10 best BBQ accessories

We asked the experts to pick out everything you need – from tongs to griddles – to become a BBQ master

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The Independent Online

You’ve got your barbecue, you’ve got your ingredients, now you just need a few handy accessories to make the most of your al fresco experience.

Barbecuing has always been popular, but with the specialist restaurants and street food stalls forever popping up serving up treats cooked over a flame, one suspects that it’s really at its zenith.

Everyone wants to be a pit master, and with some of these products accessories, chosen with help from some of the biggest names in the BBQ game, it won’t be long before you get there.

We've also rounded up the best BBQ food, the best charcoal and gas BBQs to cook it on, and the best beers to wash it all down with.

1. Weber Chimney Starter Set: £24.99, John Lewis

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Coming from one of the best known barbecue brands, this is the ultimate accessory for anyone tired of the endless struggle of getting a barbecue properly lit. You simply add as many of the supplied briquettes you will need to the stainless steel container, and light using one or two of the firelighters. As Sam Evans of the Hang Fire Smokehouse in Wales says: “We use one of these to get our smokers and grills up and running quickly. Their design means you can have a small bucket of charcoal, white hot, in about fifteen minutes. Then you just add it to your barbecue.”

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2. Wood from The London Log Company: £65 per boot bag (65-75kg), The London Log Company

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Top quality barbecues demand top quality charcoal and, ideally, great wood to burn too. The wood provider of choice among top chefs is the London Log Company. “I always use it for wood,” says Joe Grossmann from the much-celebrated burger restaurant Patty and Bun. “It has an amazing range from birch and beech to oak and chestnut, which gives a banging aroma to whatever you’re cooking.” It delivers nationwide, and for a keen outdoor cook, one boot bag should last most of the summer. Use the oak for meat, and silver birch for fish. 

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3. UCI X5-Sumo Cut Resistant Gloves: £7.29, Amazon

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If you’re entertaining a big group, or looking to do some serious barbecue work, you can expect to generate a lot of heat, and you won’t want your fingers burned. “My secret tip is to get a pair of builders’ work gloves,” says Mat Kemp, from the annual food festival Meatopia. “You can get them from most DIY shops for around a fiver, and it means you can move grills about without burning your hands.” These ones are fashioned from Kevlar, steel, nylon and glass fibre, so it’s basically like wearing comfortable armour on your hands.

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4. Rock a Pinny Hand Waxed Canvas Apron: £55, Rock a Pinny

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Where the barbecue comedian might splash out on one of those silly, low-quality aprons with a bikini body printed on it, the real aficionados know to invest in something a little more sturdy and stylish – like a hand-waxed canvas apron from Rock a Pinny, a bespoke apron company. Highly recommended by BBQ hero Richard Turner, these come with a pair of denim pockets – one smaller one on the chest, and one at the waist big enough for a decent-sized spatula – and antique brass rivets. They’re the ideal accessory for anyone intent on spending most of the summer making meat sing on an open flame.

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5. Tramontina Churrasco Meat Tongs: £9.99, Lakeland

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You’re going to need some tongs, there’s no way around it. Many a haphazard barbecuer has been caught short without the right equipment for moving the meat around, but so long as you have a decent set of tongs, you will always be OK. These ones are great and easily manoeuvrable; fashioned from tempered steel and FSC-certified wood with teeth to grip the food, they’re good enough quality to keep you in outdoor celebrations for years. The “churrasco” in the title basically translates as barbecue in much of South America.

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6. Flamers: £3.49, Certainly Wood

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If you’re not keen on using firelighters, or, god forbid, lighter fuel, you might be wise to invest in some small bundles of waxed wood shavings that perform a similar job, and can be used in the same way as a firelighter. They come in packets of bundles – you only need to use one each time you barbecue, so this pack of 24 should do the trick for summer. “We put a few of these at the bottom of our chimney starter, light them and ‘whoosh!’” says Sam from Hang Fire Smokehouse. “They get the coals hot really quickly, and they’re natural and sustainable.”

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7. Weber Original Large Fish Basket: £34.99, John Lewis

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While expert barbecue chefs can wax lyrical until the cows come home about the keen tricks to help with cooking meat, you don’t always hear too much about fish – but barbecued fish is amazing, and owning one of these is an absolute must. It can be a nightmare trying to cook fish on a normal barbecue, but deftly placed into a basket, which is then clasped onto the grill, it becomes a doddle. These can even cook smaller shellfish, or small vegetables. 

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8. Amalfi Salad Serving Bowl: £12.99, Lakeland

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Any barbecue worth its salt needs to come with a vast array of fresh hearty salads, and, just as importantly, something impressive to serve them in. These big, colourful bowls from Lakeland are not only an excellent solution, they are also extremely durable. They are scratch and stain resistant, and topped off with a liquid glass finish that makes them look much more expensive than they actually are. Perfect for impressing visitors.

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9. Broil King Premium Professional Griddle: £71.95, BBQ World

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Granted, some people might be reticent to fork out for a piece of equipment that may cost even more than their barbecue, but for anyone planning a whole summer of al fresco cooking, a decent griddle pan can go a long way. You can use it to cook smaller shellfish or vegetables. Or anything delicate, that requires a slightly more gentle hand. That said, hearty burgers are great off a griddle too. This size of this one means it will fit pretty much any barbecue, and it handily collects all the juices.

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10. ‘The Barbecue! Bible’ by Steven Raichlen: £11.95, Workman Publishing

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Throwing a barbecue needn’t mean that you have to stick to the tried and tested bangers and drumsticks – you can really push the boat out. This “bible” by the American food writer Steven Raichlen features over 500 great recipes, all brought to life with vibrant photographs and, for the most part, they’re simple enough for a decent home cook to get to grips with. The Senegalese grilled chicken is particularly delicious.

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The Verdict

There is so much more to creating the perfect barbecue than just buying a grill and getting some meat. The Broil King Premium Professional Griddle is really useful, the apron from Rock a Pinny is wonderful quality, and could last you a lifetime of outdoor cooking. But, for the sheer simplicity of it, and for making the cumbersome act of getting the coals going so much easier, the Weber Chimney Starter is a game changer.

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