes to tailgate grilling I think these items are a great base from which to build upon. There’s great flavor and a timeless enjoyment that comes from cooking with charcoal and I think these tools can add to your tailgating experience, making it that much better 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, if you’re looking for more inspiration don’t forget to check out our Tailgating Gear page. If you have any questions about the items listed above, or have any other accessories that you find to be helpful, please let me know in the comments below!